Alice M. (Beachly) Berkeley

MRS. ALICE M. (BEACHLY) BERKELEY. Talented in music and a leading spirit in the activities that make the modern woman who has social advantages very different from her sisters of some years ago, Mrs. Alice M. (Beachly) Berkeley, of Burr Oak, needs no introduction to many residents of Jewell County. For a number of years she has occupied her beautiful and hospitable home, which is situated on the corner of Lewis and Water streets, Burr Oak, and is one of this city's most esteemed and admired ladies. Mrs. Berkeley was born at Meyersdale, Pennsylvania, and is a daughter of G. L. Beachly and the widow of Mahlon C. Berkeley, who was the founder of the Jewell County National Bank.

Alice M. Beachly was the eldest born of her parents' three children. A sister, Berniece, died at the age of four years and six months. A brother, Eugene M., is a bookkeeper with the C. R. Cook Paint Company at Kansas City, Missouri. Her father, G. L. Beachly, who at present makes his home with her, was born at Meyersdale, Pennsylvania, March 24, 1848, and was reared there. In the same state he was married to Annie E. Beachy, an interesting association of names, who was born at Salisbury, Pennsylvania, February 17, 1856. The parents of G. L. Beachly were William M. and Sallie (Lichty) Beachly, both of whom were of German descent and were born at Meyersdale, where he followed the tanning business and died there. His wife died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Mary Susan Saylor, at Morrill, Kansas, at the age of sixty-two years. G. L. Beachly assisted his father in the tannery for a time and then did clerical work for a printing company at Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. In 1881 he came west to Beatrice, Nebraska, where he went into the real estate business, in which he continued until 1910, when he retired and came to Burr Oak. In politics he is a republican and still maintains his faith in its principles and keeps a lively interest in all that engages public attention.

In girlhood Alice M. Beachly attended the public schools of Beatrice, Nebraska, and was graduated from the high school in the class of 1897. Her musical gifts were disclosed early and almost from childhood she was a student of instrumental music, devoting much attention to the development of her talent. She taught one term of school after her graduation, nine miles northeast of Beatrice, but the most of her teaching experience has been instructing in music. She is highly valued in musical circles at Burr Oak and very accommodatingly responds when called upon to be an accompanist at recitals. She is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church and is the church organist.

At Beatrice, Nebraska, in 1904, Miss Beachly was married to Mahlon C. Berkeley, who was born October 15, 1862, at Meyersdale, Pennsylvania, and died at Burr Oak, Kansas, October 17, 1911. He was a man of scholarship, a graduate of Juniata College at Huntingdon, Pennsylvania, and taught eight terms of school before he moved to Nebraska. He located at Ruskin, Nebraska, and entered the banking business and also founded a bank at Byron, Nebraska, and conducted both until 1891, when he sold his Nebraska interests and came to Burr Oak. Here, in the founding of the Jewell County Bank he provided a most needful medium of business at the time, and in its nationalized character it yet illustrates the soundness of his business judgment. He was president of this institution at the time of his death, it having become the Jewell County National Bank seven years before.

Mr. Berkeley was a republican in his political opinions but was never willing to accept political office. He was a man of deep religious conviction, early in life belonging to the Church of the Brethren but later, after coming to Burr Oak, uniting with the Methodist Episcopal Church. He was very benevolent and bountiful in his charities. For many years he was identified with Masonry and was a member of Concordia Chapter, Royal Arch Masons. He was a director in the Jewell County Telephone Company. Mr. Berkeley was thrice married, first to Ellen Beachy, who died at Salisbury, Pennsylvania. She was a cousin of Mrs. Alice M. Berkeley's mother. She left one son, Robert E. Berkeley, who is a capitalist residing at Los Angeles, California. The second marriage of Mahlon C. Berkeley was to Olive Livengood, who died without issue at Buffalo, New York, in 1901. No children were born to his third marriage.

Mrs. Berkeley owns her spacious residence at Burr Oak, which was completely remodeled by Mr. Berkeley, and she has a large amount of farm property in different sections of the state, among which may be included: 320 acres situated twelve miles northeast of Goodland, in Sherman County; 160 acres in Decatur County; and 160 acres lying in Kearney County, Kansas. She has proved an excellent business woman and manages her property wisely.

The Excelsior Club of Burr Oak has many earnest and intellectual members and its aims and accomplishments led to its acceptance by the Federation of Clubs, and for seven years Mrs. Berkeley was president of this club and one of the hardest workers for its success. She belongs also to Eureka Chapter No. 69, Order of the Eastern Star, Burr Oak, of which she is worthy matron.

Mrs. Berkeley is a descendant of parentage whose ancestors on both sides were in this country before the Revolutionary war.


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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