Ransom Asa Beecher (1813 - 1904)

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Birthplace: West Haven, New Haven, Connecticut, USA
Death: Died in Elba, Cassia, Idaho, USA
Managed by: Ivy Jo Smith
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About Ransom Asa Beecher

Ransom Asa Beecher (1813-1904)

By FHS EditorPublished 10/16/2000Drake Family FHS Editor

View all articles by FHS Editor

Life Sketch Ransom Asa Beecher, son of Lyman Beecher and Sally Wheeler, was born at West Haven, Connecticut on December 10, 1813. When Ransom was about a year old his parents moved west to Vienna, Ohio. They must have joined in the westward movement following the War of 1812. Little is known of Ransom's youth, but we do know that the family remained in Vienna, Ohio until at least 1832.

The next we learn of Ransom was when he married Sylvia Desire Wheeler on March 22, 1828 at Fort Leavenworth, Missouri. It appears that Sylvia joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and was living with the Saints there at that time. Ransom probably joined the church about that time, as they moved to Nauvoo, Illinois, where they remained until after the martyrdom of the Prophet Joseph Smith. As a child, I remember hearing him tell of the war in Nauvoo: A group of Saints were by the schoolhouse under rifle fire. One of them stepped out into the open and was shot. I peeked around the corner of the building and saw two men's heads above the grass. I aimed my rifle at one of the heads and fired." When I asked if he hit the man he said, "I did not wait to see."

Ransom and Sylvia were forced out of Nauvoo and went across the Mississippi River. They camped there and Sylvia gave birth to twin girls, Lovina and Lovisa. The Beechers remained in the Midwest until 1853, moving as necessity demanded, including to Wisconsin, where their son Reuben was born on October 31, 1851.

In 1853 they migrated west to Salt Lake City, Utah with a wagon train of fellow Mormons. The family lived in Salt Lake four years, during which time Ransom worked as a cabinetmaker for President Brigham Young. Ransom was a very independent soul and he became dissatisfied with cabinetmaking. He left Salt Lake and moved his family to Willow Creek, Utah (present day Willard, Utah).

Life in Willow Creek was difficult for the family as Ransom was restless and venturesome. He took several hunting trips into the lesser-known surrounding wilderness areas. He took some of his sons to the Bear River (Idaho) country, but no definite record of this venture was kept, so details remain dim. His prowess as a hunter was greatly recognized—the Indians called him "Bear Dog" because he seemed to have no fear and loved the new country.

This venturesome spirit finally took the Beechers to Cassia Creek, a tributary of the Raft River. The new valley was beautiful, with game on every hill and the streams well stocked with trout. Ransom located his family on a homestead at the Narrows and several of his sons and daughters married and likewise filed on homesteads in the valley. The Beechers owned most of the creek bottomland in the valley. They were without question pioneers—the log cabins had dirt floors and dirt roofs. During the winter the floors were covered with straw to help protect bare feet from the cold earth. Cooking was done over an open fire in a fireplace. A small flock of sheep furnished wool for clothing. To make matters worse, Indian scares were frequent, as Chief Pocatello and his people roamed the territory.

Sylvia, the wife and mother of 12 children, died March 9, 1877, leaving two boys at home—Orval (17) and Merritt (13). Ransom's wanderlust was sated and from that time on he concentrated on his children and grandchildren. He maintained his residence in the little log cabin until his death on December 23, 1904. All his children married and Merritt built a fine brick house on the old homestead. He tried to get his grandfather to live with him, but Ransom declined, preferring to live by himself and enjoy the fireplace in his log cabin.

Ransom was a hardy pioneer—rough, rugged, independent and gruff. He asked few favors, yet he was ever anxious to help others. He was skilled as a workman and there was nothing he would not try to do. He lived a long life and the kind of life that was necessary to prepare a new land for the future. He was a small man about 5 feet 5 inches and weighed about 80 pounds when he was 18 years old. It is doubtful that he ever weighed over 125 pounds. He wore a beard and was very independent in his habits. He certainly would have been at home with the great pioneers of the west. He died December 23, 1904 and was buried in the Willard City cemetery.

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Utah Census, 1850-90 : Name: Ransom A. Beecher State: UT County: Box Elder County Township: No Township Listed Year: 1856 Page: 024 Database: UT 1856 Statehood Census Index


1870 United States Federal Census : Name: Ransom Beacher Birth Year: abt 1814 Age in 1870: 56 Birthplace: Connecticut Home in 1870: Willard, Box Elder, Utah Territory Race: White Gender: Male Post Office: Willard Household Members: Name Age Ransom Beacher 56 Selina Beacher 49 William J Beacher 27 Moronia Beacher 21 Reuben A Beacher 18 Fredrick O Beacher 15 Silvia Beacher 12 Orvil L Beacher 9 Merriet E Beacher 5

 

1880 United States Federal Census Name: Reubin Beecher Age: 66 Birth Year: abt 1814 Birthplace: Connecticut Home in 1880: Cassia Creek, Cassia, Idaho Race: White Gender: Male Relation to Head of House: Self (Head) Marital Status: Widower Father's Birthplace: Connecticut Mother's Birthplace: Connecticut Occupation: Farming Household Members: Name Age Reubin Beecher 66 Merritt Beecher 16

1900 United States Federal Census Name: Ransom A Beecher Home in 1900: Albion, Cassia, Idaho Age: 86 Birth Date: Dec 1813 Birthplace: Connecticut Race: White Gender: Male Relationship to Head of House: Father Father's Birthplace: Connecticut Mother's Birthplace: Connecticut Marital Status: Widowed Household Members: Name Age Merrit E Beecher 35 Mary Beecher 31 Audrey H Beecher 10 Jane I Beecher 7 Gladys D Beecher 5 Ransom A Beecher 86



      
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Ransom Asa Beecher's Timeline

1813
December 10, 1813
West Haven, New Haven, Connecticut, USA
1838
November 22, 1838
Age 24
Fort Leavenworth, Missouri, Kansas, USA
1840
November 27, 1840
Age 26
Nauvoo, Hancock, Illinois, United States
1842
October 25, 1842
Age 28
Nauvoo, Hancock, Illinois, United States
1844
December 23, 1844
Age 31
Nauvoo, Hancock, Illinois, United States
1846
September 23, 1846
Age 32
Montrose, Lee, Iowa, United States
September 23, 1846
Age 32
Montrose, Lee, Iowa, United States
1849
February 15, 1849
Age 35
Vienna, Trumbull, Ohio, USA
1851
October 31, 1851
Age 37
Marquette, Marquette, Wisconsin, United States
1855
May 20, 1855
Age 41
Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States