Gustave OTTO, a farmer residing on section 27, Magnolia township, is a representative of that hardy race that has done so much toward the upbuilding of this country. He was born in Prussia, Germany, July 29, 1838, and there remained until nineteen years of age, receiving a good common school education. While still residing in his native land, he learned the wagon maker’s trade, at which he worked until coming to this country. In 1857 he crossed the ocean, coming west directly to Chicago, where he remained six weeks and then came to Marshall county, Illinois, and worked for Henry WEIR one month. In the following spring he worked for John MYERS, and then came to Magnolia township, Putnam county and entered the service of Captain William HAWS as a farm hand at a salary of ten dollars per month.
Mr. OTTO continued in the employ of Captain HAWS from 1858 until 1865, and then rented the Phillips farm in British Lane, La Salle county for one year, after which he leased the farm of George Hildebrandt in Magnolia township, Putnam county, for two years.. In the spring of 1868 he purchased eighty acres, a part of his present farm and which was a part of the Joel Haws farm, where Mr. HAWS settled in 1838. In 1862 he married Miss Eunice HAWS, a daughter of Joel HAWS, and a native of Putnam county, born in 1840. Her education was received in the public schools of Magnolia township. By this union seven children were born, all of whom are now living – James A., Helen M., Joel W., Maud M., Bessie, Alice and Lulu.
As stated the first purchase of land by Mr. OTTO was eighty acres of the Joel Haws farm. With that industry and perseverance peculiar to his nationality, combined with habits of strict economy, he commenced the improvement of his place, and as his means would permit added to his possessions until he now has a farm of two hundred and sixty acres, in addition to which he owns forty-six acres of timber land in Marshall county. In addition to general farming he has made something of a specialty of stock raising, and has at all times upon his place a good grade of cattle, hogs and other stock.
Mr. OTTO was reared a Lutheran and has always been attached to the teachings of that church. He is a member of the Masonic order, holding membership with the blue lodge at Magnolia, and has served in all the chairs to junior warden. A friend of the public schools, he has taken much interest in educational matters, and for fifteen years has served as school director. Politically, he is a democrat, and has been honored by his fellow citizens with local office, serving as road commissioner, township collector and for eight years a member of the board of supervisors of the county, three years of which time serving as chairman.
On coming to this country, Mr. OTTO found himself in debt to the amount of seventy-five dollars. To the payment of his debt he first turned his attention and was never satisfied until every dollar was paid. He then began to lay by a store of his hard earned means until he felt able to marry and afterward to purchase his farm. He can truly be said to be a self-made man, and never attended an English school. On the death of Captain William Haws he was appointed one of the administrators of the estate and has faithfully discharged the duties of that important trust.
Source: The Biographical Record of Bureau, Marshall and Putnam Counties, Illinois published in 1896, page 223.