An evening of German music and food on Friday will mark the opening of a new exhibit at the Hattie Weber Museum honoring the Schmeiser family.
Gotfried Schmeiser, a native of Germany, married Sophie Oeste, also a native of Germany, in Sacramento in 1868. Later that year the couple settled on a ranch between Davisville and Winters. Overcoming early ownership disputes, the couple grew wheat and prospered. They had eight children, six of whom survived to adulthood. All led distinguished lives.
The oldest Schmeiser son, Theodore, known as T.G., was a highly successful businessman in Davisville, manufacturing farming equipment. Like his father, T.G. was an innovator and an inventor. He also was an equal opportunity employer in a racist age.
When his factory crew walked off the job after he named two “Greeks” as foremen, T.G. informed them he had chosen the most able to be leaders and if they didn’t want to work for him he would send to Stockton for a new crew. The men returned to work.
T.G.’s sister Pauline was an accomplished poet and one of the founders of the Sacramento PTA organization. His sisters Louise and Elmine ran the University House in Davis, a boarding house for students. Later they returned to their parents’ ranch and continued its
Louise died in 1938. During World War II, Elmine, then in her 50s, operated and repaired the heavy farming equipment to keep the ranch going.
The second Schmeiser son, Carl, farmed in Solano County and served on the county Board of Supervisors for 20 years. His brother Robert farmed in Yolo County and became a distinguished agriculturalist.
The museum, 445 C St., will be open from 6 to 10 p.m. Friday. At 7 p.m., the Brewer Trio will perform a program of German songs. German beer and Bavarian pretzels will be among the refreshments. All are invited.