Henry and Catherine Spetman – Early Citizens of Council Bluffs

From the Biographical History of Pottawattamie County, Iowa:

“Henry H. Spetman, a resident of Lewis Township, Pottawattamie County, was born in Holstein, Germany, April 21, 1825, a son of G. H. and Ann H. (Ellis) Spetman. the had a family of nine children, six of whom came to America, and four still survive, namely: H. H., our subject; William H., a resident of Mills County; J. H., a resident of Omaha, Nebraska, and Margaret C., wife of Charles Wymiller, also of Omaha. Henry H. was reared on a farm in his native country until he was seventeen years of age, after which he engaged as a seaman on a sailing vessel in the employ of German merchant ships for seven years, and three years in American ships on the coast of China. After this he went to California, where he engaged in mining for a period of three years. He then returned to his home in Germany, spending about one year, and in 1853 returned to America. He came to Iowa and spent one year in Davenport and St. Mary’s, and in 1854 came to Pottawattamie County, locating on his present homestead, which he purchased of a Mormon. His farm consists of 240 acres, on sections 34 and 35, Lewis Township. Here he commenced life in the then new country, where Indians were frequently seen and the wild game plentiful.

Mr. Spetman was married October 15, 1854, to Catherine H. Beck, daughter of A. H. and E. H. (Kickbush) Beck, natives of Germany. She was born June 27, 1830, in Holstein, and in 1854 emigrated to America with her parents, and the same year was married to Mr. Spetman. About six months afterward they came to Pottawattamie County, where they commenced housekeeping in a small log house erected by the Mormons for a church, but with the expectation of something better in the future. They gradually ascended the ladder of wealth until they have reached the topmost round, with 960 acres of fine farm land, and the following property in Council Bluffs: four dwelling-houses and lots, three brick store buildings and lots and two vacant lots, all located in the business portion of the city. Their anticipated home has been realized in a nice frame residence, unpretentious but roomy, with a number of buildings for stock and grain. Mr. Spetman is a public-spirited man, and has enjoyed seeing his country come to the front in every respect, and has assisted the Democratic party to the extent of his ability and vote. He has represented his township as Trustee for several years. Mr. and Mrs. Spetman’s life is brightened by eight children: Fred W., a resident of Council Bluffs; William C., also of this city; Mary, the wife of D. Holz; Henry and Lizzie, of Council Bluffs; Wilhelmina, wife of Frank Fox; Carl L. at home, and John, deceased. The family are worthy and consistent members of the Lutheran church, and are highly respected citizens.”

Catherine Spetman passed away on March 6, 1901, Henry passed away on October 21, 1915. They are buried in Fairview Cemetery.