Horace W. Beck, secretary of the Light & Development Company of St. Louis, was born in Kent county, Maryland, September 11, 1865, and is a son of Samuel Beck, who was a native of Maryland and was of English descent, the ancestral line in America being traced back to the early part of the seventeenth century. Samuel Beck became a physician and surgeon and was a resident of Chestertown, Maryland, during the latter part of his life. In politics he was a stalwart supporter of democratic principles and very active in behalf of the party and in support of progressive civic measures. He served as clerk of the circuit court of Kent county for a period of twelve years and at his death, which occurred in 1896, when he was fifty-eight years of age, he left an excellent record as a man, as a physician and as a citizen. He married Ellen Constable, a native of Kent county, Maryland, and a representative of one of the old Scotch families of that state founded on the soil of the new world prior to the Revolutionary war. Dr. and Mrs. Beck had a family of five sons and seven daughters and the mother passed away in August, 1919, at the age of seventy-seven years, her death also occurring in Chestertown, Maryland.
Horace W. Beck, second of the family in order of birth, was educated in the public schools of his native state to the age of seventeen years, when he started out to provide for his own support, his first position being that of clerk in a wholesale hardware store in Baltimore, Maryland. That he was loyal and capable is indicated in the fact that he remained with his first employer for four years. He then became deputy clerk of Kent county, Maryland, filling that office for three years, after which he left the Atlantic seaboard and in December, 1889, arrived in St. Louis.
Through the intervening period of thirty-one years Mr. Beck has been identified with this city. He became assistant secretary of the Carondelet Gas Light Company, with which he remained until October 1, 1890, and then removed to Fort Worth, Texas, where he became secretary of the Fort Worth Light & Power Company, occupying the position until December, 1892, when he returned to Maryland and settled at Chestertown, establishing a creamery and ice business which he profitably conducted for three years, when he again came to St. Louis in 1895. Here he entered into asso. ciation with the Laclede Power Company as bookkeeper, representing that concern for thirteen years, or until January, 1908, when he became one of the organizers of the Light & Development Company, in which he assumed the office of secretary. He has since continuously and satisfactorily filled the position, bending his energies to constructive effort, administrative direction and executive control of a business that is constantly growing in volume and importance. He is likewise a director of all of the subsidiary organizations of the company and enjoys a well merited reputation as an excellent, capable and resourceful business man.
On the 10th of February, 1891, Mr. Beck was married in Chestertown, Maryland, to Miss Annie Hines, a native of that state and a daughter of Jesse K. and Emily (Massey) Hines, both representatives of prominent old Maryland families. To Mr. and Mrs. Beck have been born four children: Horace W., Jr.; Emily H., now the wife of A. W. Hamilton, of Chicago; Catharine; and Franklin H. The son Horace was in the ambulance service during the World war, on duty in France, being connected with Section 516. He served with the French army for a period of sixteen months, or until the signing of the armistice. During the war period Mr. Beck was a member of Company B of the Missouri Home Guard at Webster Groves and held the rank of first sergeant. His political endorsement is given to the democratic party, he belongs to the Algonquin Golf Club, which indicates something of the nature of his recreation, and is a member of Emanuel Episcopal church of Webster Groves, which is a manifestation of the high principles that have ever guided him in the relations of life. In his business affairs he has been actuated by a laudable ambition but has never sacrificed right to policy nor his word to the material upbuilding of his business.