One of the most prominent farmers and stockmen of Summit township was the late John Beesley, a native of Montgomery county, Indiana, born in 1847. He came with his parents to Missouri in 1855, and shortly afterwards located in Alba, Iowa, where his father died in 1861. In the spring of 1862, though but fifteen years of age, Mr. Beesley enlisted in the eleventh Missouri Calvary. He was not old enough to enlist for active service, so he entered the ranks as a bugler, and was known to his comrades as the "bugler boy."
He carried a saber, gun and revolvers and was chief bugler of the regiment until 1865, when he was mustered out at New Orleans. Mr. Beesley was wounded in the left hand, his horse was killed under him, and he was captured and paroled five days later. His hand was not dressed until he returned to the ranks at Duvall's Bluff, Arkansas. Mr. Beesley experienced many close calls and carried eleven bullet scars on his person (none of which caused serious wounds) and had four horses shot from under him. He was under the command of General Steele. When he applied for his pension in 1881, Doctor Slade, the physician who dressed his hand, wrote to know, "if he was the little boy whose hand he had dressed."
After the war Mr. Beesley returned to a sister in Iowa and soon after entered upon a freighting expedition across the plains, a business he followed for three years, through Colorado, Arizona and Wyoming as far as Fort Bridger. For a period of five years there were few nights that he slept under shelter.
In the spring of 1869, he visited Nebraska City where he met and married Mary Jane Macy, of Syracuse, Nebraska, a daughter of G.W. Macy (see sketch).- They came to Kansas with her father's family in 1871, and landed on the ground which they afterward homesteaded, April twenty-fourth. Their nearest neighbor was four miles distant. A reunion was held by the Macy family twenty-five years from that day, and there were twenty-five Macys present - one for each year. There had been but one death in the meantime of the original settlers, the wife and mother, Mrs. G.W. Macy.
Mr. Beesley advocated the principles of Prohibition, was an active member of the Free Baptist church, and superintendent of the Sabbath-school at the time of his death, September 14, 1901. He was a gentleman of high Christian character and a director of the church for years. To Mr. and Mrs. Beesley nine children have been born, eight of whom are living, viz: Dell, wife of Alvin Hart, a farmer near Jennings, Oklahoma; Lydia C., wife of Alva Taylor, a farmer with residence in Glasco; David F., Fred N., and Harvey are all farmers living in the vicinity of Macyville; Josie V., a young lady of sixteen years, and John L. and Thomas Macy, aged twelve and eight years respectively.
Mr. Beesley was the youngest member of the Concordia W.T. Sherman Post, Grand Army of the Republic. Seventeen of the members of this body attended his funeral.
Transcribed from E.F. Hollibaugh's Biographical history of Cloud County, Kansas biographies of representative citizens. Illustrated with portraits of prominent people, cuts of homes, stock, etc. [n.p., 1903] 919p. illus., ports. 28 cm.
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