BECKER, HENRY, tentmaker at the State Arsenal, was born in the city of Saarbrucken, province of Lorraine, France, May 4, 1823. He is a son of the late Philip and Caroline (Myer) Becker. His parents had born to them a family of nine children, of whom Henry, the subject of this sketch, and William P., an ex-alterman and police magistrate, are the only living members. Henry attended a German school in his native city for two years. When seven years old he came to America with his parents in 1830 and located in what was then the suburbs of Philadelphia. He completed his education in the private schools of Port Richmond, Pa. He worked in the rope-walks of Port Richmond for one year. In 1836 he was bound out as apprentice to the bakerís trade and worked at this business for six years. From 1839 to 1841 he was a contractor for unloading vessels arriving in the Schuylkill river with cargoes of wood. In the beginning of May, 1841, he shipped in the United States navy, and was assigned to the sloop-of-war cyane, Capt. Cornelius Stribling commander. He served for five years on this vessel, during her trip to the North and South Pacific ocean, on a surveying and exploring expedition. In 1842 the vessel was pressed into the service to assist Commodore Jones, the naval commander of the Pacific coast, to take possession of California. In the fall of 1845 he returned to Philadelphia , and was discharged from the service. From 1846 to the fall of 1848 he was engaged in the merchant service between New York and London. On February 1, 1849, he removed to Harrisburg and carried on a baking business for Charles F. Muench, for one year. In 1850 he engaged in the baking business for himself and continued in it till 1877. From 1877 to 1883 he was in charge of the lumber yard of Trullinger & Co. Since that date he has filled his present position in the State Arsenal. From 1860 to 1872 he fired all State salutes, and this duty he still performs on State occasions.
He has been twice married, his first marriage occurring in Harrisburg, March 26, 1850, when he was united in matrimony by Rev. Charles A. Hay to Sophia Morsh, of Harrisburg. There were no children by this marriage. Mrs. Becker died November 25, 1856. He was united in marriage the second time in Carlisle, Pa., by Rev.Mr. Hoffman, a Lutheran minister, December 24, 1858, to Margaret E. Umberger, daughter of Benjamin and Elizabeth (Smith) Umberger. To this marriage have been born nine children, six of whom are living , namely: Catherine, wife of Joseph Blackburn, residing in Philadelphia; William U., residing in Harrisburg; Henry, residing in Buffalo, N.Y.; Margaret E., wife of William Sheldrake, residing in Philadelphia; Charles P., residing in Harrisburg; and Louisa, wife of John Tress, residing in Harrisburg. Mrs. Becker died February 22, 1892.
In political views Mr. Becker is now a Republican. He attends the Lutheran church. Mr. Becker has been a traveler to all parts of the world and has accumulated a store of information which he readily imparts. His ready flow of language and genial manners make him a good entertainer in all circles.