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Alfred B. Beard. One of the sterling pioneer citizens of Oklahoma, Mr. Beard is a well known and highly esteemed citizen of Sapulpa, Creek County, and his is the distinction of being one of the gallant patriots who served as soldiers of the Union in the Civil war and did well their part in preserving the integrity of the nation.
Mr. Beard was born in White County, Illinois, on the 13th of August, 1840, and, as the date indicates, he is a representative of a pioneer family of that section of the state. He is a son of Thomas and Jane (Ogburn) Beard, the former of whom was born in Maury County, Tennessee, and the latter of whom was a native of North Carolina. Their marriage was solemnized in Marion County, Illinois, where Mr. Beard established his residence as a young man of twenty-two years and where his wife had accompanied her parents on their removal from North Carolina to number themselves among the pioneer settlers of Illinois. Thomas Beard was a resident of Bartlesville, Oklahoma, at the time of his death, in May, 1884, and attained to the age of sixty-seven years. His wife passed the closing period of her life at Fredonia, Kansas, where she died in 1875, at the age of fifty-four years, the greater part of their lives having been passed in Illinois and Kansas. After the close of the Civil war Thomas Beard removed with his family to Pleasant Hill, Missouri, the trip from Illinois having been made with team and wagon, and from that locality they later removed to Wilson County, Kansas, where occurred the death of the devoted wife and mother, the active career of Thomas Beard having been one of close and effective association with the fundamental industries of agriculture and stock-growing. Of the family of five sons and three daughters Alfred B., of this review, is the eldest; Harriet became the wife of Pliny Chapman, of Siloam Springs, Arkansas, and later they became pioneer settlers in Oklahoma; William Henry, of Neosho, Newton County, Missouri, served three years as a soldier in the Civil war, he having been a member of the One Hundred and Eleventh Illinois Volunteer Infantry and having been held as a prisoner for some time prior to the close of the war, his capture having been effected in connection with one of the engagements in which he had taken part; John W. died in 1866, as a young man; Sarah became the wife of Albert Troxel and both are now deceased; Philip is a resident of Coffeyville, Kansas; and Lee, who is the widow of David H. Cowls, resides at Fayetteville, Arkansas.
Alfred B. Beard remained with his parents and continued his association with the work and management of the home farm until there came to him the call of higher duty, with the outbreak of the Civil war, his educational advantages in the meanwhile having been those afforded in the common schools of his native state. In response to President Lincoln’s first call for volunteers, he enlisted, in July, 1861, as a private in Company I, Fortieth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and with this valiant command he continued in active service until 1863, when he was honorably discharged, on account of physical disability. He took part in numerous engagements, including the memorable battles of Shiloh and Corinth, and after his discharge he returned to his home in Illinois. In the autumn of 1865 he accompanied his wife and her parents to Kansas and established his residence on a pioneer farm two miles distant from Fredonia, the county scat, which now thriving little city then had only five houses to denote its being. He continued as one of the representative agriculturists and stock-growers of that section of the Sunflower State until after his sons had numbered themselves among the pioneers of Oklahoma City, soon after the opening of Oklahoma Territory to settlement, in 1889, when he joined them in the new territory and became associated with the two sons, Henry and John, in their industrial operations. Later he removed to Shawnee, prior to the opening of that section to settlement, and there he continued his identification with agricultural pursuits until the line of the Frisco Railroad was extended through that section, when he became associated with the location and development of town sites along the railroad. He was virtually the founder of the Town of Woodville, Marshall County, and became its first settler. He was associated in the organization of the First National Bank of Woodville, was one of its original board of directors and erected the building in which it initiated business. In 1911, Mr. Beard established his residence at Sapulpa, where he has since lived practically retired, as one of the sterling pioneers of the vigorous young state of his adoption. He did the first drilling for oil in Marshall County and developed there the first two productive oil wells of importance. He has been worthily concerned with the civic and industrial progress of Oklahoma and is a citizen to whom is accorded the fullest measure of popular esteem.
In politics Mr. Beard accords unfaltering allegiance to the republican party, and he cast his first presidential vote for President Lincoln, he having been at the time a soldier in the field. He is affiliated with the Grand Army of the Republic, and both he and his wife are active members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which they have been connected during the period of their residence in Oklahoma.
On the 12th of March, 1865, was solemnized the marriage of Mr. Beard to Miss Catherine C. Gee, who was born in Marion County, Illinois, on the 27th of May, 1842, and who there continued to reside until the time of her marriage. She is a daughter of John W. and Lucy (Roby) Gee. Mr. Gee was born in Kentucky, where his parents established their home upon their removal from Virginia, but he was reared and educated in Indiana, where his father was a pioneer farmer. His wife was born in Massachusetts and they were pioneer settlers in Washington County, Indiana, whence they later removed to Marion County, Illinois, where they passed the remainder of their lives. Mr. Gee was a first cousin of the maternal grandfather of Hon. William Jennings Bryan, whose mother was a Jennings. John and James Jennings, maternal uncles of Mr. Gee, were patriot soldiers in the War of the Revolution, and William Ogburn, maternal grandfather of Mr. Gee, likewise was a valiant soldier of the Continental line in the great conflict for national independence. John W. Gee, a brother of Mrs. Beard, is now a resident of Jefferson, Oklahoma, and in the Civil war he served as a member of Company C, One Hundred and Eleventh Illinois Volunteer Infantry, from 1862 until the close of the war, it having been his privilege to participate in the grand review, in the City of Washington, after victory had thus crowned the Union arms. Mr. Beard perpetuates his vital interest in his old comrades of the Civil war through his association with the Grand Army of the Republic, and his unequivocal popularity in its ranks is indicated by the fact that at the time of this writing, in 1915, he is serving as commander of John A. Logan Post, No. 49, at Sapulpa. In the concluding paragraph of this article is entered a brief record concerning the children of Mr. and Mrs. Beard.
Henry G., the eldest of the number, is individually mentioned on other pages of this work. John W. is a representative citizen of Ada, the judicial center of Pontotoc County, Oklahoma, and he served as a soldier in the Spanish-American war, in which he was a member of a volunteer regiment from Oklahoma Territory. Lola is the wife of Samuel R. Wilson, of Watsonville, Colorado. Lyman F., who served with the celebrated Roosevelt Rough Riders in the Spanish-American war, is now a resident of Siloam Springs, Arkansas. Laura B. is the wife of David A. Spears and they maintain their homo at Billings, Montana. Claude R. died in July, 1907, at the age of twenty-seven years. Oliver is cashier of the First National Bank of Lehigh, Oklahoma. Herschel, the youngest of the children, died in infancy.