Henry S. Beck, retired from active business life, has resided at Independence since 1904. He was born in Lancaster, Fairfield county, Ohio, April 12, 1837, the son of Jacob and Susan (Kerns) Beck. His paternal grandparents were natives of Switzerland, who emigrated from Europe when their son, Jacob, was only a child of four, and located in Fairfield county, where Jacob was reared, educated, and after attaining his majority, married Susan Kerns, whose ancestors were among the fine old "Pennsylvania Dutch" families of the Keystone State. Jacob Beck was a blacksmith by trade in early life. He was public spirited and served as county treasurer of his county for six years, and thereafter farmed. Seven children were born to Jacob and Susan Beck. The parents celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of their marriage in 1876. The father lived to be ninety-five years of age and the mother nearly eighty.
Henry S. Beck was the fourth child and third son. His boyhood was spent on the farm, attending school in the winter, and working at farm tasks during the summer. At the outbreak of the Civil war, when twenty-four years of age, he responded to the call for volunteers in the defense of the Union. He enlisted as a private in Company I, Forty-third Ohio infantry, in November, 1861, and was promoted from one rank to another until commissioned captain, in which latter capacity he served until mustered out of the service at the close of the war, in July, 1865. With his regiment, he was present at many of the fiercest battles of the war, was under General Sherman during his famous march from Atlanta to the sea, and participated in the grand review at Washington, D. C.
After leaving the army he returned to his home in Ohio, where in 1868 he married Julia M., the daughter of Robert and Mary Wilson. Mrs. Beck was born in Fairfield, Ohio, was reared and married there. Two children were born unto Mr. and Mrs. Beck. One died in infancy; the other, Nettie by given name, is the wife of W. A. Spencer, of Independence. Mrs. Beck died in 1876. Mr. Beck farmed in Ohio after the Civil war until 1880, in which year he removed from Ohio to Nebraska, locating at Lincoln.
In 1883 he located at Pierce, Neb., and became the organizer of the State Bank, of that city, of which he became president. In 1892 the bank was reorganized as the National Bank of Pierce, and he retained the presidency of the reorganized institution. While in Nebraska he gained a wide reputation as a successful banker and financier. About 1904 Mr. Beck sold his interests in Nebraska and came to Independence, Kan., to make his home with his daughter, and to live in retirement from active business. He has always taken an active part in politics and was chairman of the Republican central committee in Pierce county, Nebraska, for over sixteen years. He never sought office, but at the earnest so-[sic; transcriber's note: there appears to be missing words at this point] in Nebraska, was elected by a flattering majority, and served with distinction as state senator. For years Mr. Beck took a leading part in educational matters, served on the board of education eighteen years, at Pierce. In religious faith he is a Presbyterian, and he is one of the generous contributors to the church.Pages 262-263 from volume III, part 1 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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