Mar 12

Tombstone Tuesday–John and Anna Maria Becher

John & Anna Maria Becher, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

John & Anna Maria Becher, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of John and Anna Maria Becher, located in row 3 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. The maker is inscribed:

Anna Maria
Apr. 8, 1837
Dec. 26, 1917

John Becher
May 20, 1833
July 25, 1883


According to the old Family Register of Zion Lutheran Church, Chattanooga, Johannes Becher was born 20 May 1833 in Thuisbrunn, District Oberfranken, Bavaria, the son of Friedrich and Margaretha Becher. Johannes was baptized in Bavaria and confirmed in Willshire, Van Wert County, Ohio.

Johannes married Anna Maria Becker on 22 January 1855. Their marriage was performed by Zion’s first pastor, J.D. Gackenheimer. Rev. Gackenheimer was a traveling minister who established several congregations in the Mercer/Van Wert County area.

Zion was established in 1855 and their marriage was the first recorded in the old church book. His parents were given as Friedrich and Margaretha Becher, and hers as Johann and Barbara Becker.

Their marriage is also recorded in the Mercer County Probate Court, where both surnames were written as “Baker”. Maria’s father gave his consent for the marriage. [1]

Zion’s Family Register shows that Anna Maria was born 8 April 1837 in Bethlehem, Northampton County, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Johann and Barbara Becker. She was baptized in Bethlehem and confirmed in Mercer County, Ohio.

The Bechers’ death and burial records were also in the church record book:

Johann Becher was born 20 May 1833 in Thuisbrunn, District Oberfranken, Bavaria. He died 25 July 1883 at the age of 50 years, 2 months and 6 days. He was buried on the 27th.

Mrs. Marie Becher, born Becker, died 26 December 1917, at the age of 80 years, 8 months and 18 days.  She was buried on the 28th.  Survivors were her children and grandchildren.  The cause of her death was dropsy and old age.

Below is a copy of Anna’s Ohio death certificate. It indicates that she was born in Pennsylvania and died in Blackcreek Township, Mercer County, of hardening of the arteries. The informant was Mrs. Henry Becher of Chattanooga. [2]

Anna M. Becher death certificate, 26 December 1917, Mercer County, Ohio.

Anna M. Becher death certificate, 26 December 1917, Mercer County, Ohio.

According to Zion’s records Johannes and Anna had the following children, all born in Mercer County:

Sophia, b. 4 November 1855
Maria, b. 29 July 1857
Jakob, b. 8 May 1859
Catharina, b. 8 February 1861
Louisa, b. 23 August 1862
Johann Freidrich, b. 14 March 1864
Heinrich Conrad, b. 21 April 1866
Georg, b. 29 February 1868
Mathilda Barbara, b. 18 March 1870
Wilhelm Philipp, b. 2 March 1872

According to the 1876 and 1888 maps of Liberty Township, Mercer County, Johann Becher owned the west half of section 6, which would be 320 acres. His land would have been west of Chatt, on the Ohio/Indiana state line.

Johannes “John” and Anna Maria (Becker) Becher were the grandparents of Odas “Hod” and Clarence Becher, whose tombstones were recently featured on this website. Hod and Clarence’s father was Georg Becher, born in 1868.


[1] Mercer County Marriage Vol. D: 111, Probate Office, Celina, Ohio.

[2] “Ohio, Deaths, 1908-1953,” index and images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/X8VD-YZ8 : accessed 10 Mar 2013), Anna M Becher, 26 December 1917; citing Black Creek Twp., Mercer, Ohio, Dist no. 850, File no. 79518, Regis. no. 118.


  1. Waldo

    Interesting how Baker and Becher look so different to us in English, yet if you say Becher in German and Baker in English, the two are nearly the same sound. Guess that is why folks who could not read or write often had their names spelled differently because the English speaking recorder tried to spell what they were hearing in English.

    Or perhaps as seems more logical in the Miller case, the frustration with constantly correcting or challenging an English spelling community when people heard the Mueller pronounced in German which is not quiet Miller, but very close and much easier for the English to grasp. Then throw in a couple of wars in which Germans were the bad guys so that obvious name connections to the advisary were often eliminated or changed to help defray the casual association.

  2. Jenna

    Karen, I just love your blog! John and Anna Maria are my 4th great grandparents.

    1. Karen

      Thank you!

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