Transcribed from 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


James Howard Beegle

JAMES HOWARD BEEGLE. While the development of oil properties has not been, perhaps, so spectacular in Kansas as in some other states, it has been a steady, remunerative business since the beginning and the work has enlisted the interest and services of some of the most farsighted men of the state after they have had experiences in the same line in other and older sections. One of these keen business men is James Howard Beegle, oil well contractor and producer and owner of numerous profitable producing wells, in the neighborhood of Neodesha, Kansas, which has been his home since 1903.

James Howard Beegle was born at Bedford, Pennsylvania, December 13, 1867. His parents were Frederick J. and Rebecca (Shoemaker) Beegle. It was the great-great-grandfather, Frederick Beegle, who was born in Germany, who was the first of the name to come to America. He settled in Pennsylvania and there he and his descendants for the most part, became farmers and prospered greatly. Joseph F. Beegle, the grandfather of James Howard Beegle, was born on his father's farm near Bedford, Pennsylvania, in 1815, spent his life there and died in 1897.

Frederick J. Beegle, father of James H., was born on his father's farm near Bedford in 1841 and he also passed his entire life there, dying in 1915, respected by all who knew him. He was a democrat in his political views and for many years was a member of the Order of Odd Fellows. He was reared in the Lutheran faith and was a liberal supporter of the church. He married Rebecca Shoemaker, who was born near Bedford, Pennsylvania in 1843 and died there in 1908. They were the parents of the following children: Daniel C, who is an oil operator, residing at Coalinga, California; James Howard; Emma Laura, who is the wife of J. T. Rogers, who is in the real estate business at Everett, Washington; Louisa Virginia, who is the wife of Elmer Killinger, who is in the employ of the Westinghouse Company at Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania; Elizabeth Sophia, who is the wife of Scott Fetter, who is a farmer living near Bedford; and Charles, who remains on the old homestead.

James Howard Beegle was reared on his father's farm and followed agricultural pursuits there until he was twenty-five years of age, in the meanwhile obtaining a good common school education. He was less interested in farming or, perhaps was more ambitious than some of his kindred, for he gave heed to the stories told of fortunes being made in the oil fields and finally started out to investigate for himself. Like many others Mr. Beegle probably had many disappointments as he followed the oil business in Ohio, in Indiana and in Wyoming, but he has had a life filled with experiences and has prospered to a much larger extent than he could have hoped to do even with a valuable Bedford County farm. His producing wells east, south and north of Neodesha are substantial properties. He is well known all through the Kansas oil fields and has drilled hundreds of wells here and at other points. He is considered an authority on the oil industry here, knows its past and is frequently consulted as to its probable future.

In April, 1914, Mr. Beegle was married to Mrs. Elsie (Nichols) Cowdery, who is a daughter of H. A. and Lucinda (Milliron) Nichols. Mr. Beegle owns his comfortable residence at No. 202 East Main Street, Neodesha, has other city interests and also has an interest in the old home farm in Bedford County.

In politics Mr. Beegle has always been a democrat. He is serving as commissioner of public utilities at Neodesha. He is a valued and useful member of the Commercial Club. His fraternal connections are with the Knights of Pythias, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and the Masons. He belongs to Harmony Lodge No. 94, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons; Orient Chapter, No. 72, Royal Arch Masons; Ab-Del-Kader Commandery, No. 27, Knights Templar; Mirza Temple, Mystic Shrine, at Pittsburg, Kansas; Fort Scott Consistory thirty-second degree, and to Wichita Council, Wichita, Kansas.


Transcribed from volume 4, page 2159 of 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; originally transcribed October 1997, modified 2003 by Carolyn Ward.

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