Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Peter Becker Gravestone

When Peter Becker died on March 19, 1758, he was buried in the old graveyard and a simple sandstone marked his grave with the inscription: "Anno 1758, P.B." The gravestone was so small that it finally sunk beneath the sod and the grave was unmarked and almost forgotten.

Abraham H. Cassell will later reveal that his old aunt pointed out the grave to him, explaining she was perhaps the only person living who knew its location. She died soonafter. For years after Brother Cassell was the only person to know of the burial place of this early American leader of the Brethren. In his later years, Cassell was seized by typhoid fever, and in his sickness he remembered that he alone knew of the exact spot where Peter Becker was buried. On his sick bed he made a solemn vow to God that if his life were spared he would, at his own expense, erect a fitting memorial over the grave.

God was good to him and in due time he was well. Then the order was given and a beautiful Carrara marble stone was prepared and fittingly engraved. When the workmen under Brother Cassel's direction dug the soil away to set the stone, their picks struck an obstacle, - a rough old sandstone. It was removed to allow the new stone to be securely set. The inscription on the old stone was plainly cut and now continues to stand beside the new stone two hundred and fifty years later on this anniversary of the death of Peter Becker.

Source: A History of the German Baptist Brethren, Martin G. Brumbaugh