BIOGRAPHY - Charles Spellmeyer

CHARLES SPELLMEYER, who carries on general farming on section 16, Wall Township, was born in the town of Mahnan, in the Province of Westphalia, in Meinden County, Germany, September 17, 1831. His father was also a native of that locality and in later life emigrated to America. Further mention is made of him in the sketch of George H. Spellmeyer on another page of this work.

In accordance with the laws of his native land, our subject attended school between the ages of seven and fourteen years. When about twenty-three years of age, he determined to try his fortune in America and sailed for New York in 1853, landing after a voyage of six weeks. Four years later, he was followed by the family. Charles came on at once to Illinois, making his first location in Putnam County, where he worked by the day or month as a farm hand for some time. Five years later, he went to La Salle County, where he rented land and engaged in farming for himself. He is truly a self-made man, for he started in life empty-handed, and the success which has crowned his efforts is due entirely to his industry and perseverance. After renting land for about eight years, during which time he saved some capital, he purchased eighty acres in La Salle County in 1876, and settled upon that land. A small shanty constituted the improvements, but only a short time had elapsed ere a great change was wrought in that place, and what was once a barren tract became a valuable farm. He now engages in general farming and stock-raising and owns five hundred and twenty-eight acres of land, all in Wall Township.

A marriage ceremony performed in La Salle County on the 17th of May, 1858, united the destinies of Mr. Spellmeyer and Miss Louisa Kottkamp, who was born in the same town as her husband and came to America in the year 1857. She is a daughter of Henry and Anna Marie Kottcamp, who spent their entire lives in Germany. Both parents passed away when about sixty-one years of age. They were members of the German Lutheran Church and the father was a tanner by trade. They had a family of ten children, six sons and four daughters, but only two are now living: Lottie is the widow of Fred Schwartze, of St. Louis, Mo., and Mrs. Spellmeyer, who is the elder. She was educated in the German schools, and at about the age of twenty emigrated to America. The other members of the family all died in infancy except Henrietta, whose death occurred in Germany when about eighteen years of age.

By the union of our subject and his wife have been born nine children, five sons and four daughters, as follows: George W., a farmer of Wall Township, who wedded Mary Carson; Mary, wife of Charles Kenney, of the same township; Henry C., a hardware merchant of Melvin, whose sketch appears elsewhere in this work; Frank, who makes his home in Vermilion County, Ill.; Amelia, Charles and Lillie Louisa, all yet at home. The children have been afforded good educational privileges and reared to habits of industry, thus fitting them to become useful citizens. Two other children are now deceased: Mina, who died in La Salle County when only six weeks old, and a son who died in infancy.

Mr. and Mrs. Spellmeyer are members of the Lutheran Church of Melvin and are worthy German people whose many excellencies of character have won them high regard. In politics, he is a stalwart Democrat, having supported that party since he cast his first Presidential vote for Stephen A. Douglas. He is also a good business man and a successful farmer, and his prosperity is but the just reward of his own efforts. He came to this country a penniless young man. A stranger in a strange land, he commenced life here $20 in debt, but has steadily worked his way upward until he has acquired a handsome competence. This record will be cherished and held sacred by their children when father and mother have passed away.

Extracted 28 Mar 2020 by Norma Hass from Portrait and Biographical Record of Ford County, Illinois, published in 1892, pages 265-266.

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