Biography of Jacob F. Specht
Iowa County, IA Biographies





JACOB FREDERICK SPECHT.
For more than a quarter of a century Jacob Frederick Specht has conducted a photographic studio in Marengo and enjoys an enviable reputation for artistic work. He was born in West Amana, Iowa, on the nth of November, 1866, a son of Frederick Philip Specht, who was born in Strasburg, Alsace, in 1829. It was in 1845 that he left his native land and crossed the Atlantic to the new world, locating in Ebenezer, New York, whence, in 1854, he removed to Iowa with the Amana Society. He continued to reside in the community established by that organization until 1878, when he engaged in fanning for himself, locating a mile and a half north of Marengo. Subsequently, however, he returned to the colony and passed away there in 1897. His wife, who bore the maiden name of Susannah Katrina Zuber, was born in 1837 in Baierthal, Groschercogthum, Baden, and is living in the Amana colony in this county. To their union were born four children, three sons and a daughter. Philip Specht, who was born in 1857, is a resident of the colony of West Amana and has charge of the agricultural work there. Charles, who was born in 1859, is living in Davenport. Susan, whose birth occurred in 186t, is the wife of Harry Keller, of Oregon; and Jacob Frederick completes the family.

The last named attended the schools of West Amana until he was twelve years of age, there receiving instruction through the medium of the German language. When his parents removed to the farm a mile and a half north of Marengo he attended the public schools and for two terms was taught in English. In 1881 he went to a German school in Benton county, which was connected with the Lutheran church, and while there was confirmed as a member of that church. While residing in the country, for four years he herded cattle day in and day out in pleasant and inclement weather alike and has never forgotten his experiences in those years. He remained with his parents upon the farm until he was twenty one years of age and then learned the photographer's art at Marengo under Frank Alexander. In 1888 he purchased the business of Mr. Alexander and took charge of the studio, which has ever since been known as Specht's Art Studio. He takes great pride in his attainments in his chosen occupation and well he may, as he has received a number of medals from the State Photographers Association of Iowa. In 1895 he was awarded the silver medal - the second prize - for the best workmanship on flashlight work and the following year was given the gold medal, or first prize, in that department of photography. In 1900 he won the gold medal in class C, which was intended to include photographers residing in towns of twenty five hundred inhabitants, and in 1901 he won the second prize, or silver medal, in class B, which comprises men working in towns of five thousand. In 1911 he received the gold medal in class C and in 1904 received the silver medal in class B. He has not only succeeded artistically but has also prospered financially, as he has a large patronage from the people of Marengo and its vicinity. He is never satisfied with less than his best effort and this characteristic has been a factor of great importance in his accomplishments in artistic photography.

Mr. Specht was married on the 23d of April, 1891, to Miss Mary Haage, of this county, by whom he had a son, Jacob Philip, who was born in 1892 and is now engaged in the automobile business in Marengo. Mr. Specht was again married on the 15th of November, 1905, his second union being with Mrs. Blanche Barr, a native of Yorkshire, England, who has a daughter, Ruth Barr, by a former marriage, now the wife of Frank Rock of Iowa City.

Mr. Specht is a democrat in his political affiliation and, although he is interested in public affairs, he has never felt the least desire to hold office, as his business has demanded his entire attention. He finds needed recreation in hunting, fishing and trapping and has done some work in taxidermy, mounting some of the game that he has killed. Fraternally he is connected with Marengo Lodge, No. 30, K. P., and his religious faith is that of the Lutheran church. Throughout his life he has made it a rule to be prompt and punctual and has found that habit of great value in his business dealings. He has manifested excellent judgment and a knowledge of the principles of business practice, but has never allowed the commercial spirit to dominate his attitude toward his work, finding much satisfaction in doing it well.

From:
History of Iowa County, Iowa
And its People
By: James C. Dinwiddie
Vol II
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Chiago 1915


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