Charles Leslie & Julia Beck Family of Merrick County, Nebraska

Mr. and Mrs. C L Beck, 1943
Mr. and Mrs. C L Beck, 1943

Charles Leslie and Julia Hathaway Beck were residents of the Fairview neighborhood a number of years before their marriage in 1913 and were active in church and social affairs of the community. After their marriage, they settled on a small farm in Webster County, Missouri. In 1916 they returned to Merrick County with their two children, Juanita and Donald, and helped farm the James Hathaway place until the spring of 1919. They then returned to their Ozarks farm where they spent the remainder of their lives. While in Nebraska, a second son, Warren, was born, and a few years later in Missouri, a second daughter, Marjorie, was born.

Leslie was born January 4, 1883, in Edgar County, Illinois. In 1891 he moved with his parents, George S. and Charlotte Entler Beck, to Webster County, Missouri. In 1906 he went to Merrick County, Nebraska, for employment as a farmhand for Jacob Weber and later for Joe Emmert and Lloyd Willeman, as well as others in the Fairview neighborhood. He had not completed grade school education because of his mother’s ill health and the need for his help at home. He was fond of reading and would challenge anyone at spelling or ciphering. He also liked to write and became widely known in both Merrick and Webster counties by the news columns he wrote for the local papers. For the Central City paper he wrote “Sandburs,” and in Missouri, he called his news “Bracken Boomerangs by Uncle Perry Gorrick.” News was sometimes embellished, to the enjoyment of his readers. Leslie was one of the pioneers in the dairy industry in the Webster County area, although never dairying on a large scale, and he took great pride in his Registered Jerseys.

Julia was the daughter of James and Ella Bird Hathaway and was born January 24, 1886, in Harrison County, Iowa. She moved with her parents to Merrick County in 1905. When she graduated from Woodbine Normal in Iowa, she was too young to teach in that state, so she taught her first term at Silver Lake School near Hawley, Minnesota. Her second term was in 1904 at a rural school east of Modale, Iowa, followed by seven terms in Merrick County which were: District #21 (Brown) 1905-06, 1906-07, and 1907-08; Gardner 1908-09; Brown 1909-10 and 1910-11; and Meade 1911-12. The last term in her teaching career was in 1920-21 at the Black Oak School adjacent to her home in Missouri, with two of her own children, Juanita and Donald, as pupils. She was almost 94 when her death occurred in 1979. Leslie preceded her in death in 1953.

Submitted by Donald Beck


Merrick County Historical Society, History of Merrick County, Nebraska (1981), Volume I, Dallas, Texas : Taylor Publishing Company, 1981.

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