Peter Y. Becker
The following is extracted from E. C. Manning's autobiography, page 61.
"About six miles south of the Butler county line I found a path that led into jungles of bushes, trees, and vines, and across a dry bayou onto an island at the mouth of Little Dutch creek, I found a one-story log cabin occupied by a German and full of United States Commissary stores. I was informed by the occupant that the goods belonged to one Peter Becker who with two men in his employ were located about seven or eight miles further down the Walnut river valley, erecting claim houses.
Obtaining as much information as possible I set out to find Becker. Without trail or guide I crossed the river about one mile below the present town of Winfield, and turning eastward about one mile I came upon him. He had a good mule team and wagon, two men, and two log cabins under construction. I learned from him that he was establishing a stock ranch for himself and a certain government quartermaster located at Ft. Hayes, Kansas, but who was later dismissed from the service for having misappropriated government supplies."
"This was in June of 1869. In the meantime he took his team and men and an axe and came with me over to the present town site of Winfield and assisted me in laying four small logs for a foundation on a claim for myself. While with Becker I had spent a couple of days in exploring the country east, west and south, and studying its topography.”
The Beckers did not show on the Pleasant Valley census until 1881 when S.(oloman) P. Becker, age 48, and Amos Becker, age 24 appear. The 1882 census shows Solomon as 44 years, and Amos as 34.
The Winfield Daily Courier on March 25, 1905 reported the following; “The funeral of Sol Becker will be held at the home of S. Nawman, two miles south of town, Sunday at two o’clock in the afternoon, Rev. A. J. Finch officiating. The deceased died of heart disease about noon Friday March 24.”
He was born in Dauphine county Pennsylvania, February 4, 1838, and was, therefore sixty-seven years, one month and 20 days old at the time of his death. He was in Ohio at the outbreak of the war and in 1862 enlisted in the 17th Ohio Battery, serving in the Army of the West, throughout the war. He was never wounded but had in his possession a minnie bullet he caught between his left arm and side, it being nearly spent and without force enough to penetrate his clothing.”
He came to Kansas in 1869, first to Lyon county then to Douglass, and early in 1870 to what is now Pleasant Valley, where he has since lived. For forty hears he has made his home with his friend S. Nawman, who, with another brother, Amos Becker came here in that early day. He never married.”
“He leaves in this county two brothers, Amos, in Pleasant Valley, and Will, north of Winfield, in Fairview, and two sisters, Mrs. Sue E. Beard of Vernon, and Miss Lydia Becker, who has been taking care of him, during his recent sickness. His other brothers and sister are John Becker, Fremont, Ohio, and Joe Becker, and Mrs Emma C. Miller, Springfield, Ohio.”
“Mr. Becker was a man who won the friendship and respect of all he met. He was a quiet and industrous and a good citizen in every respect.”
The Nawman’s also did not appear in Pleasant Valley census reports until 1881. They were Soloman Nawman, age 54, his wife Lucy, age 48, Henry M. Nawman, age 23, and George Nawman, age 21.
WALNUT VALLEY TIMES, APRIL 19, 1872.
RECAP: WALNUT VALLEY RAILROAD COMPANY DIRECTORS MET IN AUGUSTA ON SATURDAY, APRIL 13TH. IN THE ABSENCE OF ANDREW AKING, PRESIDENT, L. B. SNOW WAS ELECTED CHAIRMAN.
Directors present: C. N. James, Sec., M. M. Jewett, Treas., L. B. Snow, H. O. Meigs, A. J. Uhl, D. A. Millington, J. M. Rayburn, J. C. Becker, and J. M. Alexander.
[MORE PERSONALS: WINFIELD COURIER, DECEMBER 23, 1875.]
The case of the State vs. Sol. Becker and George Nauman came up before Justice Boyer last Friday. A jury of six was called. Defendants were discharged, the prosecuting witness paying the costs. County Attorney Pyburn for the State and T. H. Suits, assisted by E. C. Manning, for the defendants. On the first ballot, the jury stood three against three.