Robert Frederick Hecker


Robert Frederick Hecker, proprietor of a large carriage factory in Postville, which he conducts in connection with an automobile repair shop, is one of the representative and successful business men of his community and his labors during the years of his active career have been potent forces in general industrial development. He was born in Baden, Germany, November 15, 1852, a son of Christian and Veronica (Gerder) Hecker, natives of the same section of the fatherland. The father, who engaged in farming all during his active life, died in Germany and after his demise his widow and son crossed the Atlantic to America, locating in New York city in 1861. After one year they came west to Lansing, Iowa, where the mother married again, dying in this section about the year 1899.

Robert F. Hecker completed an education, begun in Germany, in the public schools in New York city and in the district schools in the vicinity of Lansing, and continued to reside with his mother until he was twenty years of age. At that time he began learning the wagon-making trade and after two years went to Dubuque and thence to Davenport, where he spent one year engaged in that occupation. He then returned to Lansing but at the end of six months came to Postville, where he engaged in business for himself, manufacturing wagons and conducting a general repair and blacksmith shop. In the early days he made spring wagons, buggies, sleighs, etc., but he now does all kinds of automobile repair work and vulcanizing. The business has grown steadily during the passing years and is now one of the important enterprises in the city, the credit for its rapid growth being entirely due to Mr. Hecker’s untiring efforts. As his sons grew older and left school they were taken into the business and they now relieve their father of a great deal of the active work, so that he has more time to devote to his other interests. He has a fine farm of four hundred and twenty acres in Post township, which is rented on shares, and he is the owner of a great deal of valuable property.

On the 6th of January, 1876, Mr. Hecker was united in marriage to Miss Mary Hupp, who was born in Lansing, October 11, 1854, a daughter of Joseph Hupp. Her father was a native of Hesse, Germany, and her mother of Bavaria. They emigrated to America about the year 1853 and although the father was a stonemason by trade he engaged in farming in Allamakee county. Mr. and Mrs. Hecker became the parents of five children. John C., born November 12, 1876, is now associated with his father in business. He married Miss Lena Bedenbender, a native of Laporte, Iowa. Robert M., who was born December 2, 1878, is also in partnership with his father. Joseph M., born September 22, 1881, has also a share in his father’s business. Josephine, born February 8, 1885, married Lowell Moody, manager of a large dry-goods store in Montana. Mary passed away at the age of seven years.

Mr. Hecker gives his political allegiance to the democratic party but has never sought nor desired public office. Although reared in the Catholic religion he is not now a member of any denomination. Fraternally he is connected with the Masonic order and is also a member of the Turner Society. In all the relations of life he has been honorable and straightforward and his example is well worthy of emulation. Prosperous in his business connections, he proves what may be accomplished by earnest and persistent labor, for he has worked his way steadily upward, improving every opportunity for advancement and standing today among Postville’s substantial and representative citizens.

-source: Past & Present of Allamakee County; by Ellery M. Hancock; S. J. Clarke Pub. Co.; 1913
-transcribed by Linda Earnheart

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