CHARLES BEERY is one of the few men whose birth occurred in Kansas in its territorial days and who still resides in the state. He is now using his time in looking after his splendid farming interests in Belpre Township, his lands lying adjacent to the town of that name. He began farming as a result of changing conditions in Western Kansas, having formerly been an active cattle man and he knows the times and scenes of the ranch and range as intimately as any other Kansan. Mr. Beery is a very successful man without the appearance of it. Anyone unacquainted with his rating might class him as one who had lived in close touch with poverty all his life. He did live on intimate terms with poverty for many years and has proved a wizard in the handling of business affairs so as to acquire a fortune.
Mr. Beery was born in Franklin County, Kansas February 28, 1859. His father, Reuben Beery, was a native of Fairfield County, Ohio. In 1848 the latter went to California, crossing the plains with an emigrant train and taking a bunch of horses overland. In California he engaged in prospecting and mining and after six years returned east with $6,000 in cash. He was then twenty-two years of age. In Ohio he married and then bought a section of land where South Des Moines, Iowa, stands. For that he paid $2.50 an acre. A fourth of it he gave to his brother-in-law in order to induce him to settle with him. After a few years he became dissatisfied, sold his land for just what it had cost him to his brother-in-law, Charles Good, and moved down into Kansas, locating five miles west of Ottawa on Appanoose Creek. He lived with the pioneers in that locality until his death, which occurred during the Civil war. Reuben Beery married Sophia Schwartz, daughter of Henry Schwartz. The Schwartzes and the Beerys were both of German ancestry and the former came from Switzerland. Reuben Beery and wife had the following children: Mollie C., who married William Linnville and died at Pana, Illinois; Alice, wife of Howard Riley, living at Tower Hill, Illinois; Charles, of Belpre, Kansas; Iddo O., of Morton County, Kansas. After her husband's death Mrs. Reuben Beery sold her Kansas property and returned to Ohio. She married, second, Thomas Wagner. Of that marriage the living children are: Emma, wife of Edwin McDonald, of Westerfelt, Illinois; Noah, of Larned, Kansas; and Torsa, who married Burr Wiant, of Assumption, Illinois.
Charles Beery secured very little schooling when he was a boy. In Fairfield County, Ohio, he "grew up a-running" as he styles it. His stepfather preferred that his wife's first children should be elsewhere than with him, and Charles Beery soon left that inhospitable home. Since he was eight years of age he has made his own living and at the age of fourteen he went to Illinois and for three years worked as a farm laborer in Shelby County. His wages there were from $15 to $22 a month and he spent it about as fast as it came. By experience he acquired a practical education and has not suffered greatly from the handicap of lack of book learning.
From Illinois Mr. Beery went to Republic County, Kansas, in the fall of 1877. He was then young and unmarried and was without means except as he earned it with his hands. Employment was seldom permanent and day labor paid from 50 cents to 75 cents a day, and $1 a day in harvest time. He rented land and did some small farming.
From Republic County Mr. Beery went into Hodgeman County, where he entered the cattle industry associated with Mr. Blair. They combined their stock interests and operated on the open range along the lines of Finney and Hodgeman counties. Mr. Beery spent ten years in that county, and while there he exercised all three of his rights, homestead, pre-emption and timber claim. He only proved up his pre-emption, and finally abandoned it, after seven years, since he did not consider the land worth the taxes.
From Hodgeman County Mr. Beery came into Edwards County in September, 1894. For seven years and one month he was foreman of the Henry Laird ranch. He then began his independent career as a farmer near Belpre. From his wages on the ranch he saved up enough money to enable him to buy for $500 the southeast quarter of section 19, township 24, range 16. It was a raw tract and its first improvement was a two-room frame house, a part of his present residence. Into this he moved with his wife and four children. Besides farming he had a few head of stock, and he picked up calves as he could and for the first two years he worked, as he states the fact, "twenty hours out of the twenty-four." Conditions were more favorable here and after four years he bought another quarter section for $4,000, the southwest quarter of section 24, township 24, range 17. Four years later came another addition to his holdings, the northeast quarter of section 30, township 24, range 16. Prices were rising rapidly and the cost of this addition to his holdings was $11,200. His own prosperity was the result of stock and wheat. He fed out many bunches of hogs and sold his cattle from the grass to local feeders. More recently Mr. Beery has added four quarter sections to his estate in Morton County. This is being farmed as a feed, corn and broomcorn proposition. The entire section cost him $6,800. The money with which he secured these extensive land holdings was made from his strenuous efforts in Kansas.
The substantial improvements he placed on his home farm consist of a residence of seven rooms, a barn 40 by 64 feet, and granaries with capacity for 7,000 bushels. As a wheat raiser Mr. Beery has sown an acreage of 400 acres for some years. His best acreage yield was twenty-seven and a half bushels. His record with corn was a trifle less than forty bushels per acre. The largest single threshing that he has had was a little more than 10,000 bushels, and in one year he harvested 14,000 bushels of corn. He has sold wheat as low as 45 cents a bushel, after shipping it to market himself. The best price he obtained for wheat was $3.13 a bushel. It was his practice to feed his corn until he abandoned the cattle industry on a large scale and since then he has sold corn at $1.75 a bushel. Back in Republic County there was a time when corn brought only 13 cents a bushel and he had to haul it twenty-two miles to market. He therefore burned it for fuel, since it was cheaper than coal.
For some years Mr. Beery has been a prominent breeder of horses and mules. He handles the Percheron horses and more recently the French Draft horse. His Jacks are the French Poitau and the Kentucky Jacks. His interest in this industry has brought some fine strains of stock over this region and has been an element toward the raising of the standards of horses and mules.
Mr. Beery is a director of the Farmers Elevator at Belpre. His only official service has been a term of six years on the school board of Belpre District. Since casting his first vote he has been a republican, but he never joined a fraternity or church. Mrs. Beery is a Baptist.
In Republic County on October 31, 1880, Mr. Beery married Miss Alice Moorehead. She died July 5, 1888, leaving two children. Reuben, the only son, is foreman for a large contractor at Ashland, Nebraska, and is married. Mary, the daughter, is Mrs. Ed Land, of Belpre, and has two children, Opal and Catherine. At Westmoreland in Pottawatomie County, Kansas, September 3, 1893, Mr. Beery married for his second wife Miss Dollie Myers. Her father, Amp Myers, was a farmer from Missouri and married Miss Eliza Bailey. The Myers children were: Andrew and Calvin. twins; Jacob; Mrs. Beery; Elijah; and Mrs. Effie Brown of Hodgeman County, Kansas. Mrs. Beery's parents were both previously married and had children by each union.
The children of Mr. and Mrs. Beery are: Harry Leonard, now in the United States Navy, married Lydia Hyde; Clarence Richard, who was in the United States Cavalry, but is now deceased; Effie, Charles Leslie, Hazel, Fernie, Lavina, Maude, Nettie and Wayne. Effie is now Mrs. Floyd Haney of Boise, Idaho, and has a daughter, Daisy Doll.
Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p.,  leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.
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