Hon. Addison C. Beeman. An expanse of woodland often takes its character from several conspicuous trees. When one of these giants is overthrown the entire forest seems desolate. The same is true of humanity. When death overwhelms one of its broad and massive characters, an entire community, loses an important feature of its rugged outline and there is a widespread sense of grief as of a permanent loss.
All this and more wore true of the late Senator Addison C. Beeman of Alfalfa County, who died suddenly at his home in Cherokee Thanksgiving morning November 25, 1915. His loss was felt the more keenly because he was still a young man, less than forty-six. He was born in Sharpville, Ohio, June 19, 1870. When he was six years old his parents moved to Pennsylvania where he attended common schools, and in 1896 he graduated with honors from Valparaiso University in Indiana.
He was a very capable educator before he took up the law. After graduating from college and after his marriage he taught school for a number of years at Tassanong, Indiana, and for three years was principal of the city schools at Wheatfield, Indiana. He then removed to Oklahoma, was in the real estate and loan business at Carmen, and then lived at Alva, the county seat of old Woods County, where he was under-sheriff until statehood.
Senator Beeman became one of the pioneers of Alfalfa County, locating there on November 16, 1907, the date of Oklahoma’s admission to the Union. In the meantime he had studied law, was admitted to the bar, and began practice at Cherokee. As a lawyer he was remarkably successful, and his success has further distinction because he did not take up the law until comparatively late in years, being past thirty when he was admitted to the bar. It is said that at the time of his death he enjoyed the largest practice of any attorney in Cherokee. His diligent application to his work, the absolute confidence clients imposed in his integrity and devotion to their interests, won him a recognition and standing such as few attorneys could expect to enjoy anywhere. The esteem of his colleagues in the law was well expressed in resolutions by the Alfalfa County Bar Association. A few sentences from these resolutions should be quoted: “The bar of which he was a member here had learned to honor and to love him. He typified to a rare degree that ultimatum of industry and integrity toward which we know it to be the duty of every right-thinking lawyer to strive. We feel that his life as a citizen and a lawyer exemplified that enlightened morality which is the essence of that spirit of Divine Justice with which the best of our profession strive to vivify and inspire all laws. The tenderness of his nature wove into the sterner woof of statute and decision the golden web of sympathy which tempered justice with mercy. In our daily struggle to combine loyalty to client with obedience to law and reverence for right, his example of unswerving rectitude has always made the path of duty less hard and less lonely.”
At the time of his death Senator Beeman was serving his first term as a member of the Oklahoma Senate. He was elected by a large majority to that office in the fall of 1914. So well and favorably was he known over his district that he was elected with practically little effort in campaigning on his part, either in the primaries or in the general election. He was also the Alfalfa County member of the Republican State Central Committee.
He was a man of many interests and sympathies. About four years before his death he and his family joined the Friends Church at Cherokee, and he served his church as chairman of the Finance Committee and for over two years as teacher of the Men’s Bible Class. His loyalty to church work was indicated by the fact that only a few days before his death, though suffering from illness, he was found at his regular place in the Sunday School room. He was also a member of the Masonic Order, the Brotherhood of American Yeomen at Cherokee, The Knights of Pythias and the Modern Woodmen of America at Carmen.
Mr. Beeman was the oldest of ten children, and his was the first death in the family circle. His aged father, a minister of the Baptist Church, is still living. On July 23, 1896, Senator Beeman married Miss Hulda Davidson, who had been a fellow student with him in Valparaiso University in Indiana, and they were married a few weeks after he graduated from that school. To their marriage were born two children: Virgil and Maecil Beeman, both of whom are still living.
As an appropriate conclusion to this brief review of Senator Beeman’s activities and influence there should be quoted a few editorial paragraphs from the newspaper of his home community:
“In the death of Senator A. C. Beeman Alfalfa County sustained the loss of one of her very best citizens– a man whose place in the public estimation it will be difficult to fill. There was not a better man from the standpoint of usefulness in all Alfalfa County than Senator Beeman He was highly respected even by those with whom he had legal and political difficulties. He was universally honored and trusted by every one who knew him. His very name was a synonym for honesty and squareness and in the days that he was a useful member of Alfalfa County life he established a reputation that few men build in the community is which they live.
“As a citizen Ad Beeman was always to be found on the right side of every proposition. Whatever was best for his community and his neighbors was his creed. To better humanity was to better himself, was the theory on which his life practices were founded. A loyal and patriotic citizen, a cheerful and desirable neighbor, and a devoted and attentive head of a family, he stood for everything that builds the moral, civil and religious life of a community. As a citizen of the county he took the view that it was the best county in Oklahoma, as a citizen of Cherokee he adhered vigorously to the theory that it was the best town on earth, and an entire citizenship of men like Beeman would make it so. Rigidly industrious and perhaps giving more attention to his business than any man in Cherokee, yet he could always find time to do something for the good of the town.
“As an attorney, the leader of the local bar, he was all that a lawyer should be and nothing that one should not be. With as high a regard for the ethics of his profession as any man ever admitted to the bar, Mr. Beeman put the beautiful theories of law into the practical application. His large business came almost entirely from the fact that men had absolute confidence in what he told them and that he was more likely to honestly advise a man out of a law suit than try to advise him into one. So few lawyers of today have this virtue that it was singular in Senator Beeman. No set of people will miss him so much as those who entrusted him with their business affairs. The splendid reputation he built for himself is a model that any young lawyer can well afford to follow.
“As a public officer Senator Beeman was faithful to every trust the same as he was in the private business that was given him for his attention. He regarded his duties as a member of the State Senate very much as he regarded the interests of his clients. Although he had served but one term in that body every fellow member learned to respect and honor him.
“ The loss of no man in this community could have caused more of a shock or a deeper sorrow than the untimely death of Senator Beeman. To his family, richer than any worldly goods, he left a name of which they will always be proud, a memory which they can always honor and a record of having been a real man.”