Andrew G. Beck

ANDREW G. BECK is entitled to distinction among the pioneers of Saline County, Kansas, where his family located, among the first of the Swedish colonists, nearly half a century ago. Mr. Beck's material affairs have been wonderfully prospered. At the same time he has shouldered a large share of those responsibilities which devolve upon good citizenship. In helping himself he has helped others and his name is everywhere spoken with honor and respect.

His birth occurred in Sweden May 20, 1860. His parents were Nelse Johnson and Maria (Johnson) Beck. His father was born March 1, 1832. It was in 1868, when Andrew was eight years of age, and after he had learned his first lessons in school, that the little family left their native land and immigrated to America. Nelse Beck was the first settler to locate and remain in the Salemsburg region of the Swedish colony in Saline County. He secured a tract of government land in Smolan Township. He had been able to live and support his family in Sweden, but had barely enough capital to get them all across the ocean and out to Kansas. Then followed years of effort, each one seeing him a little further along the road to prosperity. He had the trials and misfortunes of the pioneer, but he surmounted all obstacles and in time was one of the largest land owners and prosperous farmers of Saline County. Outside of his business and the affection he bestowed upon his family, his life interest was chiefly expressed in devotion to his church. He was one of the early members of the Salemsburg Lutheran Church and served as an official for a number of years. Later he took an active part in the organization of the Swedish Lutheran Church at Smolan. He typified the progressive spirit whether in community affairs or on his own land as a farmer and stockman. This honored old timer died at his homestead in Washington Township of Saline County a mile and a half west of Smolan on March 20, 1912, when a little past eighty years of age. He was one of the organizers of the Smolan State Bank at Smolan, and was filling the position of director at the time of his death. In 1859 Nelse Beck was married in Sweden to Miss Maria Johnson, who was born in the old country April 7, 1831. Of the five children born to their union Andrew G. is the oldest. Anna Maria, the second, born September 2,1863, was married in 1885 to John Nelson and they now live at Smolan. John Victor, the second son, was born Christmas Day, December 25, 1866, is now a merchant at Americus, Kansas, and was married in 1891 to Hilda Carlson. Oscar Emil, born April 3, 1870, was married March 16, 1892, to Jennie Oberg. Emma Christina, the youngest, was born August 20, 1873, and in 1897 became the wife of Frank Peterson, a banker and merchant at Marquette, Kansas.

Andrew G. Beck arrived with the family at Salina on the 10th of October, 1868. His boyhood years were spent on his father's homestead in Saline County, and he lived at home until 1884. In the meantime he had attended the local schools. Hie strength had been developed by active contact with the work of the field and around the home. In 1884 he bought land of his own a mile west of Smolan. That locality has been his home now for over thirty years. His interests, however, have been greatly extended. Farming and stock raising have constituted his chief pursuit and he has done a great deal to raise the standard of livestock in his section and has both blooded cattle and swine, specializing in the Shorthorn cattle. His farm now consists of 480 acres, and its improvements are of the most substantial character.

Mr. Beck is a director of the Smolan State Bank, and is director and treasurer of the Farmers Union and Co-operative Company, a large firm of grain dealers at Smolan. In a public way he has served as clerk of Washington Township and for thirteen years has been trustee and treasurer of the Swedish Lutheran Church of Smolan. In political affiliation he is a democrat.

On March 16, 1892, at Salina, he married Miss Aurora Rosalia Regnell. Mrs. Beck was born in Smolan, Sweden, July 1, 1870, a daughter of C. J. Regnell, now deceased. Mr. and Mrs. Beck have taken great pains in the training of their children, and their family circle comprises five young people, some of whom are already in homes of their own. Gustav Reuben, the oldest, was born August 23, 1893, and was married February 16, 1917, to Miss Lela Cossel. Joseph Emanuel, the second son, was born October 23, 1895. Edith Aurora was born November 22, 1899. Harold Leonard was born July 5, 1902, and Carl Waldmar was born January 31, 1908.


A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. Chicago: Lewis Publishing Company, copyright 1918; transcribed 1997.
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