Biography - Gustavus Spannagel

GUSTAVUS R. SPANNAGEL is a prominent and wealthy citizen of Nokomis, Ill., and was born in West Prussia, August 15, 1828, in which country his father was a farmer. On his farm our subject grew to manhood, and in addition to assisting in the duties of the farm, he attended the public schools, receiving what in that country is termed a good business education. When fifteen years old he was apprenticed to learn the hardware business, which he followed for five years, after which he was connected with a silverware manufactory for two years, and then spent one year in the Prussian army, retiring with a Lieutenant's commission. He next went to Belgium, and for about a year and a-half he was employed as book-keeper in the office of a large importing and wholesale grocery house, where he found it was necessary for him to speak four different languages, which he was soon able to do. He became remarkably proficient in them all, and learned to read and write, as well as speak, them.
About this time he became very desirous of coming to America, and in 1857 reached the United States, and proceeded directly to St. Louis, where he had an uncle living. He at once became an employee in a wholesale hardware establishment, a portion of the time being in the store as a salesman, and a part of the time on the road. He was with this establishment when the Civil War opened, and as he had learned to love his adopted country, and had been taught to respect the Stars and Stripes in the land of his birth, he promptly responded to the first call for troops, and in the latter part of April, a few days after the call for seventy-five thousand troops, he was commissioned Sergeant-Major of a regiment of Missouri infantry, and went first to Camp Jackson and thence to Cairo, Ill., where he and his command remained for two months. They then made a raid into Missouri after Marmaduke, but his term of enlistment had more than expired, and the command was ordered to St. Louis to be mustered out. Mr. Spannagel was satisfied that more trouble was in store for the Government, and he decided to hold himself in readiness for further action. He at once commenced to raise a company, and in March, 1862, was commissioned First Lieutenant of Company E, First Missouri Infantry, for three years' service. After being at Camp Jackson for some six months, he went to Pilot Knob, where he was again honored with promotion, being commissioned Quartermaster of his regiment, with headquarters at Pilot Knob. This position he held until his term of service expired, and for much of the time was in command of the post, as well as of the regiment's quartermaster department, at Sulphur Springs. He filled all these places of trust with marked distinction and scrupulous honesty, and at the expiration of his three years, or in March, 1865, he was mustered out of the service at St. Louis, having been in the employ of the Government almost continuously for four years. At the close of the war he established himself in the hardware business in St. Louis, under the firm name of G. R. Spannagel & Co., a capitalist who furnished the greater part of the money for the enterprise being the company. This partnership continued for three years, at which time fortune had smiled upon Mr. Spannagel to such an extent that he had saved enough money to embark in the business himself. He amassed a goodly fortune in this business, which he continued to follow until 1880, but continued to carry on a wholesale agricultural implement business for some time afterward. In the spring of 1885 he came to Nokomis, and here established himself in the hardware, furniture and agricultural implement business, which he has since successfully conducted. A man of large means and liberal views, he is ever ready to lend a helping hand to a worthy cause, and the citizens of Nokomis are justly proud to number him as one of them. He is a prominent member of the Grand Army of the Republic, and was for years Commander of the post at Nokomis, and in 1891 was an Aid-de-camp on the staff of the Department Commander. He has been a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows for the past thirty years, and is a member of the Nokomis Town Board. While in St. Louis he was a bank director. In 1862, while in the army, he was married to Miss Louisa Pleuger, a native of St. Louis, but of German descent, and to them a family of four children has been born, only two of whom are living: Gustavus H., who is associated with his father in business; and Albert, who is a jeweler of Nokomis.

Extracted 10 Jan 2017 by Norma Hass from 1892 Portrait and Biographical Record of Montgomery and Bond Counties, Illinois, pages 456-457.

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