Jacob Frederick Spratte was born in Adorf, Germany, on 29 December 1837. By trade, he was a tanner (shoemaker, saddle maker). He arrived in the U.S. on the ship Magdalene landing in New Orleans in 1860. His future wife, Katherine Walde, had previously arrived from Germany on the ship William Nelson landing in New Orleans in 1855.

Shortly after Jacob arrived in New Orleans, the War Between the States broke out. He was inducted into the Louisiana militia with the understanding that he would serve in the home guard. However, the Confederate Army discovered that in Germany he had been in the German militia and was a trained solider. He was immediately assigned to the Confederate Army’s 20th Louisiana Infantry. When he refused to serve, he was put into prison, from which he escaped, but was captured and forced to serve. On the third day of the fighting at Pittsburgh Landing, better known as the Battle of Shiloh, he escaped and surrendered to the Union Army. The Union Army thought he was a spy and put him in the prison in St. Louis. He eventually convinced them that he was not a spy and he was placed in the 2nd Volunteer Missouri Militia as a sergeant. He knew that if he was captured by the Confederate Army he would be executed as a deserter; therefore, he used his mother’s maiden name Goebel, instead of Spratte. Thus, he fought under three flags: Germany, the Confederate States of America, and the U.S. Union Army.

After serving in the three-year campaign against the Sioux, he was honorably discharged from the Union Army on 20 December 1865. He then returned to St. Louis and was engaged in the wholesale and retail shoe business. He married Katherine Walde on 5 April 1866. Even though Jacob was allowed to become a citizen of the U.S. by serving in the Union Army, he still pursued his citizenship, and on 18 May 1885, he was admitted as a citizen of the United States of America.

One of Jacob and Katherine’s sons, Jacob Julius Spratte, was a leather worker like his father, and he also served in the U.S. Army from 1891 to 1893. He married Annie Jane Bath from Bath, England, on 26 April 1896. Her family came to the U.S. from Liverpool, England, on the ship C. H. Marshall arriving 20 May 1873. Annie was born in New York on 3 December 1873. The family later moved to Illinois and then to St. Louis.

Jacob Spratte
Jacob Spratte
Photo in the collection of Richard Kenneth Dunham
Used with permission

Jacob Julius began working for Sickles, Inc. doing leather work. He made the harnesses for the Budweiser Clydesdale horses. He also served as the first chairman of the board of trustees for the County Court and served again as mayor of Brentwood, Missouri, from 1931–1933. His son, Jacob Julius Spratte, Jr., received a plaque at the 50th anniversary of the City of Brentwood for the service of his late father, Jacob J. Spratte.

One of Jacob Julius Spratte and Annie Jane Bath Spratte’s daughters was my grandmother, Catherine Amelia Spratte, who married Franklin Scott Dunham in Brentwood, Missouri, on 15 October 1921.

Written by Richard Kenneth Dunham
February 2019

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Last Modified: 21-Jul-2019 15:06