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Lester Orville Beach

1804 - 1859

Buried in Princeville Cemetery.
In the Bible of Frank Beach, he is reported to have died of an "injury." 

From History of Peoria County, Illinois
Published by Johnson & Co. 1880

BEACH, Lester (deceased) - Farmer - Sec. 17, P.O. Box Princeville.

Was born in Canandaigua, Ontario County, N.Y. August 10, 1804.  The principal part of his education was received in the schools of his native town.  In November, 1837, married in Sandusky County, Ohio, Miss Lydia M. Chase, a native of Hopewell, Ontario County, New York, born August 27, 1818.   In November, 1839, moved to Farmington, Fulton, Illinois and April 1841 removed to Princeville, where Mr. B. died April 21, 1859, leaving his widow who still survives him, and seven children, Annie [sic], Elvira, Frank, Cornelia, Emma, William, and Lester O.  Mr. B. left a valuable estate, highly improved.

Politically, he supported the Whig Party


By Amine Reeves and Emma Ferbrache, 1913.

[These are two of Lester's daughters]

Lester Beach was born in Rochester, New York in 1804. He served an apprenticeship and learned the carpenter trade in the city of Rochester. After the death of his parents [His mother, Betsey Phelps Beach (aka Betsey Marsh) actually traveled with him and did not die until 1872], he and his brother Charles went as young men to the vicinity of Clyde, Ohio. Here Mr. Lester Beach engaged in farming for a short time and was married to Miss Lydia Chase, who was an aunt of General McPherson of the Civil War.

About the year 1837 he came to Farmington, Illinois, from which place he sent back for Mrs. Beach. She came, with her baby Amine, and accompanied by Charles Beach.  Mrs. Beach used on this trip an iron tea-kettle that is still in possession of the family, just at present loaned to Cutter's log cabin. Interesting stories are told of a faithful mastiff dog "Old Tige," that Mrs. Beach brought on this trip, remembered by many of the early settlers; at one time he stayed faithfully by a runaway team; and at another time took the pants leg off a thief who would other wise have gotten Mr. Beach's horses.

Arriving at Farmington the family could get no dwelling except the old "council house," a bark covered structure where the white men and Indians had been in the habit of meeting for their parleys.  Mrs. Beach often told her children how the roof leaked and how the shadows in the large recesses suggested Indians to her even when there were none around.

The next year the family moved to Princeville where Mr. Beach built the first house East of town for the Sloan's.  For himself he rented land from Wm C Stevens, the house being a double log one-half mile North of the Cutter house.  Here the children remember their father often driving a steady old nag right into the house to drag in a log for the large fire place. There were no floors in some of the cabins nor in any of the stores and blacksmith shops of that day. In the stores, men could sit on a box or barrel and spit tobacco juice wherever convenient.

Children were born, including the one in Ohio, in the following order: Amine, Elvira, Frank, Cornelia, Lydia, Emma, Willie and Orville.  The oldest child Amine was sent first to school in the log school house near Mr. Slane's southeast of town. Mrs. Cutter and Solomon Cornwell were her first teachers and at this late date the pupil now recollects that one of these teachers, perhaps Mrs. Cutter, wished to punish little Elvira for pulling a tame flower in some forbidden spot, but as Elvira was too little, the teacher punished Amine instead. This enraged the father, who went and informed the teacher that any whipping to be done might be taken out on him. Mr. Cornwell, who was developing his land as well as teaching school, had a habit of announcing to the scholars that if it were rainy or stormy on the following day they might come back to school, but if fair weather they need not come as he would be working on his place.

Later on Mr. Beach moved northeast of town to his own farm in the neighborhood of McGinnis, Peet and Clussman. This was on the Southeast quarter of Section 6, Akron, now known as the Blue farm. Here he helped to build a new school house. Selling this farm Mr. Beach bought one mile East of Princeville where he lived until he died in 1859, and his widow continued to live continuously until her death in 1906.  This is the place remembered by the children as the old home and where they remember their mother carding wool and many other scenes that have long since gone out of date in the Illinois home. The daughter Emma still has in her possession a coverlet made of home spun wool raised on their own sheep, with the year "1840" and Grandmother Slocum's name woven in it. Mother Beach often remarked that her husband did not like farming as well as carpentering and after becoming a farmer he did not whistle at his work as he had formerly.

[Lydia Norton Chase, wife of Lester Orville Beach, was married several times.  Her last marriage was to Isaac Slocum.  Her grandchildren knew her as Grandmother Slocum and her husband as Grandfather Slocum]

An interesting reminiscence of Grandfather Slocum is as follows:  At the time of the massacre of Wyoming, Pennsylvania, a seven year old sister of his was captured by the Indians and never heard from, until many years later a traveller came upon an Indian camp and an old woman, the widow of the chief, was very sick. She told him that she was of white blood and had been stolen by the Indians when a little girl. The story told by this man reached the ears of Grand-father Slocum who immediately set out to see if she was not his sister. She had recovered from her illness and denied the story; but when her brother said to her, "Now, if you are my sister there will be a scar on your foot where I once hit you with an ax when we were making our wood," the woman broke into tears and showed the scar.  Her brother then visited her every two years. She said she did not remember much about her mother and her mother's housekeeping, except she had always swept with a broom and set the broom in the corner when she got through, as she remembered her mother had done.

Of the children, Amine Reeves of Abilene, Kansas and Emma Ferbrache of Sutherland, Nebraska, are the writers of this article. Elvira Frost died in 1893 and is survived by her husband Enos Frost, her children Mrs. Cora Nixon of Princeville, Ill., Miss Lydia who lives with her father in Wymore, Nebraska, Lester Enos of Canada, and Mrs. Flora James of Denver, Colorado.  Frank is still living at Dumont, Iowa. Lydia died at the age of five years, and Cornelia at the age of twenty-three.  Willie and Orville went West as young men and have never been heard from.

In the Charles Beach family the children were [Henry] Harlow of Peoria, Ill., [Charles] Fred[erick] who has been dead several years, [Cornelia] Elizabeth whom everybody knows as Miss Libbie, of Princeville, Mrs. Caroline McMains who died about 1910 [13 Apr 1908], at Phoenix, Neb., and [Nelson] Birdseye now of Glasford, Illinois.