Biography - William Beckett

WILLIAM BECKETT. Among the prominent farmers of Shelby County, noted for its rich agricultural products, is the subject of this sketch, who is known and respected by all as an honest, upright and liberal citizen. He resides on section 2, Rural Township, his residence in the county dating from December, 1886. He was born in Brantbroughton, Lincolnshire, England, March 15, 1825, being a son of Thomas and Ann Beckett, who reared a family of seven boys and one girl, our subject being the only one who came to the United States, and remained here. One brother, Thomas, came to this country but remained only a short time.

Frank Beckett, a brother of our subject has two children in the United States, Arthur and Annie Mary, both of whom reside with our subject. May 17, 1849, he was married to Mary Ann Beckett at Skelling Thorp, England. She was born in Waddington, Lincolnshire, England, June 9, 1829. After the birth of two children they in 1854, concluded they would try their fortune in the United States, first locating at Utica, N. Y., where our subject worked for some time in a soap and candle factory, later engaging in the express business.

In the spring of 1859, Mr. Beckett migrated to Illinois, locating at Springfield, where he engaged in the dairy business becoming sole owner of the principal dairy of that city. From Springfield, he came to Shelby County and purchased one hundred and sixty acres of railroad land, then all raw prairie which he paid for at the time but from the recording deeds having been misstated he was obliged to pay for one-half of it the second time. He still resides on the land first purchased, having added new land, however, from time to time, and is at present the owner of three hundred and sixty-four acres of well-cultivated land, he has been very successful in his business adding to his other agricultural pursuits the business of raising swine, in which he has been largely engaged.

Mr. and Mrs. Beckett have been blessed by the birth of seven children who are named as follows: John was born in Lincolnshire, England, March 7, 1850; Thomas was also born in England, December 1852, but died in Utica after their removal there, September 5, 1859; Mary Ann, now the wife of Samuel Wilson, was born in Utica, N. Y., April 26, 1857; Fanny C., was born near Springfield, June 19, 1859, and is now the wife of William H. Thomas; Frank Grant was born at Springfield, January 29, 1862; Abraham Lincoln was born near Springfield, March 1, 1865 and died May 5, 1888; Ada Matilda was born in Shelby County, September 5, 1867, and is now the wife of William Hartmann.

Mr. Beckett has always been very patriotic having been a strong Union man during the stormy times of war. He is also an ardent advocate of temperance but never paid much attention to politics in fact seldom voting. While our subject is a strong supporter of the cause of Christ, he is at present not a member of any church. His early training was in the Methodist Church and he still adheres to that faith. His family are members of the Church of God whose house of worship is located on land denoted by him. He also paid two-thirds of the expenses necessary to building a church. Mr. Beckett is a man who is well-known and highly respected in the community in which he resides. He is the architect of his own fortune having but a few dollars in his pocket when he emigrated to America, but by industry and good management he has succeeded in accumulating a competence.

Extracted 17 Aug 2020 by Norma Hass from 1891 Portrait and Biographical Record of Shelby and Moultrie Counties Illinois, pages 684-685.

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