Letters to Mary #2

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Clayton Francis Becker delighted in the abundance of great lecturers available to students at Harvard College in the mid 1800s. History was all around him. His letters to his sister Mary are sprinkled with familiar names.

He wrote to Mary on February 16, 1859:

I cannot conceive a situation in which I would be better pleased…In Cambridge and Boston I have had the pleasure this winter of listening to lectures from Theodore Parker, H[enry]W[ard] Beecher, Bayard Taylor and Edward Everett.

 The old elm under which Washington first drew his sword on receiving his commission is still standing in one of the principle streets in this city.  Not far from it is the dwelling occupied by him while his headquarters were here.  It is now occupied by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

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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