LaSalle County

Biography - ANDREW HEBEL

Andrew Hebel, the secretary and treasurer of the Peru Beer Company, and ex-mayor of Peru, was born in LaSalle, Illinois, May 13, 1865. His father, Andrew Hebel, was a well known pioneer brewer of LaSalle and Peru, and was a native of Bavaria, Germany, coming to the United States some time during the '50s. After visiting Milwaukee, St. Louis and other points, with a view to locating, he came to LaSalle, where he settled about 1860. Here he married Miss Karolina Rapp, who came from Bavaria to LaSalle a few years later than Mr. Hebel. Five children were the fruits of this marriage — Andrew, Josephine, Caroline, Annie and Bertha. The father was a master brewer, having learned the trade in his native land, and after locating in LaSalle took charge of the brewing of the Eliel Brewing Company, remaining there nine years. In 1869 he moved to Peru and took charge of the old Peru Beer Company, a co-operative concern. Three years later he and Herman Brunner bought the plant and operated it under the name of Hebel & Brunner until his death in 1886. His wife still survives him.

Andrew Hebel, our subject, was about four years old when his father became a resident of Peru, and he grew to manhood in this city. He was given every facility for obtaining a good education in order that he might become a successful man of business. His primary training was received in the public schools of Peru and the high school, at which he graduated in 1880. He then attended the University of St. Louis for one year, and took a six-months course in the Bryant & Stratton Business College of Chicago to gain a practical idea of bookkeeping. To gain actual experience in the work he secured a position as bookkeeper in the office of Rand, McNally & Company, of Chicago, where he remained four years, leaving there in the spring of 1886, at his father's request, to take charge of the latter's interest in the brewery. At the death of his father he took charge of the office and became a partner, taking his father's interest and continuing the business under the old style for three years. In 1889 the firm was changed to a stock company, which was incorporated and known as the Peru Beer Company, with an invested capital of fifty thousand dollars, and at present the annual output is about fifteen thousand barrels. The officers elected were Herman Brunner, president; Andrew Hebel, secretary and treasurer; and Charles Herbold, superintendent. They have been continued in that capacity ever since. They have made a special effort to produce a pure, malt-and-hop beer, and are given credit for brewing a high grade. Their business has increased to such an extent that it was found necessary to enlarge their buildings, and they have just completed the erection of a large stock house or cold-storage cellars, at a cost of thirty thousand dollars.

Mr. Hebel was united in marriage, in 1889, to Miss Rose Cossmann, whose father was an iron-foundry man of Chicago. Five of the six children born to them are living. Mr. Hebel and wife are members of the Catholic church and are liberal contributors toward its support. He is a member of the Catholic Order of Foresters, the Catholic Knights of America and other organizations. In politics he is a Democrat and was twice elected to the office of alderman without opposition. During his second term of office Mayor Rausch resigned and the council elected Mr. Hebel mayor pro tem. for the remainder of the term. At the election held in the following May he was elected mayor without opposition and held the trust for a further period of two years, declining re-election afterward on account of his business.

Extracted 19 Dec 2018 by Norma Hass from Biographical and Genealogical Record of LaSalle County, Illinois, published in 1900, volume 2, pages 563-564.

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