Biography - Rev. Albert R. Beckett

REV. ALBERT R. BECKETT. There is perhaps no more public spirited man nor one more wide-awake to matters of general interest in the township of Oconee, Shelby County, than the gentleman whose name initiates this sketch, who is carrying on the work of a farmer and stock-raiser, along with arduous pastoral labors. He was born in McMinn County, Tenn., October 27, 1824. His father, Josiah Beckett, was a Virginian, and his mother, Barbara Souders, a Marylander. They have three sons and six daughters of whom our subject is the youngest. They are: Arrnie, Thomas, Sabina, Elizabeth, Elza, Mary, Nancy, Susannah, and Albert R., our subject. Only four are now living. Eliza resides in Clinton County, Ky., as does also Susannah and Nancy in Missouri.

The parents of our subject removed from Tennessee to Kentucky while he was still young and there he attended school at Danville. He studied law for some time but decided not to enter practice. After eight years spent in Danville, he was married in Clinton County, Ky., in 1845, to Miss Louisa Shelley, who was born in that State in 1825, of Virginia parents who had removed to Kentucky in a very early day.

Albert R. Beckett remained in Kentucky until 1862 when he was obliged to flee to save his life. He had been robbed of everything he had by the so called Confederacy. He was frequently shot at and on one occasion he and his two sons were attacked while at work in the field. They heroically defended themselves, being well armed, but were finally obliged to retreat, leaving everything. They gathered the little family into a wagon and set out with an ox-team for the North. He had but seventy-five cents in money when he left the South. The ground traveled over by the party lay between the two opposing armies, hence no obstructions were presented to their flight.

The family reached Charleston, Coles County, Ill., and remained there for about four years. Mr. Beckett bought forty acres of land which he finally sold and started to go to Ft. Smith, Ark., but while on the way he was attacked by guerrillas and wounded. He at once decided to return to Illinois and now made his permanent home in Oconee Township, where he still resides.

To Mr. and Mrs. Beckett were born eleven children nine of whom are now living: Elza who married Maria Titus, is a farmer and resides in Oconee Township; Albert R. married and resides in Missouri on a farm; John with his wife lives in this township; G. A. C. is married and lives near his parents; William C. lives with his wife in this township; Samuel is married and lives with his parents; Barbara Jane is married and lives in Oconee Township; Eliza Ellen is unmarried and is taking care of her afflicted mother. Arcadia died in childhood. In addition to these children there were born a pair of twins, a boy and a girl, whom the father named Abe and Lincoln, giving the girl also the more feminine appellation of Clarinda. Abe died in infancy. His sister, Miss Clarinda Lincoln Beckett, married E. F. Barker, an attorney at Danville, Ind., who is also a noted orator espousing the Prohibition cause.

About thirty-three years ago Mr. Beckett experienced religion and soon after felt it his duly to preach the Gospel. He studied theological works and finally began to preach for the Baptist Church in Clinton County, Ky., and afterward in Coles County, Ill. He subsequently became imbued with the idea that our portion of punishment and tribulation was quite complete in this life and he espoused the belief of the Universalist and was ordained by the Universalist Convention of the State of Illinois some eleven years ago.

Mrs. Beckett has been a helpless invalid for the last eleven years. She believes that it is largely due to the nervous shock which she experienced during her husband's hazardous experiences in the late war. Mr. Beckett owns two hundred and forty acres of valuable land which he has in fine condition as he superintends it all personally. He takes an interest in public affairs generally, and is enterprising and public spirited. He is a Prohibitionist in sentiment and espouses the cause of the laboring men of the country, demanding that they have representation in Congress and elsewhere.

Extracted 17 Aug 2020 by Norma Hass from 1891 Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties Illinois, pages 694-695.

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