BEECHER, Ransom

1st Biography of Ranson BEECHER 
Portrait & Biographical Record Winnebago & Boone Cos., IL. Chicago: Biographical Pub. Co., 1892, pp 261-262

It is probable that no resident of Winnebago Township [Winnebago County, IL], is more widely known than Mr. BEECHER, a retired farmer residing on section 21.  He was born in Putnam, Washington County, NY, 22 Jan 1821, and was a son of Isaac BEECHER, whose birth occurred in CT in 1799.  The grandfather of our subject, David BEECHER, it is believed, was also a native of the Nutmeg State [CT], where he was married to a Miss HAWKINS.  He later removed to VT in 1807, and was one of the pioneers of Rutland County, purchasing a tract of land in the town of Castleton, in addition to which he kept a public house.  He later emigrated to NY State and settled in Putnam Township.   After the decease of his wife he returned to CT, where he died.

The father of our subject was eight years of age when his parents removed to VT, and there resided until reaching his majority, when he went [p 262] to Putnam, Washington County, NY, and located upon a tract of land which his father had previously purchased.  In 1826 he removed to Genesee County [NY], buying timber land from the Holland Purchase Company, upon which he moved his family the following year, making the trip by the way of the Champlain and Erie Canal.  Mr. BEECHER resided in Pembroke [Genesee County, NY] for five years, and then returning to Putnam, purchased a farm about one mile from his father's residence, and which was beautifully located on Lake George.  After a stay of five years he sold out and returned to VT, and lived for nine years in Castleton [Rutland County].  In 1846 Isaac BEECHER came to IL and secured a tract of Government land five miles south of Yorkville, Kendall County.  At the expiration of that time, he made his advent into Winnebago County, purchasing land in what is now Winnebago Township, and a few years later he moved to NE, locating in York County, where he purchased a home and resided until his decease, 19 Sep 1883.  The maiden name of his wife was Minerva GORHAM, whose birth occurred in Fairfield [Franklin County], VT, in Jan 1799.  She was the daughter of Hezekiah GORHAM, and departed this life in York, [York County], NE, in Feb 1890, at the age of 91 years.

Ransom BEECHER was the eldest of the four children born to his parents, his brothers and sisters being Charles, Betsey R., and Daniel I.  He was 15 years of age when his parents moved to VT, prior to this time however, receiving a good education in the pioneer schools of his native place.  He remembers that his mother did all the cooking for the family in an old-fashioned fireplace, and carded, spun, and wove the material for her children's clothes.

Ransom  BEECHER started out in the world for himself in 1845, and the following year came to IL with the family, where he entered a tract of Government land, which was located about five miles south of Yorkville.  The first two years after his settlement here, Chicago was the nearest market for grain, which was conveyed thither by means of ox teams.   When the Michigan & Illinois Canal was completed, Morris, 14 miles away, was the nearest market, though he frequently went to Joliet or Lockport [both in Will County], 20 miles away.  In 1853 he sold his land, 100 acres, 60 of which he had broken and fenced, for $10 per acre.  He then came to Winnebago Township, and with his brother, Charles, bought 200 acres of land at $15 per acre, which was located on section 33.   The brothers continued together for a year, when they divided the estate, each taking 100 acres, and farmed until 1863, when Ransom sold his portion and became the owner of a tract on sections 13 and 24 in Winnebago Township.  There they resided until 1878, when he rented the farm and removed to Winnebago village, where he lived for five years, at the end of which time he returned to the farm and spent the following two years.   Mr. BEECHER then rented his estate and bought his pleasant home on section 21, where he is living retired.

On 12 Mar 1844 Ransom BEECHER and Sarah A. DRAKE, a native of Carleton [Castleton, Rutland County], VT, were united in marriage.  [Her middle name was Ann.]  They are the parents of two children, Sarah E. and Inez E., the former of whom married George HOLLENBECK and is the mother of five children, namely:  William R., Frank, Effie A., and Artha.  Inez [born 30 May 1855 in Winnebago County, IL] married William T. SPEAKER, and has four children:  Clifford, Faith, Ethel, and an infant not yet named.   Mr. BEECHER votes the Republican ticket, and is greatly respected in this locality.

2nd Biography of Ranson BEECHER
Past and Present of the City of Rockford & Winnebago County, IL, C. A. Church.   Chicago: Clarke, 1905, pp 782-785

A retired farmer living on section 13, Winnebago Township [Winnebago County, IL], Ransom BEECHER was born 22 Jan 1821 in Washington County, NY, the family home lying between Lake Champlain and Lake George.  His parents were Isaac and Minerva (GORHAM) BEECHER, who came to IL in 1846, settling in Kendall County, where the father secured government land and engaged in farming.  Their home was near Oswego, 20 miles from Joliet and 15 miles from Aurora [both in Will County, IL].  The father, Ransom BEECHER, and his brothers all took claims.  They became pioneer settlers of the community, living there when the homes were widely scattered.  They did teaming in Chicago, hauling their wheat to that market, and in Kendall County they remained for seven years, when in 1853 they all moved to Winnebago County, with the exception of Daniel.  Isaac BEECHER and his wife afterward left IL and took up their abode in York [York County], NE, where they resided up to the time of their death.  Isaac BEECHER passed away in 1883, at the age of 84 years, his birth having occurred in CT in the fall of 1799, while his wife died in 1891, when more than 91 years of age.  Both were representatives of old New England families, for the grandfather of our subject went from CT to VT in 1807, when the section of the country in which he settled was new and unimproved, and the GORHAMs had [p 785] located in the same state several years before.  Mr. and Mrs. Isaac BEECHER were the parents of three sons and a daughter, of whom Ransom is the eldest.  Charles, who resided in the village of Winnebago, worked in a wagon shop there with Isaac JOHNS for some time.  He afterward went to NE, where he followed his trade for a number of years, but about five years ago he removed to Pasadena [Los Angeles County], CA, where he now makes his home.   He has reached the age of 81 years.  Betsy died in York, NE, about seven years ago.  Daniel I. was a resident of Kendall County, IL, until about 1854, when he went south into MS, where he purchased a place.  Later however he removed to AR, where he resided upon a farm until his death, which occurred in Mar 1905, when he was 76 years of age.

Ransom BEECHER spent the days of his boyhood and youth in his parents' home in the east, and with the family came to IL in 1846, being at that time about 25 years of age.  As before stated, he secured a claim and was engaged in general agricultural pursuits in Kendall County until his removal to Winnebago County in 1853.  As a companion and helpmate he chose Miss Sarah A. DRAKE, who was born and reared in Rutland County, VT, and was a daughter of Julius and Sarah (TOMLINSON) DRAKE.  Her brother came to IL with the BEECHER family, but soon afterward located in MI, where he resided until his death, which occurred a number of years ago.  Mrs. BEECHER was one of a large family of children, but she and her sister, Mrs. Julia O. THOMAS, are the only ones now living.   She passed the 84th anniversary of her birth in Jun 1905.  Unto Mr. and Mrs. BEECHER were born three children.  The son, Edgar W., served during the Civil War with the IL troops, and later located near Windsor [Henry County], MO, where he died about 20 years ago.  Inez was the wife of Dr. SPEAKER, of Manson [County], IA, and they have four children:  Clifford, a civil engineer by profession, is now in the employ of a large company; Faith, Lelia, and Ethel are all at home.  Editha married George HOLLENBECK, a famer residing on section 13, Winnebago Township, and they have four children:  William R. married Jennie McLEASH, and has recently bought his grandfather's farm of 120 acres.  He has five children:  Ransom B., Lila M., Thelma B., Norma B., and Charles W., all at home.

Politically Mr. BEECHER is a republican, interested in the success of the party.  He has served in local township offices and as school director, and has ever been actively interested in matters pertaining to the public progress, giving his aid to many movements for the general good.  He has now passed the 84th milestone on life's journey, and he and his wife are among the most venerable citizens of the county.  They have long traveled life's journey together, sharing with each other the joys and sorrows, the adversity and the prosperity which checker the careers of all.

Submitted by Cathy Kubly.