Joseph Spenker, a foremost citizen and rancher of San Joaquin county, is an old-timer of California, having come here in the pioneer days, in true emigrant fashion, and his career is representative of worthily gained prosperity and success and eminent usefulness in home, community and state. For over forty years he has been identified with agricultural interests, and it is in this department of activity that he has made his most important success.

This well known old resident of San Joaquin county is a fine type of German-American citizen. He was born in the province of Mecklenburg, Schwerin, Germany, March 29, 1834, so that he has already passed the three-score and ten mark, and yet is one of the vigorous and capable men of his county. His parents were Joseph and Mary (Drew) Spenker. Reared in his native land, where he attended the schools during his early years, and later supplementing his German education by attendance at the schools of Stephenson county, Illinois, he grew to manhood in Germany, and at the age of twenty, in 1854, left the fatherland, and took passage at Hamburg on a sailing vessel which twenty-eight days later landed him in New York city. During the several subsequent years he employed himself in several of the southern and western states, and for two years was in Stephenson county, Illinois, where he attended the English schools for a time, as already mentioned. From Stephenson county he started, on April 15, 1859, for California, joining a train consisting of eighteen wagons and driving an ox team across the plains. They arrived in this state about the middle of September, and for a short time after his arrival he was engaged in mining gold. Then for several years he was in the employ of others engaged in farming and ranching in San Joaquin county, and in the fall of 1864 he began business in that line for himself, locating on a place about eight miles north of Stockton. He continued there until the fall of 1872, when he settled on the ranch near Woodbridge where he has ever since carried on his agricultural operations. His estate consists of seven hundred acres of land, and is a model of its kind, valuable, productive and managed in the most up-to-date fashion. He also still owns his ranch north of Stockton.

July 26, 1870, Mr. Spenker married Miss Annie Schlemann, who was born March 24, 1847, in Schleswig-Holstein, formerly a part of Denmark, now a portion of the German empire. By this union there are two children, Otto, who is at home, and Jessie, the wife of Henry C. Beckman, of San Joaquin county. Mr. and mrs. Spenker are members of the German Lutheran church at Lodi, and in politics he is independent. He is a self-made man in the best sense of the term, and having attained prominence in the material affairs of this state he is naturally one of the stanchest supporters of its institutions and of all causes which make for social, moral and educatinal progress.

Source: History of the New California Its Resources and People, Volume II

The Lewis Publishing Company - 1905
Edited by Leigh H. Irvine

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