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SCHMIDT, JACOB (1889–1965). Jacob Schmidt, clothing merchant, was born on January 30, 1889, in Bartfeld, Hungary (later Bardejov, Czechoslovakia), the son of Juda and Ethel (Reichman) Schmidt. His parents were natives of Bardejov, where his father ran a small restaurant and beer parlor. Schmidt immigrated in 1907 to the United States and worked briefly in a slaughterhouse and at a brewery in New York. He spent a brief period in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, and then moved to Seguin, Texas. At the age of eighteen he began peddling clothing in Central and South Texas from a covered wagon pulled by two mules. He was supplied with merchandise by William Mendlovitz, who operated a small store in Seguin and was a source of supply for several peddlers in the region. Peddlers at the time followed well-known trails and delivered clothing to farmers and ranchers, who considered them an important source of supply. Schmidt traveled several hundred miles to sell merchandise and often slept under his wagon. Most clothing peddlers of that day were either Jewish, like Schmidt, or Lebanese. On June 16, 1912, Schmidt married Bertha Yahr, another immigrant from Hungary, who had come to Texas through the so-called Galveston Movement, which encouraged European Jews to enter the United States through Galveston rather than through New York in order to avoid entrapment in the New York slums. From Galveston, where she landed, Bertha traveled to Seguin, where she and Jacob met and wed. They had one son and four daughters. Jacob eventually moved to Yorktown, where he opened his first store by 1915. Subsequently, he opened stores in Beeville and San Marcos. In 1930 he moved to Austin and opened the Jacob Schmidt Department Store on East Sixth Street. Schmidt died on November 15, 1965, in Austin and was buried in Agudas Achim Cemetery. In 1994 the business that he started was being operated by a second and third generation of Schmidts under the name Yaring's, which owned ten ladies' specialty stores. "Yaring's" is derived from Mrs. Bertha Schmidt's family name, Yahr. The first Yaring's opened on Congress Avenue in Austin in 1936.


Austin American, November 16, 1965. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Leon Schmidt


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Leon Schmidt, "SCHMIDT, JACOB," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed March 31, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.