From a position as farm laborer to that of owner of two hundred and eighty acres of good land in Crawford county is a long step, yet it has been accomplished by Emil Specht, whose name stands at the head of this sketch. It required years of application and a liberal supply of good judgment to accomplish the object of his ambition, but all difficulties disappeared before his remarkable energy and he is now in the enjoyment of ease and abundance.
He was born in Germany September 8, 1861, a son of Johann and Henrietta (Quiram) Specht, both of whom spent their entire lives in the old country. In their family were seven children: Gustave, who is now engaged in farming in Germany; Wilhelmina, deceased; William, who is also engaged in farming in Germany; Augusta, deceased; Frederick, a stationary engineer of Chicago, Illinois; Ludwig, deceased; and Emil, of this review.
Emil Specht received his early education in the public schools of his native land and as he grew to manhood learned the wagonmaker's trade. In 1882 he crossed the ocean to America and worked for a year with his uncle who owned a tobacco factory in Chicago. He then came to Crawford county and engaged in carpenter work for a year, after which he spent seven years upon a farm in the course of which he became well acquainted with farm management.
He then bought eighty acres of unimproved land, which he began diligently to cultivate, and as opportunity presented he purchased more land until he now owns two hundred and eighty acres on sections 35 and 36, Charter Oak township. He has greatly improved the place by the erection of substantial buildings, fences, the setting out of trees and by drainage, so that he now has one of the attractive properties of the township which is each year increasing in value.
On the 11th of February, 1890, Mr. Specht was united in marriage to Miss Caroline Benningsdorf, who was born in Germany July 6, 1864. She came to America in 1883 with two of her sisters and her father arrived in this country in 1907, the mother having died in Germany. There were five children in their family: Louisa, who now lives in Howard county, Iowa; Minnie, of Crawford county; Fritz, of California; William, of Crawford county; and Caroline, now Mrs. Emil Specht.
Six children came to brighten the home of Mr. and Mrs. Specht: Emil A., who was born December 11, 1890. and is living at home; Annie A., born April 22, 1894; Ida C; April 10, 1896; Emma E., December 21, 1897; Meta, October 9, 1901; and George W., January 9, 1905.
The beloved wife and mother was called from earthly scenes in 1908, leaving not only her husband and children to mourn her death but many friends whom she had attracted by her estimable qualities. She was a consistent member of the German Lutheran church as is her husband. He continues to reside at the homestead which is endeared to him by many recollections of one who was indeed a loving and helpful companion and is rearing his children to become useful citizens. Mr. Specht is an earnest friend of education and has served for six years as a member of the school board, never seeking or desiring any other public office as his principal interest is centered in his farm and his business.
Source: History of Crawford County, Iowa. Vol. II. Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co., 1911.