Biography of William H. Beam, Hon.

Hon. William H. Beam. The chief executive of the thriving little City of Esbon, in the western part of Jewell County, Hon. William H. Beam, is now serving his third term in the office of mayor. Prior to his first election he had demonstrated to the citizens of this community his ability and resource as a business man, and he was chosen to lead the city government with the trust that he would place the city upon a sound financial standing. This faith had been vindicated in every way and during his three administrations Esbon had benefited materially by improvements which have been installed as a result of his activity in conscientiously discharging the duties of his position. Mayor Beam had been connected with business affairs here since 1907, and is the proprietor of the only furniture and undertaking establishment of the city and of this part of Jewell County.

William H. Beam was born on a farm one-half a mile north of Esbon, Jewell County, Kansas, in March, 1876, and is a son of Fraucis B. and Jane C. (Palmer) Beam. The Beams were one of the pioneer families of Iowa, in which state, in February 4, 1844, Francis B. Beam was born. He was reared and educated in that state and was seventeen years of age when he enlisted in the First Iowa Cavalry, with which he served throughout the period of the Civil war, taking part in many important engagements and winning honor as a brave and valorous soldier of his country. At the close of hostilities he returned to Iowa, but not long thereafter removed to the State of Missouri, where he was married. His arrival in Kansas occurred in 1871, in which year he located in Mitchell County, there being engaged in farming for about two years, when he came to Jewell County and bought a relinquishment of 160 acres. He continued to be engaged in successful farming operations until 1898, when he retired from active pursuits and moved into Esbon, here living comfortably in his modern home until his death, February 16, 1909. Mr. Beam was a republican in his political affiliation. He was one of the men of his community who was held in the highest esteem by his fellow citizens, whom he was representing as a member of the city council at the time of his death. Reared in the faith of the United Brethren Church, he offered his home for the first services of that denomination ever held in Jewell County, and continued an active supporter of its institutions and movemonts up to the time of his demise. Mr. Beam married Miss Jane C. Palmer, who was born on August 4, 1845, in Ohio, and who survives him and resided at Esbon. They became the parents of the following children: Doctor Albert, who is a successful practicing physician and surgeon of Wilsey, Kansas; Fred, who follows farming pursuits near Oberlin, Kansas; Eva, who is the wife of Fred Manchester, a general workman of Esbon; Jesse, who resided at Esbon and is a farmer near this place; William H., of this review; John, a farmer of Otego, Kansas; Elsie, who is the wife of Claude Ealls, of Concordia, kansas, a lineman in the employ of the Bell Telephone Company; and Bertha, who is the wife of Boyd Chandler, a merchant of Esbon.

William H. Beam attended the public schools of Esbon and was reared on his father’s farm, located not far from this city. When he was twenty years of age he left the parental roof and began to carry on operations in farming and stock-raising on his own account and continued to be thus engaged until 1907, at which time he transferred his attentions to mercantile lines. On his arrival Mr. Beam entered the business colony as the proprictor of a modest furniture business, in connection with which he installed an undertaking department, and this enterprise had since grown to important proportions under intelligent and honorable management. Mr. Beam is the only merchant engaged in handling furniture at Esbon, as well as the only undertaker here, and as he had maintained his high standards and kept the public confidence there have been no business men to enter this field in competition with him in this immediate part of the county. There are other reasons than mere lack of competition for his success, howeyer, for he is energetic, progressive, alive to the advancements of the times and thoroughly interested in the welfare of his customers. His store, situated on Main Street, is a modern establishment, with an up-to-date stock of furniture, and all the known appliances of the undertaker’s art for the proper and reverent care of the dead. Mr. Beam also owned his residence on Depot Street, but had disposed of his farm in the country. In his views upon questions of public polity he coincides with the principles of the republican party, in the ranks of which he had been for some years an active worker. Not long after coming to Esbon he was elected a member of the city council, and his services therein made such a favorable impression during his one term that in 1911 he was elected mayor of the city. He received the re-election in 1913, and during his second administration succeeded in securing the installation of the city’s water and electric light system, in addition to other improvements. For the term that followed he was not in office, but in 1917 was again chosen to occupy the chief executive’s position, and is continuing to give his fellow citizens excellent service. A member of the United Brethren Church, he had been a generous supporter of its movements, and is now serving as church trustee and class leader. His fraternal connections include membership in Salem Lodge No. 228, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, of which he is past master; Esbon Lodge of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows; and Prairie Camp No. 5283, Modern Woodmen of America.

Mayor Beam was united in marriage, in 1895, at Esbon, to Miss Rosie Morrow, daughter of Albert and Sarah (Huntsinger) Morrow, residents of Esbon, where Mr. Morrow is connected with an automobile garage. Mr. and Mrs. Beam have no children of their own, but are rearing a boy, Ward (Runyan) Beam, who was born September 9, 1907.



Connelley, William E. A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans. Chicago : Lewis, 1918. 5v. Biographies can be accessed from this page: Kansas and Kansans Biographies.

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