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Michael J. Becker

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Michael J. Becker

Posted: 11 Feb 2005 10:11PM GMT
Classification: Biography
Surnames: Becker, Loch, Klein, Stoll & Foster
"History of Huntington County, Indiana"1914 By Frank S. Bash pg. 499-501

Michael J. Becker. The adroit manipulation of the chisel has at all times commanded a liberal share of the world’s applause and admiration. It has preserved to us the beauty of antiquity, has marked the resting-place of our dearest and most beloved friends, and has made the home of their mortal remains a garden of art and loveliness; it has also contributed largely to the beauty of our cities, the adornment of our public parks and to the perpetuating of the memory of the great and the good. In this connection it is a pleasure to present a review of the life of one of the masters of his craft, Michael J. Becker, who as a born carver of stone has won his way to fame and recognition.

Mr. Becker was born in the city of Huntington, Indiana, November 29, 1859. He is the youngest son of Jacob Becker, one of the early residents of this city, a native of Prussia, who was born July 25, 1824, and was the oldest of five children, four sons and one daughter, the mother being Mrs. Elizabeth (Loch) Becker, also a native of Prussia. At the age of twelve years Jacob Becker began to learn the trade of a stonecutter, and on completing his apprenticeship started to work as a journeyman, but left his trade when he joined the army, as is customary with the youths of his native land. Entering the Prussian military service, he remained therein for four and one-half years, and during this time, in February, 1850, was married to Miss Elizabeth Klein, daughter of Jacob and Catherine (Stoll) Klein, natives of Prussia. In 1852 Jacob Becker, his wife and child, father and mother, three brothers and a sister, emigrated to America and reached New York on the 5th of April. From that city the little party removed to Williamsport, New York, and later to Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, and Huntington was reached December 11, 1852. The period from 1873 until 1877 was spent in Logansport, but in the latter year Mr. Becker returned to Huntington, and here continued to reside until the time of his death. He was an honest, industrious and thrifty workman, skilled in his trade and possessed of strict integrity. He won the friendship and esteem of his fellow men and at all times proved himself loyal to his adopted country and its interests. In political matters he was a stalwart democrat, while his religious connection was with the Catholic church. Six children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Becker: Elizabeth, Jacob F., Nicholas, Peter, Michael J., and Margaret, of whom three are deceased.

Michael J. Becker was educated in the Catholic schools of Huntington, but at the age of thirteen years laid aside his books to take up the hammer and chisel in association with his father, who had entered the monument business. Thus he learned the business of a stone cutter and then a letterer, gradually acquiring a knowledge of every department of the business. At the age of nineteen he took over the management of the business, which he has since conducted with a full measure of success, and this is now one of the oldest concerns of its kind in Huntington county, as well as one of the most reliable. An artist of true genius, his love for the picturesque and beautiful asserts itself in every detail of his business, and the work that comes from his establishment has excited admiration all over Huntington and the surrounding country. The mechanical equipment of the monument works is driven by electricity, sufficient horse power thus being secured. An ever increasing volume of business testifies to the place Mr. Becker has made for himself in his special field of endeavor. Mr. Becker is a member of the Knights of Columbus, he belongs to Ss. Peter & Paul’s Catholic church of Huntington, which the members of his family also attend and in the work of which they have been active. The pleasant family home is located at No. 1034 Oak street.

In 1881 Mr. Becker was married to Miss Margaret A. Foster, a daughter of Michael and Catherine (Klein) Foster. To this union have been born the following: Ferdinand J., a graduate of the Huntington Business University, who is associated with his father in the monument business; Carl G., a graduate of St. Joseph’s College; Hilda E., a music teacher; Marcellus C a graduate of St. Francis College and a musician; Leo M., also associated with his father; Bertha M., a graduate of St. Mary’s high school; and Beatrice, Margaret and Agnes, students of Ss. Peter & Paul’s school. The entire family are musically educated and have a family orchestra that has attracted wide attention and interest at the many occasions at which they have exemplified their talent. Mr. M. J. Becker has played with the city bands of Huntington since he was fourteen years of age in the capacity of cornetist, and also filled the same position in the Huntington theater for many years.

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