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BECK, James A. - 1890 Bio (1849-1930)


Posted By: Joey Stark
Date: 7/28/2007 at 13:17:31

Portrait and Biographical Album of Jefferson and Van Buren Counties, Iowa, Printed 1890 by Lake City Publishing Co., Chicago
Pages 193-194

James A. BECK, proprietor of the Leggett House of Fairfield, and of the Summit House of Creston, Iowa, is a native of the former city. He was born on the 6th of April, 1849, his parents being William G. and Margaret (RAMSAY) BECK, who were among the pioneer settlers of Jefferson County. His father was born in Uniontown, Fayette County, Pa., March 9, 1819, and with this parents removed to Wheeling, W. Va., in his youth. On the 4th of March, 1847, he married Miss Margaret, daughter of Alexander RAMSAY of Washington County, Pa., and the bridal tour of the young couple consisted of a trip to Fairfield, Iowa, where they had determined to locate. In 1851, Mr. BECK was employed as a route agent for the Western Stage Company, and in 1854, engaged in farming in Jefferson County. After two years spent in that line he sold out and removed with his family to Owen County, Ky., but three years later returned to Fairfield and resumed his former occupation, which he carried on successfully until May, 1889. In that year he changed his place of residence to Montana and is now engaged in ranching near Virginia City, that State.

Mr. and Mrs. BECK are the parents of seven children, four sons and three daughters: James A., of this sketch, is the eldest; Willie died in childhood; David R. married Mrs. STEDMAN, and resides in Virginia City, Mont.; Mollie died at the age of fourteen; Charles, who is single, resides in Omaha; Fannie is the wife of Alfred WELDAY, of Des Moines; Richard died at the age of eleven years, and Katie, who completes the family, was fourteen years of age at the time of her death. Mr. BECK, the father, is a Democrat, and stood firm in support of his party during the dark days of its history in Iowa. He and his wife are members of the Congregational Church and are highly respected in the community where they so long resided.

James A. BECK was educated in the city schools and at the Fairfield University. When seventeen years of age he began clerking in a grocery and in 1870, when twenty one years old, began business for himself in the same line in Fairfield as a partner of Thomas Bell, the gentlemen carrying on operations under the firm name of BELL & BECK. That connection continued two years, after which Mr. BECK carried on business alone until 1883. In August of that year he leased the Leggett House, of Fairfield, for ten years and has since conducted it with marked success. In May, 1889, he leased the Summit House, of Creston, Iowa, the leading hotel of that city of ten thousand inhabitants, of which he personally supervises the management. The Summit House has ample room to accommodate one hundred guests and under Mr. BECK's management is becoming one of the most popular hotels in Iowa. The Leggett House, which is the only hotel of consequence in Fairfield, he manages through James Long and the house is a credit to both proprietor and manager.

Mr. BECK was married in Fairfield, February 26, 1880, to Miss Etta McKESSON, daughter of Robert McKESSON. The lady was born near Northfield, Ohio, and is a member of the Presbyterian Church.

In politics, Mr. BECK is a Democrat but has never been ambitious of official preferment. With the exception of four years, from 1856 until 1860, which time he spent with his parents in Kentucky, he has always made his home in Fairfield and has ever been accounted one of its leading and enterprising citizens. In addition to the hotel business he is one of the proprietors of the bus line conducted under the business style of F. S. Heck & Co., having been interested in the same since 1887. Mr. BECK is widely knows as a successful and popular hotel keeper. Both the Summit and Leggett Houses are really without competition in their respective towns and unlike most men who have a monopoly in a certain line of business, he is just as careful to give satisfaction to his patrons and to use them fairly, as though he was competing for their custom. The result is that all are well pleased, and that the Leggett House and the Summit House have many warm friends among the traveling public. Mr. BECK is a genial, courteous gentleman and those who have known him from his boyhood, as well as his acquaintances of later years, speak of him in highest terms.

*Transcribed for genealogy purposes; I have no relation to the person(s) mentioned.


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