Charlie Geiger Beckenbach




Charlie Geiger Beckenbach

Charlie Geiger Beckenbach was born 14 Jan 1869 in Columbia, Maury, Tennessee, and died of a heart attack 06 Apr 1932 in Dallas, Dallas County, Texas.  He married Lucy Emma Richardson 27 Jun 1894 in Tyler, Smith County, Texas.  She was the daughter of A. W. Richardson and Lucy Charlotte Peake.  She was born 15 Feb 1874 in Algiers, Orleans County, Louisiana and died 18 Dec 1949 in Dallas, Dallas County, Texas.

Charlie Geiger Beckenbach had little formal education and, according to his son, Edwin Ford Beckenbach, he left home at an early age because he didn't like his step-father.  He spent a short time in Paducah, Kentucky before heading west to Texas.  In trying to find a permanent home, he first spent time in both Emery and Paris, Texas as evidenced by this mention in the Rains County Leader Newspaper on 18 March 1894:  "A destructive cyclone passed through Rains County on Saturday afternoon about 7:20 p.m.  Every business establishment in Emory suffered property damage . . . Mr. Charles Beckenbach, saddler, had to grab a tree while making a break for clear ground; he was found by his brother after the storm holding on for dear life . . ."  I do not know for sure which brother found him but suspect it was Peter.

After a brief stay in Dallas, he moved to Tyler, Smith County, Texas where he met and married Lucy Emma Richardson.  Lucy Emma had been raised as an orphan by the family of Mary Emma and William Gurdner Ford.  Very little is known about what happened to her parents, especially her father.  All I have been able to discover is that his name was A.W. Richardson.  I don’t even know what the initials stand for.   We know that Lucy Emma was born in Algiers, now part of New Orleans, Louisiana in 1874.  However, by 1880, she was living in Wesson, Copiah County, Mississippi with the Ford family.  According to a letter from her uncle, William A.C. Peake, her grandfather, Joseph Peake, died in Wesson in 1876 so I assume she moved to Wesson with her grandfather’s family and was taken in by the Fords at the time of his death.  I have not been able to locate her father on any 1880 census record.  However, it is interesting that her mother, Lucy Charlotte Peake, was still living in 1880.  The 1880 census of Orleans Parish, Louisiana shows her as a resident of the New Orleans Insane Asylum with a diagnosis of epilepsy.  What happened is, at least for now, a mystery.  Perhaps her father was killed in some sort of accident that resulted in a head injury for her mother.  We just don’t know.  Her mother will be discussed in more depth in the Peake chapter of this history.


Lucy Emma Richardson at ages about 20 and 70

In 1900, the family, Charlie Geiger, Lucy Emma and their two oldest children, Irene and Lucille, returned to Dallas to make their permanent home.  Charlie became a successful man as a manufacturer of leather goods such as harnesses and saddles and was a well-known civic leader.  According to his funeral notice dated Friday, 8 April 1932, "He was a past president of the Dallas Leather Worker's Union and long was an active worker in the organization and other union bodies.  Also, he was credited with instigating the movement that obtained pavement on Page Street and with promoting numerous other projects for the betterment of his community."

According to his daughter, Irene, in a letter dated 1 August 1969, Charlie Geiger Beckenbach . . .”was the most lovable, generous, ambitious, and great father who ever lived."  The following is a letter written by Charlie Geiger Beckenbach to his son, Edwin Ford Beckenbach, 22 December 1931.

"Dear Edwin,


This afternoon Irene and the children were fixing the tree and the postman brought two packages from Princeton.  One for Irene and Oscar and one for us but we are not going to open them until Christmas Eve when we have our tree, if we can hold out.  Irene left her package here so as not to have it at home to keep from temptation.


Well, Edwin, we are all going to miss you, you don't know how much.  I have spent several Christmases away from friends but I can not say away from home as I had no place to call home although my mother was still living with a step father.  I was unwelcome as far as my step father was concerned and I now believe my mother treated me the way she did for my own good. . . I must report in her last few years, she told me on a number of occasions that I have more for her and treated her better than any other child she had and I feel that I done right.  And since having children of our own, I cannot see how a mother could be so inhuman as I thought she was and will try my best to believe she was a good mother and we just did not understand each other.


Getting back to being away from home at Christmas.  In 1889 I came to Dallas in the last of October and had few short acquaintances and no friends in Dallas when Christmas came and they were about all drunkards.  I stayed in a cheap rooming house and was awful blue and no one that I knew that would even think of me.  I did not hardly care what became of me.  I walked up Elm Street and watched several fights almost every one was drunk and had visitors and I thought what is life?  Why don't some of those go to shooting and I would try and get in their way but I went up Elm St a piece and spent a nickel for an orange and went on to the old union depot on Central Ave. and sat on the loading platform and ate my orange.  That was my Christmas dinner for 1889.  I do not think any body living cared for life as little as I did late that evening but I got me a good dish of chili and a little later I bought a dozen hot tamales, then I bought two dozen more tamales.  My breakfast was a dish of oatmeal and a cup of coffee.  Then I went to the St. George Hotel and combed my hair and gave a Niger a dime for a shine but before I went to the Hotel I passed a church on Main and I think Sherwood, a two story building.  They were fixing a tree.  I made up my mind to go.  I was not invited but would take a chance.  Well, when I got there the people were arriving so I went on in and a young man came rushing across the back of the church, grabbed me by the shoulder and was trying to find my hand but I thought he was the bouncer.  I was trying to turn around to get out of the door before he could get a good kick.  Instead he turned out to be a good Santa Claus and introduced me to the pastor and a number of the members and in the end I had the best Christmas I ever had up until then. Needless to say, I attended that church for about two years.”

Charlie Gieger and Lucy Emma Richardson Beckenbach are buried in Laurel Land Cemetery, Dallas, Texas.


The Beckenbach children, probably sometime in the 1950s.  From left to right: Charlie G., Mabel Irene, Mary Lucille, Fred Elizabeth (Bunny), and Edwin Ford.

Children of Charlie Beckenbach and Lucy Richardson were:

1.  Mabel Irene Beckenbach was born 26 Mar 1895 in Tyler, Smith County, Texas, and died 14 Dec 1977 in Dallas, Dallas County, Texas.  She married Fred Oscar Webster 19 Jul 1917.  He was born 15 Apr 1895, and died 06 Aug 1973 in Dallas.  They had one daughter, Lucy Ann, who married Patrick Connley and raised a family of two boys, Christopher and Peter, and one daughter, Molly.  Lucy Ann presently lives in Maryland where she is battling Alzheimer’s.

 2.  Mary Lucille Beckenbach was born 07 Oct 1896 in Tyler, Smith, Texas, and died from breast cancer 17 Jan 1962 in Dallas, Texas.  She first married Lester Cole Prewett 15 Aug 1918 in Dallas.  He was born 09 Apr 1897 in Dallas, TX, USA, and died from meningitis 09 Jan 1926 in Dallas.  She married second Roy Viston Starling.  He was born 16 Jan 1905, and died 15 Jan 1958.  Mary Lucille had four children, two by each husband, although Roy Starling legally adopted her older two girls.  Her oldest, Mary Lou, born in 1920 suffered numerous childhood illnesses and was left with a palsy.  She was married briefly in the 1940s but the marriage was annulled.  She died from choking on a sandwich in 1978.  Lucille’s second daughter, Francis, born in 1922, married Roy Polk Brady and raised four children, Roy Eugene, John Charles, Francis Elizabeth, and Mary Jeannette.  Francis died from breast cancer in 1983.  Unfortunately, Lucille and Roy Starling’s first natural child, Beth, died at birth in 1935.  Lucille’s youngest daughter, Peggy, was born 18 January 1939.  Peggy presently lives in Houston, Texas where she is a successful real estate broker.

3.  Charlie G. Beckenbach was born 05 Sep 1903 in Dallas, Dallas County, Texas, and died 07 Jan 1992 in Tucson, Pima County, Arizona.  He married Loetta (Bobbie) Abner in 1925.  She was born 23 Jan 1907, and died 03 Jan 1996 in Phoenix, Maricopa County, Arizona.  They are both buried Laurel Land Cemetery in Dallas, Texas. 

Charlie made a career of military service.  He retired after 20 years with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel after having served in both Germany and Japan following World War II.  While in Germany he spent some time finding and getting in contact with the branch of the family that stayed in Germany.  It is due to his efforts that we know what we do about the earlier generations.  After his retirement, he and Bobbie made their home in Tucson, Arizona.

 It is interesting that his middle name is only the letter "G".  It seems that his father wanted to name him Charlie Geiger Beckenbach, Jr. but at the time of his birth there was a bar in Dallas called "Geiger's."  Charlie Beckenbach, Sr. refused to have his son have the name of a local bar so he settled by only giving him the middle initial "G".

 Charlie and Bobbie raised three children.  The first, their natural daughter, Mildred, was born 09 February 1923 but died from meningitis 21 June 1935.  Then, in about 1954, when Bobbie’s sister passed away from cancer, they adopted two of her children, Ginger and Penelope.  For whatever reason, Ginger disappeared about 30 years ago.  No one seems to know where she went or where she is today.  Penny lives in Queen Creek, Arizona with her husband and children.

4.  Edwin Ford Beckenbach was born 18 Jul 1906 in Oak Cliff, Dallas County, Texas, and died 05 Sep 1982 in Syracuse, New York.  He married Madelene Shelby Simons 30 Aug 1933 in Bay City, Matagorda, Texas, daughter of James Simons and Annie Duffy.  She was born 28 Mar 1913 in Bay City, Matagorda, Texas, and died 12 Sep 1985 in Longview, Gregg County, Texas.  They had three children, Edwin Simons, Madelene Lenann, and Sonya Suzann.  Edwin and Madelene were divorced in 1960.  He married second, Alice Judson Curtiss 24 Jun 1960 in Juarez, Mexico.   Edwin Beckenbach will be the subject of the next generation.

5.  Fred Elizabeth Beckenbach (Bunny) was born 24 May 1917 in Dallas, Texas, and died 10 Feb 1975 in Houston, Harris County, Texas from breast cancer.  She married Raymond Ormsby Spross, son of Ben and Nellie Spross.  He was born 15 Aug 1918 in Texas, and died 18 Jul 1991 in Harris County, Texas.  Bunny and Raymond raised three children.  Fred Raymond8 Spross was born 21 Jan 1942 in Dallas, Texas and presently lives in Houston, Harris County, Texas with his wife, Sheila, and two children.  Linda Lucille Spross was born 07 May 1948 in Dallas, Texas and died Dec 1986 in Houston, Harris County, Texas of an aortic aneurysm.  She left a husband and three children.  Lester Charles Spross was born 13 Oct 1953 in Dallas, Texas and died 07 May 1994 when his home-made plane crashed in the Colorado Mountains.



Nicholaus von Beckenbach (1705 - ca 1750)

Johann Christian Beckenbach (1739 - ca 1790)

Johann George Beckenbach (1772 - 1834)

Johann Jacob Beckenbach (1797 - ca 1850)

Peter Beckenbach (1836 - 1878)

Charlie Geiger Beckenbach (1869 - 1932)

Edwin Ford Beckenbach (1906 - 1982)


John Simons (1715 - 1780)

Shadrach Simons (1758 - 1801)

John Joseph Simons (1793 - ca 1858)

Henry James Simons (1818 - ca 1870)

John James Simons (1842 - 1969)

James Elmo Simons (1870 - 1935)

Madelene Shelby Simons (1913 - 1985)


Heinrich Dufe (ca 1760 - ca 1810)

Peter Joseph Dufe (1784 - 1846)

Peter Duffy (1815 - 1883)

Peter J Duffy (1851 - 1924)

Annie Elizabeth Duffy (1877 - 1935)


William Peake (ca 1800 - ca 1832)

Joseph Peake (1826 - 1876)

Lucy Charlotte Peake (1851 - 1883)


James Bradley (1720 - 1788)

Francis Bradley (1743 - 1780)

James Alexander Bradley (1768 - 1839)

Margaret Weir Bradley (1813 - ca 1880)


Shelby Phillip (ca 1650 - 1731)

Evan Shelby (ca 1690 - 1751)

Moses Shelby (1728 - 1776)

Evan Shelby (1748 - 1825)

Moses Shelby (1784 - 1826)

James Madison Shelby (1814 - 1889)

Jane Eliza Shelby (1846 - 1902)


Michael Vogg (ca 1800 - ca 1845)

John Frederick Vogg (1824 - 1901)

Margaret Vogg (1856 - 1878)


Alexander Coachman (ca 1640 - 1671)

Tilney Coachman (ca 1660 - 1716)

John Coachman (1700 - 1750)

James Coachman (1732 - 1789)

Joseph Coachman (1761 - 1814)

Mary Lynch Coachman (1792 - ca 1857)


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