|||||||1882-1943|||||Mary Eleanor Harper|
James Frank Beckwith was born Feb 20, 1838 in Knox County, Ohio.
The only record of his birth was in a family bible that was
destroyed when his home burned down when he was 9 years old.
In 1850, when he was 12, he was living on a tenant farm in Knox County with his grandparents, Thomas G Beckwith, 78, and Mary Beckwith, 56. He had a sister, Martha, 16, and brothers, William 9, and Thomas Jr 13. We don't know what happended to his parents. His grandparents were illiterate, and his grandmother was blind.
By 1860, the family had moved to another tenant farm in Brown township, Delaware County, Ohio. The census taker noted the entire family was unable to read or write.
The American Civil War started at Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861.
From “Delaware County History” =
"Who does not remember the stirring days of '61, when martial music was heard in every town and hamlet and tender women, no less than men, were wild with enthusiasm: Wives encouraged their husbands to enlist, mothers urged their sons to patriotic devotion, sisters tenderly gave their brothers to the cause of their country, while cases are not unknown where the bride of an hour joyfully; though tearfully, gave the young husband the parting embrace, with the patriotic declaration that she would prefer to live the "widow of a brave man, than the wife of a coward."
23 year old James Beckwith was no different than other young men in the area and was eager to enlist and go teach those southern boys a hard lesson. But, before he joined and left for war, he and his sweetheart, 21 year old Jane Elizabeth Traxler would get married.
On the morning of April 21, 1861, 9 days after the civil war started, James and Jane married, and in the afternoon, he enlisted in the United States service at Delaware, Ohio, as a private in Capt Eugene Poncell’s Company G. 4th Regiment, Ohio Infantry Volunteer’s to serve three months. He joined with his brother-in-law, Elias G. Traxler, Jane's brother.
James and Elias thought the civil war would be quickly over which is why the enlistments were for only three months. Nobody dreamed it would drag on for four bloody years. After his three months were up, James and Elias were honorably discharged Aug 23, 1861, in Columbus, Ohio.
However, the civil war was still raging, and the boys were encouraged to join up again. James and Elias re-enlisted on Aug. 26, 1861 in Capt. Milton Wells Company D, 27th Infantry Regiment, Ohio Infantry. The volunteers were expected to serve three years. The 27th Infantry Regiment was commanded by Colonel John Fuller and engaged in the following battles,
Blackwater Creek in Jackson County, Missouri, Dec 12, 1861
General John Pope was commander. The battle was a Union victory which captured 1300 new confederate recruits from Missouri.
New Madrid, Missouri, March 13, 1862
Commanded by General Pope. The Union and Confederates were to have a major battle at Island Number 10, in Tennessee. Along the route to this battle, was a Conferate stronghold at New Madrid, Missouri. The Union army had to slog through many swamps to get there. This affected the health of many union soldiers, including James Beckwith. When the Union army finally reached New Madrid, there was little resistance, and the confederates moved back to Island Number 10.
Island Number 10, Tenn. April 8, 1862
Commanded again by General Pope. Union victory, capturing 4500 confederates.
Farmington, Miss. May 3, 1862
Corinth, Miss. May 28, 1862.
While James was away at war, Jane had her first child, George, on April 22, 1862.
After the Corinth, Mississippi battle, James became ill with respiratory problems and was admitted to a military hospital at Jackson Tenn. for three months. He was honorably discharged on November 22, 1862. The Army surgeon issued a certificate of disability because of severe respiratory problems which he suffered with for the remainder of his life.
After James was released by the army in 1862, he and his family returned to farming in the Delaware County Ohio area. On Feb 12, 1864, their son James Beckwith Jr. was born.
On July 6, 1864, Jane got the terrible news that her brother Elias was killed in battle.
Also, around this time their first born son, George, died.
On Sept. 7, 1866 their third child, Francis (Frank) was born.
On March 9, 1868, their forth child Winsane Earl Beckwith, was born.Charles Beckwith's grandfather.
In the 1870 census, the family is living in the farming township of Delaware, Ohio. Living there are James Beckwith, 30, "farmer", his wife, Jane, 28, and their children, James Jr, 5, Frank, 3, and Winsane, 2 years old.
On Sept 17, 1871, Elizabeth, was born.
On Jul 4, 1873, Elmer was born
On Jul 4, 1876, Blanche was born
On Feb 3, 1877, Mary Della was born.
Blanche would die before 1880.
In the 1880 census, James and his family were living in Brown township, Delaware Co., Ohio He listed his parents birth place as Penn. His occupation was “Laborer”. The family consisted of James, 42, Elizabeth, wife, 40, James, 15, Frances, 13, Winsane, 12, Elizabeth, 8, Elmer, 6 and Della, 2.
On June 20, 1880 Edward was born.
On March 17, 1885, at the age of 45, Jane has her tenth and final child, Albert.
In 1900 they moved to Cleveland, Ohio to be close to their sons, James Jr, Frances and Elmer. (his son Winsane is in Columbus with wife and six children).
In the 1900 census, Jane states that she had had 10 children, but only 8 survived. Still living at home with James and Jane are "Lizzie", 28, Della, 22, Edward, 19 and Albert, 15.
In 1910, James and Jane were still in Cleveland. He is 72 and she is 69. Living with them is Elizabeth, still single at "34" (actually 39), and Edward, 28.
Their first born, James E. Beckwith is 45 and married to Elsie and living in Cleveland (5).
On February 24, 1913, James and Jane's spinster daughter, Elizabeth, died at the age of 42. Her obituary read: "beloved daughter of James and Jane Beckwith died at 12:30 a. m. Saturday, Feb. 22, at German hospital.
Funeral services from her late residence, 3304 Riverside ave., Cleveland Ohio, Monday, Feb. 24, at 2 p. m."
James' wife, Elizabeth Jane Traxler Beckwith, died on April 29, 1915, just 8 days after their 54th wedding anniversary, at the age of 75.
Her obituary read: "Beckwith-Elizabeth J., died Monday, at 7:30 p.m., aged 75. Funeral Thursday, Apr. 29, from late residence, 3575 W. 32d st. Cleveland, Ohio.
Burial at Riverside."
In 1920, James' son, Winsane Earl, would be committed to the Cleveland State Hospital for the Insane. He would die on May 23, 1923, at the age of 55.
On Nov 11, 1925, James' oldest child, James Beckwith Jr. died at the age of 61.
At the age of 89, James had lost his wife and six of his ten children.
James Beckwith, 91 years old passed away on March 15, 1927.
His obituary read: "age 91 years, husband of the late Elizabeth J father of Elmer, Edward, Albert, Mrs. Della Oates and the late James Beckwith, Sunday p. m at the residence of his grandson Rogers Beckwith 2136 Wascana avenue Lakewood, Ohio" (a suburb of Cleveland)
James' death certificate stated that he died of “cardio-vascular schsosis and senility”. The headstones of James and Jane in Riverside Cemetery, Cleveland, Ohio read simply "Mother" and "Father".
James and Jane's 50th Wedding Anniversary, Cleveland, Ohio April 11, 1911
back row:Edward Beckwith, Grace, Gertie, James Beckwith Jr (#1 son), Elsie, Abbie, Charles Oats
front row: Elizabeth Beckwith, Jane Traxler Beckwith, James Beckwith, Della Beckwith Oats
Grace is Elmer's wife. Gertie is Edward's wife.
Abbie is Albert's wife. Elsie is John Jr's wife.
Missing sons of James and Jane are Winsane, Elmer, Albert, and Frank.
Daughter Elizabeth never married and would pass away two years after this picture was taken at the age of 42 of heart problems. Son Edward would live a long life, become wealthy and have a huge home in one of the best Cleveland neighborhoods. Della Beckwith and Charles Oates had one child, Viola, who would have three children. Oldest son James would pass away at the age of 61 in 1925. * sources: U.S.Census records, Ohio Historical Society.