John C. Beede


John C. Beede, who is living retired in Waukon after more than fifty years of prominent identification with farming interests in the vicinity, is numbered among the pioneers in Allamakee county, his residence here dating from 1857. He has been one of the greatest individual forces in the agricultural development of this section, has always been interested in its expansion along other lines and for more than half a century has been recognized as a public-spirited and progressive citizen as well as a prosperous and successful business man.

Mr. Beede was born near Augusta, Maine, November 23, 1835, and spent his early childhood in that city. He had no school advantages in his early life and is entirely self-educated his knowledge coming from his private study and wide spreading in mature years. When he was fourteen years of age he went to sea joining a fishing crew and engaging in cod and mackerel fishing off the Newfoundland coast during the summers and in the winters working in a store. After he was twenty-one, he followed a sea-faring life for some time, and advanced rapidly, becoming first mate of his vessel. During some period in his early life he had learned the shipmaking trade and this he followed for a few seasons in Maine after coming ashore. He married in that state in 1857 and soon afterward moved to Iowa, where he joined his brother-in-law, Chester Caton, in Allamakee county, where he has since resided. They farmed together for two years and at the end of that time Mr. Beede purchased an eighty acre tract of raw land in Union Prairie township which he proceeded to break, fence and improve. Upon a he built an attractive residence, a good barn and substantial outbuildings, and did everything in his power to make it a valuable and productive property. Here for over half a century he carried on general {missing part of this line} with increasing success becoming at length one of the prosperous and successful farmers of the community. By well directed labor and practical methods and strict adherence to high standards of business integrity he accumulated a comfortable fortune which enabled him to retire from active life. Accordingly, in 1910, he sold his farm and moved to Waukon, where he purchased an attractive home in which he now resides.

Mr. Beede has been twice married. His first union occurred in Maine in 1857 and to it were born eight children: Arthur S., now a resident of Oregon; Leroy J., of South Dakota; Edgar I., also of Oregon; Angie M., the wife of E. A. Heath, of Alaska; Mrs. Cora I Campbell, of North Dakota; Nellie, the wife of Professor I., W. Abbott, for fourteen years superintendent of schools in Nobles county, Minnesota; Albert W., who lives at home; and Fred, who resides in Williston, North Dakota. The mother of these children passed away on January 15, 1876, and on the 26th of May, 1877, Mr. Beede wedded Miss Mary T. Ryan, a native of Massachusetts, who was reared in Union Prairie township, Allamakee county, and is a daughter of Thomas Ryan, who was one of the pioneers in this part of the state. Mr. and Mrs. Beede have three children; John C., a business man in Waukon; Minnie, the wife of W. J. Raymond, also of Waukon, and Myrtle Irene, who married Ernest Raymmond, of Nora Springs,  Iowa. One son born to Mr. and Mrs. Beede, William H., grew to maturity and died in 1910, at the age of twenty-nine. They also lost a daughter, Lizzie, who passed away in 1898, when she was twenty years of age.

Fraternally Mr. Beede is connected with the Odd Fellows, which he joined in 1870, and he has passed through all the chairs in the subordinate lodge and is now past grand. He and his wife are members of the Rebekah lodge and Mrs. Beede has served in all of the chairs of the order, being at present past vise grand. W. J. Raymond, Mr. Beede’s son-in-law, is now noble grand of the Waukon lodge and his wife is noble grand of the Rebekahs. Mr. Beede cast his first vote for John C. Fremont in 1856 and since the formation of the republican party has voted for every republican nominee for the presidency. He takes an active interest in local affairs, especially in school matters, and while on the farm was elected in 1858 a member of the school board, serving continuously for fifty-two years. He is numbered among the real builders of Allamakee county, for he has borne an active and honorable part in the work of its development and for more than half a century has consistently supported all progressive public movements. He commands the confidence and respect of his neighbors and well deserves the retirement which he now enjoys, for it is the fruit of long years of honest and successful labor.

-source: Past & Present of Allamakee County; by Ellery M. Hancock; S. J. Clarke Pub. Co.; 1913
-transcribed by Diana Diedrich

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