One of the important industrial enterprises contributing to the commercial precedence of the thriving city of Murphysboro, judicial center of Jackson county, is that conducted under the title of the Rudolph Stecker Brewing Company, and he whose name initiates this article is virtually the sole owner of the business, which is conducted upon the highest standard, with a plant that is modern in all equipments and facilities. The enterprise dates its inception back to the year 1886 and was originally conducted under the title of the Murphysboro Brewing Company. The capacity of the original plant was for the output of fifteen hundred barrels per year, and the noteworthy expansion of the business is evidenced by no one thing more emphatically than by the fact that the annual capacity of the institution at the present time is forty thousand barrels. The original corps' of employes numbered only three persons,—all members of one family, and the present force numbers eighty men. The plant covers a tract of five acres, and the company owns one hundred and twenty-seven acres, on which the plant is located. Operations are based on a capital stock of one hundred and fifty thousand dollars and the plant and business represent a conservative valuation of fully eight hundred thousand dollars. The products are of the best order and constitute their own most effective advertising. The most scrupulous attention is given to every detail of manufacture, insuring purity and uniform excellency of output, and every department is provided with the most modern and approved equipment. A large and substantial local business is controlled by the concern and its products also find an appreciative demand throughout a wide radius of country for which Murphysboro is the normal distributing center.
From the foregoing brief statements it is evident that Rudolph Stecker merits classification among the substantial and essentially representative business men of Murphysboro, and his sterling character and genial personality have gained to him unqualified popular esteem in the community that has long represented his home and to the material and civic advancement of which he has contributed a generous quota. Mr. Stecker is a native of the grand duchy of Baden, Germany, where he was born on the 24th of August, 1850, and he is a son of Bassilius and Agnes Stecker, who passed their entire lives in their native land, where the father followed the vocations of brewer and cooper.
Rudolph Stecker was afforded the advantages of excellent schools in his fatherland and there served apprenticeships at the trades of brewer and cooper. In 1868, as a youth of eighteen years, he severed the home ties and set forth to seek his fortunes in America. He landed in New York city and thereafter continued to be employed at his trades in the Empire state until 1871, when he came west and located in the city of St. Louis. Shortly afterward he returned to Germany for a visit, and in 1872 he came again to America, of whose advantages and institutions he had become deeply appreciative. He became foreman in the Anheuser-Busch brewery, St. Louis, and served in this capacity for three years, at the expiration of which, in 1875, he engaged in the cooperage business on his own responsibility in St. Louis. He built up a large and prosperous enterprise in this line and he still owns the business, to which he continues to give a general supervision.
In 1886 Mr. Stecker came to Murphysboro and purchased the small brewery conducted under the title of the Murphysboro Brewing Company, as has already been stated in this context, For the first ten years he continued his residence in St. Louis but carefully supervised his interests in Murphysboro, where the practical details of the brewery were assigned to capable managers. He established his home in Murphysboro in 1896, and the succeeding years have been marked by the development of his brewery into one of the large and important concerns of the kind in this section of the state. He is known as a reliable, circumspect and conservative business man and as a citizen who is ever ready to lend his influence in support of measures and enterprises projected for the general good of the community.
In politics Mr. Stecker is aligned as a stanch supporter of the cause of the Republican party and both he and his family are communicants of the Catholic church. He is affiliated with the Masonic fraternity, in which he holds membership in a Lodge, Chapter and Commandery in St. Louis. He is a popular member of the Murphysboro lodge of Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, of which he was one of the organizers, and in St. Louis he is identified with the Haru Gari.
In the year 1872 was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Stecker to Miss Louisa Miller, and concerning their children the following brief record is given: Katie is the wife of Herman Suber, of St. Louis; Pauline is the wife of Frank Herman, of that city; Ann is the wife of John Eiler, of Murphyshoro; Irwin, who is active manager of his father's brewery, married Miss Mary Pinkerton, a native of Ohio; Julia is the wife of August Giske, of St. Louis; and Louisa is the wife of Dr. Charles Post, a representative physician and surgeon of Murphysboro.