Among the pioneer wives and mothers who have obtained, as they deserve, ample recognition we trust in this work, may be most properly mentioned the subject of this notice who came to this county when Mt. Carroll was being transformed from an Indian village to a settlement of white people. She was born in Washington County, Md., Jan. 25, 1823, and lived there with her parents, Daniel and Christiana Ann (Ansbarger) Christian, until their emigration to the West, in 1838. She was then a young lady fifteen years of age, and has sojourned in this county a period of fifty-one years. Her father was a farmer by occupation, and upon coming to this region took up a tract of wild land from which he constructed a comfortable homestead, and where he spent his last days, passing away in 1849. The mother survived her husband a number of years, and further mention of them will be made in the sketch of Joseph Christian, found on another page in this volume.
Mrs. Sophia Christian remained a member of her fathers household until her marriage with Abram Beeler, which occurred on the 26th of November, 1846. Mr. Beeler was born in Washington County, Md., July 2, 1822, and lived there until a youth of eighteen years. He then removed with his parents to Ogle County, Ill., and they settled upon a tract of new land which the father took up from the Government. A few years later Abram came to this county, and settling in Mt. Carroll assisted in putting up some of its first buildings, including the old mill, and the first dwelling. He secured 160 acres of land north of the present town, where he erected a saw-mill which is now utilized for the grinding of wheat. He operated that three years before his marriage. Adjacent to the mill he put up a dwelling which the young people occupied three years, and then removed to Mt. Carroll. About this time in the year of 1850, Mr. Beeler, seized with the California gold fever, started overland for the Pacific slope, being about five months on the way. Upon his arrival there he went into the mountains and began mining, with fair success. He sojourned there fifteen months, and every two weeks managed to get a letter through home to his family. Upon his return, which journey he accomplished by the water route, he purchased the property now occupied by Mrs. Beeler.
Mr. Beeler then engaged in general merchandising in company with his brother, Peter, they operating under the firm name of Beeler Bros. Mr. Beeler had also learned dentistry, at which he employed himself as opportunity offered. Upon the outbreak of the Civil War he enlisted in the 34th Illinois Infantry, going in as Quartermaster and was soon made Paymaster. In the interval he spent some time at home. His headquarters were in St. Louis, and after a time he was sent to Memphis, Tenn., to pay off the troops there. Upon his return on the boat Belle of St. Louis, he and his men were attacked by Guerrillas, and Maj. Beeler was fatally wounded by being shot. He in turn shot the Captain of the Guerrillas, and regained possession of his boat, but was himself mortally wounded and died during the night of Oct. 26, 1864.
Maj. Beeler, as he was generally known, was a citizen honorable and upright in character, a kind and indulgent husband and father, and a man generally esteemed wherever known. By his untimely death his widow was left with five sons, the youngest a babe of two and one-half months. Four of these are still living. William J., married Miss Amelia Moser, and died leaving one child; he was a dentist by profession. Frank A. married Miss Clara Kellogg, is the father of two children, and a resident of Missouri, where he is employed as a jeweler. Albert E. is married and engaged in merchandising in Missouri, and is married to Delle Metz. Eddie A. married Miss Nellie Doughty, and is engaged as a traveling salesman; he makes his home in Mt. Carroll. Abram D., remains at home with his mother, and is a musician.
Maj. Beeler was the son of Jacob Beeler, a native of Maryland, who owned and operated a mill on Beaver Creek, hear Hagerstown, and also one at Antietam. After coming to Illinois he lived on a farm in Ogle County many years, then sold out, retired from active labor and spent his last days with his daughter, Mrs. Sarah Lowman, near Lanark; dying there at the advanced age of eighty-five years. His wife had preceded him to the silent land some years.
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