Countdown to our 100th Anniversary: The History Behind Crescent Electric

Over the next year, we're celebrating the Countdown to our 100th Anniversary by sharing our stories from our past. The history of our founder, Titus B. Schmid, and all those that impacted him, play a vital role in the creation of Crescent Electric Supply Company. Join us as we take a stroll down memory lane in preparation for our Centennial celebration in April, 2019!


Story 1: Family Values Taught through the Generations: Impact on Titus B. Schmid, Crescent Founder

   1850-1900 Family Tree

Our Founder’s Grandfather, Titus Schmid, (1816-1867) married (wife died in 1864), had three daughters and three sons.  We only have the daughters married names (from Titus' obituary): Mrs. Emil Reh, of Dubuque, IA, Mrs. M. Blumenauer, of Denver, CO and Mrs. Bertha Christman, of Chicago, IL.  The three sons are listed below:

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  Dubuque Schuetzen Gesellschaft 1865 to 1998 book.

Dubuque Schuetzen Gesellschaft 1865 to 1998 book.

The Schmid’s in Dubuque in the mid 1800’s actively participated in their community both professionally and socially.  The family owned a brewery, and operated a few taverns, which offered Titus (Crescent Electric’s Founder’s grandfather) and his three sons many opportunities to engage in the local community. One of the earliest records of the Schmid family community engagement came from the records of the Dubuque Schuetzen Gesellschaft (renamed the Dubuque Shooting Society in 1890). 

Editor’s note:  Titus B. Schmid, founder of Crescent Electric Supply Company, provided information and quotes for this book.  One of his quotes is included in this vignette.

The Dubuque Shooting Society records show that the eldest Titus Schmid, an immigrant from Germany, was the founding President of this organization in 1865.  To put this in historical prospective, this was just 2 months after Lee’s surrender in the Civil War. The Dubuque Schuetzen Gesellschaft was created for men “perfecting themselves in the healthy useful art of Rifle Practice”.  Not only was the eldest Titus the initial president, but he was also the single best shot winner at the first five shot competition held by the German Rifles of Dubuque. 

  Dubuque Schuetzen Gesellschaft on Dubuque Beginnings.

Dubuque Schuetzen Gesellschaft on Dubuque Beginnings.

  We are fortunate to have this picture of elder Titus Schmid from Dubuque's Telegraph Herald newspaper. This picture, circa 1855 before the founding of the Shooting park, shows Titus with some friends on a camping trip by the Mississippi River. 

We are fortunate to have this picture of elder Titus Schmid from Dubuque's Telegraph Herald newspaper. This picture, circa 1855 before the founding of the Shooting park, shows Titus with some friends on a camping trip by the Mississippi River. 

Titus Shooting Award.jpg

Shooting Society’s were popular throughout the United States after the Civil War. It was a national pastime for the men of the day and they would travel the country to participate in various shooting club competitions. The Dubuque Schuetzen Gesellschaft held semiannual competitions bringing together competitors from all over the country. We found a reference to a competition in 1882, which lists another Titus Schmid (the Uncle of Titus B. Schmid, the founder of Crescent Electric Supply Company) winning the top prize at that event.

  Here is a picture taken in 1890 at the Dubuque Shooting Society. While the founding President of this club, Titus Schmid, was at this time deceased, his two living sons are in this photo. Both Alphonse, the father of the Founder of Crescent Electric, and Alphonse’s brother, Titus, the Uncle of the Founder of Crescent Electric, are identified in the photo above.

Here is a picture taken in 1890 at the Dubuque Shooting Society. While the founding President of this club, Titus Schmid, was at this time deceased, his two living sons are in this photo. Both Alphonse, the father of the Founder of Crescent Electric, and Alphonse’s brother, Titus, the Uncle of the Founder of Crescent Electric, are identified in the photo above.

  This is the gun held by Titus in the picture, and has been passed down by the family. It was recently gifted to the Dubuque Shooting Park (formerly known as Dubuque Schuetzen Gesellschaft). This gun is now on display at the Dubuque Shooting Park.

This is the gun held by Titus in the picture, and has been passed down by the family. It was recently gifted to the Dubuque Shooting Park (formerly known as Dubuque Schuetzen Gesellschaft). This gun is now on display at the Dubuque Shooting Park.

330 Club.jpg

These shooting clubs became places for social gatherings. The Dubuque Shooting Park, originally just a spot of land for rifle practice, built a meeting room for social gatherings. The first social members of the club were the owners of the Dubuque Brewery. These same men met every work day at 3:30 at a local tavern to taste test the production of the day, and the social club of the Dubuque Shooting Park took its name from this gathering, calling themselves the Three Thirty club. This social club was a great gathering spot for the large German population in Dubuque. It housed not just the Three Thirty, but eventually the Six Sixty and what is now referred to as the Nine Ninety club.


The Schmid family was involved in many other aspects of community and civic life during the mid to late 1800s. Titus B. Schmid, the founder of Crescent Electric, had many positive role models. While he never met his Grandfather Titus, and his Uncle Titus died when Titus B. Schmid was only 14, both men were well-respected businessmen and community leaders. Uncle Titus’ obituary provides many clues to the caring nature and the entrepreneurial spirit that seemed to exist in the DNA of the Schmid family in the 1800s.

  Obituary of Titus Schmid, uncle of the founder of Crescent Electric.

Obituary of Titus Schmid, uncle of the founder of Crescent Electric.

"...Mr. Schmid was early recognized as one of the strong, active, and successful businessmen of this city, who, devoting himself to the building of his own business, always took an active part in forwarding every business enterprise that tended to the upbuilding of his native city. He was a man of high character, correct business habits, honest and straightforward in all business dealings, and enjoyed the respect and confidence of all his acquaintances. He was intensely loyal to his business associates and the friends who had grown up with him."

In addition, the Dubuque Anglers League held a special session of the organization upon learning of the death of Titus. The memorial was reported in the Telegraph Herald and speaks again of the upstanding nature of this proud citizen of Dubuque.

Anglers Eugolize Titus.png

"In Memory of Titus Schmid

Titus Schmid was the personal friend of every angler, he upheld every righteous aim of this organization; he typified the true angler.

He lived without an enemy; he is dead and everyone who knew him mourns. Blessed be his ashes and peace to his soul.

In his memory, be it resolves, by the members of the Dubuque Anglers League in session assembled,

That we declare that the community; this organization, and the fellowship of true sportsmen have given to the world beyond one of the truest and most honest of friends, and That our heartfelt sympathy be extended to the surviving members of his family and, lastly, That our will thus expressed be recorded in the minutes of this organization."

Alphonse Schmid.jpg

Alphonse, the father of the Titus who founded Crescent Electric, was also a well-known member of Dubuque society. The 1888 wedding announcement of Ida Tode and Alphonse Schmid states, “The groom is well and favorably known in Dubuque, and is a young man whose character is without a blemish; and he enjoys, in full measure, the confidence and esteem of all who know him”.

Alphonse, once he was of age, began working first at the Iowa Brewery and then the Dubuque Malting and Brewery Company until its demise due to Prohibition.

Ultimately, all of these men had a profound influence on young Titus (Crescent’s Founder), reflected in the strong values Titus exhibited during his life: a belief in hard work, loyalty, and engaging in the broader community. Over the next year we will explore these character traits of Titus B. Schmid, the Founder of Crescent Electric Supply Company, as we look back over the past 100 years of the Company.


About the Project as explained by the Author:

Author Mary Schmid Daugherty is a third generation Schmid family member. Content for this Project, a historical narrative, was selected from the personal archives of many members of the Schmid family. A special thanks to the Tom Schmid family for their voluminous archives of materials of the early years of the Schmid family beginning in 1856. The narrative itself required the author to cull and categorize hundreds of pieces of information (old newspaper articles, photos, interviews, movies and physical memorabilia). She then fit the pieces together to share this story of the Schmid family and Crescent Electric over the past 100 years. The resulting Project is a series of vignettes, of which this is one. She hopes you enjoy reading and watching these vignettes.

To learn more about the Author’s professional qualifications visit her website: https://www.stthomas.edu/business/faculty/directory/daugherty-mary.html

© Mary Schmid Daugherty May 2018


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