Transcribed by Mary Ann Kaylor
BECKER, LOUIS - The German-American is one of the finest types of desirable manhood to be found anywhere. There is something in the rigid training of the Fatherland, that combines marvelously well with the free spirit of this country, so that those who come here succeed in becoming well-to-do and take an important part in civic affairs in whatever locality they make their new home. A representative of this class is Louis Becker, a retired miner of Riverton, Sangamon County. He was born in Bavaria, Germany, January 6, 1842, being a son of Peter and Margaret (Young) Becker, both natives of Germany. These excellent people never left their native land, dying there some years ago. Both the paternal and maternal grandfathers served in the war which was waged against Napoleon.
Mr. Becker was educated in Germany and there learned the trade of baker. He worked at it before serving in the army, entering in 1864 and continuing until 1870, when he was honorably discharged. Having given his native land the war service it demands, he resumed work at his trade, thus continuing in Prussia until 1882, when he left Hamburg for New York City, on a vessel that consumed twenty-three days on the voyage. After three days in New York he came to St. Louis and then his money having given out, after three weeks in that city, he walked all the way to Springfield, making the trip in fourteen days and arriving May 20, 1882. Being an expert in his line of work, he soon obtained employment in the city, eventually engaging with a nursery where he worked for three years. He then commenced mining, continuing that work until a few years ago, when he retired and is now residing at Riverton.
In 1872 Mr. Becker was married in Germany, to Barbara Mace, born in Prussia, August 7, 1852. Her parents remained in their native land, dying there. Her father was a prosperous farmer. Mrs. Becker died March 13, 1898, having borne her husband thirteen children, eight of whom are living: Louis living in Peoria, is a florist and has three children, Louis and Mary and one other; Joseph lives in Clear Lake Township and is a farmer; Frank lives in Riverton and has three children, Louis, Isaac and Wilford; Rose, wife of Jerry Davern, owns the home where Mr. Becker now resides, and has one child, Margaret; Anna, wife of James Flannigan, a solider in the regular army, died February 7, 1903, one child, Irene, who lives with her grandfather; Peter; William and Jacob live in Riverton, at home; John lives in Peoria and is a carpenter.
Mr. Becker belongs to St. James Roman Catholic Church of Riverton to which he is devoted, giving it a hearty and loyal support. Politically he votes for the men and measures he thinks are to the best interests of all the people. During the years he worked so steadily Mr. Becker saved with the thrift of his race, and now owns considerable city property that is very valuable. He is wholesouled, open-handed and genial, possessing many warm personal friends, who appreciate his many virtues.
Coming here penniless, with no knowledge of the county or language, within thirty years Mr. Becker has not only placed himself beyond want, but has reared a large family, providing well for them, and is numbered among the representative men of his locality. Unless he had possessed more than ordinary ability, great courage and an understanding of the best way to get along, he never could have accomplished what he has or won and retained the friendship of the men who are proud of their association with this stanch, loyal true-hearted German-American. Since his retirement Mr. Becker has traveled considerably and, as he is a keen observer, his account of his journeys is very entertaining, and shows the he appreciated his adopted land, just as he loves that of his birth.