Tombstone Tuesday–Henry C. and Rosa A. Becher

Henry C. & Rosa A. Becher, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

Henry C. & Rosa A. Becher, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Henry C. and Rosa A. Becher, located in row 6 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

Henry C.
Rosa A.

The records of Zion Chatt give the following vital information about Henry and Rosa:

Heinrich Conrad Becher was born to Johannes and Anna Maria (Becker) Becher on 21 April 1866 in Mercer County. He was baptized 19 May 1866, with Conrad and Margaretha Haffner as witnesses. His father was born in Thuisbrun, District Oberfranken, Bavaria, and his mother was born in Bethleham, Northampton County, Pennsylvania. Heinrich died of a brain tumor on 27 April 1906, at the age of 40 years and 6 days and was buried on the 29th.  Survivors included 4 brothers, 4 sisters, his father and mother and 3 children.

Rosina Anna Schlenker was born 10 December 1871 in Liberty Township, Mercer County, Ohio, to Johannes and Magdalena (Betzel) Schlenker. She was baptized 8 March 1872, with Friedrich Betzel and wife as sponsors. Rosina’s father was born in Schwenningen, Würtemberg, and her mother in Butler County, Ohio. Rosina was confirmed 18 April 1886 and this record gives her date of birth as 11 December.

Magdalena (Betzel) Schlenker w/daughter Rosina Schlenker, son, Johannes Schlenker & son. c1872. Photo courtesy of Dorothy Jean (Leininger) Hellworth.

Magdalena (Betzel) Schlenker w/daughter Rosina Schlenker, a son seated, Johannes Schlenker holding a son, c1872. This house stood in Chatt until 1992, when it was torn down and the Gilliland horse barn was erected.

Heinrich Becher, age 28, and Rosina Schlenker, age 23, were married at Zion’s rectory on 29 March 1894. Witnesses to their marriage were Friedrich Merkle and Emilie Becker.

They had the following children:

Carrie Louise (23 Feb 1898-2 Dec 1988) married Theodore M. Leininger.
Ida Freda (25 May 1901-4 Jan 1933) married William Byers.
Martha Marie (14 Nov 1905-2 Mar 2001) married Troy Woodruff.

Becher home west of Chatt, 1914. L to R: Rosa (Schlenker) Becher, Martha Becher, Freda Becher, Carrie Becher, Anna Maria (Becker) Becher. Photo courtesy of Dorothy Jean (Leininger) Hellworth.

Becher home west of Chatt, 1914. L to R: Rosina “Rosa” (Schlenker) Becher, Martha Becher, Freda Becher, Carrie Becher, Anna Maria (Becker) Becher [Rosina’s mother-in-law, mother of Henry C. Becher].


Rosa Becher Dies Tuesday
Mrs. Rosa Becher, 92, widow of Henry Becher, R. 1, Rockford, died before noon Tuesday in Gibbons Hospital, where she had been admitted Monday following a stroke and a fall at her home.

The Ketcham and Ripley Funeral Home in Rockford has charge of arrangements and friends may call there after 1 p.m. Thursday until noon Friday when the body will be taken to Zion Lutheran Church in Chattanooga to lie in state until the time of the rites.

Mrs. Becher was born December 11, 1871 near Chattanooga and had spent her entire life in that community. Her parents were the late John and Mary Betzel Schlenker, pioneers of that area.

She was married in 1894 and her husband died in 1906. One daughter, Freda, and 11 brothers and sisters have also preceded her in death.

Surviving are two daughters, Mrs. Theodore Leininger, who resided with her mother for the last 45 years, and Mrs. Troy Woodruff, both of R. 1, Rockford. There are five grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren, two great-great-grandchildren and one sister, Mrs. Frank Spriggs of R.R., Celina.

Mrs. Becher was a life member of Zion Lutheran Church where rites will be held at 1:30 p.m. Friday. The Rev. Arnold Green will officiate and burial will be made in the church cemetery. [1]

Rosa (Schlenker) Becher, 1945. Photo courtesy of Dorothy Jean (Leininger) Hellworth.

Rosina “Rosa” (Schlenker) Becher, 1945.

[1] The Daily Standard, Celina, Ohio, 1 April 1964, p.1.

Old photos courtesy of Dorothy Jean (Leininger) Hellworth.


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  1. Thanks so much for featuring this part of my family. I really look forward to each week’s bit of historical news. Rosa Becher’s life was not easy when her husband died and left her with the 3 girls all under the age of 8. No electricity, or running water and a farm to keep running. It would be 13 years until her oldest daughter, Carrie Becher Leininger would marry. Then her husband, Ted Leininger came to live with them and take up the farming.

    1. You are welcome! Thank you for the additional inforamtion about Rosa and her family. We have no idea today how hard life was back then. It was so nice of your mom to share her photos and it is interesting to see the church, school and family connections.

  2. “We have no idea today how hard life was back then.” What made it so hard? Lack of electricity, running water and farming? Perhaps we put a bit too much value on our liesure and luxury items. What do we gain by hours in front of a TV or computer? Take away the cell phone and watch the chaos and hysteria. If we can’t do what we want, when we want it, the world must be about to end. Yet these families left loved ones in Germany, Pennsylvania, etc., probably never to see or talk with them again, but did that make their lives worse, harder or poorer? What is the real benefit of our “ease” of life? Worry? Fear? Idle hands?

    1. Yes, I think life was harder back then, especially for a young woman with three young children to raise on a farm. Aside from that, other things that were harder back then: farming, raising food for your family and trying to preserve it for an entire winter, housekeeping, cooking, sewing, transportation to see family, medical care, and the list goes on. I feel we have it much easier today in many ways. I don’t know if I could have survived back then.

    • Joe on April 23, 2013 at 8:24 pm
    • Reply

    You go girl! I couldn’t have said it better myself.

  3. Just as the crisis events of recent times have shown or the economic collapse a few years back (notice the great interest rate you get on savings even now), the bubble must burst at some point. The housing market was just a warning shot. Sooner or later every good era collapses. War, famine, drought (how close have we come the last two summers), or just a computer glitch could make it much sooner than later. Doom sayer? Or just common sense? Ask the Romans, Greeks, Azteks, and on and on. And how will the population cope? Mythical movies and TV shows such as Revolution, The Day After, etc., lead us to believe it will not be pretty. How many will just commit suicide rather than try to cope without their easy life style? How many “entitled” will extend their good times on the backs of others?

    On the other hand, seeing hard work and the opportunity to help others as a good thing, these may be the best of times. How do we admire our ancestors for their courage, hard work and contribution to our lives? Knowing that what needs doing it worth doing and meaningful can make it “easy” to lead a happy and fulfilling life. Perhaps it all comes back to what is easy? Easy to sit around with nothing to do but eat, drink and take anti-depression pills, or easy to be content and happy with a satisfying and fulfilling experience.

    • Rita Piper Phillips on October 22, 2013 at 9:22 am
    • Reply

    This is my mother/Rosemary Byer Piper’s family. My mother was the daughter of Freda and William, aka Jack Byer. I was in Chatt a lot as a child and stayed at the farm…one thing I remember so much was going to the outdoor movie in downtown Chatt…what fun that was. I love this info and thank you so much for posting it, just sorry it took me so long to find it.

    1. Several people have mentioned the outdoor movies in Chatt. That must have been a lot of fun! Thanks for writing.

    • Jenna on February 28, 2014 at 11:07 am
    • Reply

    I recognized the Becher house instantly! When I go to visit my Grandma Bonnie Hammitt (John & Anna Maria Becher’s 2x great-grandaughter, we often get pizza from Chatt Bar. (She says- “Don’t tell anyone that your grandma knows the number to a bar!” Ha!) She lives on 700 S in Adams County real close to the state line, so when I go to pick up the pizza, I pass by that house! About a decade ago, some friends of my family rented that house while they stayed in the area. SO neat!

    1. It is nostalgic when you see those old familiar homes. All the better when you pass them on the way to get a Chatt pizza!

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