Harold A. Becker of Rockford, Michigan, enjoys the very rare claim of being the “True Son” of a soldier who fought in the Union Army during the American Civil War.
Born in Chicago in 1917, Brother Becker is 93 years of age. He is a 66-year, Lifetime Member of Montague-Whitehall Masonic Lodge No. 198, where he served as Worshipful Master in 1984 and 1985.
Becker is one of only 19 surviving True Sons of Civil War veterans, and the only one in Michigan. This is confirmed by Civil War historian Bruce Butgereit of Grand Rapids, who has done extensive research into Becker’s father, Charles Conrad Becker.
The senior Becker enlisted the 128th Indiana Infantry in 1864, at age 17, and was mustered out in 1866. This unit first saw action in the Atlanta Campaign, and participated in Sherman’s March to the Sea, as well as numerous other engagements. His last act in the military was to participate in the re-interring the bodies of 1,000 Union soldiers who had died in the Salisbury, North Carolina, Confederate Civil War Prison.
This interview was conducted Wednesday, June 15, 2011, in Becker’s daughter’s home in Rockford. He was joined by his wife Dorothy, a Lifetime Member of the Order of the Eastern Star,
Janet L. Buckwinkler, who was a member of the Job’s Daughters in Montague, in her youth.
This interview was arranged by Brother Ted Boyden of Montague Lodge, a former Trustee of the Michigan Masonic Charitable Foundation, the sponsor of this oral history project. The interview was conducted by Keith Bankwitz of Dearborn, Past Master and Director of Philanthropy for the Foundation. The videographer was Girbe Eefsting of Grand Haven and Hastings Lodge, the proprietor of the Film Farm
Harold and Dorothy Becker Interview Transcript
Harold Becker Reading Home Sweet Home
Becker is one of only 19 surviving True Sons of Civil War veterans, and the only one in Michigan. This is confirmed by Civil War historian Bruce Butgereit of Grand Rapids, who has done extensive research into Becker’s father, Charles Conrad Becker. Here he reads from “Home, Sweet Home” During the Civil War by Bruce B. Butgereit.