Who Is John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt and Why Is That My Name Too?

Katherine “Katie” Irene O'Cleary was an immigrant from Ireland, who left to escape the potato famine. She worked at the Broadhurst Manor Hotel as a maid, dishwasher, and cook’s helper, saving every penny she could. Katie had a beautiful singing voice, and one morning as she was making the bed in one of the guest rooms, the occupant came back early from breakfast. He stood in the doorway, listening to her sing the song "Molly Malone" and his heart melted. It was love at first sight — or sound — for the guest, John Jacob Schmidt, who had just immigrated from Lithuania. A baker by trade, he had just moved to Buffalo to open his own bakery. After a whirlwind courtship, they were married. A couple of years later, the happy couple welcomed their first child, a son with green eyes and curly red hair whom they named Jacob after his father. Though his father taught him the ins and outs of the bakery, he inherited his mother’s beautiful singing voice. As he grew older, Jacob pushed a small cart of baked goods fresh from the oven around the neighborhood, and his singing beckoned the people to come buy his wares. One day, when he was in a particularly good mood, he made up the words to John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt. The song made people laugh, and more people came to buy his baked goods. Before long, everybody was singing the catchy song, and the rest is history.