Capt. M. M. Beck, Civil war veteran and pioneer Kansas journalist, is a native of Indiana. He was born in Wayne county, November 22, 1838, a son of William and Catherine (Nethercutt) Beck, the former a native of New Jersey and the latter of Virginia. The Beck family were very early settlers in Indiana, William Beck being brought to that State by his parents, who settled there in 1820. Captain Beck, whose name introduces this review, received his education in the district schools of Indiana, spending his early boyhood days on the farm, and later had the advantages of a high school training, in the Bainbridge High School. In 1856, when eighteen years old, he obtained a position as clerk in a general store at Bainbridge, Ind., where he was engaged for three years, when he became a member of th[sic] firm of W. T. Scott & Co., general merchants at Bainbridge. He was thus engaged when the Civil war came on, and at the first call for volunteers, enlisted on April 18, 1861 in Company K, Sixteenth Regiment, Indiana infantry, for a term of one year. This regiment did service in the Army of the Potomac, and operated chiefly within the vicinity of the National Capitol. At the expiration of his term of enlistment Captain Beck returned to his Indiana home and with others raised a company of artillery which was mustered into the United States service, August 20, 1862, as the Eighteenth Indiana Battery, and Mr. Beck became senior second lieutenant, at the organization. One year later he was promoted to junior first lieutenant, and shortly after the battle of Mossy Creek, Captain Scott, of the Eighteenth Indiana Battery, was severely wounded, and Mr. Beck was promoted to captain, commanding that battery until the close of the war. This battery did effective service throughout the war. They took an important part in approximately, fifty battles, and during the entire war they were never driven from a position which they had taken, although they were charged, time and again, but always succeeded in holding their position. Among some of the important engagements in which Captain Beck's command took part, might be mentioned Hoover's Gap, Chattanooga and Chickamauga. They fired the first gun during the latter engagement. They were in the campaign against Generals Wheeler and Longstreet, to the relief of Burnside, Mossy Creek and later, was with Sherman as far as Atlanta, Ga.; then with Thomas, at Nashville, and later fought under General Wilson at Selma, Montgomery, West Point and Macon, and upon reaching the latter place, to their surprise, they learned that the war was over, and that Generals Lee and Johnson had surrendered three weeks, previously. Shortly after this the company returned to Indianapolis, Ind., where it was mustered out of service and discharged June 30, 1865. Captain Beck has in his possession, the original muster out roll of his company. At the close of the war he returned to Bainbridge, Ind., and engaged in the general mercantile business, in partnership with Capt. J. A. Scott. This arrangement continued until 1869, when Captain Beck came to Kansas, locating near Bateman School House, Jackson county, and about a year later removed to Holton, and engaged in the drug business which he owned until 1884. He received the appointment of postmaster from President Grant, in 1873, and conducted the office in connection with his drug store for a time. He served as postmaster until 1886, with the exception of about six months, from February until July, 1875. On March 2, 1875, Captain Beck and J. W. Shiner, established the Holton "Recorder." At that time there was another paper published in Holton known as the Holton "Express. Five weeks later Messrs. Beck & Shiner bought the "Express," and consolidated it with the "Recorder," and thus the "Recorder" was the only paper published in Jackson county for about two years. The "Recorder" began its career with an old style Washington hand press and a Ruggles 10x7 job press, and the circulation of the paper was about 500. With this start, and under the able management of Captain Beck, who bought his partner's interest in 1881, the "Recorder" has gone on in its development, until it is now the leading weekly newspaper published in Northern Kansas. The plant is equipped with electric power, modern machinery, linotype machines, etc., and in addition to their newspaper equipment, their job printing department is equal to any, to be found, in the average newspaper office. The political policy of the paper has been, consistently Republican. In 1896, Captain Beck took his son, William T. Beck, in as partner, and since that time, they have jointly conducted the "Recorder." Captain Beck was married September 1, 1866, to Miss Mary H. Scott, a native of Putnam county, Indiana, where she was reared and educated in the public schools of Bainbridge, and later attended the Presbyterian College at Wareland, Ind. She was a sister of Capt. J. A. Scott, and daughter of William T. and Sarah (Sellers) Scott, natives of Kentucky. To Captain and Mrs. Beck have been born six children: Edwin, died at the age of fourteen months; Edward Scott, managing editor of the Chicago Tribune, Chicago, Ill.; Martha Milton, resides at home; William Thornton, associated with his father in publishing the Holton "Recorder"; Clara Mary, married John D. Myers, attorney of Kansas City, Mo., and Lillian Sarah, married Prof. E. L. Holton, dean of the Educational Extension Department of Agriculture of the Kansas State Agricultural College, Manhattan. The wife and mother passed away August 16, 1906, at the close of a useful Christian life. Captain Beck is one of the best known newspaper men in the State. He has always had faith in Kansas and has lived to see his fondest hope realized, in the development of this great State and its institutions. He has taken an active part in politics and his publication has had considerable to do with the shaping of many political issues, but he has never used the columns of his paper to take undue advantage of a political opponent, nor never resorted to dishonorable methods. He served on the Republican State Central Committee four years, and was chairman of the Republican Congressional Committee eight years, and served as chairman of the Republican County Committee for a number of years. He has been a delegate to many Republican State conventions, and on several occasions served as an alternate delegate to national conventions. He served on the Board of Directors of the State penitentiary during Governor Morrill's administration, receiving the appointment from that executive. He has always been active in the affairs of Holton and Jackson county, and, at all times, has had the best interests of the community at heart, and if he has made mistakes they have been mistakes of the "head," and not of the "heart". He is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and is chairman of the board of trustees, and his fraternal affiliations are with the Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, and the Grand Army of the Republic.Pages 242-244 from a supplemental volume 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 October 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM196. It is a single volume 3.
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