Transcribed by: Ellen Booth.Page 335
JOHN T. BEEKMAN, now deceased, was for many years a respected and worthy citizen of Menard county and was also an honored veteran of the Civil war. He possessed many sterling traits of character that gained him the good will and confidence of those with whom he was associated and his memory is yet held dear by those who knew him.
Mr. Beekman was born at Clary's Grove, Menard county, on the 28th of March, 1843, a son of William T. and Mary (Spears) Beekman. The father was a native of New Jersey and was of German descent, while the Spears family was of English lineage and formerly lived in Virginia. The maternal grandmother of Mr. Beekman was in her maidenhood Elizabeth Todd. William T. Beekman removed from New Jersey to Illinois in 1836, settling at Clary's Grove, where he purchased land and began the development of a farm. Later he removed to Petersburg, subsequently again engaged in farming, and still later he took up his abode in Petersburg, where he continued to reside for forty years.
In his parents' home John T. Beekman spent the days of his boyhood and youth, and his preliminary education, acquired in the public schools, was supplemented by study in Jacksonville College. He was but nineteen years of age when, prompted by a spirit of patriotism, he offered his services to the government in defense of the Union, enlisting in the One Hundred and Fourteenth Illinois Infantry as a sergeant. He went through the war without a wound, although he participated in a number of important engagements and was often in the thickest of the fight. He was in the battles of Vicksburg, Wyatts, Pocahontas, Tupelo, Oldtown Creek, Waterford, Blue Creek, Nashville and the siege of Mobile. He never faltered in the performance of any duty, and when hostilities were over and the stars and stripes were floating triumphantly over what had been the capital of the Southern Confederacy, he received an honorable discharge on the 3d of August, 1865. To the defenders of the Union the country owes a debt of gratitude which can never be paid, and the name of Mr. Beekman is upon the roll of honored dead who made creditable records as soldiers of the Civil war.
The war over, Mr. Beekman returned to his home. He was married on the 7th of February, 1867, to Miss Sarah C. Colby, a daughter of Jonathan and Lydia (Ingalls) Colby. She was the third in order of birth in their family of six children: William Davis, who lives in Genesco, Henry county, Illinois; Mary F., who resides in Petersburg township; Mrs. Beekman; Henry Herrick, who resides upon a farm bordering Rock creek; Lydia Maria, who married H. P. Rucker and resides in Boston, Massachusetts; and George Grovenor, who is residing upon the old home farm. Mrs. Beekman was educated in the country schools, in Petersburg and at Indian Point, having good educational privileges. By her marriage she became the mother of four children: Lucy Maria is the wife of Thomas M. Robertson, and they reside with her mother. They have three children-Harris M., eleven years of age; Arthur B., aged eight years; and John T., who died in infancy. Flora Bell, Mrs. Beekman's second daughter, died in infancy. Francis Ingalls also died in infancy. J. Colby Beekman married Kate E. Golden and resides upon a farm north of his mother's home.
Mr. Beekman was a charter member of the Knights of Pythias fraternity and maintained pleasant relations with his old army comrades through his membership in the Grand Army of the Republic, being one of the founders of the post at Tallula. His political views were in accord with the principles of the Republican party, to which he gave an unfaltering support and he belonged to the Baptist church, of which his widow is also a member. After his return from the war he continuously followed farming until his death, which occurred July 10, 1888, his remains being interred at Rosehill cemetery. He had ever been found trustworthy in his business transactions and his farming interests were carried on systematically and carefully, so that he became the possessor of a good and well improved property. His friends found him faithful, his county knew him as a loyal citizen, but his best traits were reserved for his home and family, and his wife and children found in him a devoted husband and father.