Peter Schwind was born on August 31, 1838 in Septfontaines (German: Simmern), Luxembourg.
Peter and Catherine Putz were married on February 12, 1863, in Septfontaines, Luxembourg. The couple emigrated to the United States on April 13, 1864, settling in the Luxembourg village of St. Donatus, Jackson County, Iowa. The family resided there for fourteen years and then settled in Dubuque, Iowa where Dr. Schwind practiced until 1884. In that year, the family removed to Le Mars, Plymouth County, another Lëtzebuergesch community in Iowa.
The United States federal census of 1880 records Peter Schwind, physician, wife Catherine, seamstress and daughter Anna Schwind, seamstress, as residing at the boarding house and saloon of John Michel and Sophia Michel, Luxembourgers, 3rd Ward, Dubuque, Dubuque county, Iowa. The parents place of birth is given as SAX(ony) and the daughter’s as IA (Iowa).
Dr. Peter Schwind’s claim to fame is to have created Dr. Schwind’s Rose Healing Salve a popular ointment sold across the United States that was to remain popular well into the 20th century.
Another patent filed by Dr. Schwind was for a curative bitter, whose interesting formula reads:
Letters Patent No. 327.603, dated October 6, 1885
To all whom it may concern
Be it known that I, PETER SCHWIND, a citizen of the United States, residing at the city of Le Mars, in the county of Plymouth and State of Iowa, have invented and discovered a new and useful composition of matter to be used as a medecine for the treatment of disease, of which the following is a specification.
My composition consists of the following ingredients compounded and combined in the proportions and manner herein stated, viz: pure water, one gallon; bay-leaves, (Myrica cerifera,) one ounce; juniper-berries, (Juniperus communis,) two ounces; nutmeg-blossoms, (Nux moschata,) one once; French saffron, (Carthamus tinctorius,) two drams; cinnamon, four drams; masterwort-root, (Heracleum lanatum,) two ounces; sweet-flag root, (Calamus aromaticus,) two ounces, prepared as follows, viz: Place the above composition of matter in a copper kettle, and steep over a slow fire until the quantity of liquor is reduced to one-half gallon. The add one-half gallon of pure proof whisky. Then let the composition stand three days. Strain through a flannel cloth, and the bitters are ripe for use, to be taken internally, a wine-glassful three times each day – morning, noon and night.
Dr. Schwind died on October 2, 1910. The Lemars – Sentinel eulogized the departed in its edition dated Tuesday, October 4, 1910.
WELL KNOWN DOCTOR DIES
Dr. Peter Schwind was a native of the grand duchy of Luxembourg, Europe, where he first saw the light of day, his birth place being at Simmern [French: Septfontaines]. He was born on August 31, 1838. He grew to manhood and was educated in his native land and was united in marriage with Miss. Catharine Puetz in 1863. They came to America the year following their marriage and settled in St. Donatus, Jackson county, Iowa, where Dr. Schwind took up the practice of medicine and remained there for seventeen years when they moved to Dubuque, where they resided four years. From Dubuque they came to LeMars which has since been their home. Dr. Schwind is survivied by his wife who has been his faithful and constant helpmate for nearly fifty years and his adopted daughter, Mrs. Anna Bellaire. He also leaves a sister in Luxembourg and a nephew, Dr. Jons Schwind, who is a teacher of philosophy in the university at Lamour, Belgium [Louvain, Belgium?].
© 2009 Fausto Gardini. Jacksonville, Florida
A version of this article was published in 2007 in the book by Fausto Gardini:
St. Donatus, Iowa, A Luxembourg Village