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The City of Rock Island is indebted for its present prosperity and commercial activity to many men whose capital and intellect have been instrumental in promoting its growth; but one of the men to whom it is chiefly indebted for his activity in promoting those industries and measures which are the life of a city is Ignatz Huber, one of Rock Island’s pioneer brewers and financiers.
Mr. Huber is a native of Bavaria, Germany. He was born February 1, 1826. His boyhood and youth were spent in his native Bavaria, and after his school days were finished, learned the brewer’s trade under the instruction of his father. Like many others of foreign birth who have emigrated to the United States, Mr. Huber saw in America a land of promise where individual ability counted for much more and brought much better returns than in the old world. He took passage for America on a sailing vessel leaving the Port of Rotterdam, and after a voyage of forty-two days on the ocean, arrived at New York on June 16, 1849. Pushing westward he stopped at Canton, Ohio, where he spent two months, and then removed to Columbus in the same state, where he found employment in a brewery. Leaving Columbus he went to Cincinnati, where he again followed that line of business in which he had received such thorough training. Mr. Huber remained in Cincinnati until 1851, when he came to Rock Island, which has ever since been his home.
In Rock Island he again obtained employment in a brewery, and after his first month’s employment he purchased an interest in the concern, of which three years later he became the sole owner. From a small beginning Mr. Huber’s business grew and his patronage increased until it became one of the city’s principal industries, employing many men. He continued in business alone until the formation of the Rock Island Brewing Company, whereby Rock Island’s three brewing plants were consolidated and a stock company organized. Then Mr. Huber turned over active management of the new enterprise to his son, Otto, pursuing the same course as his former competitor, George Wagner, who had turned over the management of his part in the business to his son, Robert, the elders practically retiring and placing the responsibility of active management of this large concern upon the shoulders of the junior members of their respective households.
Mr. Huber was married in October, 1854, to Miss Catherine Koehler, a young lady of German birth and rearing, but who had come to America in her youth. To this couple have been born six children, three of whom have attained manhood and womanhood and are living at home with their parents, and three of whom died in early childhood. Those living are the Misses Amelia and Lillie Huber and Otto Huber.
In religious faith Mr. Huber is a Catholic, while his wife is a member of the Lutheran denomination. In politics he is a Democrat, and although never an office-seeker, he was once elected alderman of his home ward, and proved so thoroughly acceptable to his constituents that he was twice re-elected to that office. From 1858 to 1861 he was captain of the Rock Island Rifle Company, a military organization formed here at that time.
Mr. Huber has valuable real estate holdings in Rock Island, Moline and Geneseo, Illinois, and in Davenport, Iowa. He is also a stock holder in the Peoples’ National Bank, and for many years was its vice president.. In the spring of 1906 Mr. Huber purchased twenty-five acres of valuable land lying between Twenty-seventh and Thirtieth Streets, and be-ginning on Ninth Avenue extending to the bluff in Rock Island. From the summit of this land a magnificent view of the entire City of Rock Island may be obtained. One-half of this land is to be plotted into lots which will be sold and the other half Mr. Huber will retain for a home, where he will shortly erect a residence. In fact Mr. Huber has been a pioneer in the laying out and platting of additions; the Huber and Peetz addition, in which he was interested, being the real beginning of Rock Island’s real estate boom.
For all the years that Ignatz Huber has lived in Rock Island his life has been an open one, his every deed being actuated by honest motives. He has conscientiously endeavored to fulfill the duties that devolved upon him both in public and in private life, and how well he has succeeded is thoroughly demonstrated by the universal esteem in which he is held by his fellow citizens.