Henry J. Beedy (1840-1919)
of Kankakee County, Illinois
From the History of Kankakee County:
For twenty-seven years Henry J. Beedy has been highway commissioner of Manteno township, and his praiseworthy efforts during all this time to secure the best possible country thoroughfares rightly entitles him to the appellation of father of hard roads. Students of economic conditions place such stress upon the character of the roads in a given community, as to judge almost conclusively of the degree of advancement of its inhabitants, and their relation to the progressing, striving world around them. The kings of ancient history were progressive or not according as the roads in their respective realms indicated regard for the migrating countrymen and for the more ready transmission of merchandise. The doom of the Persia of today is read in the almost impassable nature of her public arteries. Without good roads encouragement to reach out or draw in from the outside is wanting. It is his practical demonstration of appreciation of the importance of making agreeable and easy the coming and going of mankind in Manteno township, that places Mr. Beedy among the townships most far sighted and public spirited officials.
Mr. Beedy is first of all a farmer, a grower and distributor of necessary products. He was born on a farm in New York state in 1840, a son of Daniel and Sarah (Johnson) Beedy, the latter of whom was born in Vermont. Daniel Beedy combined farming with freighting during his active life, and in the early days used to haul various commodities to Boston. In 1845 he moved to Canada and hauled iron ore for five years, and in the latter part of 1849 moved to Lockport, Will county, Illinois. In 1851 he rented a farm on Rock Creek, and three years later bought the farm of one hundred and sixty acres a mile and a half west of Manteno, where his death occurred in October 1877, at the age of seventy-eight years. His wife died in February 1878, at the age of seventy-eight. The education of Henry J. Beedy was acquired in the schools of Canada and Manteno township, and in October 1865, he was united in marriage to Emily Hatch, who was born in Vermont, a daughter of Charles Hatch, also of the Green Mountain state. In early life Mrs. Beedy removed from the east to Wisconsin, later coming to Kankakee county to engage in teaching, which profession she had followed in Wisconsin. She is the mother of five children: Cora J. Lockie, of Blue Island, Chicago; Clarence H., living on the home farm; Mrs. Angie Peters, of Manteno; Verner E., occupying a farm one and a half miles west of Manteno; and Vennis G., engaged in the clothing business in Kankakee.
Henry J. Beedy succeeded to the farm of his father, which now is one hundred and twenty acres in extent. The care of many years is apparent in all its departments, and one is impressed with the neatness, thrift and order in its external and internal arrangements. For the past twenty-five years the genial owner has made a specialty of feeding steers, and also has devoted considerable attention to high grade horses. His buildings are noticeable for their adaptiveness to his needs, and for their well-kept condition. He has two barns, one of forty by sixty feet, and another, erected in 1891, of thirty-two by sixty feet. In 1892, Mr. Beedy erected a beautiful country home, furnished it throughout in a tasteful manner, and now has one of the pleasantest, as well as most hospitable, homes in his township. He has been an important adjunct to the political stability of the county, and for many years promoted the cause of education as a member of the school board. This office, and that of highway commissioner, has placed him in direct touch with the most pressing needs of the community. Personally he is an agreeable and popular man, kindly in manner and generous in impulse, and fortunately he is appreciated in the township which he has done so much to improve.
From Portrait and Biographical Record, Kankakee County:
Henry J. Beedy owns and operates a farm on section 17, and is an extensive stock-raiser and dealer in live-stock. He was born in St. Lawrence County, NY on the 23d of March, 1840, and is a son of Daniel and Sarah (Johnson) Beedy. His paternal grandfather was a farmer of New Hampshire, in which State his birth occurred. He lived to a good old age and died in Vermont. Joshua Johnson, the maternal grandfather, followed the seas for many years, but afterward became a farmer of Vermont.
Daniel Beedy was a native of New Hampshire, and was of Irish descent. When quite young he went to the Green Mountain State, where he was afterward married. For some years he engaged in teaming and contracting. Later he removed to New York, where he lived for a number of years, after which, going to Canada, he remained in that country for five years. In the fall of 1849 he came to Illinois, locating near Lockport, in Homer Township, where he purchased land, which he cultivated for a year and a half. His family came from Canada in the spring of 1850 to this State, and in the following year he made a settlement on Rock Creek, on the old Kellogg farm, in Rockville township, this county. This farm comprised two hundred acres, and this he rented for three years. The Illinois Central Railroad was built through here in 1853, and, desiring to get nearer the same, he purchased one hundred and sixty acres in Manteno Township, on section 17, on which he constructed a house, which is believed to have been the frame for the first schoolhouse ever erected in Rockville Township. This building he purchased and removed to his farm, adding to other rooms until he had a comfortable home, in which he lived until 1877, when he died, being then seventy-eight years of age. For nine years he held the office of Justice of the Peace, was School Trustee and the first Supervisor of Manteno Township. He was one of the earliest settlers to organize the county, and served as Postmaster of Manteno under Buchanans administration. Five sons and five daughters were born to Daniel and Sarah Beedy, all of whom were married and had children of their own before the death of their parents. They are as follows: Peninah J., Mercy Ann, Austin D., Langdon J., Sarah L., Wesley C., Nathan S., Aurelia M., Henry J. and Fannie E.
Henry J. Beedy, our subject, was the youngest boy in his fathers family, and remained at home until reaching mature years. He received his education in the district schools. When he was about twenty years of age his father assisted him to make a start in business life, but until the death of the latter he continued to superintend the old homestead. On the 18th of October, 1865, he was united in marriage with miss Emily E. Hatch. Her father, Charles P. Hatch, is of English descent, and her mother, who was in her maidenhood Lydia Taylor, is of Scotch origin. Two daughters and three sons have blessed the union of Mr. and Mrs. Beedy. Cora I. Is the wife of Harvey A. Lockie, who is engaged in farming two and a-half miles north of Manteno; they have one child, a son, Lloyd B. the other members of the family are Clarence H., Angie E., Vennis G. and Verner E. (twins).
Mr. Beedy is now engaged in running a stock farm, and buys and raises both horses and cattle. He has at present one hundred head of cattle, all of which he has raised, and some of which are of the Red Polled variety. Mr. Beedy has just finished the erection of a large new residence, built in modern style, and which is one of the finest farmhouses in the county.
Our subject is not a member of any church or secret society, but his wife has a brother who is a Baptist minister, and her sisters husband is a minister of the Congregational Church. For many years Mr. Beedy has been School director, and has also held the office of Highway commissioner. He is generous and public-spirited, and has been quite active in securing for Manteno Township some of the best country roads to be found in the State. Politically, he is a Democrat, having cast his first Presidential vote for Douglas and his last for Grover Cleveland. He owns a fine farm of two hundred and eighty acres, the most of which has been acquired by his own industry and good management.
From Kankakee County, Illinois Manteno Township:
Henry J. Beedy, farmer, P. O. Manteno. Daniel Beedy was born in Strafford, Vt., December 8, 1799 of Scotch parentage, being one of a family of eleven children. He was married in 1819 to Sarah Johnson of New Hampshire, and emigrated to Homer, Ill, in 1849, with nine children five boys and four girls, leaving one, the eldest daughter, married in New York State. He resided in Homer until 1851, when he removed to the present township of Rockville, in this county, where he lived three years, and then moved to Manteno, taking up a quarter section one mile and a half from the present site of the town, where he lived until his death, October 27, 1877. Mr. Beedy was one of the first settlers of Manteno and helped organize the town, being the first Superintendent. He also held different offices of trust and honor, discharging his duties with untiring zeal and faithfulness. Henry J. Beedy, the youngest son, was born in Malone, Franklin Co., N. Y., March 23, 1840, and now owns the homestead, having always lived on it since first settled by his father. On October 18, 1865, he was married to Emily E. Hatch, daughter of Charles P. Hatch, of Hardwick, Caledonia Co., Vt. And has five children, vis, Cora J., Clarence H., Angie A., Verner E. and Vennis G.