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Below is a family biography included in the Biographical Annals of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania published in 1905 by The Genealogical Publishing 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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JOHN BEETEM (deceased), a well-known resident of Centerville, Cumberland county, whose family still reside at that place, was born May 12, 1820, at Huntsdale, this county and was a son of Capt. Abram and Elizabeth (Smith) Beetem. Of their children we have record of Joseph, deceased, formerly of Carlisle; Abram, of Carlisle; Samuel, of North Middleton; Miss Mary, of Carlisle, and Mrs. Daniel Sellers, of North Middleton.

John Beetem received only a common school education, and as he was but nine years of age when his father died he felt the responsibilities of life at an early age. When fifteen he entered upon an apprenticeship to the carpenter’s trade, which he followed for a number of years, becoming quite noted as a builder and contractor throughout Cumberland county and all this section. During that period he erected many of the finest barns in the county. For a time he was engaged in the grain business at Carlisle, and during the Civil war he did quite a lucrative business furnishing hay to the Government by contract. In his later years he followed the occupation of farming, settling on the farm at Centerville, where his widow and several of his children now make their home, and there he died April 2, 1898. The place comprises 148 acres of valuable land, and the dwelling is admirably situated, commanding a beautiful view of South Mountain. The Philadelphia & Reading railroad skirts the farm.

Mr. Beetem was twice married, his first union being with Elizabeth Ann Crebs, by whom he had the following named children: Catherine, now the wife of Charles L. Halbert, of Carlisle; Abram Luther, of Carlisle; William Elder, formerly of Philadelphia, deceased; and Laura, widow of Harry Evans, living in Carlisle. The mother of this family passed away Oct. 4, 1867, and on April 6, 1879, Mr. Beetem was united in marriage with Miss Eliza Ann Fickel, daughter of Samuel and Sarah (Hurd) Fickel, who lived at York Springs, Adams county, this state. Mr. and Mrs. Fickel are now deceased. Both were devout Christians, holding to the doctrines of the German Reformed Church. Besides Mrs. Beetem they had the following named children: James Oliver, who is a resident of Adams county; Silas Gilbert, of Adams county; Daniel Webster, of Adams county; John Conrad, who lives in Texas; Martha Jane, deceased, wife of Samuel Baker; Emma Catherine, wife of Charles Webb; Edwin Francis, living in Adams county; and George Calvin, of York county. To John and Elizabeth Ann (Mckel) Beetem were born children as follows: Sarah May, who is a trained nurse in Philadelphia; and Samuel, Charles Keller, Emma Jane, George Franklin and Harry Smith, all at home.

Mrs. Beetem continues to worship in the Lutheran Church at Centerville, of which her husband was long a prominent member, and it was he who gave the land upon which the present edifice of that congregation stands, same being a portion of the Beetem farm. He was well and favorably known all over this and adjoining counties, and was noted everywhere for honor and integrity in all his dealings. He was unselfish and kind-hearted, always ready to help his fellow men, and was sincerely mourned in many places outside of his home circle. He was laid to rest in Centerville cemetery.

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This family biography is one of numerous biographies included in the Biographical Annals of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania published in 1905 by The Genealogical Publishing Company. 

View additional Cumberland County, Pennsylvania family biographies here: Cumberland County, Pennsylvania Biographies

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