The subject of this sketch is the widow of John
who was born in Byron*, Germany, in 1807. He came to the United
States, landing in New York City in the year 1832, where he remained
but a short time. He left New York for Dubuque, Iowa, where he
remained for five years, working at his trade, that of a carpenter,
and he had the honor of building the first frame house in Dubuque.
From here he removed to Peru Township where he took up one thousand
and three hundred aces of land and settled down. He remained in this
place until his death, which occurred October 24, 1866, when he had
reached the age of fifty-eight years. He left property consisting of
one thousand and three hundred acres of land in Peru Township and
lands in Minnesota, also the only ferry line between Specht's
Ferry, Potosia, and
Dubuque. The land was divided among his family, and the ferry line is
now owned by his widow.
John Specht, Sr., was the most prominent man in Peru Township, and was widely known for his generosity. There were no schools in those days and he hired a private teacher to educate his children, who were named as follows: Edward; Herman, deceased; Caline; Werner, deceased; Mary, Henry and John, Jr.
Johanna Specht, our subject, is a native of Germany, and was born in Hanover about 1814. She is the daughter of Fred [Baker**] and Johanna Benson, who were also natives of Hanover, Germany. To this union were born two children, Caline Baker Swear and our subject, Johanna.
John,.Jr., the youngest of the children of John and Johanna Specht, was born in Peru Township, March 15,, 1851, and was united in marriage with Miss Ida May Roberts, of Dubuque, Iowa, on November 1, 1883. To them have been born two children, Sarah, Alline and John. Mrs. Specht is the daughter of Henry and Anna (Bonham) Roberts, the former born in Iowa, and the latter in Illinois; they were the parents of seven children. The parents were of Scotch and Welsh ancestry. The father is dead, and the mother lives in Tacoma, Wash. Mr. Specht left the parental roof when he had reached his majority, and having purchased a boat engaged in business for himself until 1891, when he sold the boat and became pilot and captain of his mother's boat, the "Teal," which runs between Specht's Ferry, Potosia, and Dubuque. He resides in Dubuque and is the owner of one hundred and seventy-five acres of choice farm land and other real estate.
Our subject is the possessor of one hundred and fifty acres of land, the ferry line and other personal property, and she lives in the building which was put up about forty-three years ago. The homestead is called Specht's Landing. She is an exemplary member of the Presbyterian Church, and her son John is a member of the Congregational Church; politically, he is a Republican and an ardent advocate of the party of reform. He has never been troubled by aspirations for political office, but as a true and loyal citizen, is ever ready to lend a helping hand in matters of public enterprise and improvement.
* I think that this may be a corruption of "Bayern" --the German word for Bavaria. (jerry specht)
** I have added the bracketed "Baker". It doesn't make sense that the parents of "Johanna Baker Specht" and "Caline Baker Swear" would be "Fred and Johanna Benson". (jerry specht)