Original Highland Township Landowner
Joseph Martin Becker
Joseph Martin Becker was born September 29, 1810, at Saratoga County, New York. According to an obituary written by his grandson, Charles Topping:
His early life was marked by severe privations, as he was born to the inheritance of hard work. At the early age of ten years he commenced the shoe making trade which he followed with farming during most of his life. At fifteen the care of his mother and several children devolved upon him and faithfully did he provide to the best of his ability for their needs until he was 20 years of age.
Joseph M. Becker married February 22, 1830, Eliza Cornell, born August 14, 1810, the daughter of Joseph and Abigail (Allen) Cornell. The couple soon came to Michigan, settling on the land Becker bought in Highland Township, Oakland County. The following September his three brothers-in-law - George, Isaac and Henry A. Cornell - themselves came to Michigan and enlisted Becker's assistance in finding their own lands to purchase. As told by the History of Livingston County, Michigan, Everts & Abbott, Philadephia (1880), p. 392:
In their wanderings, in company with a brother-in-law, Joseph M. Becker, they came to the timbered openings of Tyrone, and were all well pleased with their looks. They, however, returned without entering any of the land, Isaac and Henry A. going back to New York, while George and Becker stopped at the latter's home in Highland, Oakland Co. In October, George Cornell and Joseph M. Becker again visited the town, and each made a selection of an eighty acre lot. George went to Detroit, and entered his land on the last day of that month, while Becker did not make his entry until the following spring. After his return from Detroit, George and Mr. Becker came and put up a rude log shanty on his place, and this furnished him a home through the winter while he was cutting rails and preparing some of his land for the plow, he paying occasional visits to his brother-in-law's house in Highland, and bringing back each time a goodly supply of provisions.
The same source, at page 393, also includes the following short biography of Becker himself:
Joseph M. Becker, with his wife (formerly Eliza Cornell) and one child, came from Ripley, Chautauqua Co., N. Y., to Michigan in the fall of 1833, and settled in the town of Highland, in Oakland County. They lived there until the spring of 1835, and then moved to their home in this town on section 28, where they arrived about the 17th of April. He built a house on the south end of his lot, about forty rods west of the quarter-post. He was a shoemaker by trade, and his services were in great demand among the settlers, who were glad to exchange work with him, and were not always careful to exact an equal amount of time. He was the first supervisor of the town, and was re-elected at the expiration of his first term. In 1862 he removed to Fenton, and a couple of years later returned to Tyrone. In 1867 he again moved to Fenton, where he still resides. But two of his children are now living, and they are both residents of this town, Peter on the homestead and Wallace on section 26.
Joseph M. Becker died November 27, 1888, followed by his wife, Eliza (Cornell) Becker, on December 7, 1892.