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BEATSON, David & John W.

Biography of David BEATSON [brother of John W. BEATSON]
Past and Present of the City of Rockford and Winnebago County, IL, C. A. Church.   Chicago:  Clarke Publishing Company, 1905, pp 327-328

David BEATSON, living on section 14, Burritt Township [Winnebago County, IL], where he is successfully engaged in the cultivation of a farm of 208 acres, was born on 12 Apr 1848 in the town of Florida, Montgomery County, NY.  His father, William BEATSON, was a native of Scotland, born in Dec 1811, and in early youth he crossed the Atlantic, becoming a resident of NY State.  In 1849 he removed from NY to IL, arriving in Burritt Township in the fall, accompanied by this family, at which time he settled on section 23, now known as the McSweaney farm.  There he lived until the spring of 1873, when the present home was purchased.  He devoted his entire life to agricultural pursuits, and passed away on 07 Jun 1883 in Rockford.  His wife, who was born in Mar 1814, died in Rockford on 07 Jun 1896.  In addition to our subject, their children were as follows:   (1)  George, born in Scotland on 27 Nov 1836, died in Rockford on 20 Sep 1898, leaving a widow and eight children; (2)  John, born in Scotland in 1839, now living in Rockford, but his wife died in Apr 1905, leaving four daughters; (3)  Jeannette, born in Scotland on 07 APr 1841, the widow of E. H. WEMPLE, living in Rockford with her three children; (4)  Ellen, born in NY in 1846, died on the old home farm in this county in 1865 [note Ellen given as Nellie in bio of John W. BEATSON]; (5)  Agnes, born in NY in 1846, the wife of Louis M. HICKOX, of Rockford, and they have four sons; (6)   David, the next of the family; (7)  Caroline, who was born in Burritt Township in 1850, the wife of J. N. LILLIE, a resident of Rockford, and they have six children; and (8)  Julia, born in 1852, living in Rockford.

David BEATSON, whose name introduces this record, was little more than a year old when brought by his parents to Winnebago County, and he was reared on the home farm in Burritt Township.  He continued with his parents until 20 years of age, when he went to the west and was employed on the construction of the Union Pacific Railroad Company in WY and UT.  He remained there until Nov 1868, when he went to CO, where he resided until Sep 1869.  He then returned to IL, where he continued until the early winter of 1872, at which time he made his way to KS and took up a homestead claim from the government.   After proving up this property he again took up his abode in Burritt Township, living with his parents until the spring of 1873.  He then went to CA, where he spent a little more than a year, and returneing to Winnebago County in 1874, he has since continuously devoted his attention to agricultural pursuits here, having now a valuable farm of 208 acres of very rich and productive land, which he has placed under a high state of cultivation, and which returns to him golden harvests each year.

On 10 Jan 1877, Mr. BEATSON was united in marriage to Miss Emma COMSTOCK, a daughter of Levi and Matilda COMSTOCK of Burritt.  Her father was born 03 May 1812, and died in Rockford on 24 Jun 1884, while his wife, whose birth occurred in Berkshire County, MA, on 15 Aug 1810, died in 1898 at the home of her daughter, Mrs. BEATSON.  The latter [p 328] was born in Saratoga County, NY, 17 Aug 1890, and was brought by her parents to this county in 1859, since which time she has lived in Burritt Township.  Mr. and Mrs. BEATSON have become the parents of four children:  (1)  Clyde E., born 28 Nov 1878; (2)  Ethel M., who was born 29 Oct 1879, and was married on 09 Mar 1904 to Frank KASCH, a resident farmer of Durand Township [Winnebago County, IL]; (3)  Earl H., born 01 Apr 1884; and (4)  Irene, born 17 Feb 1889.  In his political affiliation Mr. BEATSON is a republican, interested in the success of his party, and he gives inflexible support to its principles.  He has served as a school director for the past nine years, and the cause of education finds in him a friend, whose labors have been effective in promoting the welfare of the schools.

1st Biography of John W. BEATSON [brother of David BEATSON]
Past and Present of the City of Rockford and Winnebago County, IL, C. A. Church.   Chicago:  Clarke Publishing Company, 1905, pp 544-547

John W. BEATSON is living a retired life in Rockford, but for many years was actively and successfully engaged in farming in Burritt Township.  His birth occurred in Scotland on 20 Apr 1839, his parents being William and Elizabeth (WILSON) BEATSON, who in 1843 came with their family to America, settling in Montgomery County, NY, where they resided until 1849, when they came to Winnebago County, IL.  The father was a stone mason and worked at his trade in NY.  On coming to Winnebago County he entered 80 acres of land from the government in Burritt Township, and at once began to open up a farm, transforming the raw prairies into rich and cultivated fields.  He was thus identified with agricultural interests until 1875, when he removed to Rockford, spending his remaining days in the city.  His death occurred in 1882, and his wife passed away in 1893.   To his original tract of 80 acres he had added 40 acres, so that at the time of his death he was the owner of a good farm of 120 acres.  In the family were three sons and five daughters, namely:  (1)  George A., now deceased; (2)  John W., of this review; (3)  Mrs. Jennette WIMPLE, living in Rockford; (4)  Nellie, who died in 1865 [note Nellie given as Ellen in the bio of David BEATSON]; (5)  Mrs. Agnes HICKOX, who is living on North Winnebago Street, Rockford; (6)  David, whose home is in Burritt Township; (7)  Caroline LILLE, of Rockford; and (8)  Julia, who lives with her brother, John W. BEATSON.

When but four years of age, John W. BEATSON was brought by his parents to America, and in the public schools of NY State he began his education, which was continued in Burritt Township.  He remained at home until 1859, and then went to CO, where he was engaged in mining for a year, after which he again came to this state.  He had made the journey overland to CO with teams, arriving there in Apr 1859.  It was not long after his return that he offered his services to the government as a defender of the Union cause.  Hardly had the smoke from Fort Sumter's guns cleared away when he had joined the Union troops, enlisting on 18 Apr 1861 as a member of Company D, 11th IL Volunteer Infantry, with which he served for three months at Bird's Point.  He then re-enlisted in Company D, 74th Regiment of the IL Infantry on 07 Aug 1862, and served until the close of the war.  He was in the Army of the Cumberland, doing duty in KY, TE, AL, and GA.   For some time his regiment was under the command of General Buell, was afterward with Rosencrans, and later participated in the movement of General Sherman's army.   He took part in a number of hotly contested engagements, including those of Perryville, Stone River, Chickamauga, Missionary Ridge and the Atlanta campaign, after which the regiment returned to TE and was in the battles of Spring Hill, Franklin, Nashville, and many minor engagements.  Mr. BEATSON took part in every engagement with his company.  He was wounded at Missionary Ridge in the breast by a minie-ball, and also in the foot, and his clothes were pierced by 17 bullets.  He took a bullet out of his breast with his knife.  At Nashville, on 10 Jun 1865, he was honorably discharged under general orders from the war department, hostilities having been brought to a close.  While in the army he served as 1st sergeant for six months, was made 2nd Lieutenant in Apr 1863, and 1st Lieutenant on 23 Apr following, and from that time until the close of the war was in command of his company, his own valor often inspiring his men to deeds of bravery.

When the war was over Mr. BEATSON returned to his home and began farming in Burritt Township.  In the spring of 1866 he was elected collector of the township, and discharged the duties of that office in addition to his labors as a agriculturalist.   For three years he operated his father's land, and then in 1869 purchased a farm of 73 acres in Winnebago County, which he [p 547] further improved until 1875, when he sold the property and took up his abode south of the village of Winnebago, where he bought 120 acres of land.  Eventually he sold that and removed to Rockford in 1882.  The following year he was appointed to a position on the police force of this city, and acted in that capacity for six and a half years, while in 1889 he was elected county treasurer and remained the incumbent of the office for four years.  In 1896 he was chosen alderman of the 7th ward for two years' term.  He still owns 120 acres of fine farming land in Marion Township, Ogle County, together with a house on Cherry Street, one on Winnebago Street, a double house on Acorn Street, and his beautiful residence at No. 236 Avon Street.  Around this he has an acre of ground and the fine lawn is adorned with beautiful flowers and trees.  In fact the home is one of the attractive residences of this part of the city.

On 06 Dec 1865 Mr. BEATSON was united in marriage to Miss Jennie VAN ALSTINE, who was born in Montgomery County, NY, and was a daughter of Jacob G. VAN ALSTINE, who came from NY to IL and followed farming in Burritt Township.  For 40 years Mr. and Mrs. BEATSON traveled life's journey together and were then separated by the death of the wife, who passed away on 26 Feb 1905, leaving a husband and four daughters:  (1)  Rosella A., who is with her father, (2)  Daisy, the wife of James W. MILLER, whose home is near Portland [Multnomah County], OR; (3)  Margaret, the wife of Dr. W. S. HOWELL, of Trenton [Henry County], IA; and (4)  Harriet, who married Leamon WOODRUFF, who lives on Avon Street and, owning a team and wagon, is engaged in delivering goods for D. J. Stewart & Company.

In his political views Mr. BEATSON is a republican, and takes an active interest in the work of the party, serving as a member of the republican township committee.  In addition to the offices mentioned that he has filled, he has had charge of tax books for two yearss, and has handled $220,000 each year.  The trust reposed in him is well placed, for he displays unswerving fidelity to the public welfare.  Mr. BEATSON is a self-educated and self-made man, and desiring that his children should have good advantages, he has enabled them all to obtain good educations, one having been a student in Chicago, while all have attended the public schools of this county.  In a review of the life history of Mr. BEATSON, we notice that while he is now the possessor of valuable property, he started out for himself without financial assistance or the aide of influential friends, but has utilized his opportunities, and by good business ability has steadily worked his way upward until, with a comfortable competence, he is now enabled to live retired.

Mr. BEATSON is a member of the Nevius post, No. 1, G. A. R., of Rockford, of which he has been senior vice commander for several years.  He is also a member of the Masonic order, belong to Star in the East lodge, No. 166, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, Winnebago chapter, No. 24, Royal Arch Masons; Crusasder commandery, No. 17, Knights Templar; and Tebala Temple of the Mystic Shrine.  Mr. BEATSON is a member of the township republican committee and his attends the Grace Methodist Episcopal church.

2nd Biography of John W. BEATSON
Portrait & Biographical Record Winnebago & Boone Cos., IL. Chicago: Biographical Pub. Co., 1892, pp 886-889

John W. BEATSON, County Treasurer of Winnebago County [IL], was elected to that office in Nov 1890, which position he fills to the general satisfaction of the community.  In politics he is a decided Republican, and is recognized as a great worker in the ranks.   Being a Grand Army man, he is a member of Nevious Post No. 1, and Winnebago Lodge No. 31, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, in which order he has many friends by whom his is highly regarded.  He is also connected with Eastern Star Lodge No. 166, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, Winnebago Chapter No. 24, Royal Arch Masons, Crusader Commandery No. 17, Knights Templar, and Rockford Camp No. 51, Modern Woodmen of America.

Mr. BEATSON was born in Kinross-shire Scotland, 20 Apr 1840 [note the previous biography states his birth occurred in 1839], the son of William BEATSON, also a native of that place, as was his grandfather.  The father of our subject learned the trade of a stone mason, which he followed in his native land until 1843, when, with his wife and three children, he set sail from Edinboro and landed at NY, after a voyage of seven weeks.   Going to the town of Florida, Montgomery County, NY, Mr. BEATSON lived there for six years, when he came to Winnebago County [IL] by way of the [Great] Lakes to Milwaukee, and thence overland with teams to this section.  He bought 80 acres of Goverment land in what is now Burritt Township, where he at once erected a house of slabs and resided with his family for a number of years.  Later coming to Rockford, he lived retired until his decease, 06 Jun 1882.  His wife at the time of their marriage was known as Elizabeth WILSON, a native of Scotland; she now resides in Rockford, in the 78th year of her age.

John W. BEATSON was the second in order of birth of the parental family of seven children, his brothers and sister being George A., Janet, Agnes, David, Caroline, and Julia.   He was three years of age when brought to the New World, and thus has no recollection of his native land.  In 1859 Mr. BEATSON went to CO in company with five other gentlemen, they traveling with teams to Quincy, where they embarked on a steamboat to Hannibal, then by railroad to St. Joseph, MO, where they secured teams and journeyed across the plains.  At that time Denver was a city of wigwams, containing but one white man, who kept store in a log building.  Our subject, going to Gregory Diggings, engaged in quartz mining, remaining there for a year, when he returned and resumed farming on the old home farm. 

On 18 Apr 1861, at the first call for troops, Mr. BEATSON enlisted in Company D, 11th IL Infantry for three months.  He was mustered in at Springfield, whence he went to Bird's Point, where he remained until the expiration of his term of service, and receiving his discharge in Aug [1861], returned home and resumed farming until the following year, when he again became a member of Company D, 74th IL Infantry.  Going South with his regiment, our subject participated in all the marches and battles in which it was engaged until the close of the war.  Among the more important battles in which he fought we make mention of Stone River, Chatanooga, Missionary Ridge, and the Atlanta Campaign, and was later with the command of Thomas in the pursuit of Hood's army, and thus occurred the battles of Franklin and Nashville.  Being wounded at Missionary Ridge twice, our subject remained with his regiment in preference to going to the hospital.  He was appointed 1st Sergeant [p 889] at the organization of the regiment, and in Apr 1863 was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant, and again, in Apr 1864, was honored with the rank of 1st Lieutenant, commanding the company from Nov 1863 until his discharge at Nashville, TN, 10 Jun 1865.

Returning again to the peacful pursuits of farm life, Mr. BEATSON engaged in cultivating the soil until 1869, when he went to Winnebago Township and purchased a farm, upon which he resided until 1875, when he removed to another portion of the township, on a tract which came into his possession, and there made his home until 1882.  At that date coming to Rockford, our subject has been actively engaged in promoting its welfare.   On 14 Dec 1865 John W. BEATSON was united in marriage with Jennie E. VAN ALSTINE.   She is a native of Montgomery County, NY, and the daughter of Jacob G. and Margaret (COVENTRY) VAN ALSTINE.  To them have been born four children, Rosilla, Daisy, Margaret, and Hattie, who all reside with their parents.

Submitted by Cathy Kubly.