Louisa Homrighausen Becker

A Pioneer Mother

By Mrs. Ray W. Johnston

     Countless monuments have been erected to commemorate the deeds of valor of great men throughout the ages; and many volumes have been written to eulogize, and preserve for all man kind, the exploits of the heroes who have made our glorious country what it is today.   But almost invariably, behind those deeds of heroism, great and small—accomplishments that have made history—lives that have been lived for the advancement and betterment of humanity, has been the steadfast and loving devotion, the patient and untiring efforts and the noble inspiration of a GOOD WOMAN !

     Today we pay tribute to such a woman; a pioneer mother, known and loved by every citizen of Round Valley and Apache County—Mrs. Gustav Becker.   Just as the name of her late husband, Mr. Gustav Becker, is synonymous with the important phases of development of this White Mountain section, and the State of Arizona, so the beloved name of "Mother" Becker is a symbol in this community; for she exemplifies today, in her busy life, as she has for many years, all the fine attributes, tender feelings and noble characteristics which come to mind in the name by which she is called by those who know her best—"Mother" Becker.

     Louisa Homrighausen was born in Kimswick, Missouri. September 25, 1861.   Her girlhood was spent there, and in St. Louis and Milwaukee.   She came to Round Valley in 1883 with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. John N. Homrighausen, and other brothers and sisters.   She met Gustav Becker in Springerville, and they were married on March 26, 1885.   Nine children came to bless their home, two girls and seven boys, and all but two are still living—three sons and two daughters in Springerville; one son in Berkeley, California, and another son in Portland, Oregon.  There are ten grandchildren and two great grandchildren.

     Nine children came to bless their home.  Walter, died in childhood.  Arthur, one of the twins, youngest of the family, was killed in 1936 in Phoenix, in an accident by contact with a high voltage wire.   He was electrical engineer for an Arizona Power Company.   Julius W. is president of the Becker Mercantile Company.  Alvin G. is manager of the Round Valley Light and Power Company;  Edward C. is president of the Becker Motor Company;  Hugo is an electrical engineer in San Francisco;  Paul is a Portland, Oregon business man.   One daughter, Mrs. Lucy Becker Rieb, lives in Springerville, and another daughter, Emma, is with her mother in the home.

     It is a fitting coincidence that the bronze figure of a pioneer Madonna of the Trail stands in close proximity to the large, modern home, set back among the trees on a wide shady lawn, where Mother Becker has lived for many years; and that one inscription on the base of the monument reads: "A tribute to the pioneers of Arizona and the Southwest—who trod this ground and braved the dangers of the Apaches and other Warrior Tribes"—for that is just what took place, in the early days, when things were pretty wild.    Many times, when outlaws knew that Mr. Becker was away, they would come slipping into town to steal what they could—and many a night, Mother Becker sat in the darkness of her home and watched these outlaws slipping around the store, and through the dark shadows—while her children slept soundly.   And always there was the danger of the Indians.   Once or twice word came to town that the Apaches were loose, and on the war path—and Mother Becker was alone with her children.   But Providence kept the Indians away, and she was never molested.

     Always in the evening—when the Becker Mercantile Store was closed, and Mr. Becker, was sitting at his desk, "keeping the accounts," Mother Becker watched from the window of her living room, where she could see him working at his desk, to make sure that every thing was as it should be.  She very seldom retired before he came home, which was often one o'clock in the morning.

     Down through the years, she watched the development of this country, with as much pride and enthusiasm as did her husband.   And while he was helping to rid the land of outlaw gangs, bringing peace among the Indians; guiding the community through drouths, adversity and financial crisis; she was, in her inimitable, quiet way, sharing the dangers, hardships and privations of a frontier town; raising her family to fine young man and womanhood; and leaving the unmistakable influence of Christian character wherever she went, and in whatever she did.

     Living in the midst of a people of diverse races, creeds and tongues, Mother Becker has never been known to be anything but a good friend and benefactor of any human who needed help.   In want, sickness, or death, she has always given unstintingly of her substance, her time and her strength, to those who needed it.   She does not remember nor try to count her deeds of kindness, but those who have been blessed and helped will never forget, and they love her deeply for her generosity.

     Of all the fine things which we know and might write about her, one is outstanding, and embodies all other qualities—her love for her church—and her God.   To serve her Lord and Master, and to bring others to the Christian way of living has been the ultimate motive of her entire life.   Mother Becker has always been and still is, an ardent worker in the church.   Many many years ago, before there was a church in Round Valley, twice or three times a year an itinerate minister came through the country and services would be held in the homes, often times in the Becker home, where the minister would also live during his stay.   Over forty years ago, Mrs. Becker was one of several who were instrumental in establishing a permanent church.   Meetings were held in the school house, and other places—when the school house burned down.    She has given generously of her time and substance to aid in the support and up-keep of the present Community Church.   Unless too ill to be out, she never misses a service, nor a mid-week prayer meeting.

     Can the influence of such a devoted life be measured ?   Not on this earth—but some day she will meet her Maker, and hear Him say "Well done thou good and faithful servant.   Thou has't been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many. Enter thou into the joy of the Lord".

Copied from the files of Jack Becker

(photos copied from Xerox copies of the article)