Ludwig Frederick Schmidt was born in 1823 in Wurtemberg, Germany, the son of Karl and Eva (Heinch or Heinich).
Ludwig may have come to America as early as 1830. In any case he was certainly in the U.S. before the Mexican War broke out since he allegedly participated in that conflict. He eventually moved westward and settled in western Michigan.
Ludwig was probably living in Grand Rapids, Kent County, when he married Wurtemberg native Paulina Hartman (b. 1838) on August 16, 1859, in Grand Rapids; and they had at least two children: Ludwig F. Jr. (b. 1863) and Emma (b. 1866). Paulina had apparently been married before and had a daughter Pauline (b. 1857) by the previous marriage. The service was performed by Rev. Francis Cuming who would eventually serve as the first chaplain of the Third Michigan infantry.
By October of 1859 Ludwig was living in Grand Rapids when he joined the Grand Rapids Rifles, commanded by Captain Chris. Kusterer -- who was also a witness at Ludwig’s wedding. (The GRR or “German Rifles” would serve as the nucleus for Company C of the Third Michigan infantry.) Ludwig (listed as “Frederick Smith”) was working as a blacksmith and living with his wife in Grand Rapids’ Second Ward; also living with them was 50-year-old Frederick Hartman, presumably Paulina’s father.
Ludwig stood 5’9” with brown eyes and hair and a dark complexion and was a 38-year-old blacksmith probably living in Grand Rapids when he enlisted in Company C on May 13, 1861. He was discharged on either December 31, 1861, or January 1, 1862, at Fort Lyon, Virginia, for “varicose veins of five years’ standing.”
In January of 1862 he applied for and received a pension (no. 291730), drawing $2.00 in 1886, increased to $12.00 in 1892.
Ludwig returned to Grand Rapids, and by 1865-66 was working as a blacksmith and living at 10 Bronson street; in 1868-69 he living on the northwest corner of Winter and Shawmut streets, on the west side of the Grand River. In 1870 he was working as a blacksmith and living with his wife and children in Grand Rapids’ Second Ward. By 1880 Ludwig was still working as a blacksmith and living with his wife and two children in Grand Rapids’ Fourth Ward. (Next door lived August Schmidt who had also served in the Third Michigan during the war. August was born in Saxony.)
He was admitted to the Michigan Soldiers’ Home (no. 208) February 1, 1886, dismissed on June 5, 1886, readmitted November 25, 1891 and discharged at his own request on August 17, 1892. He was admitted to the Home for the final time on April 12, 1893.
Ludwig died of “old age,” chronic bronchitis and heart disease at the Home at 11:00 a.m. on October 7, 1905, and was buried in the Home cemetery: section 4 row 18 grave 2.
The week following his death his widow applied for and received a pension (no. 605876).