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Below is a family biography included in The History of Polk County, Missouri published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1889.  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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Richard B. Beck, farmer and ex-county collector, was born in Osceola, Mo., March 12, 1852, and received his education in the public schools and at Bolivar High School. He is the son of James W. and Sarah F. (Divan) Peck, the former of whom was born in Virginia, and when young removed with his parents to Tennessee. He remained in this state until 1841, and then moved to St. Clair County, Mo. Later he went to Polk County, and was there married to Miss Divan, who was born in Tennessee in 1831, being the daughter of William R. Divan. She was a member of the Christian Church. The father was a teacher, and this calling followed for some time. He held the office of county court clerk, circuit court clerk, recorder and probate judge, and was in official life about thirteen years. He was a Democrat in his political views, and was a prominent Odd Fellow. He died in 1862, but the mother is still living. In their family were seven children, six sons and one daughter. While growing up Richard B. Beck learned the printer’s trade, but at the age of twenty years began teaching school, which he continued for two years. He then turned his attention to farming and stock trading. December 18, 1881, he married Miss Susan M. Runyan, a native of Polk County, Mo., born February 28, 1865, and the daughter of Abraham M. Runyan. Both Mr. and Mrs. Beck are members of the Christian Church. They are the parents of two children: James A. and Willie B. Mr. Beck is a Democrat in politics. In 1884 he ran for the office of county collector, and was elected by about 150 majority, though the county goes about 300 Republican. In 1882-83 he was chairman of the county central committee. Mr. Beck has made his property by his own exertions, and is now the owner of 150 acres of land. His grandfather Beck was a Primitive Baptist minister.

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This family biography is one of 132 biographies included in The History of Polk County, Missouri published in 1889.  For the complete description, click here: Polk County, Missouri History, Genealogy, and Maps

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