Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens
JOHN SPANDRI. In the following sketch is strikingly illustrated the force of well-directed energy, steadfast purpose and never-ceasing effort for the accomplishment of noble ends, and the successful overthrow of those obstacles which beset the progress of every young man who, unaided and alone, starts out to combat life's stern realities and hew his own way to distinction and fortune. It is the story of a successful life, and from the study of such a record the discouraged youth may gain lessons of ultimate value, lessons that are calculated to inspire new zeal in his faltering heart and new courage in his darkened spirit. It shows that it takes grit, perseverance and honesty to win in life's battle rather than the help of wealth or influential relatives or friends. In other words, it is better to rely on ourselves and map out our own paths than to rely upon others and follow a career dictated by others.
Mr. Spandri hails from the wonderful little republic of Switzerland, a country from which many of the so-called great nations of the earth might take-valuable lessons. His birth occurred in the southern part of that country on December 1, 1860. He is a son of Peter and Mary (Vanini) Spandri, both natives of Switzerland, where they were reared, educated, married and established their future home. The paternal grandfather of our subject was a native of Italy. Peter Spandri was a collier by trade, his work being chopping timber, which he burned by a process to make charcoal. His death occurred in his native land before our subject left there and the mother survived until about seven years ago, having reached an advanced age. To these parents four children were born, namely: Juditta is living in Italy, Frank is deceased, John, of this sketch, and Giacomo lives in Europe.
John Spandri spent his boyhood in Switzerland and he received a limited education at home, which has been greatly supplemented in later life by contact with the world and by wide miscellaneous home reading until today he is a well informed man and an excellent conversationalist. When a boy he worked with his father in the woods, but when only fifteen years of age he left home and began working for wages. Believing that America held greater opportunities for the poor boy with pluck, he bade a final adieu to his native hills in the autumn of 1882, crossed the great Atlantic, landing in New York in the month of November. He did not tarry in the great city, but came on West to Rolla, Phelps county, Missouri, reaching the goal of his long journey with only ten dollars and twenty-five cents in his pocket. He soon found employment and went to work with a will. Six months later found him a contractor, in business for himself. In May, 1883, he came to Springfield and began contracting to build foundations for houses and buildings in general. He prospered at this and continued in this line until a few years ago. Among the foundations he laid for well-known buildings were those of the South Street Christian church, Meyer's Model Mills, the round house at the North Side shops, St. John's church and many others. Some years ago he turned his attention to other lines of contracting, such as railroad construction work and sewer building. His first work in the former line was in 1901, when he turned out jobs for both the St. Louis & San Francisco and the Missouri Pacific railroads. It was in 1909 that he began sewer work, and during that year put in about three miles of sewer in Springfield, then took a large contract for the Frisco in Texas in building arch culverts. At this writing he is confining his attention to sewer construction. He has been a careful student of modern ways of contract work along his lines and his work is always highly satisfactory, being well done in every respect. He is well equipped in the matter of modern machinery and tools and employs a large number of skilled hands. He gives personal attention to every detail of his business, which is under a superb system. He has been very successful in a business way and is one of the substantial men of affairs of the Queen City of the Ozarks. He deserves a great deal of credit for what he has accomplished, which has been done in the face of obstacles. He owns an imposing home and office at 520 ½ East Commercial street.
Mr. Spandri was married on January 15, 1885, in Springfield, to Eliza Carmack. She was born in Phelps county, Missouri, on July, 10, 1861, and is a daughter of William Carmack, a native of Indiana, where he grew up and married, removing with his family to Phelps county, this state, in an early day, and there he became a well-to-do farmer. Mrs. Spandri, spent her girlhood in Phelps county, and she was given the advantages of a good education.
Two children have been born to our subject and wife, both deceased, they were named, John, whose birth occurred on December 28, 1886, received a good education in the Springfield ward and high school and Drury College; he met an untimely death in a railroad accident on May 15, 1910: he had married Blanche Morrison, by whom one child was born, Walter J., whose birth occurred on September 8, 1909. William, our subject's second son, was born on November 22, 1888, received a good education in the Springfield schools and died on August 19, 1901. They were both very young men and their early deaths were much lamented by their family and friends.
Politically Mr. Spandri is a Democrat and he has long taken an active interest in public affairs. However, has never been an office-seeker. Fraternally he belongs to the Masonic Order, including the Knights Templars, the Ancient Arabic Order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine.
Mr. Spandri won the Springfield Republican trophy cup in the annual Ozark motor tour of three hundred miles On June 27th to 29th, inclusive, 1910, using his favorite car--E. M. F., a make of the Studebaker Company. He gets a great deal of pleasure and diversion out of motoring. He is a gentleman of sociable inclinations, obliging, public-spirited and companionable, which traits, added to his unassuming manner and high sense of honor, make him popular among a wide acquaintance.
Springfield-Greene County Library