BECRAFT, GEORGE W., a retired blacksmith living at Mechanicsburg, Ill., and a veteran of the Civil War, was born near Owingsville, Bath County, Ky., May 24, 1840, a son of George and Sarah (Fowler) Becraft, both natives of Kentucky. The father carried on farming in Bath County until his death, being killed in Owingsville in 1860, during an election riot. His wife died in Kentucky, in 1902. They were parents of three sons, of whom two survive, George W. of this review, and Walter, a resident of Pleasant Plains, Ill. One son was a private in the Third Kentucky U.S. Volunteer Infantry, during the Civil War, and was killed in service.
As a boy George W. Becraft attended the country schools of his native place, and he assisted his father with the farm work until he was seventeen years of age, then worked for others until he reached his majority, and in March, 1861, came to Springfield, Ill. He first found work on a nearby farm, where he remained until September 3, 1861, when he enlisted in Company L, Tenth U.S. Volunteer Cavalry, under the command of Captain Wilson first, and later Captain John G. Roberts, now of Springfield. Mr. Becraft served three years and was mustered out January 2, 1863, at Little Rock, Ark., December 12, 1863, he re-enlisted in Company L and served until November 22, 1865, when he received his final discharge at San Antonio, Tex. Among the many battles in which he participated were Perry Grove and Little Rock. At one time he was taken prisoner and sent to St. Louis, from which place he was exchanged some time later. He bore himself in a manner that was typical of his steadfast devotion to duty, and had the esteem and respect of his comrades and superiors.
At the close of the war Mr. Becraft returned to Mechanicsburg and engaged in farming. He removed to Kansas and engaged in farming there, remaining six years, then returned to Mechanicsburg and embarked in a teaming business. Later he took up the trade of blacksmith, which he had learned in boyhood, and continued this occupation until he retired a few years since. He is well known as an industrious and useful citizen and met with very fair success in his various enterprises.
February 1, 1866, Mr. Becraft was married, at Buffalo, to Matilda J. Waterman, born in Sangamon County, November 14, 1845, daughter of Charles Waterman, a native of Kentucky, and a harness maker by trade, who located in Mechanicsburg at an early day and there conducted a harness making shop for many years. His death occurred there July 1, 1861. The mother, a native of Kentucky, is also deceased. Mr. and Mrs. Waterman were parents of three sons, all of whom are deceased, and four daughters. Eight children were born to mr. and Mrs. Becraft, of whom five now survive: Sarah E., wife of Newton McGaff, of Springfield; Calvin, of Mechanicsburg; John, also of Mechanicsburg; Rosetta, wife of Edward Kelly, living with her father. There are seven grandchildren in the family. In politics Mr. Becraft is a Republican and he is a member of Stephenson Post No. 30, G.A.R., of Springfield. He and his wife are members of the Christian Church.