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Captain Frank Ruhstaller


Captain Frank Ruhstaller, proprietor of the City Brewery, and one of the prominent business men of Sacramento, is a native of Switzerland, born at Ensiedeln, November 8, 1847, his parents being Frank, Sr., and Josepha (Ochsner) Ruhstaller. His father was a hat-maker by trade in early life, but afterward a farmer and dairyman. The subject of this sketch attended the public schools between the ages of six and thirteen years and learned the brewer’s trade at Canton Berne. In 1862 he came to the United States, taking passage on a steamer at Havre, in July, and landing at New York. Proceeding to Louisville, Kentucky, he obtained employment in the Falls City Brewery for a short time, then went across the river to St. Albany, Indiana, where he became foreman in Paul Reising’s brewery, before he was eighteen years old. He went back to Louisville again and from there came to California in 1865 via New York and Panama, landing at San Francisco about the 24th of August. He came to Sacramento and went to work in the City Brewery, and on the 3d of September, six weeks later, became foreman, and held that position for one year. He then went to the Pacific Brewery, and brewed for George Ocha, off and on, for three years.  He next bought an interest in the Sutterville Brewery, and was in partnership there with Joseph Bechler for seven or eight months. The high water then stopped work and he went back to the Pacific Brewery.  He remained with Ochs until he sold out to Mr. Louis Knauer, and then worked for the latter two years driving wagon.  Then he bought into the St. Louis Brewery, and, in partnership with Fritz Futterer and Henry Altpeter, conducted that brewery for six or seven months. He then went back to the Pacific Brewery, where he drove wagon for the succeeding two years.  Then he became foreman. Soon afterward he received word that his father was sick in Switzerland, and he at once went back there, but his father had died before he reached home. That was in 1873. In August of that year he again left there for California, and returning to Sacramento opened a place opposite the Metropolitan Theatre. He continued in business there until November, 1881, when he bought the City Brewery and has since carried on the business. The City Brewery was originated by William Borchers and a man named Hilbert, about 1859. Hilbert died in March, 1865, and Charles Schwartz took his interest in the business. In 1887 the latter retired from the firm, and Mr. Borchers carried on the business alone until the brewery was purchased by Mr. Ruhstaller. Since the last named gentleman took control, he has made so many improvements that he has practically a new brewery. When he bought the place it was operated by horse-power and had a capacity of fifteen barrels a day. The beer brewed in this brewery has a fine reputation and splendid trade. Mr.  Ruhstaller was married in Sacramento on Christmas day, 1870, to Miss Charlotte Oeste, a native of Germany, but reared at Milwaukee. They have had eight children of whom five are living, viz.: Anna, Frank J., Minnie, David and August. Mr. and Mrs. Ruhstaller have been bereaved by the loss of four beloved children, viz.: Ottow, Wilhelmina, Otto and Charlotte.  Mr. Ruhstaller became a member of Sacramento Hussars in 1867. From 1878 up to 1882 he was Captain of the Hussars, after Fritz Heilbronn. He has been a member of Schiller Lodge, No. 105, I. O. O. F., since 1868. He is a member of Tehama Lodge, A. F. & A. M.; of the Sacramento Turn-Verein; of Hermann’s Sons, and of the Verein-Eintracht. He is a member of the Foresters’ Gun Club, and won the gold medal at the April shoot, 1889.  He is an honorary member of the Sacramento Rifle Club, and gave to the club the cannon presented by General Sutter to the Swiss Rifle Club.  While firing a salute with the cannon the arm of A. Klebe was blown off, and the cannon was buried and $1,800 collected for Klebe. Captain Ruhstaller has in his possession the flag presented to the Swiss Rifle Club, in 1854, by the members of the Schutzen Club, of Canton Zurich, Switzerland, the presentation being by Governor Bigler. Mr. Ruhstaller made his start in business in Sacramento, and by good judgment and good management in business, coupled with liberality and enterprise, has built himself up until he now ranks among the solid men of the city.


Transcribed by: Marla Fitzsimmons

An Illustrated History of Sacramento County, California. By Hon. Win. J. Davis. Lewis Publishing Company 1890. Page 324-325.

© 2004 Marla Fitzsimmons.

Sacramento County Biographies