Jane Shepherd Beels
Jane (John1) was born in Laurel Sock, Pa., March 23, 1797. The school advantages of that time were few, but by her energy and perseverance she became proficient in "the three R's," which was considered all that was necessary for girls of that period.
There is little to record of her girlhood. In 1805 her father removed to Canandaigua, N. Y., and her mother died a little later. From her union with S. S. Davis in 1814 there was born a son, Seymour S. Davis. Of the trials and losses of the three years following we have no record. On May 3, 1818 she was married to Abner S. Beels, of Canandaigua, N. Y.
Her father and sisters had emigrated to Royalton, Ohio, in 1816. In January, 1821, Dan Frances, one of the earliest settlers of Royalton, returned to Canandaigua on a visit. He met Mr. and Mrs. Beels and urged them to go to Ohio with him. He offered to take them in his sled on his return. Allured by the hope of securing a home in the west as well as a desire to rejoin Mrs. Beels' father and sisters, they decided to go. Mr. Frances delayed his return one week to give them time to dispose of their stock, farm implements and such household goods as they could not pack in Mr. Frances' sled. The journey from Canandaigua to Royalton was accomplished and they entered upon the hardships of a pioneer life.
They resided in Royalton until 1826, when Mr. Beels purchased a farm in the northern part of Parma, on the state road. In the spring of 1832 he sold this farm and purchased one in the southern part of Parma, a half mile east of the state road. There were but six or seven families in the southeastern quarter of the township at that time. During the ensuing five years this section was settled by brave and hardy pioneers from New York and New Jersey. A school was established, a church was organized with its Sabbath school and Saturday evening prayer meeting.
Here, with this environment, Mr. and Mrs. Beels reared to manhood and womanhood their family of five sons and three daughters. The following obituary of Mr. Beels, written by the Rev. James Ashley, who was his pastor during the closing years of his life, was copied from the Cassopolis Vigilant:
"Departed this life, Oct. 21, 1876, with a hope of blissful immortality, at the home of his youngest daughter, Mrs. George L. Stevens, of Adamsville, Cass Co., Mich., Mr. Abner S. Beels, aged 83 years.
The deceased was born in Herkimer Co., N. Y., Aug. 27, 1793, and was married to Mrs. Jane Davis, May 3, 1818. In the year 1821 they settled in the vicinity of Cleveland, Ohio.
Since 1865 they had spent most of their time with their children in Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois and Michigan. After the death of his wife, which occurred on May 27, he waited the call of his Master to come home, feeling that the world had lost its charm and that the attractions of the heavenly land were growing brighter and stronger as he drew nearer the river of Death. His life was that of a Christian, and he died as Christians only can die, in triumph and victory."
The Advertiser, Berea, Ohio, for Nov. 25, 1876, contained the following:
"One by one the pioneers of this county are passing to the unseen, eternal world.
Abner S. Beels, one of the early settlers of Parma, died Oct. 21, aged 83 years. For some time he had resided with his daughter, Mrs. George L. Stevens, in Adamsville, Mich., where his death occurred.
At the time Mr. Beels came to Parma, in 1826, the township was almost an unbroken wilderness. A few families had settled in the western part, and there were three or four families on the eastern line. But Mr. Beels' family was the only one on the State road. Wild animals abounded in the forest around them. Deer were frequently shot. Some of the denizens of the forest were not very desirable neighbors. Bears were frequently seen, and rattlesnakes were common.
Little do the people of today realize of the trials and dangers attending pioneer life. Of the hardships and privations endured by Mr. Beels it is unnecessary to speak as they were similar to those passed through by all of our early settlers. He lived to see the little village near him become a great city -- Cleveland; and to see cultivated fields and comfortable homes take the place of the forest. Few men took a more active part than he in bringing about this change. Many a forest monarch fell before his sturdy arm.
His faithful wife, who for 58 years shared with him the trials and pleasures of life, died last May. As so often happens in the case of aged people, their separation has been brief. Both died in the full assurance of a blessed immortality beyond the tomb."
Seymour S. Davis, b. Canandaigua, Sept. 23, 1815., d. Feb. 9, 1860.
Elizabeth Ruth, b. Canandaigua, Jan. 22, 1819, d. 1837.
Alonzo, b. Canandaigua, Nov. 4, 1820, d. Dec. 4, 1890.
Julia Ann, b. Royalton, May 10, 1823, d. June 7, 1901.
Abner S., b. Royalton, July 18, 1825, d. Aril 16, 1907.
Jane Elizabeth, b. Parma, Aug. 19, 1827.
William Gould, b. Parma, May 4, 1830, d. Feb 12, 1908.
Reuben Franklin, b. Parma, Aug. 12, 1832.
Nelson G., b. Parma, June 9, 1836, d. 1848.
Harriet Eliza, b. Parma, Aug. 2, 1843.
Ten children were born to them: Their eldest daughter, Elizabeth Ruth, died in 1837, after a brief illness. She was a beautiful girl, and as lovely in character as in person. She was engaged to be married to a fine young man living in Cleveland. When told that she must die, with calm resignation, and in perfect trust in the wisdom and goodness of God, she smilingly said good-bye to lover and friends and went to dwell with the God whom she had loved.
The youngest child, Nelson G., died in 1848, at the age of twelve years.
Obituaries of Mrs. Beels and her husband, published at the time of their decease, will portray their lives better than anything which may be written now.
"Mrs. Jane Beels, aged 79 years, died of heart disease, on May 27, 1876, at the residence of her daughter, Mrs. Harriet E. Stevens, in Adamsville, Mich. Mrs. Beels came with her husband from Canandaigua, N.Y., to Royalton, Ohio, in January, 1821. In 182_ they moved to Parma township and in 1832 settled on a farm a short distance east of the State road. Here they bravely met and patiently endured the trials and hardships incident to pioneer life until at length a portion of the forest was converted by their industrious hands into a pleasant home. Here they resided until the summer of 1863, when their house was burned. For two years they lived with their daughter, Mrs. Julia Hodgman. Since 1865, except for occasional visits to Ohio, they have spent their time with their children in the west. For several years they were at the home of Mrs. Stevens.
Mrs. Beels early gave her heart to Jesus and throughout her long life earnestly labored and prayed for the welfare of Zion. During her last illness the Savior whom she had loved and served so many years comforted and sustained her. She said of the Valley of Death, 'It is bright.' 'Oh my Jesus!' were her last words as with a look of joy on her face she entered into the rest remaining to the people of God." -- Berea (Ohio) Advertiser.
Reuben Franklin Beals
Reuben Franklin, (Jane2, John1) son of Jane and Abner Beels was born at Parma, Cuyahoga County, Ohio, August 12, 1832. In his boyhood he was called Reuben, or more commonly "Reub." This name did not please him, and when he went to Illinois to live he gave his name as R. Frank Beals, and by that name he has since been known. He and his sister, Harriet E., early adopted the spelling "Beals" as the name is spelled by relatives in New York, instead of the spelling "Beels" as retained by other members of the family.
Mr. Beals received his education in the district school. He worked on the farm with his father until he was 20 years old, when he learned the trade of carpenter. In the fall of 1855 he went west, reaching Oneida, Knox County, Ill., on November 2. He remained there working at his trade until April, 1856, when he purchased a farm in Clover Township, Henry County, about five miles from Oneida. On June 4, 1857, he was married to Miss Adda H. McClellan, daughter of Thomas and Lida McClellan. She was born in Ohio, April 10, 1836, and came with her parents to Illinois in 1854. His wife died May 3, 1859. He worked on his farm, and as opportunity offered at his trade, until August 8, 1862, when he enlisted in Co. I 102nd Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and was sent to Kentucky. His regiment was assigned to Gen. Ward's brigade and was in the reserve corps doing guard duty until February, 1864. His regiment was then assigned to the 12th corps which was afterwards consolidated with the 14 corps, forming the 20th corps, Army of the Cumberland and under command of Gen. Joseph Hooker. The 20th corps was with Gen. Sherman in the Atlantic campaign, and Mr. Beals was in all the battles in which the corps was engaged, including the battles of Resaca, New Hope church, Burnt Hickory, Peach Tree Creek and the siege of Atlanta. He was slightly wounded June 4, 1864, while on the skirmish line.
During Sherman's famous march to the sea, Mr. Beals' company acted as foragers for their brigade. He was with Sherman in his campaign through the Carolinas, and took part in the Avresboro, N.C. He took part in all the marches, skirmishes and battles his company was ever engaged in.
Mr. Beals ranked as orderly, but on account of sickness and absence of his superior officers he was in command of his company throughout the Atlanta campaign, the march through Georgia, and the campaign in the Carolinas. He was in the grand review of the army at Washington at the close of the war. He was honourably discharged from the army in June, 1865, and returned to his farm in Clover, Ill. Here he engaged in farming and stock raising. On December 24, 1865, he married Miss Amanda M. Hayden, daughter of Alfred R. and Minerva Hayden.
In 1884 he was elected a member of the board of supervisors of Henry County and was re-elected for five terms. In 1890 he was elected a member of the House of Representatives of the Illinois Legislature and served so acceptably that he was re-elected in 1892.
He moved from the farm to the town of Galva on January 1, 1893, and has resided there since. In 1894 he was elected mayor of Galva on a no-license ticket and discharged his duties with such ability that he was re-elected in 1896 and again in 1898.
He has been a director in the Henry County Insurance Company for 25 years. In 1896 he helped organize the Galva State bank, of which he is a director and vice-president. He also assisted in organizing the Galva Telephone Company, of which he is president.
In politics he is a Republican and has been ever since the organization of the Republican party in 1856. He joined the I.O.O.F. in 1857 and the Free Masons in 1863.
When the G.A.R. was organized he became a member of that organization.
In his early manhood he united with the church. He and his wife are active members of the Congregational church in Galva. And now at the age of 80 years he is actively engaged in the affairs of life. He has no children.