Tombstone Tuesday–Luther K. Becher

Luther K. Becher, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

Luther K. Becher, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Luther K. Becher, located in row 8 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:

Sept. 18, 1913
July 15, 1914

Luther Kenneth Becher was born 18 September 1913 in Indiana, the son of G.J. Edward and Hulda (Berron) Becher. He was baptized at Zion Chatt on 26 October 1913 with his parents serving as his baptismal sponsors. His parents married in January of 1913 [1] and he was the first child born to them.

I did not find a state birth record for Luther, just his baptismal record at Zion Chatt.

Luther’s father George Jacob Edward Becher was the son of Jacob and Maria (Kettering) Becher, who lived in the Chatt area. Luther’s mother Hulda Magdalena Berron was the daughter of Friedrich and Louise (Bollenbacher) Berron and they lived in the Geneva area. Both families attended Zion Chatt and Luther’s father and mother were both baptized at Zion Chatt.

According to Zion Chatt’s records Luther K. Becher died 19 July 1914, at the age of 10 months and 1 day, and was survived by his parents. This death date disagrees with his tombstone inscription. The record indicates that he died of inflammation of the bowels. He was buried on the 21st, with Rev. Emch in charge of the service. I am not familiar with that minister.

According to his death certificate he died in Jefferson Township, Adams County, Indiana, at 3:30 a.m. on 19 July 1914, which also differs with the death date on his tombstone. This record indicates his cause of death was acute gastroenteritis with toxemia as a contributory factor. Dr. Charles N. Watkins of Chattanooga was the physician of record. The death certificate indicates he was buried on the 19th, which conflicts with the church record.

There is an obvious mistake on his death certificate which makes you wonder if some of the other items were also recorded incorrectly. Luther’s death certificate indicates that he was born 18 October 1914 and that he died 19 July 1914, which means he died three months before he was born. It gives his age as 10 months and 1 day, which agrees with the church record. The death certificate also shows that Luther’s father Edward was born in Indiana, while the church records show his father was born in Mercer County. [2] 

Luther Kenneth Becher death certificate, 1914.

Luther Kenneth Becher death certificate, 1914.

Luther’s parents had at least eight more children and they eventually they moved out of the area. They are buried in Woodland Cemetery, St. Joseph County, Indiana. Luther’s sister Bettie E. Becher (1922-1922) is also buried in Zion Chatt’s cemetery.

This surname name was also spelled Becker in some records.


[1] “Indiana Marriages, 1811-2007,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 5 Nov 2016), George Jacob Edward Becker and Hulda Magdalena Berron, 23 Jan 1913; from Adams County Marriages, Vol. J, p.198; FHL microfilm 2321629.

[2] Indiana, Death Certificates, 1899-2011, database on-line, ( : accessed 5 Nov 2016), Suther Kenneth Becker, 19 Jul 1914; Indiana State Board of Health, Indiana Archives and Records Administration, Indianapolis, Indiana.

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