Otto was born in Davenport, IA on July seventh, eighteen hundred and eighty, one hundred thirty seven years ago today. Fifth child for his parents, it was still a momentous occasion, but probably not quite as momentous as the first four. He grew up a quiet simple life, apprenticed himself to a jeweler at a young age. But when he reached his majority he wanted to get a little more out of life. So he headed to Chicago and trained to be an optometrist, getting his degree in optics at the ripe age of twenty.
Educated and filled with ambition, he headed back west and settled in St Joseph, MO. St Joe is these days barely a city, but at the time it was bustling. The city farthest west accessible by rail until after the Civil war, it has been the start point of the Oregon trail and the terminus of the pony express. It was the center of all fur trade in the midwest, and when the coward Robert Ford assassinated Jesse James there in 1882, the town’s notoriety only increased.