Lee County Biography

Melville Beach

Ashton Township



Melville Beach was formerly one of the foremost farmers and stock-raiseis of Lee County, and still retains his large landed interests, although living retired from active business in his handsome residence in the village of Ashton. But few of the residents of this section have met with the success that crowned his efforts while he was engaged in agriculture and lie is to-day one of the wealthiest men in this part of Illinois.

Mr. Beach is a native of Essex County, N. J., and May 28, 1812, the date of his birth. A history of his parents is given in the biography of his brother, Sidney Beach, on another page of this volume. When he was little over ten years old he accompanied his father in his migration to the County of Delaware, Ohio, and there, under wholesome pioneer influences, grew to a vigorous manhood on his father's farm. The latter, who was a shoemaker as well as a farmer, taught him to make shoes, and he likewise gained a thorough knowledge of farming.

In the early `50s Mr. Beach left the old home in Delaware County to try his fortune in this State. He spent one winter in Chicago, and the following spring went to Washington Grove, Ogle County, where he lived two years. At the expiration of that time he came to this `county, and in the years that followed was an important factor in the work of development being carried on by the pioneer settlers of this region. He settled on section 35, Ashton Township, where he lived and labored until his removal to the village of Ashton in 1876.

From the first Mr. Beach showed himself to be a valuable addition to the citizenship of the community among whose people he had come to dwell, and he was not a whit behind his neighbors in his liberal encouragement of public improvements and of enterprises that would tend to promote the growth of the township, while at the same time, by an exemplary life and by his advocacy of whatsoever would advance religion and morality, he was influential in forwarding its higher interests. He is possessed of an energetic, determined spirit, a mind quick to grasp and make his own the most accurate business methods, and a large share of common sense. With these traits prosperity was assured to him from the start, and in due time he accumulated a valuable Property, including his handsome residence in the village of Ashton, and eleven hundred and sixty acres of fine land.

Mr. Beach was married to hisfirst wife, whose maiden name was Nancy Wilson, in Delaware County, Ohio. She departed this life during their residence in that county. Of the several children born of that union, these two are the only survivors, James and Antoinette, the latter of whom is the wife of John Leidy. Our subject was a second time married, in Delaware County, Ohio, taking Miss Eliza J. Scott as his wife. Their marriage has been blessed to them by the birth of these four children; M. Wesley, Melva, Cora C.and Esmeralda A.

Mr. and Mrs. Beach are members of high standing of the Free Methodist Church and there name is connected with its every work. They are known for their charitableness which is unquestioning where others wants are to be releived, or a kind act can add to anothers comfort and content. For their hospitality which is all bountiful, and for other pleasant attributes which endear them to all with whom they associate. As a loyal citizen, Mr. Beach has always been interested in the politics of his country and is a member of the Prohibition Party.

Portraits and Biographical Pg 619

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Mellville Beach, farmer and stock raiser, Ashton, was born in Essex county, New Jersey, in 1812, and is the son of Israel and Roda (Lockwood) Beach, both natives of New Jersey. The former was a shoemaker by trade, and with his family emigrated to Ohio in 1822. He engaged in farming, which pursuit he followed the remainder of his life. He and his wife were devoted members of the Presbyterian faith. Israel Beach served in the war of 1812 as drummer. Melville received his education in the pioneer schools of Ohio, where he resided till 1852. He was married in 1851, to Eliza Scott, a native of Connecticut, and daughter of Cark and Flora (Beckley) Scott, who emigrated to Ohio in 1835, when she was six years old. Her parents were Presbyterian, and her father by trade was a button-maker, and raised a family of seven children. Mr. Melville Beach has a family of four children: Melville W., three years a student of Wheaton College; Melva E., music teacher, educated at Spring Abbey, Michigan, and Wheaton College; Cora C. and Esmarelda A. Mr. and Mrs. Beach have been members of the Free Methodist c.hurch since its organizatiOn here in 1860. Mr. Beach is one of the active members of the Free Methodist church at this place, having been class leader nearly all the time since its organization, as well as filling other offices of the church and Sunday-school at different intervals. In his early life he followed the trade of his father. Having previously purchased land in Lee county, he moved in 1852 with his family to Ogle county, where he remained two years, and then came to Ashton, where he has since resided. He now owns a fine farm of 1273 acres, upon which he raises hogs and cattle, and Owns a very pleasant home in the village of Ashton. He is a radical anti-secret-soeiety and anti-slavery man, and a staunch republican.

Source: History of Lee County Pg 625

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