Biography of Elihu C. Beckham
ELIHU C. BECKHAM. The requirements necessary for the successful filling of the office of assessor are accuracy, faithfulness and energy, and all these requirements are possessed by Mr. Beckham, who is universally pronounced to be one of the most capable assessors Stone County has ever had.
He was born in Hardin County, near the Wayne County, Tennessee, line, July 13, 1840, a son of Joshua M. and Catherine (Hinkle) Beckman, the former of whom was born in Orange County, N. C., May 14, 1816, and died in Stone County, Arkansas, February 3, 1888. The mother was born in Alabama, December 26, 1819, and died here November 11, 1863. Upon the removal of the Beckham family from North Carolina to Tennessee, Joshua M. was a child of five years and grew up in Wayne and Hardin Counties, was married in the latter county, and his union resulted in the birth of six sons and five daughters. After the death of the wife and mother he married the widow Cartwright, who bore him two children and died in 1875. They were members of the Flatwoods Missionary Baptist Church, of which they were among the earliest members, and socially Mr. Beckham was a member of Zion Lodge No. 10, of Batesville, A. F. & F. M. Although always a Democrat in politics, his father and brothers were Whigs. His father, Greene Beckham, was born at about the time of the closing of the Revolutionary War, and was named in honor of Gen. Nathaniel Greene. His father was a soldier of that war. He was a farmer and died in Wayne County,. Tennessee, in 1863. His grandfather came to this country from England.
Elihu C. Beckham, whose name heads this sketch,was the second child born to his parents and obtained the most of his education at home, by self application. October 27, 1861, he joined Company D, Fourteenth Arkansas Infantry, and was under the command of Capt. C. C. Elkins. The following spring, when the regiment was consolidated with Lemoyne’s and commanded by Col. John McCarven, he became a member of Company K, Twenty-first Arkansas Infantry, and held the rank of sergeant. He remained with this command until the surrender in May, 1865, at Marshall, Tex., having been a member of the Trans-Mississippi Department. He was in many battles: Farmington, Miss., Corinth, Iuka, Port Gibson, Baker’s Creek, Black River Bridge, where he was taken prisoner May 16, 1863, and was taken to Camp Morton, Indianapolis, Indiana A short time after he was removed to Ft. Delaware, where he was kept in captivity from June 11, 1863, until September 15 of the same year. From that time until December, 1863, he was kept at Point Lookout, after which be was paroled at Richmond the first part of 1864. On the 8th of February he was caught within the Federal lines in Arkansas and was sent to Little Rock for a time, and then to Rock Island, Illinois, July 6, 1864, from which place he was sent,January 17, 1865, to New Orleans, was exchanged at the mouth of the Big Red River, and in February, 1865, rejoined his command, at Shreveport, La. He traveled in twenty different States and covered over 10,000 miles during the three years seven months and thirteen days that he was in the service. October 4, 1862, he was wounded at Corinth by a ball in the back of the neck.
After the war was over his sole possessions consisted of a little change, $3.60 in silver, and an old gun, but with characteristic energy he at once set to work to till the soil, but realizing the value of a good education he attended school for some time during 1866, and in 1868 became assistant teacher, at Flatwood; in 1867 he went to Hardin County, made a crop, and in the fall of that year returned home, began clerking in a dry goods store in Riggsville, continuing a few months. He then resumed farming, and after his crop of 1869 had been laid by he once more resumed teaching, and followed this occupation in addition to farming up to 1886. He is now the owner of a good farm of 236 acres, on which he lives and 100 acres in another tract, and has in all 100 acres under cultivation. For ten or fifteen years after the war he did as much hunting as anything, for game was very plentiful throughout this section. Eight years since he was elected tax assessor of Stone County, was reelected two years later, was then out one term, and in 1892 was again elected, this time on the People’s ticket. He is one of the most popular officials and as a law-abiding and substantial citizen has an excellent reputation. He is a member of Flatwoods Missionary Baptist Church, is high priest in the A. F. & A. M., Blue Mountain Chapter No. 62, and is also a member of the I. O. O. F. His wife, whose maiden name was Rhoda E. Lancaster, was born August 2, 1850, in Richwoods, this county, a daughter of William E. Lancaster, who for many years ran a blacksmith shop on Rock Bayou, in this county, whither he came from Tennessee, in 1844.