Highland News Leader

Otto Spellerberg Sr. was Civil War veteran who became Highland’s butcher

Leonard Keeven’s Jeep sits in front of the building in the 800 block of Broadway that once housed Otto Spellerberg’s butcher shop. Keeven was getting ready to tear the brick building down and replace it with a new office building. To the left of the building is the former Buffalo Brewing tavern.
Leonard Keeven’s Jeep sits in front of the building in the 800 block of Broadway that once housed Otto Spellerberg’s butcher shop. Keeven was getting ready to tear the brick building down and replace it with a new office building. To the left of the building is the former Buffalo Brewing tavern.

The Highland Home Museum has a new addition featuring information on local veterans of all wars, starting with the Revolutionary War.

Veteran information will be house in a 28-by-28-inch cabinet donated by Jim Ranken of Family Care Medical. Each veteran will have a page in a three-ring binder.

The next open house at the Highland Home Museum will be this Saturday, Dec. 2 from 1:30 until the last tour at 3:30 p.m. The museum will also be open from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, during the Highland Home Nativity Festival, which is free and open to the public. We will continue in 2018 with tours on the first Saturday of each month. Thanks.

Now, let’s talk about Otto Spellerberg, a Civil War veteran and Highland butcher.

Otto C.L. Spellerberg Sr. was born in Hanover, Germany, in 1841 and came to the Highland area as a young man and served in the Union Army in the Civil War. Robert Gerling’s Book, “Highland: An Illinois Swiss Community in the American Civil” on Page 46 has Pvt. Otto Spellerberg, 3rd Ohio Cavalry.

Both Otto and William Spellerberg are buried at Highland City Cemetery. Otto must have had a brother named William who also lived in Highland, as information that I have on the old Market House, which was built in 1867 in the middle of Broadway at Laurel Street, states that the old Market House had only four businesses in its first year, instead of the eight that were planned. They were run by Otto Spellerberg, William Spellerberg, Felix Gassmann, and Auguster & Heer. Otto Spellerberg was the only butcher that continually rented a stall, until the Marke House was closed at the end of 1879.

My record shows that, about 1880, Otto purchased Lot 10 for his meat market, which was at 813 Zschokke. (Today, this is 813 Broadway.)

At present, I don’t have a nice picture, but do have one of Leonard Keeven getting ready to tear the brick building down, replacing it with a new office building.

I don’t have record of who succeeded Otto in the butcher shop. Two of his sons, Adolph and Otto Theodore Spellerberg, remained in Highland and had families.

Adolph’s son, Richard served in World War I as a mechanic in the Army Air Service and spent 13 months in France, repairing air planes in the battle zones.

Richard’s daughter Betty married Willis C. Klaus, and they had two sons, Ned and Tim. Willis’ father, Calvin Klaus, had the Klaus Built-in Arch Shoe Factory at 601 5th St. The Klaus building is now Clean the Uniform.

Otto Theodore’s son Raymond O. Spellerberg also served also in WWI, enlisting in the Medical Corps at Jefferson Barracks. He served eight months in France at five hospital units. (This WWI information is from “Pass in Review” by Allan C. Huber. This book is in the new Highland Home Museum, from Carl Siegrist, another veteran; my copy was given to me by Msgr. William Whalen.)

Raymond’s daughter Jean had the distinction of going 12 years to Highland schools, without missing a day. Jean Spellerberg was a good friend of Lorna and I, as she was dating Charles Schmetter after we came home from World War II.

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