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Below is a family biography included in The Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois published by Biographical Publishing Co. in 1894.  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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ELI BECKLEY. There is something about the life of a prosperous and popular man very pleasant to contemplate—something that gives encouragement to those seeking to make for themselves desirable positions in life. Such an example is shown in the career of Eli Beckley, who is generally conceded to deserve unlimited praise for the success he has attained and for the strict integrity of his business transactions. He is one of the largest land-owners in Randolph County, being the possessor of seven hundred and forty-five broad acres located in township 4, range 5, which he operated until 1893, when he moved into the village of Coulterville.

A native of Staffordshire, England, our subject was born October 25, 1827, to Daniel and Phoebe (Schriven) Beckley, also natives of England, where they lived and died, the father aged eighty-four years, and the mother when two years younger. They reared a family of twelve children, nine of whom are living, but only two make their home in the United States, our subject and his brother Joshua, who is also a resident of this county.

Eli, of this sketch, was educated and grew to manhood in England, and when coming to America, in 1854, settled in Pittsburgh, Pa., where he embarked in business as a brewer. Remaining there for nearly four years, he came to this state in 1857, and located within half a mile of his present home, which is on section 4, township 4, range 5. He leased property for three years from Alexander Dickey, but after living upon it two years, gave up the lease and moved to a finely improved farm of one hundred and forty-five acres, for which he paid $2,700. It now includes seven hundred and forty-five acres, which, under his careful management, has been placed under excellent cultivation, and now compares favorably with any other estate in the county in point of tillage and improvement.

Mr. Beckley has crossed the Atlantic twenty times in behalf of his stock-raising interests, in which branch of farming he began in 1860. He now imports Clydesdale and Englishshire horses, of which he has the exclusive trade in this locality. He is a stockholder in the flouring mill at Coulterville, owns and operates the Coulterville Creamery, and has an interest in another establishment of that kind near Darmstadt, St. Clair County, this state. He likewise publishes the only paper in Coulterville, and is looked upon as one of the wealthy and influential citizens of Randolph County.

In 1854, Mr. Beckley and Miss Mary Kendrick, of Worcestershire, England, were united in marriage. The lady became the mother of six children, and departed this life in 1889. Her children were, William Henry, Mary, Abraham L., Caroline, Phoebe Ann and Lillie Ann. Our subject was again married in November, 1892, the lady of his choice being Sarah Barber. She likewise was a native of the same county in England, and is a member of the Presbyterian Church. Mr. Beckley does all that he can to advance the educational interests of his locality. He is a stanch Republican in politics, and possesses those pleasant social qualities which have made for him a host of warm friends, who delight in his success.

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This family biography is one of 679 biographies included in The Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois published in 1894.  View the complete description here: The Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois

View additional Randolph County, Illinois family biographies here: Randolph County, Illinois Biographies

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