Ferdinand Schumacher was born in Celle, Hanover, Germany March 30, 1822, son of a merchant. He completed high school locally, and apprenticed in the grocery business. He pursued this, and clerked in a manufacturing business until age 28, when he and his brother Otto emigrated to the United States. He farmed for two years and established a grocery trade in Akron, Ohio in 1852. In 1857, he rented water power on the Ohio Canal in northwest Akron to power a mill for production of oatmeal. In 1858 he added equipment for pearling barley. He continued adding to his plant, and introduced steam power in 1875.
Ferdinand Schumacher married his cousin, Hermine Schumacher, in 1851, and had two children. He was active in the temperance movement, and was strongly for prohibition. He supported the erection of many churches.