Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens
CAPT. GEORGE T. BEAL. A prominent and useful pioneer citizen of Greene county was the late Capt. George T. Beal of Republic, for a long lapse of years a leading farmer in the western part of the county. He was a man of industry and public spirit, willing at all times to do his full share in the work of development, never neglecting his larger duties to humanity. He was neighborly, obliging and kind, which traits made him popular with all who knew him and won the respect and good will of those with whom he came into contact. Thus for many reasons, not the least of which is the fact that he was one of the worthy veterans of the great army that saved the national Union, we are glad w give him special mention in this volume.
Mr. Beal was born November 10, 1832, on his father's farm near Verona, Missouri, but his long life of seventy-eight years was spent in Greene county, he being an infant when brought, here by his parents, Daniel N. and Nancy (Gibson) Beal. He sprang from an old Colonial family, members of which have been influential in their localities in America for many generations. Our subject's paternal grandfather was a native of North Carolina. The father, Daniel N. Beal, was born in that state, May 19, 1799. He was a cabinet maker by trade, and when a young man went to Giles county, Tennessee, and there he and Nancy Gibson were married. She was a daughter of George Gibson, and they were the parents of seven children, namely: George T., Allen H., James M., Martha A., Damaris, Mary J., and Penelope. Mr. Beal remained in Giles county, Tennessee until three children were born and in 1831, moved to Crawford county, Missouri, and settled near where Verona now stands. Judge James White came the same time, and here Mr. Beal made a clearing and began his home. He was in company with Judge White in the ownership of land, and as they thought the tract of land not large enough for both, Mr. Beal sold out and came to Greene county, the latter part of 1833 and settled in what is now Campbell township, on Wilson's creek, four miles west of Springfield. Here he cleared up a farm and passed the remainder of his days, owning two hundred and eighty-eight acres. In politics he was a Democrat, and both himself and wife were members of the Baptist church. Mr. Beal died in the prime of life, dying December 7, 1847, being about forty-seven years old. He was one of the frontiersmen of southwestern Missouri and highly respected by the early settlers, by whom he was well known as a man of integrity of character and honest worth.
Capt. George T. Beal grew to manhood on the old home place in Campbell township, where he worked when a boy. He attended the old pioneer log school house three months each year until he was twenty years of age. He had taken an interest in farming from the start, and at the age of twenty-one years, in 1854, he was one of the gold seekers, crossing the great Western plains toward the "sundown seas," as the poet Joaquin Miller sang of them and their goal. He made the trip to California with three of his neighbors, Samuel G. Bragg, John H. West, and George Likins, the journey being made with an immense ox-wagon, drawn by four yoke of cattle. They also had two riding horses with them. The trip across was uneventful, in fact, pleasant and required four months, somewhat quicker than many others made it, the majority of them spending five and six months on the way. Mr. Beal engaged in gold mining at Shasta City on the Sacramento river for two years and then returned by way of the Isthmus of Panama and New York City.
The next year he again crossed the plains, driving a herd of cattle and milch cows, remaining nine months and returning home by way of Panama and New Orleans, and took up general farming in Greene county.
March 20, 1860, Captain Beal married Ann Eliza Rountree, born February 19, 1841, a daughter of Junius and Martha J. Rountree, an old and prominent Greene county family. After his marriage Mr. Beal settled on a farm which he had purchased the year previously, which place consisted of one hundred and twenty acres. By his thrift and industry he added to this until he owned a fine farm of two hundred acres which he placed in a good state of cultivation, and here carried on general farming and stock raising until his retirement in 1896 when he removed to Republic where he spent the rest of his life.
To Captain and Mrs. Beal were born five children, named as follows: Dr. Edward L., a well known physician of Republic, a complete sketch of whom appears elsewhere in this volume; Marshall F., Joseph S., Carrie M., and Nettie R. All of these children were given excellent educational advantages.
Captain Beal had a military record of which his descendants may well be proud. When the war between the states broke out in April, 1861, he enlisted in the Home Guards and he was one of the guides for Gen. Nathaniel Lyon, from Springfield to Wilson's creek battle ground the night before the attack. The Union army left Springfield in the evening, the sun being about one hour high and Mr. Beal rode with General Lyon and staff in the advance, the general frequently asking him questions about the road. The route taken was the Mt. Vernon road until five miles from Springfield and then across the prairie in the direction of the Confederate camp. About two o'clock in the morning a halt was called at a point one mile east of Brookline where the home of Milford Norman later stood, the troops resting quietly on their arms until daylight, which at that time, August 10th, was about five o'clock. Mr. Beal was sent back to the Mt. Vernon road with dispatches to Major Wright, who was in command of several companies of cavalry and was encamped as a picket outpost, to instruct him to close up immediately and be ready to go into battle at daybreak. By the time the command was in marching condition it was daylight and they rode rapidly to the battle field, the fighting having begun when they reached the ground. Mr. Beal reached the scene of conflict at six o'clock a little behind the cavalry. The armies of Generals Price and McCulloch had been taken entirely by surprise and their first alarm was the shooting at two of their foragers who were out after roasting ears and gave the alarm. The firing began on both sides when the armies were fully one mile apart but little of the battle could be seen owing to the broken condition of the country hills, black-jack woods and underbrush being in the way. After six hours of terrific fighting the Federals began retreating about eleven thirty o'clock, and Captain Beal and another guide rode back to Springfield, the country being entirely deserted and they met no one on the way. Soon thereafter Mr. Beal returned to the farm, bringing his wife back from her mother's where she had been for safety. He remained at home until November when Fremont's army occupied Springfield, and went on to Rolla. Mr. Beal went to Illinois, taking his wife there, and he remained in that state until the following March when he returned to his farm and made a crop. On August 9, 1862 he was elected captain of a company of Missouri State Militia which he had assisted in enlisting in his township, and he served as captain until he resigned two years later, being regarded as a brave and efficient officer. He commanded his company at the battle of Springfield when Marmaduke attacked the city. Two of his company were killed and fifteen wounded. Captain Beal was struck by a spent ball but not seriously injured. This was all done from one fire of the Southerners, Captain Beal's company being stationed where Colonel Moore's residence later stood, in fact, the hardest fighting occurred there.
After the war he lived quietly on his farm and was known as a good citizen, a friend of education and honest government. He served his district several years as school director. In political opinions he was a stanch Democrat, although he neither sought nor accepted office. Both he and his wife were members of the Presbyterian church, in which he was for many years a deacon.
The death of Captain Beal occurred in Republic July 14, 1910, and his wife is living in Republic. They were a fine old couple, beloved by all who knew them and they will long be remembered in this locality.
Springfield-Greene County Library