John Spelman is a business man Redding, California, and a worthy member of the Grand Army of the Republic. He is one of the brave men, who, when his country's life was threatened by a powerful armed foe, flew to her aid and faced danger and death to save the country. To such brave men the Union owes a debt of gratitude which can never be paid nor can gold ever measure the value of the services so gallantly rendered. It was at the tender age of sixteen years, in 1862, when the great war of the Rebellion began to assume gigantic proportions that he enlisted in the United States Marine Corps. He was in the memorable engagement at Octoraro when the Merrimac attempted to sink them and both ships ran aground. They escaped and were in several engagements and bombardments. A part of the time his ship was flag-ship for Admiral Porter. He was in active service for four years and was honorably discharged at the close of the war, when he returned to his home and engaged in the peaceful vocations of life.
Mr. Spelman was born in the west of Ireland, February 22, 1846, the son of James and Bridget Spelman, both natives of Ireland. While the Emerald Isle is his native land he knows nothing of it by experience, as he came with his parents to the United States when three years of age. There were five children in their family, of whom Mr. Spelman is the only survivor. Upon their arrival in this country they settled in New Hampshire, where the subject of this sketch was educated in the public schools and where he learned the barber's trade. At the close of the war he engaged in business in Brooklyn, New York. In 1868 he emigrated to San Francisco, and for twelve years ran a barber business in that city in the Occidental Hotel. He was also in the Monis Hotel, Santa Barbara, and for a time in the Golden Eagle Hotel in Redding. He has been in business in Redding for five years, from 1879 till 1884. At one time he ran a shop in Salt Lake City.
In 1868, in San Francisco, he wedded Miss Margaret Rock, a native of Pennsylvania. To them were born two children: James and Mary. In 1871 Mrs. Spelman died, and six years later, Mr. Spelman married Miss Norton, a native of Boston. This union has been blessed with nine children, two of whom are living: Alice and Irene.
Mr. Spelman is a Republican. He holds the office of Health Inspector of the city of Redding.
Source: Memorial and Biographical History of Northern
California, Lewis Publishing Co. , 1891 page 774
Transcribed by: Melody Landon Gregory August 2004