William Beecher
(1817-1881)
Sarah Anna Reifsnyder
(1817-1881)
Isaac Wilson Lake
Ellen Ross Lewen
(1826-1859)
Levi Reifsnyder Beecher
(1848-1929)
Ellen Louisa Lake
(1854-1915)
William L. Beecher
(1870-1925)

 

Family Links

Spouses/Children:
1. Clara S. Moyer

William L. Beecher 1 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

  • Born: 1 Oct 1870, Wernersville, Berks, PA 1 4 6 8 10
  • Christened: 13 Nov 1870, Wernersville: St. John's (Hains) Reformed Church, Berks, PA 4
  • Marriage (1): Clara S. Moyer on 16 May 1891 in Wernersville: St. John's (Hains) Reformed Church, Berks, PA 1 2 3
  • Died: 26 Aug 1925, Swedesboro, Gloucester, NJ, USA at age 54 4 8 9 10
  • Buried: Wernersville: St. John's (Hains) Reformed Church, Berks, PA 4 8 10

   FamilySearch ID: MRZ1-W1N.

  Christening Notes:

Sponsors: William Beecher and Sarah

  Noted events in his life were:

1. Census in 1880 in Penn Twp., Berks, PA. 5 The 1880 census recorded Levi R. Beecher, blacksmith, 31, living with wife Ellen L., 26; son William L., 9; and son John A., 4.

Next door is William Beecher, blacksmith, 62, with wife Sarah A., 62; and servant Sallie M. Strunk, 14. Also living with them is Grandson Goerge L. Beecher, 10.

Everyone and their parents were born in Pennsylvania.

2. He was confirmed on 3 Jun 1886 in Wernersville: St. John's (Hains) Reformed Church, Berks, PA. 11

3. Newspaper: Reading Times: "William L. Beecher, of Wernersville, teach of the Mohrsville school, has resigned and will teach the West Reading Grammar School.", 25 Sep 1891, Reading, Berks, PA. 12

4. Census in 1900 in Reading, Berks, PA. 13 The 1900 Census recorded at 204 Rose Street in Reading blacksmith helper William Beecher, 30, born Oct 1870, living with wife Clara, schoolteacher, 29, Nov 1871; Lew. W. Beecher, 8, May 1892; and widowed mother-in-law Sarah Moyer, 55, Jun 1845. Everyone was born in Pennsylvania, including William's father, but his mother was born in England. Clara had been married for 9 years and given birth to 1 child by 1900.

5. Newspaper: Reading Times: "Teachers Named: The Cumru school board elected its teachers for the ensuing term. William L. Beecher to Wyomissing.", 30 Jun 1900, Reading, Berks, PA. 14

6. Newspaper: Reading Times: "William L. Beecher, 204 Rose street, examined last June for assistant weigher and messenger at the Custom House in Philadelphia, has received his average. He stands second in the class.", 19 Nov 1900, Reading, Berks, PA. 15

7. Newspaper: Reading Times: William L. Beecher invited to Berlin, 26 Feb 1901, Reading, Berks, PA. 16 William L. Beecher, of 204 Rose street, a well-known young zoologist, received an invitation yesterday to attend the international convention of zoologists, to be held in Berlin, this summer. Mr. Beecher has a collection of over 10,000 buttflies, many of them rare and beautiful.

8. Newspaper: Reading Times: Wm. Beecher Gets A Custom House Position, 27 Apr 1901, Reading, Berks, PA. 17 Philadelphia, April 26. -- William L. Beecher, of Reading, Pa., has been appointed messenger in the custom house, vice Edwin Harlley, deceased. Mr. Beecher was No. 2, on the Civil Service list with an average of 89.40. He was warmly recommended by Senator Penrose and A. M. High, postmaster of Reading.

9. Newspaper: Reading Times: "William L. Beecher and son, Lew Wallace, of this city, are spending ten days at Richmond, Va. Mr. Beecher is a clerk in the Philadelphia custom house and is now taking his annual vacation.", 27 Jul 1904, Reading, Berks, PA. 18

10. Book: Historical and Biographical Annals of Berks County, 1909. 1
[NOTE: Y-DNA testing on a Beecher descendant of William L. Beecher has proven that the following biography is not correct in stating William L. Beecher's family descends from the Connecticut Beecher line. Instead, his Y-DNA matches the PA German Beechers who immigrated into Pennsylvania in the 1700's. See http://www.SearchTrees.com/beecher for more.]

William L. Beecher, who is the incumbent of an important position in the United States Custom House at Philadelphia, Pa., is a descendant of the well-known Beecher family in America, and traces his ancestors to the Beechers in England.

They were noted as "blacksmith-preachers", and Nathaniel Beecher, the first of the family in America, had his anvil set on the stump of a wide-spreading elm under which the famous John Davenport preached his first sermon before the New Haven Colony in Connecticut; and in a direct line the trade was followed by each succeeding generation in this family until 1903, when William L. Beecher's father retired in Berks county.

William Beecher, the grandfather of William L., who was a son of George Beecher who settled in Berks county about 1800, was a blacksmith by trade, and married Sarah Reifsnyder, by whom he had four children, the only survivor of whom is Levi R. Beecher, the father of William L.

Levi R. Beecher, who was for many years a blacksmith of Heidelberg township, where he is now living retired, married Ellen Louise Lake, a native of London, England, where her father carried on the business of a contractor for a time and whence he emigrated to America when she was a young girl. Mr. and Mrs. Beecher became the parents of four children: William L.; John A. m. Elsie Dundor; Katie E. m. Isaac Luckenbill; Howard died young.

William L. Beecher was born Oct. 1, 1870, in Lower Heidelberg township, Berks Co., Pa., about three miles north of Wernersville. He received his early education in the township schools, and then attended the Keystone State Normal School at Kutztown, Pott's Shorthand College at Williamsport, and the Reading Business College. When fifteen years old, he entered the Reading Hardware Works to learn the trade of molder, and while following this trade was licensed to teach public school. This was in 1889, and he taught for twelve terms, in West Reading, and Perry and Cumru townships, nine terms being in the last named, and during the summer months he worked at his trade.

In the summer of 1900, Mr. Beecher passed a very creditable examination for a position in the Philadelphia Custom House, and May 1, 1901, received an appointment as messenger. After serving in this position several months he was promoted to a clerkship and detailed for duty in the Custodian's office, where he has continued to the present time. His spare time is devoted to photography, entomology and painting. During the past five years, he has visited many battle-fields of the Army of the Potomac in the Civil war, photographing prominent places for the purpose of illustrating a book entitled "From Bull Run to Appomattox," of which he is to be the compiler. He has a fine collection of butterflies at his home, which he secured in his travels and mounted.

Mr. Beecher took an active part in the Pennsylvania National Guard for a number of years, having been a sergeant of the Reading Artillerists, and serving as company clerk. He participated in the suppression of the labor troubles in the coal regions in 1900, having been summoned from his school in Cumru township, and was engaged in this service for forty days.

In 1891 Mr. Beecher married Clara S. Moyer, daughter of the late Elias Moyer of Robesonia. One child has been born to this union: Lew Wallace, who is now attending the high school in Philadelphia, preparatory to taking up the study of medicine. He is quite an athlete, has participated in a number of cross-country runs, and at one time, in company with his father, walked from Philadelphia to Reading in less than twelve hours. The father and son have a great fondness for music, both playing the cornet very efficiently, and the son assisting in the orchestras attached to the high school, and Palatinate Reformed Church.

11. Census in 1910 in Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA. 19 The 1910 census recorded renting at 918 Saint Bernard Street: William L. Beecker, government clerk, 39, living with wife Clara, 38; and son Louis, 17. Everyone and their parents were born in Pennsylvania.

12. Newspaper: Reading Times: "Mr. And Mrs. Wm. Beecher and son, Lew, of PHiladelphia, visited the former's parents, near the Hain church.", 25 May 1910, Reading, Berks, PA. 20

13. Newspaper: Reading Times, 10 Aug 1912, Reading, Berks, PA. 21 William L. Beecher, his son, Lew Wallace Beecher, Stanley Milne and Douglas Milne, of Philadelphia, visited Mr. Beecher's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Levi R. Beecher, near Hain's Church. They made the trip from Philadelphia and return on their Twin Indian Motorcycles.

14. Newspaper: Reading Times: "William Beecher, of Philadelphia, spent a week with his father, Levi Beecher and family, near Hain's church.", 29 Jul 1915, Reading, Berks, PA. 22

15. Census in 1920 in Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA. 23 The 1920 census recorded owning a home at 918 N St. Bernard Street: William L. Beecher, clerk, 49, living with wife Clara S., 48.

16. Newspaper: Reading Times: "Society Affairs and Personals: Miss Viola L. Luckenbill is spending a week in Philadelphia, visiting her uncle and aunt, Mr. And Mrs. William L. Beecher.", 14 Jul 1920, Reading, Berks, PA. 24

17. Obituary: Philadelphia Inquirer: Philadelphia Dies Battling Large Fish on 27 Aug 1925 in Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA. 9 W. L. Beecher, Customs Custodian, Has Heart Attack on Outing

In the exciting moments of landing a large fish from the waters at Swedesboro, N. J., William L. Beecher, noting custodian of the United States Customs in Philadelphia and a veteran government employee, suffered a violent heart palpitation and dropped dead yesterday.

Beecher, who was in his fifty-fourth year, left his home at 918 St. Bernard street, this city, for Swedesboro early in the morning for a day of fishing. He had ensnared a large catch and was angling for a big and sportive fish when the end came.

Word of his death was sent to the United States Customs here, and Mrs. Clara Beecher, his wife, was notified. The sudden shock almost brought on a collapse, and she had to be placed under a doctor's care.

Louis Beecher, of J 214 South Fifty-sixth street, only child of the Beechers, went to Swedesboro to bring his father's body to Philadelphia.

Beecher had been in the employ of the Federal Government for twenty-four years. Before entering Federal employ he was principal of the high school at Oakbrook for a number of years. He was a member of the Thomas R. Patton Lodge, F. and A. M., the Melita Royal Arch Chapter, the Royal Arcanum, the Patriotic Order Sons of America, the Red Men and the Stephen Girard Charity Fund.


William married Clara S. Moyer, daughter of Elias H. Moyer and Sarah M. Staley, on 16 May 1891 in Wernersville: St. John's (Hains) Reformed Church, Berks, PA.1 2 3 (Clara S. Moyer was born on 29 Nov 1871 in Robesonia, Berks, PA,1 8 13 25 26 died on 20 Nov 1926 in Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA 8 25 26 and was buried on 23 Nov 1926 in Wernersville: St. John's (Hains) Reformed Church, Berks, PA 8 25 26.)


Sources


1 Montgomery, Morton L., Historical and Biographical Annals of Berks County Pennsylvania (Chicago: J. H. Beers & Co., 1909. Online at: http://archive.org/details/cu31924097286300), Page 853.

2 FamilySearch.org, Pennsylvania, County Marriages, 1885 - 1950, https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/V2XQ-KSL William L. Beecher and Clara S. Moyer, 1891.

3 Kershner, W. J. (William Jacob), 1852-1926; Lerch, Adam G., joint author, History of St. John's (Hain's) Reformed church in Lower Heidelberg Township, Berks County, Penna (Reading, Pa., I. M. Beaver. 1916. Online at http://archive.org/details/historyofstjohns00ker .), Marriages, 1891, page 389.

4 St. John's (Hains) Reformed Church, Wernersville, Berks County, PA (Lower Heidelberg Township).

5 1880 United States Census, Year: 1880; Census Place: Penn, Berks, Pennsylvania; Roll: 1100; Family History Film: 1255100; Page: 144C; Enumeration District: 035; Image: 0288.

6 Ancestry.com, Pennsylvania, U.S., Death Certificates, 1906-1968 (Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates. Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.), Death Certificate 52653. Lew Wallace Beecher. Father William L. Beecher. Mother Clara Moyer.

7 Reading Times (Reading, PA) (Reading, Berks, Pernnsylvania.), 1906 Sep 10, page 5. Obituary of Mrs. Elias Moyer.

8 History of St. John's (Hains) Reformed Church, Third Volume (Lower Heidelberg Township, Berks, Pennsylvania. 1970.), Page 260.

9 Philadelphia Inquirer (Philadelphia, PA), 27 Aug 1925, page 1. Death of W. L. Beecher.

10 Find A Grave, https://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=182960942.

11 Kershner, W. J. (William Jacob), 1852-1926; Lerch, Adam G., joint author, History of St. John's (Hain's) Reformed church in Lower Heidelberg Township, Berks County, Penna (Reading, Pa., I. M. Beaver. 1916. Online at http://archive.org/details/historyofstjohns00ker .), 3 Jun 1886, confirmation of William L. Beecher. Page 374.

12 Reading Times (Reading, PA) (Reading, Berks, Pernnsylvania.), 25 Sep 1891, page 4.

13 1900 United States Census, https://familysearch.org/pal:/MM9.1.1/M3M5-M6G William Beecher, ED 65 Precinct 4 Reading city Ward 6, Berks, Pennsylvania, United States; citing sheet 9A, family 172, NARA microfilm publication T623, FHL microfilm 1241378.

14 Reading Times (Reading, PA) (Reading, Berks, Pernnsylvania.), 30 Jun 1900, page 2.

15 Reading Times (Reading, PA) (Reading, Berks, Pernnsylvania.), 19 Nov 1900, page 2.

16 Reading Times (Reading, PA) (Reading, Berks, Pernnsylvania.), 26 Feb 1901, page 5.

17 Reading Times (Reading, PA) (Reading, Berks, Pernnsylvania.), 27 Apr 1901, page 2.

18 Reading Times (Reading, PA) (Reading, Berks, Pernnsylvania.), 27 Jul 1904, page 5.

19 1910 United States Census, Year: 1910; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 44, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Roll: T624_1412; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 1134; FHL microfilm: 1375425.

20 Reading Times (Reading, PA) (Reading, Berks, Pernnsylvania.), 25 May 1910, page 3.

21 Reading Times (Reading, PA) (Reading, Berks, Pernnsylvania.), 10 Aug 1912, page 7.

22 Reading Times (Reading, PA) (Reading, Berks, Pernnsylvania.), 29 Jul 1915, page 5.

23 1920 United States Census, Year: 1920; Census Place: Philadelphia Ward 44, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

24 Reading Times (Reading, PA) (Reading, Berks, Pernnsylvania.), 14 Jul 1920, page 7.

25 Ancestry.com, Pennsylvania, U.S., Death Certificates, 1906-1968 (Original data: Pennsylvania (State). Death certificates. Records of the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Record Group 11. Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.), Death Certificate 114326. Clara S. Beecher. Father Elias Moyer. Mother Sarah Staley.

26 Find A Grave, http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=132192753.



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