Jefferson County Historical Society

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Otto Herman, contractor and builder, dealer in and manufacturer of 
brick, De Soto, was born in Wurtemberg, Germany, in 1842, and is the
second of eight children born to Conrad and Margaret (Kemmel) Herman,
who were born, respectively, in 1818 and 1821.  Conrad Herman was also
a contractor and builder by trade.  Otto Herman served an apprenticeship 
of three years at the brick and stone mason's trade, and the following 
two years worked as a journeyman.  When twenty-one years of age he was 
drafted in the regular army, and served three years.  In 1867 he 
immigrated to America, for a short time followed his trade in St. Louis, 
Mo., but in the fall of the same year he located in De Soto, where he 
resumed the trade.  The following year he commenced contracting and 
building, and in 1873 began the manufacture of brick, which he has since 
continued, manufacturing on an average 500,000 per annum, for which he 
receives $6.50 per thousand; altogether he has manufactured about 
7,500,000 brick.  He has erected nearly all the brick dwelling and 
business houses of De Soto, among the most prominent being the public 
school building, opera house and machine shops.  He is a skillful workman 
and an energetic business man.  In 1870 he married Miss Margaret Flank, 
daughter of Phillip and Catherine Flank.  Mrs. Herman is a native of 
Germany, and was born in 1851, coming to the United States when five 
years of age.  To Mr. and Mrs. Herman five children have been born: Clara, 
Otto, Emma, Charles and George.  Mr. Herman is a Knight of Pythias.