Clinton County numbers among its citizens many men eminent in the annals of the state, men of ability, energy and honor, who in the duties both of private and public life have ever been true and loyal. Such an one is the subject of this sketch, who gained considerable distinction as the representative of his district in the State Legislature, and who is now the owner and occupant of one of Santa Fe Township's most valuable farms, situated on section 5.
It may well be a matter of pride with Judge Becker that his fortune has been of his own making; his hands and brain have been busily employed in its upbuilding, as he had no other capital when he started out in life for himself. He is independent and self-reliant, keen and prompt in his dealings, frank and cordial in manner, and no one is more ready than he to extend a helping hand to those who have been less fortunate than himself. In him Santa Fe Township finds a loyal citizen, whose public spirit prompts him to aid in pushing forward every movement for the benefit of the community.
It may not be amiss, before further consideration of our subject's life, to record a few facts concerning his parentage. His father, Ferdinand BECKER, was born in Hanover, Germany, in 1797, and was a wagon-maker by trade. Emigrating to the United States in 1834, he landed in Baltimore, Md., whence he proceeded to Pittsburg, Pa., and there worked at his trade for a period of two years. He was also janitor of the court house for the same length of time. From the Keystone State he came west to Illinois, and arriving in Clinton County, settled in Germantown Township, where in partnership with two friends he bought an eighty-acre tract. After making his home there for twelve years he sold the property and purchased an adjoining farm of one hundred and sixty acres.
Prior to coming to America, Ferdinand Becker married Anna Mary TAKE, and they became the parents of five children who grew to maturity. Of these one is now deceased, another lives in Nashville, Tenn., and the three others are residents of Illinois. For further facts concerning the family history the reader is referred to the sketch of Henry BECKER, presented on another page of this volume. The subject of this sketch was born in Hanover, Germany, in 1826, and accompanied his parents to the United States. He grew to manhood upon the home farm in Clinton County, and was the recipient of ordinary common-school advantages.
The original purchase made by Judge Becker was sixty acres, to which he has added until his landed possessions now aggregate ten hundred sixty-three acres. Both as a general farmer and stock-raiser he has met with success, his methods in agriculture being practical and modern. In politics a Democrat, he has been a member of the County Central Committee for twenty years, and is the present Drainage Commissioner of his township and also School Trustee. In 1861 he was elected Associate Judge, in which position he served for five years, thus gaining the title by which he is now familiarly known. For four terms he served as Supervisor of Germantown Township, and filled the position for the same period in Santa Fe Township. Elected to the State Legislature in 1881, he introduced two noted bills, one of which, the Magistrate Bill, was passed by the Assembly, but vetoed by the Governor. During the Civil War he was drafted into the service, but being unable to leave his family, paid $800 for a substitute.
In September, 1852, Judge Becker was united in marriage with Miss Katharine KRAKE, a native of Germany. She is the daughter of Henry KRAKE, who died in Germany. Some time after his death, about the year 1842, the widowed mother came with her children to America. Mrs. Becker is one of five children, of whom the others are, Anton, deceased; George, who lives in Clinton County; Margaret, whose home is in Germantown, this county, and Elizabeth, deceased. Margaret, who is the widow of Theodore HAGEN, has five children, Lizzie, Katie, Mary, Henry and Benedict. Henry, who conducted his literary and theological studies at St. Francis, Wis., and Innspruck, Germany, was pastor of the Catholic Church at Mt. Vernon, Ill., for two years, and is at present Secretary to the Bishop of the Belleville Diocese.
The union of Judge and Mrs. Becker has resulted in the birth of nine children, as follows: Ferdinand, who is married and has six children; George, who is married and the father of four children; Henry, whose marriage has resulted in the birth of two children; Bennett; Katie, the wife of John JUNKE, and the mother of four children; Mary, who married M. RHEINHARDT and has four children; Elizabeth, Maggie and Regina, who are with their parents. The Judge is one of the largest stockholders in the Germantown Mutual Fire Insurance Company, of which he has been President ever since its organization, excepting one year. He is also a Director in the Carlyle Mutual Fire Insurance Company, and one of the Commissioners of the Santa Fe Drainage Company.
Source: Portrait and Biographical Record of Clinton, Washington, Marion and Jefferson Counties, Illinois, 1894, Chapman Publishing Co., Chicago, IL
Submitted by: Connie Albers
Submitted by: Connie Albers
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