Wednesday, June 11, 2008

William Colbert Steigers

William C. Steigers, a prominent St. Louis newspaperman, was a member of the Union Base Ball Club and was one of the organizers of the 1875 Brown Stockings.

Steigers was born in St. Louis on September 15, 1847 to Francis Ignatius and Sarah (Price) Steigers. Educated at the Wyman School and Christian Brothers College, he enlisted with the 8th Missouri Volunteers on September 15, 1862, his fifteenth birthday. Serving in the "armies of Grant and Sherman," Steigers took part in the battles of Arkansas Post, Chickasaw Bayou, and Port Hudson as well as the siege of Vicksburg. On July 5, 1863, a day after the fall of Vicksburg, he became seriously ill while travelling from Vicksburg to Jacksonville, Tennessee and spent three months in a hospital. Steigers was mustered out of the army on October 22, 1863 due to the illness and returned to St. Louis.

In April of 1863, W.C. Steigers began his career in the newspaper business with the St. Louis Evening Dispatch as a collector before rising to head the advertising department. In 1872, he became the advertising manager of the St. Louis Times before returning to the Dispatch in 1874. In December of 1878, the Post and the Dispatch merged to form the St. Louis Post-Dispatch with Steigers running the advertising department. A close associate of Joseph Pulitzer, Steigers was named vice-president and business manager of the Post in 1897.

Steigers was most likely not a member of the original antebellum Union Club. He was listed by E.H. Tobias as a member after the club reorganized in 1866. In 1875, he was involved in the organization of the Brown Stockings, serving on their board of directors as vice-president.

On September 4, 1896, while serving a short stint as advertising manager of the New York World, Steigers married Helen Martha Wadsworth. He passed away on May 25, 1923.

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