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Below is a family biography included in Portrait and Biographical Record of Berrien and Cass Counties, Michigan published by Biographical Publishing Company in 1893.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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WILLIAM H. BEESON. Cass County numbers among its citizens none who occupy a higher position in the regard of their neighbors and friends than the subject of this notice, who is a practical and successful farmer residing on section 20, La Grange Township. The family of which he is an honored representative was represented in America during the early Colonial days, and has, since that time, been closely connected with the progress of the country. In an early day three brothers of this name emigrated from England to the United States, one of whom located in Virginia, while John settled in Pennsylvania, and Richard went to North Carolina.

Of these three brothers the biographer is especially interested in Richard. He married, reared his family and passed his entire life in North Carolina, where he followed farming pursuits. He was a Quaker and a strong anti-slavery man, possessing the peaceful, liberty-loving and kind characteristics of that society. Among his children was a son Isaac, who at the age of seventeen removed to Kentucky, residing there for one year. Thence, about 1795, he went to Indiana and made settlement in Wayne County. After his marriage to Miss Mary Rambo, he located on a farm four miles from Richmond, in the midst of a heavily timbered section of country, where the principal inhabitants were Indians. He operated a distillery for about twenty years, but became disgusted with the business and turned his attention exclusively to stock-raising and farming, becoming one of the most extensive stock-raisers in that part of Indiana. Politically, he was a Whig, and was strong in his opposition to slavery. A member of the Society of Friends until marriage, and a man of great piety, he was highly esteemed throughout the community where his active life was passed. His death occurred in 1840, at the age of sixty-four years.

The father of our subject, Jesse Beeson, was born December 10, 1807, and remained in the parental home until his marriage at the age of twenty years, his wife being Ann, the daughter of Henry Renesten. In his youth he worked in his father’s distillery, but at the age of seventeen years his father abandoned the business and he afterward conducted farming pursuits. Upon establishing domestic ties, his father gave him sixty acres of unimproved land, but he remained upon it only a short time, removing thence to Michigan in 1833. In 1830 he had made an excursion to this State on horseback, with a view to selecting a suitable location, and returned to Indiana via Chicago, at that time a military post. In 1833 he located with his family near Niles, but about the same time purchased two hundred and forty acres in Cass County. In his journey to Michigan he traveled with four ox-teams and two horses, his wife riding one of the horses and carrying her infant in her arms. In February, 1834, he removed to his farm in La Grange Township, but after five years spent there, he moved a few miles further south and purchased two hundred and five acres. This property he lived to see improved and mostly under cultivation.

While devoting his attention principally to his farming pursuits, Jesse Beeson found time to inform himself upon all topics of general interest, and was a man of broad information upon all subjects. In religious belief he was non-sectarian, and to some extent believed in the teachings of spiritualism. His first wife died in 1869, at the age of sixty-six years. They had been the parents of nine children, one of whom died in infancy. The others are: William H., of this sketch; Isaac N.; Benjamin F.; Mary J., Mrs. David Huff, who died February 17, 1893; Lurany, Mrs. Austin Dixon; Eliza A., the wife of Nathaniel Defoe; Laura, who married Robert Cameron; and Anderson G. Mr. Beeson married for his second wife Mrs. Mary Blue, daughter of Hugh Gardner and a half-sister of his former wife. A stanch Whig in his political belief, he was prominently identified with political affairs in his section. In 1852 he was elected to the State Senate, and during his term opposed the railroad franchise bill, which defeated him for a second nomination. He also held many local township and county offices, in which he served with fidelity to the interests of the people. His death occurred on the 19th of February, 1888.

The subject of this sketch was born in Wayne County, Ind., March 25, 1829. He received his education in the district schools of Niles and Albion, and in 1851 made his first trip away from home. He had been in poor health for some time, and, thinking to benefit himself physically as well as to make a fortune in the El Dorado of the Argonauts, he went to California, making the trip via New York to Aspinwall and thence to San Francisco and Sacramento. For four years he worked in mines at various places, meeting with excellent success in his speculations. In addition to mining, he engaged to some extent in the stock business. He returned home via water, reaching Michigan in 1856. He remained at home for two years, then traveled through Illinois, Iowa and Missouri.

The first marriage of Mr. Beeson occurred in 1861, at which time he was united with Margaret, daughter of George Finley, of Kalamazoo. One child was born of this union, Jesse, now deceased. The second marriage of Mr. Beeson united him with Miss Maria, daughter of Fredrick Churchill, and they became the parents of one son, Isaac. After the death of this lady, our subject married Mrs. Melissa Shingledicker, the daughter of Clayburn Shingledicker, and a native of Cass County. They have reared five children: George; Anna A., the wife of Rhett Gould; John; Charles; and Laura. Delia died at the age of five years. In his political belief, Mr. Beeson is non-partisan in local affairs, and Democratic in his support of national issues. In former years he was first a Whig and later a Republican. He is a man who is highly regarded and enjoys the esteem of his large circle of acquaintances.

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This family biography is one of numerous biographies included in the Portrait and Biographical Record of Berrien and Cass Counties, Michigan published in 1893. 

View additional Cass County, Michigan family biographies here: Cass County, Michigan Biographies

View a map of 1911 Cass County, Michigan here: Cass County Michigan Map

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