Theodore Schmeiser

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Theodore 'TG' G. Schmeiser (26 August 1872-12 February 1950) was a Davis pioneer-inventor who built the Colonial Revival home with Queen Anne style features at 334 I Street in 1911. Ornate brick work borders the front porch and the home is known by most students as "the house with the swastika." This intriguing pattern in the chimney brickwork was put in by Schmeiser, the son of German immigrants, as a good luck charm. Theodore incorporated an innovative fire protection system into the house consisting of a large backyard cistern and a water tank in the attic with water hoses connected to all floors; at one time it even included a roof-mounted rain cistern.

Schmeiser was born to Gotfried Schmeiser [1835-1901] & Sophie Oeste [1841-1919], daughter of Jacob and Anne Catherine Voigt Oeste, on his parents' ranch just west of Davisville in 1872. Incidentally, the family home still stands on its original 160 acre parcel southeast of County Roads 31 and 95. One of eight children born on the Schmeiser ranch, TG and five of his siblings were educated at the Fairfield School and became prominent citizens; Henry, the first child born to Gotfried & Sophie, died at birth while Charlotte, born November 14, 1870, was killed in a runaway accident at the age of four.

By the age of 28, TG had established the Schmeiser Manufacturing Company next to the railroad tracks; there he manufactured farm implements as well as inventing and improving some widely used agricultural mechanisms. In 1910 he organized the town'’s first water company and was a charter member of the Davisville Almond Growers Association. TG married Chloe LaNette Klays (13 March 1879-February 1967), daughter of pioneers Frederick and Chloe Collins Klays and together had one daughter, Chloe Bernice Schmeiser Born 26 March 1909). He and his wife were active in community affairs from 1900-1925; after 1925, when [WWW]the manufacturing plant was moved to Fresno, the Schmeisers divorced and TG's wife remained in Davis. TG later married Lella Cullingford (16 June 1878-18 June 1949) of Fresno.

To learn more about Davis history, please visit our pages of Historic Places, Town History and Davis Timeline.

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