Biography of Staas Spekker

As his name indicates, Staas Spekker, of Lewiston, the well known assessor and tax collector of Nez Perces county, is of German birth, one of the representative citizens that the Fatherland has furnished to the New World. The German element is an important one in our national existence, for its men of sterling worth, of enterprise and perseverance, have done much to promote the industrial, commercial and professional interests of the land. In his business career Mr. Spekker has manifested the sterling character of his race, and is regarded today as one of the valued citizens of northern Idaho. He was born in Hanover, Germany, March 4, 1841, was educated in the schools of that country, and during the period of his scholastic training studied the English language, so that he was familiar with the tongue of the people among whom he cast his lot in 1871. Before coming to this country, however, he had had practical experience in farming. Having attended a school of agriculture, he accepted the position of superintendent of a large estate owned by a German nobleman, and held that position until, tiring of the manners and customs of the nobility, he determined to seek a home in the land of the free. Accordingly he crossed the Atlantic and located first at Ackley, Hardin county, Iowa, where he was employed as a farm hand.

Mr. Spekker was married there to Miss Mary Lätzsch, and immediately afterward they removed to Oregon, renting a farm in Linn county, of Judge Geary. There he remained for eight years, and by untiring industry and close application he acquired considerable capital. Disaster overtook him, however, for the heavy rains caused the utter failure of his crops. In 1879 he removed to eastern Oregon, erected a country hotel and conducted a stage station. Prosperity attended his efforts in that direction, and after carrying on the business for two years he removed to the territory of Washington, in 1881. There he took up a homestead claim from the government, residing thereon for six years. He made many excellent improvements on the place and in 1885 sold the property for four thousand dollars. In 1886 he came to Nez Perces County and purchased a farm of two hundred and eighty acres, two miles from Leland where he has since been engaged in raising wheat, barley, oats and stock. This is a valuable farming property, and by his judicious methods and thrifty management he has gained a well merited prosperity.

Unto our subject and his wife have been born seven sons and five daughters, and the family circle yet remains unbroken by the hand of death. In order of birth the children are Edwin, Peter, Clara, Minnie, Clay, Amos, Arthur, Marion, Ida, Opal, Clarence and Emma. The two eldest sons are now deputies in their father’s office and also operating the farm, while the younger children of the family, together with their parents, are occupying the pleasant home in Lewiston, which is included among Mr. Spekker’s realty possessions. The children are now enjoying the excellent educational advantages offered by the public schools of Lewiston, and thus are being well prepared for life’s practical duties. In religious views the family is somewhat divided. Mr. Spekker was reared in the Reformed church of Germany, his wife in the Lutheran church, and some of the children belong to the Methodist church, while others attend the Presbyterian services.

In politics our subject has been a stalwart Republican since becoming an American citizen, and in the fall of 1898 he was chosen by popular ballot to fill the offices of assessor and tax collector of Nez Perces County, in which capacity he is now acceptably serving, being well qualified to assess the taxable property of the county, owing to his systematic business methods and his thorough reliability. No trust reposed in him has ever been betrayed, and all know him for a man of sterling worth. His career in America has been crowned with the success that comes through earnest, honest labor, and he has justly won the proud American title of a “self-made man.”

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