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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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VAN B. BEEM. Any record of the early settlers of southwestern Nebraska, however long, would be incomplete without prominent mention of Van B. Beem. of the town of Atlanta, Phelps county. His residence in this part of the state dates back to the early seventies, and, as the saying goes, he has been “through the flint mills,” having seen the country when it was all wild and having gone through all the trials of the grasshopper seasons and other hardships and privations incident to the first settlement of the country. Mr. Beem comes of pioneer ancestry and gets by inheritance many of the qualities which so well fit him for a pioneer settler. His father, Benjamin Beem, who was a native of Ohio, grew up on the frontier and lived nearly all his life on the outskirts of civilization. He was a resident, successively, of Ohio, Iowa, Colorado and Nebraska, and was a man of great personal energy and fond of the free and unfettered life of the West. He followed farming and mining mostly, but also gave some attention to the ministry. He was a conspicuous member of the Christian church and gave the best part of a long life to the task of illustrating in everyday practice the truth of those doctrines on which that church is founded. He died in Iowa in 1880. Mr. Beem’s mother survived her husband some years, dying in 1888, and was making her home with her son, the subject of this sketch, at the time of her death. He took her remains back to Iowa and laid them to rest beside the father’s.

There were seven children in the family to which the subject hereof belonged, of whom he was the second in point of age. He was born in Licking county, Ohio, September 14, 1838, grew up on the farm, and was trained to the habits of industry and usefulness common to farm life. He moved to Iowa with his parents when a young man, and there married in 1858, taking to share his life’s fortunes Miss Lucinda Golden, she being a daughter of John Golden, he started out for himself on marrying, beginning farming, which he has steadily followed since. He resided in Iowa till 1872. At that date he made up his mind to go further West, and that year moved to Nebraska, settling on the Republican river, in Harlan county. He took a homestead in that county at that time, which he improved, and bought other land in addition thereto, until he owned at one time in that county four hundred acres. Most of this he had under a good state of cultivation. He lived in Harlan county for sixteen years, at the end of which time he sold out and moved to Phelps county, where he purchased three hundred and thirty acres, on which he settled and which he began to improve. This tract of land comprised the present town site of Atlanta, and it has risen steadily in value since Mr. Beem bought it. In recent years he has built a livery stable in Atlanta, and is now engaged in running his farm and his livery business. His investments having proved profitable, and his labors having been crowned with success, he is now in a fair way to become a man of wealth. This is no more than he deserves, for he has been largely instrumental in making the country what it is. When he settled in Harlan county the whole country was practically unsettled, there being only a family here and there. He had to go to Gibbon to mill, and what little trading he did he had to go a distance to do it. He has worked hard, and has always stood up stoutly for Nebraska. He began on nothing, and all he has now he has made since he came to the state. While he has given his time and attention mostly to his own business, he has borne his full share in the development of the country, having served his county as commissioner, his township as supervisor, and his school district in every capacity, official and otherwise. He is a public-spirited citizen, a man of sound intelligence and clear judgment. In politics he is a republican, and a stanch supporter of the principles and methods of his party.

Mr. Beem has reared a family of six children, these being Ingubu, now deceased; William, Myer, John, Emma and Benjamin.

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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. 

View additional Phelps County, Nebraska family biographies here: Phelps County, Nebraska Biographies

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