Hodgman-Beels family group

William Gould Beels

(Page 158)

William G. Beels (Jane2, John1) was born in Parma Township near Cleveland, Ohio, May 4, 1830. He attended school three months in the year in a log house with its primitive furniture, and during the rest of the year assisted his father and brothers in clearing a farm out of the dense forest. At an early age he left home to make his own way in the world. This ended his school days. His education after that was picked up as he passed through the varied scenes of an active life.

In May, 1848, he went via the Great Lakes from Cleveland to Sheboygan, Wis. Here he worked in the lumber business for Humphrey, Strong and Fisher. Three years later he returned home to work the farm for his father. In the fall of the same year, 1851, he went to Rising Sun, Ind., where he hired out on a flat boat going to New Orleans. In the following spring he located in Dillsborough, Ind., where he engaged in coopering for several years. He was married June 8, 1854, to Cynthia Ann Hull, who was born February 26, 1833, in Hamilton County, Ohio, and came with her parents to Ripley County, Ind. She died January 15, 1859, leaving an infant daughter, Cora Ann Beels.

After the death of his wife, Mr. Beels traveled about the country for some time with a picture car taking daguerreotype pictures which were then very fashionable. On March 10, 1861, he married Sarah Frances Hull, a younger sister of his first wife. She was born October 12, 1836.

In 1862, on the call for 90 day troops, he recruited a company of men from Ripley County for the 83rd Indiana regiment Volunteers, and was appointed captain. The company spent time in camp near Lawrenceburg and at Memphis.

Returning to his home he engaged in farming until 1865. At the request of friends he was appointed recruiting officer in and for the Fourth Congressional District. He recruited a company which was mustered into the service at Indianapolis on April 10, 1865. He was commissioned captain of the company which was assigned to the 156th Regiment Indiana Volunteers, and was known as company C. He was appointed chaplain in the camp of 10,000 throops.His regiment was soon ordered to Washington, and then to Alexandria, Va. It reached the latter place on the day memorial services were being held for President Lincoln.

From Alexandria they marched to Cumberland, Md., and from there to Stevenson Station, Va. On July 4, 1865, while the regiment was on dress parade he suffered a sunstroke. He was sent to the field hospital where he remained till his company was mustered out August 4, 1865. The company returned to Indianapolis where it disbanded on August 12, 1865. Mr. Beels returned to his farm. He never fully recovered from the effects of the sunstroke but suffered intensely at times from it as long as he lived.

In October, 1866, he moved to Hazelton, Buchanan County, Iowa, where he purchased two hundred acres of land on which he made extensive improvements. He secured the location of the town site of Hazelton by contributing twenty acres to the B.C.R. and N.R.R. for a depot. Later he moved to Independence, Iowa, where he engaged in the sale of sewing machines. During the financial panic which followed the great Chicago fire he lost all his property valued at $12,000. Thus being compelled to begin anew, he decided to move further west and chose Norfolk, Neb., as his future home, and went there in July, 1874 with two teams of horses and $125 in money. His family suffered the hardships incident to pioneer life. For a few years grasshoppers destroyed the greater part of their crops. But eventually prosperity came and his later years were filled with comfort.

During the winter of 1856-57 a revival meeting was held in Edwardsburg, Ind., where Mr. Beels was working as a cooper. He was converted and joined the M.E. church. In October, 1857, he was licensed as an exhorter, and later was appointed junior preacher on Midland Charge, N.E. Ind. Conference. In Iowa he was licensed as local preacher at Otterville and was junior preacher on that charge for two years. In Norfolk, Neb., he organized the first M.E. class. He was appointed a preacher on the Norfolk circuit which included several churches. His salary on this circuit was $68 per year.

In 1875 he established the "Elkhorn Valley Hotel" (temperance) in Norfolk. He had charge of this hotel until 1878, when he removed to a 360-acre farm two miles from Norfolk and engaged in farming and stock raising until 1887. In the fall of 1887 he went with his family to Mt. Vernon, Iowa, in order that his younger children might attend college there. He remained at Mt. Vernon five years and then returned to the farm near Norfolk, where he resided until his death, which occurred February 12, 1908. His wife, Sarah Frances, died August 22, 1906, and he then made his home with his son, Edward. Mr. Beels became a member of the Masonic fraternity in 1852. He joined the I.O.O.F. in 1854.


By 1st wife

Roderick A., b. Sept. 13, 1854, d. Sept. 14, 1854.

Cora Ann, b. Sept 14, 1857.

By 2nd wife

Edward Ellsworth, b. Sept. 24, 1865.

A twin brother died the day of birth.

Clara May, b. Dec. 16, 1867.

Frank Hull, b. Aug. 31, 1872.

Cora Ann Beels

(Page 161)

Cora Ann (William3, Jane2, John1) was born near Dillsborough, Ripley County, Ind., September 14, 1857. When she was nine years old her parents moved to Hazelton, Buchanan County, Iowa. Here she attended district school for three years. Her parents then went to Independence, Iowa, where she completed the high school course. In the summer of 1874, her father with his family moved to Norfolk, Neb. She taught school there for one year. In the fall of 1875 she entered Cornell college, at Mt. Vernon, Iowa. By teaching at intervals she worked her way through college, graduating in 1885 in the scientific, philosophical and musical courses.

Shortly after graduating she was married to Cecil Gray, who was drowned a few months later while crossing a river. From 1885 to 1889 she had charge of the musical department of the Grant Memorial University, Athens, Tenn. On June 25, 1889, she married George N. Beels. They went to Norfolk, Neb., where they have since resided. She has always been active in church and church and club work. As a member of the Rebekah Branch of the I.O.O.F., she has held all the state offices. She has been actively engaged in teaching music all these years. Since 1896 she has been a member of the Interstate Faculty of the Western Conservatory of Music of Chicago, Ill. She has no children.

Edward Ellsworth Beels

(Page 162)

Edward Ellsworth (William3, Jane2, John1) was born in Ripley County, Ind., September 23, 1865. While he was a young child his parents moved to Hazelton, Iowa. Here he attended the district school. He attended the city schools at Norfolk, Neb., after the removal of his father to that place in 1874. The years from 1887 to 1890 were spent at Cornell college at Mt. Vernon, Iowa. He returned to Norfolk, and for a time engaged in farming. For six years he served as a rural mail carrier. On April 28, 1906, he was married to Mrs. Laura Saterlee Hahn, who was born in Lake City, Iowa, May 22, 1870. In May, 1910, Mr. Beels took up a homestead in the western part of S. Dakota. He lost all he had through drought. His wife was taken sick and died September 18, 1910 at the home of her father in Herrick, S. Dak. Mr. Beels soon returned to Norfolk, Neb., where he now resides with his sister, Mrs. Cora A. Beels.


Roy Edward, b. ____.

Howard Ellsworth, b. _____, d. Aug. 15, 1909.

Clara May Beels Hazen

(Page 163)

Clara May (William3, Jane2, John1) had her birth December 16, 1867, in Hazelton, Buchanan County, Iowa. Her girlhood was spent in Independence, Iowa, and Norfolk, Neb., and she attended the public schools in those places. She completed her education in Cornell college, Iowa, graduating from the Cornell Musical Conservatory in 1889.

She taught music in Epworth Seminary, Epworth, Iowa, during the years 1889 and 1890. On June 20, 1893, she was married to Miner Colfax Hazen, who was born in Rockland, Ill., January, 26, 1869. Mr. Hazen is a successful lawyer and their home is in Norfolk, Neb. Mr. and Mrs. Hazen are active members in the M.E. church.

Mrs. Hazen says, "I lead a very busy life as any woman who is the mother of three wide-awake boys and as many lively girls must perforce do. Mr. Hazen is a busy lawyer. We both believe that the busy, active lives are the happiest ones if our work is along the lines God lays out for us, and so we are content."


Lucile, b. May 24, 1894.

Winifred, b. Dec. 16, 1897.

Oliver, b. July 27, 1900.

Homer Harold, b. Feb. 16, 1902.

Stanley Sydney, b. June 20, 1903.

Margaret, b. May 13, 1904.

Frank Hull Beels

(Page 164)

Frank Hull (William3, Jane2, John1) was born in Independence, Iowa, August 31, 1872. He graduated from the high school at Mt. Vernon, Iowa, in 1819, and then attended Cornell college, reaching the spring term in sophomore year in the civil engineering course.

He was married on March 17, 1897, to Miss E. Ora Sturgeon. She was born in Altona, Iowa, February 10, 1876. From the fall of 1897 to spring of 1904 he was engaged as a piano salesman. He volunteered in April 1898 with Co. L, 2nd Regiment Nebraska National Guards for service in the Spanish-American War. He entered the service with rank of first lieutenant but in May was promoted to captain. His regiment served on camp duty at Camp Geo. H. Thomas at Chickamauga Park, Georgia, until discharged October 24, 1898. In 1904 Mr. Beels took a post-graduate course in piano tuning and has since been engaged in that profession.

His home is at Norfolk where most of his life has been spent. His wife died March 9, 1903, after an illness of many months. In 1910 Mr. Beels married again, but the marriage proved to be an unhappy one and he soon secured a divorce.


Frances Helen, b. Jan. 30, 1900.

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