Clinton County contains among its agriculturists none more worthy of mention in this volume than the gentleman of whom we write and who owns and operates a valuable farm on section 27, Wade Township. He is a noble type of our self-made men. He started out in life with no adventitious aids of name and fortune to insure success, but he had what is better, a clear brain and steady nerve and plenty of courage to do and dare, a high ambition and tenacity of purpose to enable him to carry out whatever he undertook and a capacity to do it well. These have been the open sesame to make fortune's doors swing wide for him and he has entered into her domain and taken what rightly belongs to all who persevere to the end in spite of obstacles.

As his name indicates, Mr. Beckemeyer is of German descent. His father, Christian BECKEMEYER, was born in Minden, Prussia, in May, 1813, and followed the occupation of a farmer. His wife, whom he married in Minden, was a native of that place and bore the maiden name of Christina POSS. In 1857 he emigrated to America, and in November of that year settled in Merrimac Township, St. Louis County, Mo., where he engaged in farming. In 1863 he came to Clinton County and settled on section 21, where he followed his chosen occupation. In his old age he again visited the home of his childhood, and in the companionship of those of his comrades who still survived, reviewed the incidents of the past. In December, 1880, he died at the home of our subject. His widow still lives and makes her home with her children.

In the family there were nine children, six of whom are now living, namely: Christian, Henry; Christina, who is married and lives in Wheatfield Township; William, August and Harmon H. The parents were members of the Lutheran Church, in which denomination the father was an active worker both in the Old Country and in the United States. He assisted in building the church at Carlyle and was one of its Trustees. In his agricultural enterprises he was very successful, and at his death bequeathed a farm to each child. He was a well informed man, a friend of the public school system and gave to each of his children excellent educational advantages. Two of his sons served in the Civil War, Henry and Ferdinand. The latter was a member of the Eighth Illinois Infantry and died while in the service.

The subject of this sketch was born in Minden, Prussia, September 21, 1841, and came to America in 1857. He received a good German education, and after coming to this country became proficient in the English language. In June of 1861 he enlisted for three months as a member of the St. Louis County Home Guards, and with his company guarded bridges on the Missouri Pacific Railroad and also scouted the country. In March, 1862, he again enlisted in the Union army, becoming a member of Company G, Second Missouri Heavy Artillery, and for three months was stationed at St. Louis. Later he went to Rolla, Mo., and thence in February, 1863, came back to St. Louis, where the regiment was organized into Battery D, Second Missouri Light Artillery. Ordered to Little Rock, Ark., the regiment was there assigned to the Seventh Army Corps under General STEELE, and our subject, as Corporal, took part in various skirmishes, first under General Steele and later under General REYNOLDS. Though never wounded nor taken prisoner he was unfortunate in that he was seriously ill from May until October of 1864, and to this day suffers from the effects of that sickness. After having served for three years he was discharged, on the 1st of March, 1865.

In 1866 Mr. Beckemeyer was united in marriage with Miss Elizabeth SCHROEDER, a native of Breese Township, Clinton County, and a daughter of John SCHROEDER, one of the earliest settlers of that township, but now a resident of the village of Breese. The union of Mr. and Mrs. Beckemeyer has resulted in the birth of eleven children, as follows: John; Fredericka, who married Charles SCHUCHMANN, and has one child; Mary, the wife of George SCHUCHMANN; August, Frederick, Frank, Otto, Emil, Anthony, Bertha and Martha.

Settling upon section 21 in 1875, Mr. Beckemeyer there engaged in farming for five years, since which time he has resided upon his present farm. Since coming here he has enlarged and improved the residence and in 1888 built a barn at a cost of $600. From his father he received one hundred and sixty acres, and to this he has added by purchase until his landed possessions now aggregate seven hundred and eighty and one-half acres of good land. He still personally superintends his farm, but the labor of tilling the soil and gathering in the harvests is in the hands of his sons, active and energetic young men, of whom the parents may well be proud.

In religious connections Mr. Beckemeyer and his family are members of the Evangelical Church in Carlyle Township, in which he has served as Trustee, and the children take an active part in Sunday-school work. In the building of the church he was a generous contributor, and to other projects has also contributed as able. He takes considerable interest in the great national issues of the age and gives his support to the Democratic party. With the exception of three years he has served as Commissioner of the Highways ever since 1877. During much of the time for the past twenty years he has been Director of School District No. 3. Socially, he is identified with the Carlyle Post, G. A. R.

Source: Portrait and Biographical Record of Clinton, Washington, Marion and Jefferson Counties, Illinois, 1894, Chapman Publishing Co., Chicago, IL

Submitted by: Connie Albers

Submitted by: Connie Albers

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