Above: Very vibrant blue shutters on the Becker farmhouse as seen on Google Maps Street View.
The first Beckers in Warwick Township were German immigrants Valentine Becker and wife Christina Becker. The tract, here, was warranted in 1738, and the Beckers received their patent for this land a few years later in 1747. Valentine and Christina are buried on the hillside cemetery overlooking their fields. The farm remained in the Becker family for centuries, until it was recently sold to the Martin family. The Martins are Mennonites, as were the first generations of Beckers.
The stone farmhouse was built by Valentine and Christina's grandson Christian and wife Anna in 1793. The farmhouse addition was completed by Henry and Rebecca Becker in 1850. Henry was the son of Christian and Anna.
View this farm in a larger Google map.
1878 Photo of the Becker Homestead:
From A Biographical History of the Becker Family (1901):
Above and Below: The distillery is gone, but the dinner bell remains, on the farmhouse roof.
Above: Becker Farmhouse as seen on Google Maps Street View.
A sandstone datestone, dated 1793, is centered between the windows. Datestones are seldom seen on the rear of farmhouses, around here, but the rear of the Becker farmhouse is the side that's visible from the road.
The Becker Farm's Whiskey Distillery:
Pennsylvania farmers have a long history of distilling grain into whiskey, and Lancaster County Mennonites were no exception. Valentine and Christina's great grandson Henry Becker was one of the best distillers in the neighborhood. In 1833 Henry patented a new-and-improved copper still for his distillation business. The still could produce one hogshead barrel of whiskey every hour.
Henry's distillery was like a community grist mill, except it produced whiskey instead of flour. Local farmers brought their grain to Henry's still, and Henry distilled it into whiskey for a fee. Henry also sold his high-tech stills. His 1834 broadside explained that his stills was available for viewing at his farm, at the Hess Homestead, and at the Rome Distillery.
Above: The 1833 patent for Henry Becker's improved still. Also Here.
The 1738 Becker Homestead: Original Boundaries:
Above: The 1738 Becker Homestead, from Pennsylvania State Archives. (Color added here.)
Below: The 1738 Becker Homestead, on Google Maps.
An 1832 Decorated Towel Made by 16-Year-Old Anna Becker:
She Stitched the Towel Here at the Becker Homestead.
Above: Anna Becker (1816-1893) was 16 years old when he stitched this decorated towel. She was the daughter of Henry and Susan (Bucher) Becker. Anna's father, Henry, operated the whiskey distillery advertised in the broadside shown above.
Anna married Jacob Hess (1815-1850) in 1836, four years after she made this towel. (Looks like Jacob was impressed by her needlework.) Jacob was born in the 1740s Hess Homestead, located a few miles from this Becker Homestead. Jacob is a great-great-great uncle of Clarke Hess. Jacob and Anna operated the mill at the Hess Homestead, and built the brick house across the street from the mill. (Towel: Clarke Hess Collection)
Family Record of Jacob and Anna (Becker) Hess:
Above: This manuscript was penned ca. 1840, probably by Jacob Hess, the husband of Anna (Becker) Hess. Anna created the decorated towel shown above.
Henry uses his wife's nickname "Nansy" here, which was a nickname for "Anna" in the 1800s. This document was written while the family lived in the miller's house at the 1740s Hess Homestead.