Beatty Humor and Beatty Temper
By Lois (Griffes) Kortering
The two brothers, John Clinton "Clint" Beatty and Edward
Beatty, were born in the mid-1800's. As with so many families during those
years, even though there were eight children in the family, only three of
them had offspring...a lot of offspring! They would not have made it
without a fight and without humor!
John Clinton "Clint" Beatty
Here are some stories about John Clinton "Clint" Beatty and his wife Sarah
Jane "Jennie" (Haggerty) as told by my mother, Olive (McDonald) Griffes
"My grandmother Beatty was born in Oceana County. Her father, Asa
Haggerty, was one of the first seven men to settle in that county. She was
a small woman not more than a hundred pounds. She worked every day at a
restaurant in the Y.M.C.A."
[Actually, there was one woman, Olive (Gugins) Clements and her husband,
Chauncy B. Clements, who were two of the seven people, who were the first
non-Native-Americans to settle in Claybanks Township, Oceana County,
Michigan. After Chauncy disappeared and was presumed drowned after a
shipwreck on Lake Michigan, Olive married Thomas Byrnes, and they raised
Sarah Jane Haggerty after her mother died at childbirth when Sarah was
Some time toward the latter part of the century, or maybe even in the
twentieth century, the very land where Clint and Jennie Beatty made their
first home became White River Township, Muskegon County, Michigan. That
first log house that Clint Beatty built still stands there at the end of
Meinert Park, where the mouth of the White River meets Lake Michigan.]
My mother's stories continue:
"My grandfather, John Clinton "Clint' Beatty was born in Illinois, lived
in Indiana, and later moved to Oceana County, Michigan. He had a stroke at
a fairly young age and couldn't work at a job, so he stayed home and did
what he could. He was tall and kind of stocky. He had kind of a crooked
smile on one side of his face because of the stroke he had. He was a very
humorous man, and I don't remember his ever being angry."
* * *
Stories about Edward Beatty, brother of John Clinton Beatty, as told by my
"I can remember a trip on a train with my mother [Edith (Beatty), Mrs.
Winfield McDonald] and Great Uncle Edward. We went to Battle Creek
(Michigan) to attend the funeral of my mother's sister. On the train, he
bought me some big purple plums. I had never seen such big plums! I think
they were California-grown.
My great-uncle Edward was such a nice man, so kind! He loved all the
little kids around the country-side, and they all loved him, too. He
bought me just about the only presents I ever got. One time he bought me a
little pink stuffed dog. One other time when he went to town with my dad,
he bought me a real sterling silver knife, fork, and spoon.
He would visit us often and would let me sit on his knee. Then he would
fish in his pocket for all of his bull-moose nickels, and he would give me
all of them. One time I asked him if I could have a check, and he laughed
so hard about it! Then he gave me a dollar, which was what I really meant,
Uncle Edward was great at caring for ailing animals, and seemed to have
some kind of healing power. He would touch the warts on kids' hands, and
the warts would disappear in a week or so.
Everyone always said of Uncle Edward that he was such a good story-teller,
but no one could ever tell if the stories were true or not, because he
told them so well."
* * *
Stories about John Clinton "Clint" Beatty and his brother Edward that were
told during oral interviews to my mother's aunt Hazel Marian (Cowles),
second wife of Clarence Earl Beatty, the first-born of the twelve children
of Clint and Jennie Beatty:
"Cousin Nellie Hilliard (Olson) Clements Uurka (1st, Franklin Pierce
Clements, 2nd, Anton Uurka) told that Uncle Edward Beatty, twin of Edwin
and Clint's youngest brothers. Edward was a batchelor and was fond of
practical jokes. It was the favorite entertainment of those so inclined.
On the fourth of July, 1904, Edward played a joke on Olive (Gugins)
Clements, later Mrs. Thomas Byrnes, Jennie's foster mother. He went down
the road to visit Clint and Jennie, "To Neighbor," some called it. He knew
Jennie was expecting a baby soon.
What did he do, but go back to Olive's and say, 'They have a nice boy down
to Clint and Jennie's.'
Olive knew Jennie's time was near, so she went out to the hen house,
caught a nice hen, killed it, cleaned it, dressed it, and cooked a nice
After hitching up the horse, she drove down to the house of Jennie and
Clint with the dinner. When she went into the kitchen, there stood Jennie,
cooking the family dinner. Asa Merle 'Dick' Beatty, the 12th-born, was
born two days later on 06 July 1904.
Another time, Uncle Edward got in a fight. Clint and the other bystanders
separated them. Ed said, 'You hang onto him! I can hang onto me!'
Cousin Nellie summed up the family, saying, 'Uncle William was nice, Uncle
Edward was a liar (thinking of his practical jokes), but Uncle Clint would
drop everything to help anybody.'"
* * *
Great-aunt Hazel (Cowles) Beatty also told this story that Merle told her
about how angry his mother (Jennie) was, when she found out that she was
pregnant again for their twelfth time:
"Mother told me that she was so mad, back then, that she spoke to nobody
for the whole nine months! She even said that she wouldn't look at me for
a week after I was born."
Then, Hazel said, "Merle asked, 'I wonder why?'" (Yes, with his full sense
of "The Beatty Humor!).
Hazel writes, "Merle didn't realize that his mother was forty-two years
old and was at high risk for having babies free from birth defects.
Anyway, he grew up to be their pride and joy in their old age."
* * *
Stories told to me (Lois Kortering) by my mother's youngest sister, Wanda
Pearl (McDonald) Anderson, (Mrs. Theodore LeVern Anderson), who died 10
According to Aunt Wanda, her great-Uncle Edward Beatty and her
grandfather, John Clinton Beatty, fought, not only during the years they
were growing up, but all during the entire fifty-five years that Clint and
Jennie were married. "Is it any wonder?" as my aunt Wanda used to say!
It seems that Sarah Jane "Jennie" was Edward's girlfriend, originally, but
Clint wanted her for himself. One week, Clint sent his brother Ed a
telegram to get him out of town, and while he was gone, Clint married his
brother Edward's girlfriend, Sarah Jane "Jennie" Haggerty!
Needless to say, the two brothers fought about this for many years, but
all of the twelve children of Jennie and Clint knew the entire story,
except most of them kept it to themselves. It wasn't until eleven of them
had passed away, that the youngest, Asa Merle "Dick" Beatty, finally broke
silence and confided with is niece Wanda, youngest sister of my mother.
Wanda told me, also, that her three sisters, including my own mother, knew
the entire story, but maybe they were ashamed!
Oh, the secrets that are carried to the grave! It must be, that most
families have secrets. I just know that all twelve of the Beatty siblings
laughed, secretly, about them!
The Family of Ann Maria (Wilcox) and James Lewis Beatty, IV
Supposedly, there are three other James Lewis/Louis/L. Beatty men, who
could have been the father (III), grandfather (II or Jr.), and
great-grandfather (I or Sr.) of James Lewis Beatty, IV. His father was
born about 1795 in Kentucky, and his grandfather was living in western
Pennsylvania in 1775. His great-grandfather was born in quarantine "On
Unless there was an immigration station and quarantine house at Castle
Garden at the lower tip of Manhattan back in 1750, when the
great-grandfather of James Lewis Beatty, IV was born, then it is my theory
(Lois Kortering), that the first James Lewis/Louis Beatty was born on the
"Pest Island" of Province near the mouth of the Skyulkill River in
Philadelphia. According to an article entitled "Genealogy Sources" on page
12B in AntiqueWeek/Tri-State Trader, May 14, 1984 in Knightstown, Indiana,
"As early as 1718 health officers boarded immigrant ships to look for
passengers with infectious diseases, and none were allowed ashore until
cleared by the doctor."
Ann Maria Wilcox was born on 26 February 1824 in Walkerton, St. Joseph
County, Indiana, and James Lewis Beatty, IV was born 20 November 1819 in
Stark County, Ohio. They were married in Mercer, Mercer County, Ohio on 11
December 1840. James was one of seven brothers, and he served three years
in Company B, 123rd Indiana Infantry. According to oral family history,
five ot the brothers died and were buried in the National Cemetery after
the Battle of Chattanooga. James and one other brother (Unknown) survived,
and James died on 17 October 1888 in the County Poorhouse, South Bend, St.
Joseph County, Indiana. Anna died in Chesterton, Porter County, Indiana on
19 March 1874.
The eight children of Anna and James:
1. Harriet Beatty, the first-born, was born in 1843, probably in
Walkerton, St. Joseph County, Indiana and was seventeen in the 1860
census. She died at the age of twenty-seven in 1870. No marriage,
probably, and no children.
2. Elizabeth Ann "Liddie" Beatty was born 10 November 1846 in Walkerton,
St. Joseph County, Indiana. "Liddie" married Edward Martin Clements, the
first non-Native American born in Claybanks Township, Oceana County,
Michigan to Olive (Gugins) and Chauncy B. Clements. Elizabeth had a son by
a previous marriage named Charles Orville Hansen, who was thirteen years
old in the 1880 census. Elizabeth and Edward Clements had eleven children,
and it is not known if Edward adopted Charles. The Clements family is so
large, that I cannot even pretend to know the numbers!
3. William Henry Bea(t)y and his entire family dropped one "t" in the name
Beatty. William was born 09 February 1850 in Bloomington, McLean County,
Illinois and was married 30 June 1872 to Mary Jane (Gould), daughter of
Polly (Stone) Gould Brown and Warren Gould. William Henry and Mary Jane
had thirteen children, but two died shortly after birth, and one daughter,
Olive Viola Beaty, never married or had children. (My mother was obviously
named after her).
According to the youngest son, Smyers Leonard Beaty, their grandmother,
Polly, was a step-daughter of their grandfather, Warren. Many of William's
offspring became well-educated and several families moved out west to
Oregon, New Mexico, and California. I am in touch with some of these
4. George Beatty was born in 1852 and was a year older than Clint. He
never married and died at age forty-one.
5. John Clinton "Clint" Beatty, my great-grandfather, was the fifth-born
of the eight children of Anna Maria (Wilcox) and James Lewis Beatty, IV.
Clint was born 15 April 1853 in Bloomington, McLean County, Illinois, and
on 20 July 1880, he married Sarah Jane Haggerty in Claybanks Township,
Oceana County, Michigan and they raised twelve children.
6. James Beatty, born in 1857 in Bloomington, McLean County, Illinois and
died in 1875.
The following is the story of the accidental drowning of James, as told by
Orren Beaty, the sixth-born of the thirteen children of Mary Jane (Gould)
and William Henry Beaty:
"While Father, William H., and Mother, Mary Jane (Gould) were still living
near Chesterton, Indiana, Uncle James was drowned in a lake near where
they lived. Father, his three brothers (James, and the twin boys, Edward
and Edwin), and two neighbor boys were in a boat.
Uncle James and one of the neighbor boys got to scuffling and tipped the
boat over. Father was an expert swimmer, and he jumped free of the other
boys. He then took Edward to the nearby shore. He pulled off his boots and
coat and went back and brought Edwin to shore.
In the meantime, James had reached shore, as he could swim a little. There
were some people on the shore, who yelled to him to rescue one of the
James started back, but could not make it and was drowned. One of the
neighbor boys got on top of the boat and was saved, but his brother
drowned. The next year Edwin died of Spinal Meningitis."
7. Edward Benjamin Beatty, born 17 August 1860 in LaPorte, Indiana and a
twin to Edwin. Edward never married and died on 16 April 1946 at age
eighty-six in Muskegon Heights, Muskegon County, Michigan. I do remember
Great-great-uncle Edward, and I liked him as much as my mother and her
sisters liked him.
8. Edwin Beatty, born 17 August 1860 and a twin to Edward, never married,
died 1874 at age 14 of Spinal Meningitis.