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Beason Lewis

Birthdate: (78)
Birthplace: Pendleton, Anderson, South Carolina, United States
Death: January 22, 1888 (78)
Richmond, Cache County, Utah Territory, United States
Place of Burial: GPS (lat/lon): 41.93031, -111.80272, Richmond, Cache County, Utah, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Neriah Frederick Lewis and Mary Jane Lewis
Husband of Almira Elizabeth Lewis; Elizabeth Lewis and Sarah Lewis
Brother of Ann Wilcox; Martha M Moore; Benjamin Franklin Lewis; Tarlton Lewis; John Lewis and 8 others

Managed by: Randy Stebbing
Last Updated:

About Beason Lewis

Biographical Summary:

Beason Lewis (1809-1888), son of Neriah and Mary Moss Lewis, was born 23 of February 1809 in Pendleton, South Carolina. Neriah and family moved from South Carolina to Kentucky at the time of the readjustment after the Revolutionary War. They heard the great-unknown country to the West calling to those men and women who desired the freedom and the opportunity that it had for them. In these western states large sections of land could be acquired, and in some cases large tracts of land were granted to the settlers for payment for their services to their country during the French and Indian War, and the war with England. In other cases they obtained it by entering a claim for it. There is on record, two of Neriah’s uncles entering claims, for one grant of 3000 acres and another grant of 800 acres of land in the western part of Virginia, including the land the University of Virginia now occupies. Neriah settled on a similar tract of land in Kentucky with his large family. He had seven sons and three daughters. Later five of these sons joined the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and one of the five died before reaching Utah, the other four were early pioneers of Utah. They were: Benjamin, Tarlton, David, Neriah, and Beason. Benjamin died at Haun’s Mill.

Neriah’s sons were all well trained in pioneering. They cleared the trees from their land, built homes, plowed and planted. And along with the early settlers of that time, they raised corn and grain from which they made whisky and brandy. They made their barrels for the liquor from wood they cut from their land. They were all coopers by trade. They raised tobacco and cured it. These products were sold or exchanged to supply them with their other needs. These men were breeders of fine stock and horses, and being men of strength they were able to protect themselves and others from the Indians and other dangers of that time.

Beason was Neriah’s fourth son. He married Elizabeth Ryons, a daughter of Leonard and Frances Adams Ryans. Elizabeth was born 19 November 1809. Her sister, Joannah, was married to Beason’s brother, Benjamin. It was after Beason and Elizabeth settled in Utah that they joined the L.D.S. Church.

When Benjamin Lewis was killed at Haun’s Mill and his family was left without his protection, it was Beason and Elizabeth who came to take them back to their former home, family and friends. However, Benjamin had asked Johanna to stay with the Church, and when she also died in Nauvoo, it was this couple (Beason and Elizabeth) who took the orphan children into their home and gave them the love and care and protection they needed.

Uncle Beason and Aunt Betsy, as they were always known, left Nauvoo with the Saints when they were driven from their homes in 1846, stopped for a short time at Mount Pisgah, then moved on to Winter Quarters. In the fall of 1847, they came to Utah. Their company was the first band of Saints to follow Brigham Young’s into Salt Lake Valley. They arrived September 19, 1847.

Uncle Beason and Aunt Betsy were well prepared for this treck across the plains, with good horses and strong wagons. They brought their farm stock with them, among which were milk cows. When butter was needed the milk was put in the churn and the churn fastened to the back of the wagon before starting the day’s journey. When they stopped at night the butter was churned and ready for use.

After a short stay in Salt Lake Valley, Uncle Beason and aunt Betsy returned to Winter Quarters taking their nephew, William C. Lewis, with them. In January 1848 Beason was among those who voted for a Post Office in Pottawattomie County, Ohio. He returned to Salt Lake in the fall of 1849. Aunt Betsy remained in the East until September 1851.

Uncle Beason was baptized in the Church in January 185l and Aunt Betsy was baptized in December of the same year. In February of 1852 uncle Beason married Elizabeth Pond Whitney as a plural wife, she was a widow with one daughter.

Uncle Beason was ordained a member of the second Quorum of Seventies in Salt Lake, and was ordained a Patriarch, by President Wilford Woodruff, shortly before his death.

The Lewis family made their first home on a ranch at the point of the west mountain, and lived there until the spring of 1860 when they moved with their family to Richmond, Cache County, Utah. Their family at that time consisted of themselves, his second wife and daughter Almira, Martha and Marie Kingsbury, whose mother had died seven years before, and Wiliam H. Skidmore, father of the present superintendent of Public Schools, Charles H. Skidmore. A little later B. F. Grant, whose father had died, and his mother who had married out of the Church and gone to Denver, leaving him with his grandparents, Mr. And Mrs. Fredrick Kesler, was taken into their home.

When the Lewis family arrived in Richmond, they moved into a temporary fort near a stream of water south of the new fort that was built that summer. They moved into the new fort in the fall. Uncle Beason and family lived in Richmond about three years then moved to Three Mile Creek south of Brigham City. Here they lived for a year and a half and then moved back to Richmond.

(From the history of Martha Ann Kingsbury Lewis):

"While at Three Mile Creek they gathered saleratis from the saleratis beds near Brigham City, this was used as a substitute for soda in baking. It was a gray scaley looking substance. Water was poured over it to soak and then drained off. The water was used for the same purpose as baking soda. Salt was gathered from the salt beds on the edge of the lake. It was course and had to be ground before it could be used."

Beason followed his trade as cooper, making wooden tubs, buckets, and churns. They were made from cedar wood and bound with brass hoops. He promised the girls a set of these when they married. When the time came he was so crippled with rheumatism he had given up his trade entirely. Besides his trade he worked his farm and a few acres around his home where the vegetable garden was planted. His gardens were the attraction of the entire county. The rows were laid out in straight parallel rows and no weeds were allowed to grow. To get enough weeds to feed the pigs, not only was the weeds pulled from uncle Beason’s garden but the neighbor’s also. Uncle Beason’s natural love of fine stock and horses was satisfied as he filled his farm with domestic animals.

Everything on the farm was kept in the best condition and everything was always kept in its right place. Uncle Beason and aunt Betsy were very orderly. Gravel was hauled from the mountains for the walks around the house and stables. The wood box near the kitchen door was always kept full; the chips were picked up and put in baskets ready for use. In the winter uncle Beason was into the canyon for his wood and hauled it home on sleds while the snow was deep. He was the first man in Cache Valley to invest in farm implements. These were a great blessing to the farmers in that community.

Uncle Beason, was a regular attendant at church, he always went early and sat in the same seat. The people all knew this and left that special seat for him. He was a great lover of children but had none of his own. In the winter he would gather the children in his sleigh and take them to school. He was a good provider for those in his care, and his heart was moved in sympathy for persons in distress. At one time he had made arrangements to build a large new home, but the help he had planned for disappointed him, so he let the people of the Richmond Ward have the adobes from which they build their first good meetinghouse.

March 11, 1883 Beason married Sarah Simpson Bradbury, a widow of English birth. It was she who nursed him through the long years of his last illness. In 1883 he had a paralytic stroke, which kept him bed-fast for nearly six years. He died January 22, 1888. He was a very large man and when he was in his casket the door had to be removed before it could be taken from the house.

B.F. Grant says: "Uncle Beason and Aunt Betsy Lewis had a great influence over my whole life. No boy or girl that lived with them could have a more royal father and mother than they were to all of us, during my stay in their home. I believe God will bless their memory for what they did for us. And I am sure there is a place in the kingdom of God where they can continue in the wonderful work, caring for boys and girls."

The following, is taken from a sketch by Marinda Monson Skidmore:

"Uncle Beason Lewis was a huge man, tall and broad, heavy set, but not obese, there was no double chin, but his cheeks were somewhat sagging. His voice was something like "Scattergood Baines", not quite so thick and fat sounding – if you know what I mean. His heart was so large it fitted well his massive frame. Though he dearly loved children, neither aunt Betsy nor aunt Sarah bore him any.

In those early days when food was so scarce, everyone was obliged to work. Small children and feeble ones were cared for by those able to take them in. William L. Skidmore’s mother was a widow and as Billy was too young to work, his mother gave him to Uncle Beason, who worked at a relay station of the Pony Express Company, near Bingham, Utah, and he received remuneration from the government. So he took in several children. I don’t know how many there were in all, but I can count fourteen, and all turned out well. Brig Grant, brother of President Heber J. Grant was his problem. He ran away, but after he obtained work he sent Uncle Beason $15.00 per month. When those boys who remained, married, they were each given 10 acres of land and a span of mules. Uncle Beason, for that’s what everyone called him, was a cooper by trade.

One day Grandpa (H. L. Skidmore) watched me putting some scraps of bread into a paper bag to dry. He said to me, "Marinda, I like the way you do things. Once I was hungry, when I was nine years old, mother gave me to Uncle Beason Lewis, and for some time I had not tasted bread, wild roots and weeds cooked was my bill of fare. When Uncle Beason took me to his house, Aunt Betsy cut off a big slice of bread, spread it thickly with butter and gave it to me. That was the sweetest, best food I ever ate in my life."

Uncle Beason was seldom seen at church after they moved to Richmond, but the family attended regularly, and though he did not often attend his kindness to others endeared him to everyone so that he was everybody’s uncle.

He was an ardent lover of horses. In all my life I’ve never seen a team as beautiful, a high stepping team of perfectly matched dapple-grays. He had a two-seated, pea green sleigh and sleigh bells, the only ones in town. On cold winter mornings he would drive out with his fine outfit. He would stop at some street intersection. Even the Pied Piper had nothing on Uncle Beason. Children ran from every house at the sound of sleigh bells. When the inside of the sleigh was loaded they would cling like leeches to the outside. He would deposit his load at the schoolhouse and go out for more. One day I got left and mother gave me a handkerchief to mop up my tears and told me to run. When I reached the gate uncle Beason was driving west, after he passed our place he turned back to the stepping block. He patted the seat beside him and as we started off he said, "Taint every little girl that gets a chance to ride alone with Uncle Beason in his sleigh." When we reached the schoolhouse the teacher was ringing the bell. "Well, " he said, "we made it by the skin of our teeth." When I thanked him he said, "I’ll be seein’ ya’." And he was off. I was only six then, but I’ve lived a long time and I could never forget Uncle Beason. He was ill a long time before he died. One day our Primary class went to his home to sing to him. He cried aloud when we sang, "In Our Lovely Deseret" and two more songs. As we filed out and we were to shake his hand and say: "Goodbye, Uncle Beason, he knew the name of every child. When I went to shake hands he held my hand gently in both of his, and looking deeply into my eyes he said, "Oh, this is Ellen’s girl," as if my mother had been a loved daughter. A short time later he died, but he will live in the hearts of those who know him until the last of these have passed on.

That’s the sort of man, William L. Skidmore’s foster father was."

By Marinda Monson Skidmore


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Beason Lewis's Timeline

February 23, 1809
Pendleton, Anderson, South Carolina, United States
January 1, 1851
Age 41
January 1, 1851
Age 41
February 24, 1854
Age 45
January 22, 1888
Age 78
Richmond, Cache County, Utah Territory, United States
June 24, 1949
Age 78
Richmond, Cache County, Utah, United States