Biography of Benjamin F. Beckham
Benjamin F. Beckham, a prominent farmer of Madrid Bend, is the son of Alexander F. and Mary (Watson) Beckham. The father was born in Virginia in 1828, moved when young to Gibson County, Tennessee, and then to Hickman, Kentucky, then to Mills Point. He married Miss Watson in 1848. They had eight children, only three now living. Mrs. Beckham belongs to the Methodist Church.
Mr. Beckham was a merchant and farmed also upon an extensive scale. In politics he was a democrat. Mr. Beckham was the victim of one of the greatest outrages ever perpetrated. It was known that he often had large sums of money at his house, and in 1863, while the Federal forces were stationed on Island No. 10, a squad of seventeen Negroes and white soldiers went to his house, ostensibly to secure a colored child belonging to a Negro woman on the island, but in reality to rob Mr. Beckham; and to make sure of getting it, they murdered Mr. Beckham and his aged father and four of his children. Mrs. Beckham and the other three children were away from home and thus escaped the horrible fate of the others. After murdering six of the family, in order to conceal their dastardly work, the fiends sunk their victims in the river. Some eye witnesses of this cruel murder barely escaped with their lives.
In 1869 Mrs. Beckham married J. A. Burnum, who died in 1873. She now lives in Union City, Tennessee. After the murdered members of the family had been buried twenty one years in the Bend, they were removed to the cemetery at Union City. Mr. Beckham’s grand-uncle was major at Harper’s Ferry at the time of John Brown’s insurrection, and was the third man killed.
Our subject, B. F. Beckham, was born July 24, 1850, in Lake County. He had few educational advantages when a boy, but later attended school at Henderson, Kentucky. When only seventeen he commenced farming for himself, and in 1871 married Sue Hardy, a daughter of William Hardy, who was born May 1, 1854. They have three children: Allie,Harry M. and Mary. Mr. and Mrs. Beckham are members of the Christian Church; he is a Mason and a democrat and owns three tracts of land, 815 acres of it being considered the best in the county. He has many friends and the confidence of all.