WM. M. BEEKMAN
W.M. BEEKMAN, who is the popular and efficient postmaster at Charlotte, has been prominent in the political and general public affairs of the county, having held numerous offices of trust and having ever stood for loyal and valuable citizenship. He is a native of Eaton county and a member of one of its well known pioneer families, while it was also his portion to represent the county as a valiant soldier in the Union ranks during the war of the Rebellion. Mr. Beekman was born on the homestead farm, in Chester township, this county, January 2, 1843, being a son of Martin and Mary V. (Minor) Beekman, both of whom were born in New Jersey, while their marriage was solemnized in Seneca county, New York, to which locality the maternal grandparents removed when Mrs. Beekman was a child of seven years, her husband having been twenty-five years of age at the time of taking up his residence there, and having continued to make his home in Seneca county about five years. In the meanwhile, as early as the autumn of 1837, Martin Beekman had come to Michigan and taken up a tract of government land in Chester township, Eaton county, where he remained until 1840, when he returned to Seneca county, New York, his marriage being there celebrated on the 25th day of April of that year. He then came with his bride to Michigan and settled on their embryonic farm, on which he had erected a log house and made other slight improvements. He reclaimed a good farm from the virgin forest and was one of the sterling pioneer citizens and influential men of the county, both he and his wife here continuing to reside until their death. W.M. Beekman, the immediate subject of this review, was reared to the strenuous discipline of the pioneer farm, and in such connection has contributed his full quota to the development of the agricultural resources of his native county, since he has individually been concerned in the reclaiming of more than two hundred acres of land, having been adept in wielding the ax and in the various other labors which fell to the lot of those who thus ushered in the advancing column of development and progress. He was afforded the advantages of the district schools, which he attended principally during the winter terms, and he remained engaged in farm work until shortly before the outbreak of the war of the Rebellion, when he entered upon an apprenticeship at the carpenter trade, serving about three months, under the direction of Sackett Noble. With the inception of the war he heeded the call of higher duty, tendering his services in defense of the integrity of the Union. In August of 1861 he enlisted as a private in Company B, Second Michigan Volunteer Cavalry, with which he continued on active duty until the close of the war, having taken part in many important engagements and having made a record which stands creditable alike to him and to the county and state from which he went forth. He received his honorable discharge August 17, 1865, at Macon, Georgia. Though never wounded while in the service, Mr. Beekman had a number of narrow escapes, having had had two horses shot from under him while in action, while on another occasion he was slightly disabled by a horse falling upon him. After the close of the war Mr. Beekman returned to Eaton county, where he engaged in farming on his own account, locating in Roxana township, near the village of Maxon’s Corners and becoming one of the substantial farmers and stock-growers of that section of the county, while the same liberal views and ability which have ever characterized him soon led his fellow citizens to designate him for public office. He served two years as supervisor of the township mentioned, and he continued his residence on the farm until the autumn of 1886, when he was nominated as the Republican candidate for the office of register of deeds of the county, being elected by a gratifying majority and continuing incumbent of the office until 1890. In 1893 he was elected to represent Charlotte city as a member of the county board of supervisors, being re-elected in 1894 and again in 1895. The city was then divided into two districts, and he was re-elected, to represent the first district. In February, 1898, Mr. Beekman received from President McKinley the appointment of postmaster at Charlotte, and he has since continued to serve in this capacity, having been re-appointed by President Roosevelt, and having given an administration of most satisfactory order, amply justifying the unqualified popular endorsement which he received at the time when he became the candidate for the appointment. He has ever been an unswerving adherent of the Republican party, and in a local way has contributed materially to the furtherance of its cause. He is a member of the Presbyterian church at Sunfield, this county, is identified with the Grand Army of the Republic, the Knights of Pythias and the Masonic fraternity, in which last he has taken the chivalric degrees, being affiliated with the commandery of Knights Templar in Charlotte, while he is also a noble of the Mystic Shrine. Mr. Beekman has done much to perfect the service of the local post office, which is a second-class office, and from which twelve rural free-delivery routes are supplied and controlled. March 21, 1866, Mr. Beekman was united in marriage to Miss Christina Pugh, daughter of Davis Pugh, of Chester township, where he took up residence in 1854, there passing the remainder of his life. Mrs. Beekman passed to the life eternal February 12, 1896, being survived by the elder of her two children, Mary B., who is now the wife of William C. Markham, of Charlotte. Martin H., the only son, died on March 22, 1889, at the age of fourteen years.