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Below is a family biography included in the book,  Biographical Souvenir of the Counties of Buffalo, Kearney, Phelps, Harlan and Franklin, Nebraska published in 1890 by F. A. Battey & Company.  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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R. BEECHER, M. D. Dr. R. Beecher is a homeopathic physician of prominence residing in the town of Shelton, Buffalo county, and is also an old Nebraskan, having come to the state in 1872. His record, therefore, will be doubly interesting to a volume like this.

Dr. Beecher was born in Ashtabula county, Ohio, December 13, 1835, and was reared there to the age of thirteen, moving thence to Winnebago county, Ill., with his parents, who settled in that county in the vicinity of Rockford in 1848. There his youth was spent. He received a good literary education in the schools of Beloit, Wis., and on reaching his majority went to Iowa and started in the world for himself. He selected medicine as his profession and prepared himself for lectures under the direction of Dr. H. C. Markham, of Independence, Iowa, and Dr. R. B. Cauch, of Winthrop, Iowa. The former of these belonged to the allopathic school of medicine and the latter to the homeopathic school. Having posted himself on the relative merits of the two schools sufficiently to enable him to make a judicious choice, Dr. Beecher decided to give his allegiance to the latter, and set about vigorously to prepare himself for the practice. He graduated from the Medical College of Missouri, at St. Louis, and settled to the practice of his profession in Iowa. He spent some years there successfully engaged at the practice till 1872, when he made up his mind to change locations, and came that year to Nebraska and located at the town of Exeter, Fillmore county. He followed his profession there for a period of nine years, moving in 1881 to Shelton, Buffalo county, where he now lives. Since the date Dr. Beecher embarked in the profession he has given his time wholly to it, and the great success he has met with has been a just reward for his diligent labor and faithful application. He has been in the practice now over a third of a century; he has ridden over thousands of miles of territory and has visited the bedside of hundreds of suffering fellow-mortals. His practice has been that of the general practitioner. Much of it has necessarily been done for those too poor to pay the “accustomed doctors’ fee,” yet not the less faithfully has it, on that account, been done. He has made it a point always in his practice to respond to the wants of those in distress, and render his best professional services, regardless of the prospects of financial returns. He looks upon his profession as one of the highest honor, and believes that every member of it should be actuated by the one supreme purpose of doing good.

Of his methods, his conduct towards his patients and his cures it is not necessary to speak with great minuteness in this place. If witnesses on these points were needed, clouds of them could be summoned from many sources. He has, time and again, effected cures of cases pronounced hopeless by other physicians, and his patients restored to health are living all around him. There are numbers of people of the highest official position and social prominence living in his county who will readily testify to the satisfactory cures he has made falling under their observation. Some of these people are themselves the subjects of such cures. With two malignant troubles, particularly, has Dr. Beecher been most successful. These are typhoid fever and rheumatism. With anything like a reasonable start with either of these he never fails of a cure. In his practice Dr. Beecher uses the simple remedies devised and made use of by his school. He is particularly attached to the use of the electric battery, and not the least of his most noted cures have been made through this modern agency.

Dr. Beecher has in a course of a long practice accumulated a vast amount of valuable matter, being a man of close observation and diligent research. This he designs giving to the medical profession in printed form as soon as the work of digesting and re-writing can be performed. His work will cover all the years of his practice and will embody a wide range of study and actual bed-side experience. Dr. Beecher takes an active interest in the literature of his profession and in the workings of the various medical associations. He takes the journals, of course, and does some contributive work for them. As often as the exacting duties of his practice will allow, he attends the sittings of the various associations and contributes articles for discussion.

As illustrative of the oft-repeated observation originating with the medical fraternity — that men are what they are more by heredity than by education — it may be well to record some facts in this sketch touching Dr. Beecher’s ancestral history in order to show how far his case falls within the scope of this observation.

Dr. Beecher is a descendant of New England stock and connected on both sides of his house with two distinguished families. His grandparents were all natives of Connecticut. His father, Augustus B. Beecher, who was a cousin of the eminent divine, Henry Ward Beecher, was a native of Hartford, Connecticut. He was a ship carpenter by trade, but tiring of his location came West when a young man and took up his residence in Ashtabula county, Ohio, where he married, settled down to carpenter work, following that occupation there for years, subsequently moving to Illinois, then to Iowa, and finally to Nebraska, dying in the latter state at his son’s home in Shelton in 1884, having attained the eighty -third year of his age. He was a man of quiet life, sober, industrious, of a serious turn of mind and very domestic in his tastes.

Dr. Beecher’s mother bore the maiden name of Mary Ann Sweet and was a daughter of Ara Sweet, who emigrated from his native place in Connecticut, came West and settled in Ashtabula county, Ohio, soon after that part of the state was thrown open to settlement, being the first one to take up a permanent residence in Geneva township, Ashtabula county. Dr. Beecher’s mother was born in Ashtabula county, was reared and married there. She lived to the age of sixty-six, dying in 1879 of injuries received from a fall. The Sweets from whom she sprang were a family that furnished many eminent physicians, there running through the family a strong tendency to the medical profession. It is from this source chiefly that Dr. Beecher gets his taste for his calling. His people upon this side, as well as upon his father’s, were distinguished for their quiet, even, temperate, systematic habits and their sober, settled views of life. They were noted also for their strong vigorous constitutions and their great longevity.

Dr. Beecher married in 1857 while still living in Illinois, the lady on whom his choice fell being Miss Adella Adams, a native of Rochester, New York. To this union have been born two children, both now grown and both of whom remain with their parents. These are a son and a daughter.

In physical, mental and moral make-up, Dr. Beecher preserves many of the characteristics of the people from whom he is descended. Though not strong and robust in appearance, he has a closely knit, tough, wiry physique, indicative of a strong inherited physical culture and temperate habits. He has the broad humanity and benevolent impulses that one would look for in a man bearing his name, and especially does he exhibit that love of home and attachment to his family which has run through his people for several generations.

Dr. Beecher is agreeable in personal appearance, being entertaining in conversation and engaging in manners. He is small of stature, but his frame is surmounted by a large head. His square jaw and partially shaven face, revealing his thin lips, indicate the decision of character that has marked his course through life, while the pleasant smile with which his countenance lights up in his softer moods, tells of the warmth of his nature and the genuineness of his feelings.

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This family biography is one of the numerous biographies included in the book, Biographical Souvenir of the Counties of Buffalo, Kearney, Phelps, Harlan and Franklin, Nebraska published in 1890 by F. A. Battey & Company. 

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