Moses W. Beede, 1839-1921

Caleb4, John3, Jonathan2, Eli1

The following was transcribed from:

"Biographical History of Northeastern Ohio, Embracing the Counties of Ashtabula, Geauga and Lake."
The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, 1893.

MOSES W. BEEDE, manufacturer of succor rods, and a dealer in hard woods, Lenox township, Ashtabula county, Ohio, has long been identified with the manufacturing interests of northeastern Ohio, and is well known throughout this part of the State.  Thus it is appropriate that more than a passing notice of him should be made on the pages of this work.  Of his life the following facts have been gleaned:

Moses W. Beede was born in Bristol, Grafton county, New Hampshire, August 28, 1839, son of Caleb and Mary (Worthing) Beede.  His father was born in Vermont, July 25, 1805, and was a descendant of an old German family.  Great-grandfather Beede, by trade a weaver of silk stockings, came to America in the king's ships at a very early day, paying part of his passage by the mending of a chest of damaged stockings.  He settled near Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where he bought a tract of land that is still in the family, and is one of the best farms in the State.  Caleb Beede was left an orphan at an early age, and was bound out under the blue laws.  Being treated with cruelty by the man to whom he was bound, he ran away and was secreted and aided by friends.  When he reached his majority he and a number of other young men clubbed together to educate themselves and after he had completed his education he entered the ministry, in which for a number of years he was an efficient worker.  He was compelled, however, to abandon the work of the ministry on account of the failure of his voice.  He then learned the trade of the ship carpenter, and afterward that of carpenter and joiner, and did an extensive business in contracting and building.   During eight years he erected sixteen large churches besides various other buildings.  Later he purchased a large farm and mill.  In this enterprise he had a partner, who proved himself a rascal by running away with all available funds and leaving Mr. Beede in debt.  Mr. Beede, however, paid off the debt.  After that, in 1850, he emigrated to Ohio with his family and settled on a rented farm in Morgan township.  The following spring he bought a mill, which was lost by fire in 1852.   He then moved to Lenox and built a mill, turning his attention to manufacturing interests here, and continuing the same until the outbreak of the Civil war.  He and one of his sons enlisted in the Twenty-ninth Ohio Volunteer Infantry.  While in the service he met with an accident which resulted in blood-poisoning, and later in paralysis, which finally terminated his life in 1877, in the seventy-second year of his age.  He was a self-made man, a consistent member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and a man whose life was worthy of emulation.

The mother of our subject was born in New Hampton, New Hampshire, May 6, 1809, and in that State, at the age of twenty, she was married to Mr. Beede.  In time she became the mother of nine children, seven of whom are still living.  She united with the Methodist Episcopal Church in her early life and remained in loving communion with it until the time of her death, June 2, 1889, at the age of eighty years.

It was in 1852 Moses W. Beede came to Lenox, Ohio, he being at that time a lad of thirteen years.  Here he grew up on his father's farm and in the mill, receiving his education in a log schoolhouse.  When the war came on he enlisted in the three month's service as a member of the Nineteenth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, and took part in the West Virginia campaign under General George B. McClellan.  After his discharge he enlisted in the Seventh Kansas Volunteer Infantry, under John Brown, Jr., son of the distinguished John Brown.  He accompanied his regiment to Chicago, where, after an examination, he was rejected on account of his physical condition.  Upon being rejected from the service, and having only $2 in cash, he looked about him for something to do, and soon found employment near the city, engaging to run a steam engine for a farmer at a salary of $18 per month.  Here he remained until spring, when he went home and took charge of his father's mill.  The mill was encumbered at this time, and to his credit be it said that he not only paid off the debt, but that he also educated his sisters.  He manufactured nearly all the boat oars used by the Union army on the Mississippi river during the war.

June 1, 1863, he married Miss Eliza Henderson, daughter of Grove Henderson.  She was born in Austinburgh township, this county, July 31, 1835, and previous to her marriage was engaged in teaching.  She had two children: George O., born February 28, 1865, and now a promising young business man in the Northwest, where Mr. Beede has extensive iron interests; and Bernice G., born June 14, 1868, wife of Leonard Worcester, residing in Leadville, Colorado.  Mrs. Beede was a faithful member of the Congregational Church all her life.  She passed to her reward in 1874.  In 1876 Mr. Beede married Mrs. Frances L. (Curtis) Watson, widow of Harlow Watson and daughter of Amos Curtis.  Her father was born in 1817, and was one of the pioneers of Illinois, having located in Camden, Schuyler county, in the fall of 1837.  Mrs. Beede was born February 27, 1843, and was reared in Augusta, Illinois.  When in her seventeenth year she was married to Mr. Watson, by whom she had one child, Nettie L., now the wife of B. A. French, of Lenox, Ohio.  Mr. Watson died of a fever, in Alabama, in 1862, while in the service of his country.  By his present wife Mr. Beede has two children: M. Frances, a student in the Jefferson Educational Institute; and Lulu E., also attending school.

Mr. Beede continued to run the mill until 1877, when, while he was sojourning in Colorado for the benefit of his health, the whole plant was destroyed by fire, entailing a loss of $4,000.  Since then he has been variously occupied, and for the past twelve years has been engaged in the manufacture of succor rods, used in oil wells, in which enterprise he has met with eminent success, having gained an enviable reputation as an honorable and upright business man.

For eighteen years Mr. Beede was Township Trustee.  He also served six years as School Director.  When he was twenty-one he joined the Methodist Episcopal Church, and subsequently became a Congregationalist.  In both church and Sabbath-school work he takes an active part, having served ten years as Superintendent of the Sabbath-school.   With various other organizations Mr. Beede is also identified.  He is President of the Soldiers' Relief Committee of Ashtabula County; is a member of the Giddings Post, G. A. R., and has been a Mason since 1864.  He owns one of the finest mineralogical collections in Ashtabula county, having specimens from many States in the Union and also from the old world.  In this collection he takes great pride.   Politically he affiliated with the Republican party.  He had two great-grandfathers who were soldiers in the war of the Revolution.

The following was transcribed from:

"HISTORY OF THE WESTERN RESERVE" by Harriet Taylor Upton, Vol. II
The Lewis Publishing Company, Chicago, 1910.

MOSES WORTHING BEEDE  is justly both a prominent and a popular man in Ashtabula county, where  he is and has been for many years president of the Soldiers' Relief Commission, and has served as a member of the Republican central committee and of the county's first jury commission.  For years he has been a leading man in reform politics, as he has put forth every effort to conquer the saloon element and to elect good men to office. Before the Civil war he belonged to the Black String Society, which was organized to protect and assist fugitive slaves.  He was also among those who actively resisted the United States marshal and prevented his taking John Brown Jr. to testify against John Brown. He became a Mason at twenty-four and has taken the chapter degree; is also a member of the Giddings Post G. A. R. at Jefferson. In his own township of Lenox, his executive ability, his public spirit and his useful services to the town have long made him a leader; he has been president of the school board and is at present a township trustee, having served twenty years in that capacity.  He was first elected in 1869, and since that time he has been instrumental in making the following improvements: Building the town hall; establishing public watering-places; causing to be surveyed two acres of unclaimed land, which had been reserved for township purposes by the original owner of Lenox, Mr. Rockwell; erecting the township vault; and buying additional land for cemeteries, which have been improved in the past few years until they are now among the most beautiful country cemeteries to be found.

In early colonial times there landed on the New England coast the first of his ancestors to seek the New World. This one came from France, probably from Alsace-Lorraine. He pronounced his name Beedé [Beeday?], but it has since been Anglicized.  Except that some were Quakers, little is known of the family until the latter part of the eighteenth century, when Thomas Beede was born.  He graduated from Harvard College in the Class of 1798 and numbered among his classmates the distinguished Channing, Tuckerman, Judge Story and Stephen Longfellow.  Thomas Beede, who was the third minister of the first church of Wilton, New Hampshire, and who, from 1818-1825, served his state legislature as chaplain, was throughout his ministry one of New Hampshire's most noted clergymen. His ordination sermon was preached by Rev. William Emerson, of Boston, the father of Ralph Waldo Emerson.  Thomas Beede's nephew, Caleb Sleeper Beede, the father of Moses W., was born in 1805 in Vermont. When very young he was left an orphan, and although obliged to support himself, he determined to secure a thorough education. One means which he took to reach this goal was to associate himself with several other young men, and hire a teacher of Greek, a language in which he became proficient. Endowed with a keen intellect and an insatiable desire for learning, he habitually spent one-half of the night in study. Until his voice failed, he was a minister of the gospel in a New England Methodist Episcopal conference, but after that misfortune he became a contractor and builder until his removal in1849 to Ohio. There he engaged in the lumber business and in farming. His death was caused in 1877 by a wound which he had received while serving in the Union army. Mary Worthing, his wife, a woman loved by every one, was of English descent. In the twelfth century her ancestors were enlisted in the English army, while those living in the colonies at the time of the Revolution volunteered and fought for the American cause. Among them were her grandfathers, Major Theophilus Sanborn and Lieutenant Samuel Worthen; also her great-grandfather, Captain David Sleeper, who, as soon as he learned of the battle of Lexington, marshaled his command and marched to Boston to volunteer for the defense of that town.

  Caleb Sleeper and Mary Worthing Beede had nine children, of whom Moses Worthing Beede was the fifth. He was born at Bristol, New Hampshire, August 28, 1839, and when he was ten years old left his home in the beautiful "Switzerland of America" to come to the Western Reserve. Three years later his father's family moved to Lenox, Ohio, where he has ever since made his home. Although he did not receive a collegiate education, by ceaseless study, observation and thought, he subjected his mind to practically much the same training that it would have received from a university course. His mental ability is extraordinary and varied, as he is a deep thinker along the lines of science, archeology, history, philosophy and religion - subjects in which he is particularly interested, and in which he would have made his force felt in the intellectual world had his opportunities been greater.

At Lincoln's first call for troops, in April 1861, Moses Beede enlisted for three months in company D, Nineteenth Ohio infantry. He served under Generals McClelland and Rosecrans in the campaign of 1861, in West Virginia, and fought in the battle of Rich Mountain. After his discharge he volunteered again but was rejected on account of physical disability. He was, however, appointed by Governor Tod to serve as first lieutenant of the state militia, subject to the call of the president.  At this time he began manufacturing lumber and boat oars, furnishing many of the oars that were used on the Mississippi river by the government during the war. About fifteen years later he opened up a factory for the manufacture of sucker rods and connecting rods, used in oil wells, and still owns a half interest in such a factory at Jefferson, although he has now retired to private life.

In 1863 Mr. Beede married Miss Eliza Henderson, a member of the Henderson family of Austinburg, a woman of more than ordinary mind and culture; but he lost his wife in September, 1874. She left a son and daughter. George Owen Beede, who received his education at New Lyme Institute under the noted educator, Jacob Tuckerman, is his father's partner in the sucker rod factory in Jefferson, where he resides, and where his wife, who was Miss May Loomis, has always lived. His sister, Bernice Gertrude, who is a gifted musician and a graduate of New Lyme Institute, is the wife of Leonard Worcester Jr., formerly of Leadville, Colorado, but at present of Chihuahua, Mexico. In July, 1876, was solemnized Mr. Beede's marriage to Mrs. Harlow Watson, a widow of refinement and of charming personal appearance. Of New England stock and of English descent, she was the daughter of Amos Curtis, of Augusta, Illinois.  A few years later her daughter, Nettie Louise Watson, married Birney A. French, of Lenox.  Mr. and Mrs. Beede have two daughters; Martha Frances, a high school teacher, is a graduate of the Jefferson high school, of Grand River Institute and of Oberlin College. Lulu Edith, the younger, attended the same preparatory schools as her sister and spent three years studying art and music at Oberlin College. A leader in church work and in society, she possesses a good voice and is a skilful artist.

Mr. Beede and his entire family are members of the Congregational church. For twelve years he acted as church trustee, and for twenty superintended the Sunday school. No other man of his income has done more for the support of the church and every other worthy object. Whenever circumstances have permitted, he has traveled, visiting places of historic or scenic interest in the East, West, North and South.  He was the first white man to climb Mount Massive, the highest mountain in Colorado, which he ascended in July 1875; and at that time he began the monument of stones upon its summit to which each succeeding traveler has added a stone.  In his travels, he has always made interesting additions of minerals and curios to his collection, which is considered one of the best private collections of its kind to be found in northeastern Ohio. Travel appeals to him particularly because his refined tastes render him keenly appreciative of what is beautiful in art, in literature and in nature, and responsive to nobility and genius in his fellowmen.  Mr. Beede is a man of strong convictions, fearless in the denunciation of wrong, who, when the need of action has arisen, has incurred personal danger for the enforcement of right principles.

Many thanks to Mary E. Beebe of Ashland, OH for sending me the above information.
She has a web site called "The Beebe Connection" at
that contains much information about the BEEBE surname (no, that is not a typo).

Home Back to the Biographies Page