- Edward L. Lach, Jr.
Spreckels, Claus (09 July 1828–26 December 1908), manufacturer and capitalist, was born in Lamstedt, Hanover (in present-day Germany), the son of Diedrich Spreckels, and Gesche Baack, farmers. Growing up in relative poverty, he received a meager formal education and often worked for neighboring farmers for little more than bread and board. When revolutionary fervor swept the Germanic states during the 1840s, Spreckels decided to emigrate. After borrowing sufficient funds for steerage passage from a friend, he sailed from Bremen in 1846 and landed in Charleston, South Carolina, with little money and no firm prospects. He soon obtained work in a grocery store and within a few weeks had saved enough to pay off his debt. By working hard and accumulating savings, he was able to purchase the business upon the owner’s retirement, paying off all his debts within a year....