Letters to Mary #4

abe lincolnClayton Francis Becker was a Harvard Law student in 1860. Then as now, politics was a subject of much speculation and debate on campus.

He wrote to his sister Mary on November 22, 1860:

Lincoln is elected and D.C. [District of Columbia] is riggling [sic] but she can’t get out of the net of this union or if she does she will soon be glad enough to get back.  Some of the Southern States are making very poor shows of their constituencies.  No course yet exists for breaking up our beautiful government and even if the supposed was real, what in the world are South Carolina, Florida, Alabama and Georgia cutting up about?  I am thankful Kentucky has a character. [emphasis original]

          No doubt young Becker was shocked when just a year later a Confederate Convention met in his hometown, Russellville, Kentucky. Delegates from sixty-eight Kentucky counties assembled on November 20th, 1861 to form a provisional government for the Confederate State of Kentucky. (The state legislature voted to remain with the Union.) 

After graduating with the Harvard Law Class of 1862, Clayton Francis Becker served as a law clerk in Washington, D.C. He married and went west in 1867 to establish a St. Louis law practice. Gold fever lured him to Colorado in 1880 and he hung out his shingle in the mining town Central City. He served two terms as Gilpin County judge and one term as district judge before retiring in 1893 to his new home at 1145 Emerson Street in Denver.  Judge Becker died in 1907 leaving behind his 1862 Harvard yearbook, receipts for his educational expenses, and a packet of  letters his sister Mary had saved.

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