Jackson County

Biography - Edward P. Becker

EDWARD P. BECKER. The chief executive office of any community is a responsible one, and the man occupying it has resting upon his shoulders not only the numerous details of the management of a city, but also the accountability for its commercial and moral integrity. As he is, so is his community, for it soon reflects his character and manner of dealing with large problems, and unless he keeps a firm grip upon the reins of government, and forces his associates to act as he believes is right and just, his administration soon shows the effect of lax principles, and all suffer. For this reason, of late years, the people of the more advanced cities are choosing their mayors from among their sound business men, for they recognize the effect of example and action, and know that a man who has accomplished much in a commercial or industrial way is able to carry on the affairs of a complicated government. The present mayor of Grand Tower, who for a number of years has proven his worth as a sterling business man, is Edward P. Becker, who was born at Mendota, Illinois, November 8, 1871, a son of John and Sophia (Muench) Becker.

John Becker was born in Germany, and when a young man came to America and established himself in the bakery business at Mendota, Illinois, and later, in 1873, took his family to St. Louis, where he followed the same line of business until his death. He and his wife, who was also a native of the Fatherland, had three children, of whom Edward was the youngest. He attended the public schools of St. Louis, after leaving which he entered a railroad office as a clerk, but eventually was employed in a box factory, continuing in St. Louis until 1901. In that year he came to Grand Tower and purchased a factory of his own, and this has grown to be one of the largest industries of this section, the product being all kinds of fruit packages. This is the manufacturing and shipping point, the main office being in St. Louis, with branches at Chicago, Kansas City, Detroit and Oklahoma City as distributing stations. The Merchants Basket and Box Company, as the firm is known, is controlled by four stockholders, all of whom have an equal share of stock, and Mr. Becker acts as manager and treasurer, about one hundred and seventy people being employed in manufacturing the goods. Mr. Becker is also a stockholder in various other companies, and has associated himself with enterprises of an extensive nature, being very successful in all of his ventures. He is possessed of inherent business ability, and has been fortunate in being able to see and grasp the opportunities that have presented themselves. His activities in Grand Tower have done much to forward the interests of the place, and in 1910, when a mayoralty candidate was being sought by the Republican party, Mr. Becker was chosen for the position and was elected by a handsome majority. He has been prominent in Masonry for some years, and is one of the most popular members of the local lodge. His administration has been marked with many needed reforms and in his executive capacity Mr. Becker has the full confidence of the people of the city.

In 1902 Mayor Becker was united in marriage with Miss Margaret A. Wilcox, of St. Louis, and two children have been born to this union, namely: Kendall Edward and Ralph Waldo.

Extracted 16 Jan 2018 by Norma Hass from 1912 A History of Southern Illinois, volume 2, page 1076.

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