James Madison Schumacher was born in Mohawk, Herkimer County, New York, November 18th, 1843. His father, Andrew Schumacher, was a well-known leather manufacturer of that place. His mother, born Jeannette Clements, was of Puritan ancestry, her parents havig removed from Massachusetts to New York in the early part of this century, and sttled in Herkimer County. The schumacher family is of German descent, and have been living in Herkimer County since 1710. Some of them were Magistrates when the country was an English colony, notably the great, great, grand-father of this subject, John Jost Schumacher, a loyalist leader during the Revolutionary War. His grand-father, Rudolph I. Schumacher, commanded a New York Regiment in the War of 1812, was a member of the New York Legislature for a number of year,s and was officially connected with the building of the Erie Canal. Being among the largest land holders in their section, the Schumachers were the leaders of the early settlers, their name being a part of the history of Herkimer County.
James M. attended the public schools of his native town until he was thirteen years of age, then attended the Fairfield Seminary for two years. Subsequently he attended the Liberal Institute at Clinton, Nw York, where he passed the full course, and won a prize for oratory. He entered Tufts College in 1863, and was graduated from the literary department in 1866, with the degree of Bachelor of Philosophy. In 1867 he began his studies in the law department of the University of Michigan, but after a few months returned home and studied law in the office of Hon. Amos H. Prescott. He was admittd to the bar inthe fall of the same year. Being a ready debater, and a keen politician even as a lad, when he grew older he became identified with politics, and was associated with the prominent Republicans of the State.
In June, 1874, he removed to Jacksonville and organized what is now the First National Bank of Florida, of which he is still President. Among the stockholders were General F. E. Spinner, Treasurer of the United State during the Civil War, at whose suggestion he made his home in Florida, the Reimingtons, of Illion, New York, United States Senator Squire, Colonel T. W. C. Moore, and others. This bank has come to be one of hte soundest financial institutions in the State. He was admitted to the practice of law both in the State and United States Courts soon after his arrival in Florida, and immediately entered upo na career of activity and usefulness that made for him a wide reputation in the State. He served a term as State Senator, 1888-90, and was one of the Joint Legislative Committee which framed a bill, now the Health Law of FLorida, which has been recognized as a model of its kind, and adopted by other States. He ws a Commissioner of the Board of Public Works, 1890-93, President of the State Bankers' Association for two terms, a Director in the Florida Central & Peninsular Railway Company for two years, andis Vice-President of the Springfield Land and Improvement Company. He is Vice-President of the Main Street Electric Railway; was President of the Jacksonville & Atlantic Railroad for seven years; one of the incorporators of the first phosphate companies, the Dunellon, organized in Florida; is Vice-President, Secretary and Treasurer of the Stonewall Phosphate Company; a Director in the Southern Savings and Trust Company, and of the Jacksonville Loan nd Improvement Company. He was one of the organizers of the telegraph line between Jacksonville and Pilot Town, and was prominent in the movement which led to the building of the South Bound Railroad, and its Florida connections. He was one of the "central Committee," which inaugurated the St. Johns Bar and River Improvement, and chairman of its special Committee of Ways and Means. During the yellow fever epidemic of 1888 he was Vice-President of the Citizens' Committee, who had charge of the City affairs, and Chairman of the Financial Committee, which had charge of all the funds contributed for the relief of sufferers. During this trying period he exhibited the highest courage, and developed a high order of executive ability. His committee, sometimes consisting of only himself and Hon. P. E. McMurray, fed 16,000 people, had 500 men under arms, 25 physicians, and 400 nurses under their direction, and employed from 3,000 to 5,000 men daily to place the City in good sanitary condition, and keep the idle from becoming mere beggars. It will be seen that Mr. Schumacher's life in Florida has been both active and useful, and in all the many positions of public and private trust,e which he has been called on to fill, he has always acquitted himself with satisfaction to all. He was married to Josephine Caroline Spinner, youngest daughtr of General Spinner, November 6th, 1871, at Mohawk, New York. She died May 10th, 1892. They had two children, only the younger of which, Rudolph Spinner Schumacher, survives. The Frankie Schumacher Hospital is a memorial to the elder son, and was founded by Mrs. Schumacher in 1884 as an asylum for the sick and needy. This most benevolent institution contains wards for both white and colored, and has accomplished great good in the community.