William Beezley, who follows farming and stock-raising and is one of the well known breeders of fine cattle in Crawford county, is pleasantly located about a mile and a half west of Girard. He is also entitled to representation in this volume because of the fact that he is an honored veteran of the Civil war and is one of the revered patriarchs of this community, having passed the eighty-fifth milestone on life's journey. He was born in Clark county, Ohio, two miles east of the city of Springfield, on the 11th of January, 1818, and was a son of John and Elizabeth (Ellsworth) Beezley, who became residents of Ohio at a very early period in its development. They crossed the Ohio river where now stands the city of Cincinnati, but at that time its site was marked by only one log cabin. John Beezley was a miller by occupation, and his father, William Beezley, built the first gristmill in the state of Ohio. The family were actively connected with the early pioneer development of that state, and John Beezley continued to make his home in Ohio until his death, which occurred in 1890, when he had reached the very advanced age of ninety-four years. His wife passed away in 1875 at the age of seventy-eight years.
William Beezley was reared amid the wild scenes of frontier life in the Buckeye state, and early became familiar with the hardships and difficulties which fall to the lot of pioneer settlers. He was educated in the subscription schools, for at that time the public-school system had not been established in his home locality. He also added largely to his knowledge through reading and by instruction received from his parents. In his boyhood days he became familiar with the arduous work of developing new land and of carrying on the home farm, and he lived with his parents until he reached the age of twenty-four years, working for his father for three years after he had attained his majority. He left home in 1857 and made his way westward to Logan county, Illinois, where he purchased one hundred and thirty acres of land, and began farming on his own account. As his financial resources increased he added to his property from time to time until he was the owner of four hundred acres, and was accounted one of the most enterprising and successful agriculturists of his community. He carried on his farm work until July, 1861, when he offered his services to the government as a defender of the Union cause. His age would have exempted him from military service, but his patriotic spirit prompted his enlistment and he became a member of Company F, One Hundred and Sixth Illinois Infantry, with which command he went to the front. He participated in the siege of Vicksburg, was in the battle of Highland, in 1862, the battle of Little Rock, Arkansas, and several smaller engagements. His meritorious conduct on the field brought him promotion from time to time and when he was discharged at Pine Bluff, Arkansas, on the 1st of August, 1865, he held the rank of captain.
When the war was over Mr. Beezley returned to his farm in Illinois and continued to engage in its cultivation until 1876, when he traded a quarter section of his Illinois land for a half section in Pottawattamie county, Iowa. In 1893 he was the owner of six hundred acres of land there, having added to his original holdings. In that year he sold his property in Iowa and came to Crawford county, Kansas, where he purchased his present farm of one hundred and sixty acres. He also has a farm of two hundred and forty acres adjoining this property, and in connection with the raising of grain he devotes considerable attention to the breeding of fine cattle and has upon his place some of the best stock to be found in this part of the state. He has always made a specialty of Shorthorn and Red Polled cattle.
In 1844 Mr. Beezley was united in marriage to Miss Pollie Ann Castle, and they became the parents of seven children: John F., who is now deceased; Casius, who was killed in the Civil war, while serving as a defender of the Union; Joseph N., who died in infancy; James, who is living in Graham county, Kansas; Emeline C., the wife of R. N. Boyle, of Graham county; Charles T., who is manager for an insurance company in Des Moines, Iowa; and Jennie, the wife of Cornelius F. Stockton, a resident farmer of crawford county. In 1881 Mr. Beezley was called upon to mourn the loss of his wife, and on the 22d of December, 1884, he was again married, his second union being with Anna Fawcett, a native of England. They have four children: Benjamin R., George F. and Elmer C., all of whom are students in the high school at Girard; and Roy C., a lad of ten years, at home.
Mr. Beezley and his family have long been connected with the Methodist Episcopal church, and now attend the services of the church of that denomination of Girard. He is a member of the Masonic fraternity and he belongs to the Grand Army post at Macedonia, Iowa. While residing in that state he served as county commissioner of Pottawattamie county for one term, elected to the position on the Republican ticket. From the organization of the party he has been a stanch advocate of Republican principles, and has kept well informed on the questions and issues of the day. He has now passed the eighty-sixth milestone on life's journey and has, therefore, witnessed much of the growth and development of the republic. He was born during the fifth president's administration and has lived through a period of great material development and of national progress. He rode in the first train that ran over the first railroad built in Ohio, the line being called the Cincinnati & Little Miami road. He has also witnessed the introduction of the telegraph and the telephone and of much modern machinery used in industrial and agricultural life. In his farming operations he has kept pace with the universal progress and has always owned well improved property abreast with modern improvements.Pages 442-445 from A Twentieth century history and biographical record of Crawford County, Kansas, by Home Authors; Illustrated. Published by Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, IL : 1905. 656 p. ill. Transcribed by Carolyn Ward, in November, 2003.
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