Sam Schmidke was born in the Black Sea area of S. Russia in 1848. He married Anna Magdalena Hauser (b. Borodina, S. Russia) whose parents were Christian Hauser and Anna Magdelina Kubler.
He and his family were part of a great migration that swept through Europe in the 19th Century. Following the precedent set by Catherine the Great of Russia in the 1760's, Czar Alexander I again invited Germans to settle about the Black Sea on land recently taken from the Turks. He promised them Germans land, religious liberty and exemption from military service, in return for settling this unused land.
His recruiting agents were especially successful in Southwestern Germany. Many poor German peasants in Baden, Bavaria, and Wurttemberg, suffering from the ravages of French armies during the Napoleonic Wars, were ready to move. Taking a pair of beasts, a few farm tools, and what little cash they had, they traveled more than a thousand miles to the Black Sea. Having seen armies destroy all other property, they sought land. Land hunger took them to Russia and latter brought them to the Hi-Plains of Colorado, Kansas, the Dakota's and Nebraska.
In Russia, the German colonists were determined to remain German, to keep their religion and the German Language. They succeeded in their goals but the years in Russia had a major influence on them. Desiring land they became and largely remained farmers, living in one or two street villages and going out each day to farm their land. They suffered considerable hardship in Russia. Their early homes were not much more than huts with windows and they faced many epidemics including cholera, smallpox, measles and typhoid. The "German Russians: didn't become a part of Russian life, keeping contact with their neighbors to a minimum. The father was almost a dictator in their own household; everyone worked hard and education was neglected.
By the 1870's and 1880's things were changing in Russia. The Russians were beginning a program of forced assimilation beginning by introducing Russian schools taught by Russian teachers. They also began taking away many of the Germans special privileges including their exemption from military service.
When faced with these problems plus the lack of land for their children to begin new farms on, the Germans in Russia began to look towards the Great Plains of the United States for new opportunities. In American the Homestead Act and large blocks of land given to railroads made land cheap and inviting.
By 1893 Sam and his family had decided to leave Russia and begin the long journey to the United States. The trip began with an overland journey to Bremmen, Germany, followed by crossing the Atlantic ocean on the ship Traster departing April 11, 1893 and arriving in N.Y., N.Y. at Ellis Island on 25 April 1893. After successfully completing the inspections at the "Island of Tears", they began traveling again. This time the destination was North Dakota. Arriving there they again decided to move, this time to Colorado in 1894 where they made their permanent home.
In many ways this was not an easy life for the new immigrants. About the only thing that didn't change Russian homes was the climate and their religion. While they still tended to congregate in groups of coreligionist in Colorado, just as they had in Russia they could no longer maintain the tight knit exclusive groups they once had. The Homestead Act which required each family to live five years on its own 160 acres effectively destroyed their village culture. In addition, since the land was free to all, they might have an Irishman, Dane or native-born American for a neighbor and this brought change. Compulsory education taught in English and the predominately English speaking towns forced them to learn English and again introduced new ideas to the young. Almost immediately what was unthinkable in Russia began to happen in America; the settler's children began to marry outside the German community.
Dealing with all these changes the death of six of their children in infancy and bad crop years led to the early death of Sam in 1900. Anna continued to live in her home with her younger children until her death on August 3, 1923.
Sam and Anna had six children who survived past infancy. Lydia Weiss, Samual, John, Emma Dabbler, Rosina Schaal, and Margaretta Stahlicker.