GEORGE N. BEAUCHAMP, a pioneer and prominent citizen of Morgan County, Ill., resides on section 26, township 16, range 12. He is a native of Maryland, and was born Dec. 16, 1834. He was a son of Richard and Zipporah Beauchamp, both of whom are supposed to have been natives of Maryland. When about four months old, the subject of this sketch came with his parents direct from Maryland to Morgan County, Ill. His father settled about five miles northeast of the residence of George N., and here resided until his death, which occurred in 1854, his wife dying five days before him.
When Galusha A. Grow, of Pennsylvania introduced the Homestead Bill in the House of Representatives there was a determined opposition to the measure, and especially by those who were not friends of free labor. While Illinois did not reap a great deal of benefit from this most beneficent law, the great undeveloped West did. The opponents of the homestead act have lived to see that provisions that Mr. Grow's proposition was a wise one, and had its provisions been in force a generation before it became operative, the pioneers of Illinois would have been saved the great hardship of paying for their lands. It is true that $1.25 an acre is a small price, but dollars were more difficult for the Illinois pioneer to secure than anything else. Produce was practically worth nothing. Corn in an early day has been known to sell for five cents a bushel, wheat for twenty-five cents a bushel, and port for $1.50 a hundred. This will exhibit the fact that ready cash was almost impossible to get. When the land came into market it had to be paid for, and the money vultures of the early period were relentless in their demand for interest. As high as forty per cent was asked and received, and it is easy to conclude that such usurious interest was a burden too hard for a pioneer to bear, and to unload his burden, many an early settler was obliged to relinquish his land to the heartless money lender, after braving the trials incident to opening a new farm. This was one of the manifold trials of a pioneer, and none knew it better than Richard Beauchamp.
George N. Beauchamp was the second son of the family, and was reared to manhood surrounded by the difficulties that invariable assail the early settler. He received his education in the primitive schools that existed when he was a boy, but he has steadily increased his store of knowledge, and is now what may be termed a well-posted man of affairs. He was married Aug. 17, 1856, to Elizabeth Smith, daughter of John and Malinda Smith. Eight children have been born to this couple, five of whom are living: Sarah, wife of William Burrus; John married Anna M. Streuter, and lives in this township; Lydia, Frank and Florry. Mr. Beauchamp is the owner of 320 acres of land, half of which comprises his homestead.
There is too much of a disposition in these days to call men "self-made.: There are many people who are called self-made men whose history will not bear out the title, but Mr. Beauchamp by his own industry and shrewd financiering has accumulated his splendid possessions by the inherent qualities that surround such men as he. Himself and wife are devoted members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, in which organization he has held the office of Steward. He has also served as Class Leader. He pays but little attention to politics, but his abilities have often been called in requisition by his neighbors. He has held the office of Drainage Commissioner in his district for three years. He is, at this writing (1889) serving as School Director, and has held that office for twelve years, and is now School Trustee. In most of his undertakings, Mr. Beauchamp has been successful and he deserves his success. In politics he is a stanch Republican.