John Otte was born August 31, 1855, at Ellewoutsdijk, Netherlands, a son of Peter Otte. He was a lad of thirteen years when he arrived in Grand Rapids, where, while attending the public schools he learned to speak English, and with this preparation, sought and secured employment, working in various stores as salesman and bookkeeper for many years. What he lacked at first in knowledge of business methods he made up in energy and fidelity, and as time passed he became more and more valuable to the concerns by which he was employed. In 1886 after being with Nelson Brothers, dealers in wall paper and books, for several years, Mr. Otte joined his brother, Adrian Otte, who had founded the American Laundry some five years before. The business was started in the Herald building, where under the vigorous and well-directed management of the brothers it thrived and prospered and grew to large proportions, eventually securing much of the patronage of the city. Mr. Otte continued to be connected with this business until his death, when still in the prime of life. Mr. Otte had a number of other business interests and was a director in the People’s Savings Bank. He was a member of the Knickerbocker Society, belonged to the local lodge of the Knights of Pythias, and was a Republican in political sentiment. Mr. Otte was married, September 18, 1878, to Mary A., daughter of John and Anna (Monroe) Harris, of Grand Rapids. They have one child, Grace Marie, who was born at Grand Rapids, January 8, 1896. Mr. Otte died August 12, 1911.
History of Kent County, Volume III by Arthur White, 1925
Location: Grand Rapids Public Library
Transcriber: Evelyn Sawyer
Created: 29 March 2002