Jens Schmidt

Handyman and Lumber Miller

Born: (Not Recorded)
Died: 1781

Jens Schmidt was a Dane, from the town of Seeland, who joined the Moravian Church and traveled to the New World in 1766. In February of that year he was selected along with Petersen, Jacob Steiner, Gottfried Praetzel, John Birkhead, George Holder, Melchior Rasp, and Michael Ziegler to begin construction on the new town.

The first building he assisted with was the Builder’s House. This was the first structure to be built in Salem. The simple log cabin design was later adopted by several others around the area and is something the Germans contributed to the local culture. Schmidt was the handyman of the group, it is stated that “he soon came to Salem with the first brothers to help in the building of everything, in which he always did everything that he could, although he had many a change in work.”

His main works was preparing lumber, and “whatever else he can do,” along with master carpenter Christian Treibel. Being from Denmark, his demeanor and lifestyle was considered peculiar, however he was accepted since he was a hard worker, and a faithful member of the Moravian Church.

After the initial building of Salem, Jens Schmidt moved on to become the first teacher in Salem. There he taught the young boys until his death in 1781.