This biography appears on pages 193-207 in "History of Dakota Territory" by George W. Kingsbury, Vol. IV (1915)
William H. H. Beadle, the eldest son and fourth child of James
Ward Beadle and Elizabeth (Bright) Beadle, was born in Liberty township, near the northwest corner of Parke county, Indiana, in a log
cabin, built by his father's hands, and has distinguished himself by life work and especially by his service for South Dakota, both as a
territory and a state. He was prepared for his duties physically, by his early life on Indiana farms, by extensive reading that gave him
culture and intelligence, by preparation for college and a most successful course in the University of Michigan, in the literary
department; and after his services in the Union army were closed, by graduation from the law department under such instructors as Judge
Cosley, Judge Campbell and other great jurists and lawyers who made that department famous. He was thus trained as a scholar, a writer, a
public speaker and a leader of the best sentiment and highest aims of a new commonwealth that more than any other he made sound and safe.
His life has been sketched by many writers at different times
since he entered Dakota Territory, in April, 1869, and as he became a leader in civil, moral, educational, legal and state building
enterprises, both constructive in organization and in physical upbuilding and far reaching enterprise, he is now worthily called
"Dakotas' grand old man" by South Dakota and North Dakota alike. He is freely acclaimed "the father of education in the two Dakotas, the man
who saved the school and endowment lands in these states and the originator of the plan that congress applied to many other states that
have since been admitted into the Union." The children of the state of South Dakota, aided by the educators of the state, have placed his life
size marble statue in the corridor of the capitol of the state as the most honorable memorial to his work as an educator and because he
"saved the school lands." A million dollars is already annually apportioned to and among the counties of the state for the support of
its common schools and to the higher educational institutions, as the income from the vested state school fund derived from the sale of a
part of these lands. To him as the leader belongs the honor for the plan that saved the lands and the funds. Rev. Walter Whitaker, of
"Occasionally some man arises, does his life work and passes,
whose personality is so strong, or whose destiny it is to be a chief factor in so important a work, or period, that simple justice to those
who come after demands that they shall have the benefit and inspiration of his example."
Kipling causes St. Peter to address one of his characters that
applies for admission:
"Ye have read, ye have heard, ye have thought, and the race is
yet to run; By the worth of the body that once ye had, give answer, 'What ha' ye done?' "
The sentiment and philosophy of these quotations should possess
the mind and inspire the pen of every person that reviews the life of Dr. Beadle and his work in the development of these states. It was not
in education alone that he labored. He impressed himself upon their social and religious life, upon their laws both constitutional and
statutory, and helped to direct, advance and guide their material growth and general welfare and the moral character of many hundreds of
teachers and pupils, and also helped to uplift the, state.
The incentives and principles that were fundamental in this moral
power and constant influence were largely from the training given by his mother and father and to the inheritance from his line of ancestry.
He inherited directly the qualities and best character elements from both paternal and maternal ancestors and became from childhood familiar
with the story of their lives, activities and experiences which was oft repeated, and was thus incidentally and forcefully a part of his daily
education and a large inspiration in his life. The Beadles and the Brights were two vigorous and strong stocks of English, Scotch and
German derivation and long enough in America to gain all that was desirable in its industry, freedom and vigor. From them he inherited a
rugged frame and a strong constitution and was endowed with an active intellect that he lost no opportunity to improve.
The father, James Beadle, was born fifteen miles above
Louisville, Kentucky. His father had gone there from the Shenandoah valley in Virginia, where he was born and married. His wife was Nancy
Hess, from a Pennsylvania family, which included seven sons who were rather well educated by their mother, and every son and daughter lived
to honorable, industrious lives. The sons and daughters were equally worthy and industrious. Every son was a thoroughly successful farmer,
and every daughter equally skilled in housework and in domestic manufactures, using the spinning wheel and the loom to clothe the
family in woolen and flax fabrics. A like devotion to industry was cultivated in all their descendants, and the same merit belonged to the
Bright family, which was more limited in number, especially sons.
The maternal ancestry in America began with James Bright, who
removed to St. Mary's county, Maryland, from Scotland, a seafaring family, who lived in that part of Kinkardineshire on the coast and
nearest to Aberdeen, from which they sailed to Maryland. John Bright was a worthy and capable bon of James, born at St. Mary's, Maryland, in
1767. He was a sailor, or skipper from youth and later owned and sailed a ship on Chesapeake Bay and Potomac till the war of 1812 prevented the
use of ships, and he scuttled or sank his craft till the war was over to prevent its falling into the hands of the British. In 1846 he
removed to Kentucky in what is now Oldham county, then a part of Jefferson county, settling near the Beadle family, who had removed to
that locality in 1805, and where James Ward Beadle was born. All but one of the Bright family were born in Maryland, where for several years
they resided on a plantation near Chaptico, which is upon an inlet of the Potomac, a little east of south from Washington City. Among the
Bright family was a pair of twins, named Elizabeth and Ann, the former of whom became the wife of James Ward Beadle, in Kentucky, June 2,
1831. The life of these twins was interesting from many common experiences and adventures. They sometimes accompanied their father on
short voyages on his vessel. They saw the British fleet that later attacked Fort McHenry and soon read the famous poem that made the star
spangled banner the flag of our country. Their father and Uncle James were Maryland soldiers in a part of the war. A small British army
camped upon the home plantation, where a large spring supplied them with water They killed every animal and fowl on the plantation and
feasted upon them, but they did not otherwise offensively treat the family. After the British left that locality and the men were absent in
the Maryland service, the people at home anxiously waited for news from the troops. Elizabeth Bright was sitting one evening upon the dining
room step, to accost for war news, any neighbor that might pass. The twins had retired early and had fallen asleep, upstairs in the main
part of the residence. The mother made an awakening call to them: "Girls, girls, get up and come down stairs; Washington is burning!"
Hastening down stairs they saw a red light reflected from the clouds and smoke in the northwest, that had alarmed their mother. They all
realized at once that what was feared had happened — Washington was burning! The Episcopal chapel in Chaptico was dear to its people.
Before the war some English people had helped to furnish it. Among other things, they placed a handsome marble font in it. The British
soldiers while there had broken the font in pieces and covered the walls, in charcoal writing, with coarse jests and ridicule.
After the war of 1812-15 the British were hated in the United States much more
than after the Revolution. It was because many of their soldiers of the last war were taken from the streets and slums of England. These and
other hike incidents marked the experience of the twins in their youth, but their home and the family were decently treated.
The war had an important theater in the region of the Chesapeake
and Potomac. Commerce, shipping and all business was prostrated. There was no means of livelihood but cultivating a poor soil, and in 1816
they gathered all their belongings into two large conestoga wagons and started for Kentucky. Stopping two days at Washington, they added
needed things to their equipment and saw the work progressing on the new capitol building. They crossed the left of the Potomac at Harper's
Ferry. Elizabeth was riding a horse, and the ferryman asked her to dismount and he led the horse on and off the boat. As he helped her
remount he told her his name was Harper and that the man helping him was his son-in-law, named Schwartz, and they were the only two people
living at the ferry. Harper's Ferry won fame after that. They pushed on across the Great Kanawha, the Little Kanawha, and finally the Big
Sandy, into Kentucky. They settled in what is now Oldham county and became neighbors of the Beadles.
There the young men of the latter family, especially James W.
Beadle, were engaged in selling wood to passing steamboats and taking flatboat loads of produce to New Orleans. He had many struggles and
adventures in his calling, at one time having to walk a long distance to his home because the very dry autumn weather left the river too low
for the steamboats to fun. Elizabeth and Ann were growing to womanhood, and in southern fashion were often called Betsy and Nancy. When washing
the clothes for the Bright family on a gravel bar in the edge of the Ohio, a bear started to swim across from the Indiana shore toward them.
Getting into the handy canoe, they paddled out, met and passed the bear. Betsy, in addition to the oar, was armed with a stout forked
stick, used to support the pole and kettles. Turning the boat beside the low swimming bear, Betsy left Nancy to steer and putting the forked
stick behind the ears of the bear, held his head under water until he drowned. The story was famous in their neighborhood in Kentucky "how
Betsy Bright killed the bear," and this with other adventures, helped to make Betsy Bright a heroine and 'co become admired by her boys, as
the father also was for his courage and remarkable experiences on the western rivers. Many such events in the family life were conditions to
cultivate admiration and honor for both father and mother and to create character and courage in the sons.
Both parents were raised to toil and devoted industry and were
alike skilled in their labor, the mother to home work and all the common domestic manufactures, with spinning wheels and looms and making
cloth and clothing from wool and flax. The father was the most skilled man with the broadaxe and common tools in the neighborhood. He could
and did construct his early homes entirely with his own hands and was a master builder of flatboats and in loading and running them to New
Orleans from the Ohio and the Wabash, till railroads and canals took their place.
They were not pleased with slavery but were in contact with it
and subject to its conditions in all their efforts toward advancement and gain, so they formed a temporary home a little north of the Ohio.
Very early in 1837 they removed to the northwest part of Parke county, Indiana. There he was soon the owner of a farm with a superior log
cabin of his own construction. In this cabin William was born, January 1, 1838, and his brother John something over two years later. Three
sisters had been born into the family before this, two in Kentucky, and one during a previous brief residence north of the Ohio. Now real life
and some successes began. He was a very successful farmer and practically every year to and including 1848, he built, loaded and ran
to New Orleans one or two flatboats. He made some money upon every trip but one and often a considerable gain.
William was raised as a farmer and stockman and was inured to
hard labor of every sort that belonged to the opening of farms in the timberlands of Parke county, including the cultivation of as many as
four farms owned and managed by his father at one time. Be was familiar with the axe, the plow, the maul and wedge, the seeder and drill, the
hand sickle, the mowing scythe, the wheat cradle, the reaper and mowing machine and every other tool in use on the farm. By the time he was
fifteen years old he was doing a man's work with all these in the field and the barn, where the flail and fanning mill were in use. With all
the work of caring for, feeding and marketing farm animals, horses, mules, hogs, sheep, and large herds of cattle, he was engaged along
with all the varied work of raising, gathering and feeding out extensive crops. A part of his activity was driving herds of rattle
over upon the unoccupied prairies of Illinois, for herding on the native grasses, and back again to Indiana to feed during the winter.
In early youth he began to attend subscription schools in the log
schoolhouses nearest home, taught by itinerant men teachers who secured schools by the neighbors agreeing, by signing a paper, to send and pay
for the instruction of so many pupils each. He had learned by the help of his mother and older sisters, to read at home. His first book that
he read through was Robinson Crusoe, which his father had brought as a gift to him from New Orleans. As his mother was at her work he would
read it aloud to her and she would, as need arose, look at the page and give the pronunciation of a word or phrase and he would repeat it after
her. In this way and at occasional schools he made considerable advancement in reading and spelling.
There was a neighbor family named Tucker, of Scotch descent who
had come from southern Pennsylvania, near Cumberland, Maryland. The father had a little piece of ground and a plain home where he tried to
make a living for his family as a shoemaker. The mother was in declining health and the eldest daughter had fair elementary education
and was devoted to the aid of her parents. It is not known certainly whether James W. Beadle aided her in going to school but she was able
to go away from home and attend what was called the "Quaker school," or the Bloomingdale Academy, of which a Quaker educator, named Barnabas
Hobbs, was the principal. He served with zeal and drew pupils from all parts of the county, not exclusively Friends, but sons and daughters of
good citizens generally, and those struggling for success. There Miss Lavina Tucker developed into a woman of admirable character and worth
and secured a good scholarship.
Miss Tucker returned home and it was soon reported about the
neighborhood that the school at the Brockway schoolhouse would soon open and be taught by her; there was the largest attendance in years.
It made a prominent impression upon the community. Few that attended ever forgot it. She gave all her time and attention to the school and
no time whatever to social affairs. She was not a Quaker, as many have supposed, but was as good a woman as any Quaker in Indiana. It seemed
that she had given all she could be or do for the welfare of her father and mother. To this end she declined those social attentions that might
create obligations toward marriage, and visited with older and married ladies. There were young men of fine character and merit who sought her
society and favor, but in vain. Even at the noon hour one of these would come to the schoolhouse but she evaded his addresses by escaping,
as it were, to Mr. Brockway's nearby home and visiting with his elder daughters. He was a somewhat skilled penman and would "set copies" for
the older girls present and otherwise seek opportunity, even coming in on rainy days. But he was disappointed constantly. There were other
similar avoidances of obligation and escapes from favorable addresses, even of a well-to-do widower, and at the same time, his son's
She began her first term and the several that followed without
formal announcement or declaration of rules and her purposed mastery. In the simplest way she proceeded to the work and called the classes by
the subjects and the names of the pupils that were included in each. Often as a class in reading stood in line before her she named a pupil
who would step forward, turn and face the class and read to it. All her work was called and done in the simplest way. Her voice was clear,
simple and kindly. She was really good looking, with smooth features, dark brown hair and dark hazel eyes. When school was dismissed at noon
or four o'clock, the pupils passed out in quiet order and at the door each pupil faced her, the boys to bow the head and the girls to
courtesy. Miss Tucker taught moral lessons effectively, even religious ones. Her roommate had been a religious young woman. When they retired
she kneeled by the bed and prayed aloud, closing with a brief prayer for Miss Tucker. One evening Miss Tucker was absent but not from the
house; she was in an adjoining chamber, quietly doing some sewing. Coming in and preparing to retire, the good woman offered a prayer but
it was wholly for Miss Tucker. That prayer touched Miss Tucker's entire life.
She strenuously urged her pupils to equip themselves for help and
good influence upon others, and this they could not do unless they were good pupils every day and good scholars all their lives. That was the
course to make good citizens and influential men and women, and she urged all to excel in these respects. Then they would all be able to
own farms, build schoolhouses and encourage education. Pointing to the record that Indiana had by the census of 1840, a pretty large per cent
of illiterate citizens, she explained the meaning and cause of that and asked her pupils to pledge themselves that not one of them should ever
be illiterate, unable to read and write, nor suffer any one else to be if they could prevent it, and would strive to free Indiana from it and
any other state they lived in. She asked all who would really promise that to rise and hold up their right hands. William Beadle was seized
by a real enthusiasm, sprang to his feet immediately and lifted his right hand, while the others rose more quietly. He and all had pledged
themselves to education for themselves and everybody.
William was then reading in McGuffy's fourth reader. At the head
of every section in it was a short double column of new words used with a clear definition after each, made by a word or phrase. These must all
be and were memorized and recited, and some fine paragraphs or brief entire selections were fully memorized for Friday afternoon
declamations, and in all, splendid language work was done. The drill in orthography was equally thorough, and Webster's spelling book was
mastered until some of her pupils, William and his brother among them, could spell at call practically every word in it, and could repeat from
memory whole pages of words.
Miss Tucker made a deep impression upon the minds and character
of her pupils and their parents. She was an unconscious and progressive reformer and filled the minds of many with stronger resolutions and
higher motives. She did not always appear to be aiming at this nor always take specific pledges. Her character, wisdom and simple life and
her unselfish devotion constantly wrought their work and produced their results. More was done for every one she knew and it required years to
see it returned in living and in useful lives. That is the teacher to whom Beadle has declared to South Dakota he is so indebted. She taught
many terms, she kept faithful to father and mother till they were both gone. After a while one of her best early suitors came back from Iowa
and their marriage was soon announced and was as happy as it deserved to be. In the cemetery near Terre Haute, Indiana, is her grave, and
William and his brother John often visited it in affectionate and tender remembrance.
Change of residence a little later placed him upon a fertile farm
near the county seat, from which, after a round of morning work, he walked a mile and three-quarters to the graded school his father had
helped to establish in Rockville. After four o'clock P. M. when school was dismissed, he hastened home to repeat the farm work, and cleaning
up for supper, he later sat by a table with candles, or "burning fluid" lamps and studied two hours or more in preparing lessons for the
following day. An early call in the morning brought the round of starting the fires and feeding stock and the rapid walk to school. In
these labors and school attendance he wore the blue jeans clothes, made from the wool by his mother.
His advance in studies required teachers who were more thoroughly
prepared, and his father joined with others in town and vicinity, paying his share, which was twenty dollars a month, to secure two
college graduates for the work. The school terms became longer, that is, the all day work on the farm ended earlier in the autumn when
winter wheat was sown and school work closed the last of March, when plowing for corn must begin. In one season he plowed seventy acres for
corn in the month of April, beginning on Monday morning and never working on Sunday. He led in all farm work and managed it all in the
absence of his father. Then prosperity prevailed and it was a favorable time for money making, when gold was flowing in from California and
Australia and prices of produce were advancing from this increasing currency, aided also by the markets of Europe arising from the Crimean
war in 1854-5-6. Meanwhile his instructors and professional acquaintances were encouraging his ambition to secure a collegiate
education. His father did not dissuade him from this view and his teachers, he later learned, commended learning to his father to make
his son a useful and capable citizen, possibly a leader in some learned profession. Everything seemed to point that way, but the father rather
thought of making him a leading, well trained and educated farmer and citizen. One day as they were returning from the fine two hundred and
forty acre farm the father had recently bought, his father told him that when he settled down and married he might look to that farm as his
and for his home. Not much over nineteen years of age and not much given to society, William replied that he had then no thought of
marrying anybody, but did want very much to graduate from college, and if the father would keep the farm and furnish money enough to enable
him to graduate from the University of Michigan, he would be glad, and if he later wanted a farm he would endeavor to buy one of his own, as
good as that one. It was all a friendly discussion and the mother and father both generously agreed that the son had already fully earned all
the education they could give him. They would miss him from home and the farms, and they could not hire any one who could fill his place in
the care and work of the farm. There was a wish expressed by them in favor of one of the three nearby colleges, two within thirty miles and
the State University not much farther; Ann Arbor was a long way from home for a visit or in case of illness, but the son pleaded that he
would gain advantage among students from many states.
It came about that the summer work was done and on a Saturday he
had finished sowing one hundred and fifty acres of wheat. On Monday he and his trunk were hauled in the farm wagon to Crawfordsville, and at
10:40 P. M. Tuesday he took the first railroad trip in his life, from that station to Michigan City, and the next day to Ann Arbor. There the
problem of entering the University of Michigan grew more difficult every hour than it had been at home. It seemed to him as if the
university had been newly equipped with learned professors from Yale and Harvard and all other great schools, and a number of them were
fresh from reviews in Europe, and all were agreed upon advancing the standards of preparation at Michigan and had the large and very
meritorious class of 1861 to experiment upon. Calling upon Professor Tappan, beloved by all while they lived, he was asked his name and it
was entered upon the form for recording the various tests of his admission. Then his father's name and residence were entered. "What is
your father's profession." came the question. "He has none," was the frank answer. Smiling most kindly, the president modified the inquiry:
"What is his calling, his employment?" Thinking over the matter a few seconds, he concluded that some technical name was required, and,
having for several years read a farmers, periodical, he grasped its title and replied, "An agriculturist." "Good," said the friendly
inquisitor, and wrote the word. Beadle's face, neck and hands were covered with tan and his hands were much calloused. He wore blue mixed
jeans trousers and vest that were newly made by his mother. So the evidence of his calling seemed conclusive, though he had been carefully
scouring his face and hands for several days. As he wandered through the halls and offices, Beadle saw and met other young men nearly as
brown as he was, and some of them as close to six feet tall. He also observed the professors greeting each other and smiling as they glanced
at their big boys, as to say, "They can stand it; we can get good work out of them."
The examinations were thorough, but Beadle made every subject,
except Greek. In that Professor Boise was rigidly strict and declined to write his name on the paper. Returning to Professor Williams, Beadle
passed out of most of the freshmen mathematics, in which he had advanced preparation, and this gave him extra time under a tutor to
prepare in Greek. Before the close of the freshman year the history of the class, later written by two classmates, placed him clear in all his
subjects, and one of the best scholars in the class. And he so continued throughout his four years, college course. He fairly excelled
in all his language studies, especially including English, and was equally good as a writer and speaker. The professors in all subjects
were particularly cultured and strictly exacting in English. Beadle was an active member of the leading literary society and was its president
in his senior year. He made a favorable record as the editor of that society's weekly paper. He appeared in public debates, was one of the
speakers at the junior exhibition and also at the commencement exercises of his class in June, 1861. We cannot follow his college
course in detail. His life was clean and religious. The record of his scholarship must have been strong, since in 1864, he received also the
degree of Master of Arts while a soldier in the Union army. When the war closed he was granted one year's credit in the study of law, and
completed that course in 1867 with the degree of Bachelor of Laws. When he was engaged in his great work in Dakota and became distinguished for
it, he received the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws also from Michigan.
As his college course went forward, he hastened home after the
close of each scholastic year and immediately entered the fields with a man's work every day up to the hour for departure to college work
again. He was all during his early life a great reader of the best literature. Indiana after 1852 provided an excellent library in every
township, made up of the best classic works. Every two weeks, or more often, he read one of these standard works in the intervals of farm
labor. His literary society in college (the Alpha Nu) had a select library of twelve hundred volumes, and he continued this habit of
systematic reading. From 1857 to 1861 he thus secured the best new works of our great writers, English and American. He could repeat
exactly and freely from memory such poems as "Locksley Hall" and others from Tennyson. He read the Atlantic Monthly from its first number. In
1858 he read every speech delivered by Abraham Lincoln and all the debates between him and Douglas. These things are seldom done by any
student. In the study of the Odes of Horace under the direction of Professor Frieze, he memorized with the class many of the odes and more
than were required, and when the study was finished he could repeat thirty or forty of them. It is not remarkable that he should become an
interesting speaker, for in addition to all this, he belonged, in college, to a society in extempore speaking and debate that met and
took rigid discipline in that line at least once each week.
The class of 1861 was called ever after by President Angell and
others, "the famous class of '61, the war class of the university." They were not all republicans before nor after Lincoln, but every
graduating member of the class voted for him for president. One or two members from the south left the class when war became imminent.
The majority of the class soon entered the Union army, as many
had offered to do before commencement. Military drill had meanwhile been maintained and most were well prepared to organize and train
companies at their homes, which they did, as the need for more troops rapidly increased. Beadle soon enlisted with a company another was
forming and was chosen first lieutenant, becoming captain early in November, 1861. He thus served with Company A, Thirty-first Regiment of
Indiana Infantry, in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Mississippi. He was discharged for sickness, but continued some time later by permission of
the general in command. Meanwhile he was arranging to enter a Michigan regiment. In the advance upon Corinth, Mississippi, he participated in
picket duty and some minor skirmishes until they were closing in upon the defenses of Corinth, when early one morning, the 30th day of May,
1862, his old company and another of the Thirty-first Regiment, were ordered to reinforce the Kentucky troops in front in their attack, by
which they were ordered to drive the enemy back into Corinth. Seizing a gun and buckling on a cartridge belt, he went into the action and
"fought all day from morning till night with great gallantry," as several comrades swear in their affidavits on file in the pension
office. There was no officer with the company and he was practically in command, leading and directing as occasion offered. The enemy was
driven in and in the night evacuated the town. Early in the morning the troops marched in, and, heading the column were Beadle and his old
company, carrying the flag.
Reading reports of such service, Governor Austin Blair appointed
him lieutenant colonel of the First Regiment Michigan Sharpshooters and he served till June 14, 1864, most of the time in command of the
regiment, because Colonel De Land was upon other and often higher duty. Passing eastward over the mountains in Pennsylvania, as a part of the
Ninth Army Corps, in March, 1864, the regiment was exposed to severe snowstorms and cold and many were disabled, including Colonel Beadle,
who was sent to the Naval Academy Hospital, at Annapolis, Maryland, suffering from a severe attack of pneumonia. He lay there critically
ill for a long time. So severe was the disability that the surgeons and war department would not permit him to return to his regiment but
assigned him as major to the Veteran Reserve Corps, where he was placed in command of the Third Regiment of that corps and was on duty in
northern Virginia, in the defenses south of the Potomac and in Washington City. For a time in Virginia he was in command of a brigade.
In Washington his troops were on duty as guards of Old Capitol and Carroll prisons and for a time the Washington navy yard and the
arsenal. He was sent with a small command of cavalry down into the timber region in Virginia and upon other like expeditions.
He had the regiment under splendid drill and discipline, and
officers and men alike were kept in fine condition, so that they attracted much attention and the favorable reports of all inspecting
officers. The barracks of the regiment were at the corner of East Capitol and Second street, in easy reach for any duty. On the 2d day of
March, 1865, he received an order from the adjutant general's office to have six companies of his regiment in readiness and to report to the
sergeant at arms of the senate to act as guard in and about the capitol upon the second inauguration of Abraham Lincoln as president. It was a
fine body of men in perfect uniform, guns and brasses polished, and they were trustworthy to the last man. When all was ready and every one
was on watchful duty and the vast audience assembled, the sergeant at arms called Major Beadle to a chair by his side, and there within
fifteen feet of the president, he sat and heard that remarkable inaugural address, second only in eloquence, if at all, to the
Gettysburg oration. Beadle had been introduced to President Lincoln before this by Secretary Usher and others and had accompanied the
president from the White House to the war department late one evening, when Beadle was upon duty as field officer of the day and inspecting
the guards around the White House and elsewhere about the city. He had several times met the president at his public receptions and he
recognized and called Beadle by name. It was after one of those cordial recognitions that this special detail was made but whether it was made
at the president's request he never knew.
On March 12th Colonel Beadle was ordered to Utica, New York, to
succeed the provost marshal of the twenty-first district of New York that was then represented in the congress by Hon. Roscoe Conkling, and
he remained on duty there and in the state until the autumn. It was out of the affairs of that office that the differences arose between
Representative Conkling and Hon. James G. Blaine. While he furnished many of the facts from the records, he personally had nothing to do
with the dispute but was familiar with it all and personally acquainted with the leaders therein that affected politics for several years.
Being sent to Brattleboro, Vermont, till December 15, 1865, with
some troops of the Third Regiment Veteran Relief Corps, Mr. Beadle had charge of the guarding and care of the barracks, hospitals and their
furniture and equipment until all were sold. Then he was ordered to report to General O. O. Howard at Washington for duty in the Freedman's
Bureau, thence successively to Richmond, Virginia, Raleigh, North Carolina and finally to Wilmington, North Carolina, where he had
command of the southern district of that state, and where his duties were extensive and very responsible. In the region of the rice fields
and lowlands generally, his health again failed from malaria and he became desirous of returning to the north and to his family. There was
an unwillingness to discharge experienced officers. His resignation was refused because his service was needed but through the active
solicitation of the senators from Michigan, his discharge was secured, becoming effective March 26, 1866.
It will be seen that nearly all the time he held a command and
duty above his nominal rank. While a major he was in command of a regiment and even a brigade, and of posts, districts and special
duties, equaling the command at least of a colonel. There were no vacancies for promotion, and for responsible and meritorious service he
received brevets. In the summer of 1864 he was breveted lieutenant colonel, and March 13, 1865, was made brevet colonel and brevet
brigadier general "for gallant and meritorious services during the war."
Returning to private life Mr. Beadle resumed the study of law and
was graduated from the law department of the Michigan University. He entered the practice of law at Evansville, Indiana, but found the
profession crowded with those who had not given so much time to the military service of their country, and the climate was unfavorable to
his health. He then went to Wisconsin and formed a partnership in the practice and worked hard but found his partner was more devoted to
political activity, in which he made an honorable success, neglecting the law. In March, 1869, General J. D. Cox, secretary of the interior,
and President Grant appointed him surveyor general for the United States in the Territory of Dakota, a calling for which he had special
preparation. He arrived at Yankton, then the capital of that extensive territory, late in April. As he rode up the broad valley of the
Missouri, or saw the limitless prairies, he talked to his companion, his predecessor in office, about the future prosperous state and
declared his devotion to the cause of popular education and the importance of securing good prices for all the school land. From the
first day of his arrival in Dakota and continuously thereafter he gave thought and effort to create and spread a sentiment to save a great
school fund from the lands set apart for the benefit of the public schools. His opinions and energies in this direction had been aroused
by events in Indiana and Michigan. In his native state a new constitution was framed and submitted to the state in 1851, and the
question of free public schools supported by taxation for all the children of the state equally, and without tuition charges was
separately submitted. It resulted that then and some years later "free public schools" was an issue until they were fully established township
libraries created and all the power of the state directed to educate all the children of the state, whether they were children of the rich
or of the poor. The people by their votes for the constitutional clause, for members of the legislature and every measure, public
officer and tribunal, strongly and steadily supported the entire educational policy. Eloquent public speakers discussed these issues and
aroused popular opinion and enthusiasm for the cause. William tells of a scene that became fixed in his memory. He was turning a grindstone,
upon which his father and two employee, who were not landowners but each had several children to educate, were grinding scythes. They were
discussing the public school issues, and his father declared his intention to vote in favor of free schools for every child. "I am
perfectly willing to pay taxes on my land," said he, "to help educate the children of both of you. If," he added, "they had saved the school
lands for the good prices the other land brought, we would not have to pay heavy school taxes now and never would. We wasted them and must pay
for it. We must educate the children of everybody." That was the unquestionable logic of the situation. The son pertinently asked "Why
did not honest men prevent the waste?" The father replied substantially, "The school lands, section 16 in every land township,
belonged to the township in which each section lay and were not under state ownership and management but could be sold by each township so it
required little influence and interest to secure a sale at a low price. A few townships in the state held to their school land and they brought
a large increasing income." William heard many similar explanations. He also thought of the pledge against illiteracy, given to Miss Tucker,
and a great resolution was formed in his mind.
During the first year he was in Ann Arbor a visit was made to the
university by an aged man who bad been superintendent of public instruction in Michigan when it was a territory. The burden of an
address he delivered was that the waste of the school lands imposed an obligation to freely pay large taxes for the support of the schools.
His name was Pierce and he had secured through the delegate in congress an act providing that the school lands should all pass to the state for
one general fund for the common schools, and not as before, to the several townships. But he failed in not placing limitations upon the
management and price of the lands at the sales. So Beadle had another lesson, one from Miss Tucker's required obligation, one from his father
at the grindstone and another good one from former superintendent, Pierce. Each was good and was an incentive he never lost, but the
limitation on prices, the holding for higher and just prices and other features were left to be applied in South Dakota and other states.
To secure them all for the Dakotas and for other new states,
since admitted, was the self imposed obligation he assumed and laboriously devoted his time and talents to for twenty years. At first
his efforts were mainly with individuals and groups of men, when he found them willing to listen. He found legislators, county
superintendents, ministers of the gospel and leading citizens of high integrity and unselfish aims, and one by one, or group by group,
secured more or less their full endorsement of the plan, or at least lodged the great purpose in their minds and left them thinking it out
or talking of it to others. Some were slow to adopt or go forward in what seemed to many impracticable and many thought it too early to moot
the issues of statehood. This was his work on that question, while he was largely engaged in other duties.
He continued his duties as surveyor general for nearly four years
and retired from that position to engage in extensive and responsible field work in surveys which widely extended his knowledge of the great
territory and the quality of its lands. He was convinced of the great value of its school lands, which included sections 16 and 36 in every
Some of his most valuable services attracted little attention at
the time, among which were his duties in assisting to codify the laws. Three distinguished judges and lawyers, the weight of whose talent and
experience was of great importance, were appointed a come mission to codify the entire body of the laws. They immediately appointed General
Beadle as the secretary of the commission and in their councils, and especially with his pen and judgment in the work, he was invaluable. A
great share of the careful labor fell upon him. The two judges were extensively engaged in holding their courts and the attorney, later a
distinguished judge, was busy with his practice, and during a part of the year was very ill. Occasionally two of them, rarely three, sat in
consultation, and from their dictation he took notes and wove them and printed codes of New York or California into order and fitted it all to
civil system. The manuscript was the work of his hands and the proof reading and corrections all passed under his scrutiny.
He was elected to membership in the lower branch of the
legislature that met in January, 1877, and therein was made chairman of the judiciary committee. The codes were not ready and Miss Haskell
performed excellently the closing work of the secretary. When the governor received the report of the commission he sent it to the house
and it was immediately referred to the judiciary committee. General Beadle reported the codes back to the house in a series of bills, which
he managed with untiring industry and great ability till the whole were enacted into law. His success was complete. All special and local
legislation was defeated, and at the close of the session Dakota had the best codes of law ever enjoyed by any territory.
After further service in land surveying, Mr. Beadle was called by
Gov. William A. Howard, the very able and thoroughly beloved governor, to serve as his private secretary, owing to his knowledge of the
territory, its people and its legislation. Desiring to promote the educational progress of the territory, Governor Howard appointed
General Beadle superintendent of public instruction. 'fine position was hardly desirable on account of its very low salary and its responsible
work. In a conference with the governor, General Beadle declared to him if he accepted it would be his aim to establish a township system of
schools in place of the small district plan, to build up the schools and to lead in creating a sentiment in favor of selling the school
lands at not less than ten dollars an acre when statehood was attained. These and minor propositions were approved, as they were by later
governors, who reappointed General Beadle, as the conditions upon which he would accept and continue in office. Thus he was superintendent for
somewhat more than six years, working incessantly for the permanent success of all these propositions. He found difficulties on every hand.
The labor was very great schools were increasing, travel was difficult, the laws were inadequate, confusion and neglect were common and
everywhere a sort of "do as you please" system prevailed The school lands were being settled upon by trespassers in the belief that the
future state would provide a safe way out. School lands were included by speculators in their great wheat farms without a shadow of title.
School lands were being settled upon by greedy and selfish adventurers. All this army of plunderers was assailed and a war waged upon them. An
appeal was made to the public conscience and gradually a sentiment against them was formed. Secretary of the Interior Carl Schurz decided
against the trespassers at General Beadle's solicitation and their cases placed before the United States grand juries who made a formal
presentment of the wrong that caused many to hesitate and refrain from a repetition of the offense.
Meanwhile Mr. Beadle was holding teachers, institutes and
delivering addresses in all the leading counties of the state, and in all these the school land question was a prominent feature, in which he
early stood for the principle that none of it should be sold for less than its appraised value and never for less than ten dollars an acre.
He became more and more insistent on this limitation, and when he met old friends they would ask jocularly if he had sold any more school
land at ten dollars an acre; if he needed any more they had some to spare at that figure. Meanwhile the movement toward a division of the
territory and admission into the Union became prominent and added force to every issue that related to state policy. These questions grew
active in the minds of the people and legislative action looking toward statehood, was prominent. Bills were introduced in congress providing
for it. Voluntary state conventions were held to promote the cause, and in these the safety of the school and endowment lands was a leading
issue. Three policies were advocated: the division of the territory, the admission into the Union and the saving of the school lands. Many
who were in favor of the first two, gradually adopted the third also. Some devoted themselves to one or another of the issues and some made
favor for the protection of the school lands and funds, a condition of favor for the admission of the state. General Beadle was one of these,
though he favored all three. In 1884 it became a recognized fact that the school }and provisions were essential to success in all.
There were great difficulties to be encountered and the salary
was not sufficient to support his family, to whom he was fondly devoted, but he was encouraged by the sympathy and solicitation of the
best men in the territory and by the feeling that it was a patriotic work, and if accomplished it must be done at once, but there was no one
ready or prepared to do it but him. He had to organize counties and schools everywhere. He framed a system of laws. thoroughly adapted to
the exigencies of a rapidly growing and extensive country. Long journeys had to be made in common vehicles, on horseback or even afoot.
The office work was heavy enough to have employed two or three men constantly, and he lacked means to employ one. He rented an office and
secured the help of A. W. Barber near the close of his many years of service. A much more vivid picture might be drawn of his great labors —
toil that was intense and incessant. The more men who added their support, the more the work was increased in consultation and advice.
Notwithstanding all his talk and addresses, there was much confusion in the public mind as to the purposes in view. and many false
representations were made by those who aimed at profit from cheap sales.
It is impossible to mention the many able men who faithfully
cooperated with him and with one another in, all these issues and struggles. In his memoirs, published by the State Historical Society,
are given many details and liberal praise of the devoted work of Rev. Dr. Joseph Ward, the founder of Yankton College, who gave his services
to the statehood movement and the protection of the school lands, also of the similar labors of Rev. Dr. James Moore, who as faithfully served
through the constitutional convention as chairman of the committee on education and the school lands, and who was true to the cause when Dr.
Ward was the only man who stood loyally by his side in every step of their great struggle.
Through the labors of these and many others it came about that
under and by virtue of a special act, secured from the legislature and the governor, a convention was chosen by the free votes of the people
of all parties, crafts, churches and professions. The special election to choose members of this convention was not controlled by the
political parties. It was a movement of the people, organized by committees formed during the long campaign by friends of statehood,
division of the great territory and the school land movement. There were politicians among them who saw prominent state offices, United
States senatorships and memberships in congress open to their active ambition, and some of these became very helpful to these three aims. It
was on the whole, a highly moral movement. Righteousness was in it and back of it. The local committees that had been formed to solicit the
cooperation of good men and disinterested citizens in the cause were bodies of the best men, who reached other good men for associates in
the movement. Hon. Hugh J. Campbell, who was United States district attorney, is gratefully remembered for his laborious services in these
organizations. At that time the choice of United States grand jurors was largely under the attorneys, control, assisted by the United States
marshal. The best men in scattered neighborhoods were placed upon the venire. In the intervals of their service as jurors they were more
fully enlisted in the cause of statehood and the school lands and returned to their homes devoted helpers in the movement.
Before the grand jury that assembled at Fargo in the United
States court, the decision of Secretary Schurz on the trespassers upon the school lands, secured by General Beadle, was presented and many
witnesses were subpoenaed who testified to trespasses, among them, in many cases, big farmers. Finally a presentment of the great evil and
wrong involved was made by the jury to the court and by it, caused to be read. A crowd of people heard it and it made a marked impression
upon public opinion. The people took notice, the newspapers spread the matter and many withdrew from their trespasses. General Beadle had
spoken at many places in the northern part of the territory on the issue. Sympathy for the cause extended and hater the people of "North"
Dakota largely favored the movement in South Dakota for division, statehood and the protection of the school lands, and they have never
regretted it. North Dakota today honors General Beadle, giving him the credit for saving the school lands.
The convention chosen by the people in pursuance of the
legislative act met at Sioux Falls, in September, 1885, and organized by electing Judge Edgerton as its president. He appointed the various
committees to prepare the parts of the constitution, but it is not the purpose here to follow the details of its work. Dr. James Moore, then
residing in Beadle county, and a presiding elder of the Methodist Episcopal church, was named as chairman of the committee on education
and the school lands, while Dr. Joseph Ward was appointed as the second member of that committee. Four other members of character and ability
were placed with them, in charge of that responsible subject. It may be said that all were favorable to the saving and safe investment of the
proceeds from their sale when made. The issue arose upon the question of the reasonable holding of these lands for time and the development
of the state to advance their value and bring higher prices for them. Chairman Moore and Dr. Ward stood firmly for what may be called
Beadle's original proposition that only the lands of highest value should be sold first, that lands should be offered only when the
proposed list, after a certain time should be approved by the governor, that the lands so proposed for sale should be appraised by the state
auditor and the land commissioner, joined to the county superintendent in the several counties, and then, after due time for advertisement at
the state capital and in the counties where they were situated, they should be sold at public auction to the highest bidder. However, they
were not to be sold for less than their appraised value and never for less than ten dollars an acre.
Another provision was added that none of the lands should be sold
in the first year of statehood, a limitation of one-fourth only in a certain number of years. These provisions and others of some value were
finally secured and placed in the constitution. This was a great victory, considering the formed opinions met with in the minds of the
committee members. If we go back to the struggle in the convention or "statehood meeting," held at Canton, June 21, 1882, and to the text of
the resolutions and the proceedings of that body, we can see what an advance was gained in the interval. Major Dollard in his
"Recollections," says "Rev. Wilmot Whitfield was the chairman of the committee on school lands, but the motion and general characteristics
point to General Beadle, who was superintendent of public instruction, as its author. He was deeply interested and thoroughly informed on the
Other provisions were added, that none of the lands should be
sold in the first year of statehood, and not more than one-fourth of them in periods of five years. Both limitations aimed at preventing
immediate or wholesale waste. If we go back to the "statehood meeting," held at Canton, June 21, 1882, and know its proceedings and struggles
for lower prices and quicker sales, we can see that much had been gained meanwhile for safety. One great effort in that body was to make
the limitation in price six dollars an acre instead of ten. There was a proposition also to limit the ten dollar price to fifteen years and
there were many other similar ideas There were capable, able and faithful men in the Canton meeting, as well as reactionaries on the
school land issue. Major Dollard in his "Recollections," says "Rev. Wilmot Whitfield was the chairman of the committee on school lands, but
the motion and general characteristics point to General Beadle, who was superintendent of public instruction, as its author. He was deeply
interested and thoroughly informed on the subject." The resolutions declared ten dollars as the lowest price and Whitfield and his
committee won a valuable victory. All the off side notions were inherited by our Sioux Falls convention of 1885, and the strong
affirmative ideas were also there in full force, with more political ambitions and willingness to let others take responsibilities. The
final victory was not yet won, and it is not yet fully won, for many of the old ideas are yet potent in the minds of people and even in the
legislation about the lands and in the discussions and administration of the school land interests.
General Beadle was not a member of these statehood meetings or
constitutional conventions. It was late in the spring of 1885 before he was fully discharged from responsibilities of other offices and he did
not seek an election. The work went on at the Sioux Falls convention in varied but more hopeful arguments but for the decisive action sought,
the committee stood four opposed to two in favor, — the chairman, Dr. Moore, and Dr. Ward. Finally at the suggestion of the two, a kindly
invitation was sent to General Beadle to attend the committee meetings and lend his aid to the good cause. Here was another chance to do some
hard work without pay, of which there was not a penny. It was like the 30th of May, 1862, before Corinth, when he had taken a gun and
cartridge box, and like much of his service to South Dakota. He was called secretary of the committee, but had no election thereto. He sat
with the committee and worked in their room when they were absent. He discussed the various points with them individually and took close
counsel with Moore and Ward. Then General Beadle, taking the work the committee had begun, wrote in full the article in the constitution on
education and the school lands, as adopted, except one slight amendment as to the security for laws. It was complete, systematic and most
definite, and contained the clauses he had already advocated. All the arguments upon the issue were gone over by the committee. The cheer
form General Beadle had given to the article won support for it and it was finally adopted by a unanimous vote of the committee and by a great
majority of the convention the day before it adjourned. Rev. James Moore has written, among other things, the following: "In making out
the details of their report the committee were greatly assisted by Gen. W. H. H. Beadle, then of Yankton, who at their request met regularly
with them during the last half of the session of the convention. His thorough knowledge of the conditions in the territory and his sound
discriminating judgment were of incalculable worth in perfecting what has been pronounced a very perfect constitutional provision for well
endowed free public schools. The state owes much to General Beadle for the generous, broad minded and magnificent service he has rendered her
school interests "
In a personal letter to General Beadle in 1905, Rev. Moore wrote:
"I am sorry not to have seen you when I passed through Madison. I am desirous the people of your state should know how much they are
indebted to General Beadle for their most excellent, complete and successful foundation for public schools. Accept assurances of most
exalted esteem of, Yours very truly, James H. Moore."
There were large land grants in aid of railroads in the northern
part of the great territory where the big farms, then famous, were made up of purchases from these grants and preemptions upon the other
sections, except school lands, which they included in their farms, by cultivation without authority. Against these General Schurz's decision
was used. There were no land grants in the southern part of the territory but the arguments from the facts were effective in creating
public sentiment in both sections. Speculation in lands was active. The campaign took a national turn. When James A. Garfield was elected
president but before his inauguration, General Beadle visited him at Mentor, Ohio, his home, and had a most satisfactory conference upon the
idea that congress might be induced to give special national protection to the school lands in all the territories and thus aid their future
school systems. He argued that because the lands were promised to the future state and reserved by law for this purpose, the government owed
this protection meanwhile. The assassination of President Garfield frustrated this measure.
About the same time, three men of large means who were for a time
in the territory, approached Beadle with the suggestion that great difficulty would be met with in carrying out his ideas and that long
struggle be abated; that when the state was organized and admitted they would purchase one million acres to be then selected, at five dollars
per acre, the lands to be selected in a period of five years. Their names have never been given publicity, but the danger was exposed and
proved a useful argument. It will be seen that there would have been five million dollars. As but a small part of the lands would have been
required at one time, a small revolving fund would have handled it all.
The state was admitted into the Union, November 2, 1889, and the
delay of one year before any lands could be sold gave much time to the advocates of slower or delayed sales. The article on education and the
school lands remained the same as was made at Sioux Falls in 1885.
"We can follow the author of the beneficent measure but slightly
beyond the accomplishment of this, his great purpose," writes one who was one of the coadjutors in the Madison State Normal School, to the
presidency of which he was called early in August, 1889, "Perhaps a majority regard the saving of the school lands and the article in the
constitution on Education and the School Lands as his most enduring monument. To us his work as president of the Madison (South Dakota)
State Normal School, in which position he served so long, is one of equal merit and usefulness, though it chiefly affects that state alone.
The appreciation of the great work he did for education in the state is now expressed on all sides. Though the world is usually slow to
recognize, it already sees the immeasurable usefulness of that accomplishment, and the other six states to which congress extended its
application, also see its wisdom. Time alone can measure the results in all. He has the most unusual happiness of the conscientious service he
rendered and of seeing his hopes realized. Beyond this he sees it acknowledged by the people he served and the chief honor of the state
he so greatly aided in creating.
"But there has been another work, a greater as we believe, that
even those for whom it was done cannot realize. What he has put into the lives of our boys and girls is worth more and will tell for more in
the generations to come than even the other powerful influence wields, though it, too, will inspire the youth of the state. We refer to his
work in the State Normal. We have seen it transform lives. We have heard acknowledgment of it that never came to his ears. And it still
continues and will grow for years through other generations. We heard Dr. Henry Van Dyke preach upon 'The Contagion of Virtue' and it was
fine but it has been better preached in lives. No man in either Dakota has so loyal a constituency as the graduates who were under this man.
We have seen and admired many but he was the best all around man we ever knew.
"What was the man whom we thus eulogize and how did he appear to
those who saw him and worked under him for so many years, His personality alluded to by his college classmates was striking enough to
cause their remembrance and mention. It was a direct source of power. Six feet and nearly one inch tall, weighing then about one hundred and
ninety pounds, now two hundred and ten pounds, or more, be had a firm step and the erect bearing of a soldier. His shoulders were broad and
square; his head required a number seven and three-quarters hat then, and now, with the hair less heavy, about seven and five-eighths, with
heavy dark brown hair, now nearly gray, and a well trimmed full beard and mustache. With a clear, distinct and even ringing voice he was
always a noticeable man and usually a master before an audience. Of course he was intelligent. He had read from boyhood and was yet a
student. He often praised the excellence of that system of school township libraries that Indiana provided in which he found and read all
the best books. His memory is fine and he often repeats favorites in English classics and some of other languages. He has a fine and
definite command of English which he pronounces with almost faultless accuracy. He was a fine, natural reader and could thus delight his
hearers. His face and action were very expressive and added to his vocal emphasis of thought and feeling.
"There were many such elements of personality and expression and
they gave him great influence over students, and he inspired them wonderfully toward high aims and noble efforts. All men have faults and
he thought he had many. Whatever they were to him, they never affected his honesty, his high integrity and his unselfish devotion to others
and the high interests he represented. Born in a rude time, raised in days of struggle and the hardest labor, and even hardship, often make
the tasks of life seem hard. In the midst of his best work some one would charge him with selfish and ambitious aims. Yet he lived and
probably will die a poor man. He was generous to the extent of his means. He gave all he was and all he had to the interests of public
education. Most of his early work was done under a salary of six hundred dollars a year as superintendent of public instruction.
"In 1884 he received an offer of three thousand dollars a year as
an agent for the sale of school books, and discussing it with his friend, Rev. Dan F. Bradley, the successor of Dr. Ward, as the pastor
of the Congregational church at Yankton, who suggested that a man had a right to accept a good salary in an honorable business and care for and
educate his family, he replied that the school land and other issues were not yet settled. but only at their crisis. He quoted from Paul:
'Necessity is upon me that I do this thing.' This feeling and this language were the incentive and motto of his laborious and successful
life. It was the form that religious duty, obligation to God, took in his life. 'His high motive,' he said, "was not from will, but a sort of
conscience, a sense of must— this clearly ought to be done and I must do it.' Necessity, conscience, a feeling that he ought or must do the
work was the power in him. Calculating will and mere ambition will not achieve such ends. Moral necessity mounts to higher compulsion and
masters the man to attain success in the duty before him. To other points, replying, he said, 'This is my call, my vision; my duty led me
and holds me to the service of popular education; to that I am devoted and I cannot leave it voluntarily; to that for some reason I have an
eye single.' Such was the conversation and such the decision that he made or had before made; Such was his preparation for 1885 and the
final, victorious struggle."
We have devoted these pages to General Beadle,s official and
public life and services, but have omitted reference to his social relations. When about to depart for college he had refused all thought
of marriage in reply to his father's suggestion of a fine farm and home when marriage became his purpose. Throughout his four years of college
activity, his social life was slight both in Ann Arbor and at home. He saw the young people of his early life, whose age was near his own,
married, and in Ann Arbor he formed no attachments. When his graduation had occurred he made a final call upon President Tappan, who warmly
shook his hand and said: "That is our misfortune; we get a fine body of young men about us and grow attached to them, then we have to lose
them. I suppose you will be getting married soon," he added. Beadle's reply was that he had no particular plan for that. "Well, may it come
soon," he said, and smiled, "and I trust it will bring you happiness." "When I am to be married," Beadle replied, "I very much wish you may
come and celebrate the act." "Good." said he, "I shall come and do that wherever you may be; just let me know and I will respond," and he
never forgot it.
Mr. Beadle had arranged to be married May 18, 1863, and on the
15th wrote Dr. Tappan of the plan and recalled his agreement. Dr. Tappan took the letter to his class in philosophy the day before the
wedding and read it to them, recalled his promise and said. "the class will not meet on that day." He even added that Colonel Beadle would
pass on the afternoon train on his way from his regiment, to Albion, where the event would occur. And a crowd of "the boys" were at the
train to greet and congratulate Beadle.
On the morning of the 18th, Dr. Tappan came to Albion, and Ellen
S. Chapman and William H. H. Beadle were happily married and left for Chicago upon the noon train. It is impossible to follow the details of
their lives, which were unusually happy. They were devoted to one another and to their family. The happiness of the wife and three
daughters, and their education and comfort were the controlling motives of his life. When he was severely ill at Annapolis, Maryland, his wife
was quickly by his side, and also upon other occasions when need appeared, and the lives of all were for the happiness of all.
Upon a visit to the home of the youngest daughter at Chicago, in
July, 1897, Mrs. Beadle was stricken with a sudden and critical attack of hernia and the skill of five able surgeons was in vain. She died
under the necessary operation, leaving the husband and three daughters prostrated with grief. All three daughters were married. Of these, Mrs.
Wallace Bruce died many years ago. Mrs. Fred B. Hughes lives in San Francisco, California, and Mrs. Mae B. Frink resides in Eugene, Oregon.
Mrs. Hughes has one daughter and one grandson. Mrs. Frink has two daughters and one son, who excels in school studies.
Though written some time ago, the following is occasionally
General Beadle's Beautiful Tribute To His Parents
"Born in Parke county, Indiana, in a log cabin built wholly by my
father's own hands, I wish to declare the great indebtedness I owe to him and my dear mother for the inheritance both gave me of a life of
great and devoted labor and their lessons of the highest integrity and morality, of which they were the best examples.
"They gave me an opportunity to labor for and save money for my
own education, and I shall ever be glad that I devoted myself to that cause."