Most of my very few readers know that I am currently reading newspapers for a possible second book about Andrews history. I am fortunate in that while I am reading Huntington, Indiana newspapers I occasionally come across some articles that "fill in the blanks", or at least a few of them, about the Beeks family. Maybe everyone(!) who reads this post will already know this information, but it was all news to me.
First, a little on the light hearted side, Wilbur Beeks seemed to get called for jury duty with great regularity. I don't know what happened, but in May of 1941, when he was again called for grand jury duty, he apparently asked to be excused. I don't know whether this was the first time, or what the reason was, but here's what the Huntington Herald Press said on May 18,1941:
"TWO GRAND JURORS EXCUSED BY JUDGE
Remaining Xis Expected to meet Thursday, 9 A.M.
William E Norris, Jackson township farmer and Wilbur Beeks, of Andrews, members of the Huntington county grand jury, have been excused from serving in the session set to begin Thursday, 9 a.m. (cdwt) according to entries made on the court record by Judge Otto H. Krieg.
The entries set out that the men presented "good and sufficient reason" and accordingly were excused.
The riding bailiff has summoned Ora Baker, Jefferson township, to take Beeks place.
Beeks, seventh man drawn for the April term grand jury, was summoned when Norris was excused. When Beeks was excused the eighth and last man was summoned..." So, what was the good and sufficient reason, I wonder?
Now, to information that was to me both interesting and sad, besides being new to me. The first was an article from the same Newspaper of November 7,1941 headed "John Wise Dies at Home of Nephew in Andrews." Briefly, it told the story of John Wise who had died at the home of Wilbur Beeks, with whom he had lived for some time. I've never heard of this man, other than that he was the son of David and Matilda Martin Wise, so I had to go out looking for information. He was not to be found in the 1900 census, at least not that I recognized, but in 1910, 1920, and 1930 he was listed as a farm worker. In 1910 and 1920 he apparently worked on the farm of two sisters (not his) in Lagro Township, wabash County, and in 1930 he was a laborer already living with Wilbur (and Cleo) Beeks. Perhaps the two women he worked for had died, as they were considerably older than he was. He lived with the Beeks family for at least 10 years and possibly longer, until his death at age 69. The only other named relatives were his nephew Chester Beeks of Chicago, and his niece Mrs. Charity Carpenter, also of Chicago. I learned from the census that he had a seventh grade education and could read and write.
There are those living who could tell more of John's story. I'd like to know more about him. For instance, I didn't find him in a WW I draft registration index. Was he simply too old to be drafted? What about the Spanish American War? I have no reason to think he served in the military, but it's possible. Did he have some physical handicap that kept him from living a more expansive life, or was he simply a happy go lucky man who didn't have a lot of ambition? And what was he like? There will soon be no one left to remember him, and I'd like to know his story.
Finally, there was another obituary, which had some surprising information. Printed in the November 29, 1940 Huntington Herald Press there was an obituary for Mrs. Dorothy O. Huston. She was the daughter of Harvey and Margaret Aldridge, and the sister of Cleo Beeks, among others. She died at the age of 46 after having been in failing health for several sears, and being bedfast for two years.
Survivors included her husband, Frank, four daughters, four sons, four grandchildren, two brothers and two sisters. Three sons preceded her in death. What surprised me was the number of children, and also the fact that I think I knew some of them. Mrs. Doris Reynold of Lagro and Roy Huston were the two who appear to have established their own households. Vivian, Bernetta, Lois, Alven, Marvin and Walter all lived at home. Brother Frank Aldridge lived in Wabash and Samuel Aldridge in Midland, Michigan. Sisters were Mrs. Cleo Beeks of Andrews and Mrs. Stella (should be Della) Harrell of Lancaster township.
I'm coming to the conclusion that there are a lot more cousins out there than I knew about. I know a Beeks reunion would be very large, but an Aldridge reunion would be awesome!! And all this news was because I read some newspapers.