Lake Erie Islanders: Charles Schneider of Middle Bass
Sketches from the 1917 History of Northwest Ohio
(reference 4a in the Bibliography)
CHARLES SCHNEIDER. While the rich soil of Middle Bass Island, Lake Erie, Ohio, is favorable to general agriculture, the main and most profitable industry is the growing of grapes which has been brought to perfection. For a half century the people here have grown grapes and made wine and their product is recognized as equal in many ways to some of the finest distillations of foreign lands. Many of the early settlers came here prepared to engage in fishing or farming or to engage in the practical trades in which they had been trained but the larger number of them subsequently became the owners of vineyards and prospered with their neighbors. Among these was Charles Schneider, Sr., who was the father of Charles Schneider, who owns and operates his own vineyard and manages the property of his late father, and is one of the representative citizens of Middle Bass and a useful member of the school board.
Charles Schneider, the elder, was born October 18, 1822, in Saxony, Germany, and died in 1893, on Middle Bass Island, to which he had come in 1864. In the spring of 1861 he had come to Sandusky, Ohio, where he followed his trade of shoemaker, learned in Germany, and when he came with his family to Middle Bass it was with the expectation of continuing as a shoemaker. The cultivation of grapes as a business was then in its beginning here and Mr. Schneider was foresighted enough to see that industry would be more profitable than work at his trade. He soon had become the owner of a small tract of land, on which he set out grape vines which developed almost beyond expectation and insured him a fine vineyard. He devoted himself mainly to this industry until the time of his death. His three children survive, two daughters and one son: Louisa and Lena, who live on the old home place, and Charles, his father's namesake. The elder Mr. Schneider was a prominent man in the democratic party in Middle Bass, although he never consented to hold any public office except membership on the school board.
Charles Schneider remained at home with his father and aided in the work of the vineyard, which can never be neglected and which, during the bearing season, is a very busy place. He carries on the grape business very successfully, having, as mentioned above, two vineyards to manage. He is a democrat in politics and at times has served in local offices and on the election and school boards.
Mr. Schneider was married to Miss Amanda Runkel, who is a daughter of John F. and Mary (Rehberg) Runkel. They have one son, Charles Schneider, who is a resident of Middle Bass Island.
John F. Runkel, father of Mrs. Schneider, was a pioneer on Middle Bass Island. He was born in Bavaria, Germany, but was brought by his parents, when six years old, to the United States and they settled on a farm in Erie County, Ohio, near Sandusky. The death of his mother when he was ten years of age necessitated his leaving home and taking care of himself. He worked for farmers in Erie County until 1869; when he came to Middle Bass Island and for a time worked for others here. In 1871 he was married to Miss Mary Rehberg, who is a daughter of the late William Rehberg and a member of a very prominent family on Middle Bass. After marriage Mr. Runkel bought a tract of land and went into the business of growing grapes and continued the operation of his vineyard until his death, which occurred on January 1, 1900. Mrs. Runkel has since resided with her only daughter, Mrs. Charles Schneider. Mr. Runkel was known all over the island and was very highly esteemed.
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