Winesburg Ohio History
In the early 1800’s in Dinstbach, Germany, a Lutheran Minister, Pastor William Schmidt, envisioned a Lutheran College in the United States. He educated his youngest son William and sent him to his older brother, Christian, who lived in Philadelphia, Pa. After talking to many different people about their goals for the college, they decided to start it somewhere in the backwoods and let it grow with the fledgling country.
In 1827 they began the adventure of finding the perfect place for the new college. The exact spot they decided on was what is now Winesburg. It reminded them of their own German village, and inspired them to forge a place where their fellow countrymen could do business in their mother tongue.
Before the men started building the college, Christian Schmidt’s house caught on fire and everything was destroyed, including the brass bound chest where he stored the money. The chest was never recovered and it is believed the fire was set to cover up a robbery. The dreams of a college in Winesburg lay in ashes.
Because of the loss of money, William had to go elsewhere for financial aid. He was successful and founded what is now Capital University in Columbus, OH.
In 1832, William Schmidt surveyed and plated the town of Winesburg in thirty-two plots, and named it in honor of the town of Weinsburg, Germany.