Beecher, Ransom & Polly Peck
Ransom Beecher: Early Settler, Farmer
Polly Peck Beecher: Early Settler, Farmer
Birth: February 7, 1799, Bridgeport, Fairfield County, Connecticut
Death: August 29, 1890, Vienna, Trumbull County, Ohio
Burial: Vienna Township Cemetery, Vienna, Trumbull County, Ohio
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From "Genealogy of a Branch of the Beecher Family," compiled by Reuben Beecher Hughes (1898), and genealogy compiled by Harold Robinson (1976-1978):
In the genealogy of Lyman Beecher we learned that he had seven brothers and two sisters. One of these brothers, Ransom, and his wife Polly Peck, followed Lyman to Vienna in October 1820. They bought and settled on a farm of about forty acres situated on the east side of what is now known as the Prindle-Booth road and extending south from the old house, now just north of the Pleasant Valley Lake dam, to the township line. They lived out their long lives at this location.
Ransom Beecher was born in Southbury, Connecticut, May 15, 1794 and died in Vienna, Ohio, April 26, 1883. He married Polly Peck in 1816, in Newton, Connecticut. She was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, February 7, 1799 and died in Vienna, Ohio, August 29, 1890, at the age of the ninety-one. They were given sixty-seven years together and took a great interest in religious work.
Evidently, Ransom and Polly Beecher were ones that were loved and admired by a large circle of family and friends. Mrs. Gesue's collection of family papers contains several letters that were written to them. Upon completion of the record of the Ransom Beecher family, which was terminated as a result of no grandchildren, we will review some of this interesting correspondence. Ransom and Polly Beecher had a daughter, Maria Jane, and a son, Alanson Beers. Maria Jane was born April 3, 1817, in Newton, Connecticut. She died in Vienna, Ohio, April 28, 1909 at the age of ninety-two. A 1907 newspaper article features her in her rocking chair in front of a large fireplace on the occasion of her ninetieth birthday. The story tells how she came to Vienna with her parents on October 20, 1820. She married Lorenzo Dow Fuller July 21, 1852 and they went to Belleville, Dane county, Wisconsin, where Mr. Fuller owned property. At the end of the year he sold his property and he and wife came back to Vienna, where they lived for a number of years, one and one fourth miles south of the center. Lorenzo Dow Fuller was born December 30, 1811, in Burlington, Connecticut. He died with paralysis, June 25, 1879, after which she [Mary Jane] went to care for her aged parents. Lorenzo and Maria had no children. He was a carpenter by trade and a veteran of the Mexican War.
The history of the Methodist church in Vienna provides us with two interesting items on this couple. Lorenzo was a carpenter who built the first parsonage for the Methodist church of Vienna. It is still in use as a residence. In 1849-50 the Methodist congregation built their present church (original part) at the center and moved from Methodists Corners. In 1872 a bell was installed. It became the custom to "toll" this bell whenever there was a death in the community. Maria Fuller's death April 30, 1909 was the last for whom the bell tolled. It was very appropriate, for she was the last of the early members of the church at "Methodists Corners."
Alanson Beers Beecher, son of Ransom and Polly, was born June 15, 1830, in Vienna, Ohio. He never married and he died in Vienna January 3, 1901. All five members of the Ransom Beecher family are buried in Vienna Township Cemetery, Lt No. 22 old part. A large granite monument bears their names and dates.
At this point we will turn our attention to some of the letters, mentioned earlier, that were address to Ransom Beecher. Also, some other early papers that may be of interest.
One such letter was from Henry Beers Beecher, Seymour, Connecticut, dated December 20, 1873, addressed to "Uncle Ransom." Henry was the son of Lyman['s] and Ransom's eldest brother, Lewis, and was in co-partnership in Seymour with a firm called "Six Partners" who were extensively engaged in the manufacture of augurs, bits, etc. The nephew expresses his desire to have the blessed privilege to grasp thy hand and see thee face to face." He continues, "How I wish you only lived near enough so that we could run in and see you often. We are getting old, I am in my 57th year and the older I grow the more I long to see my friends and the less I care about business."
Another letter is from Dr. William C. Catlin, dated July 12th 1845, Southbury, Connecticut. Dr. Catlin's wife was Marietta T. Wheeler, whose mother was Thankful Beecher, a sister of Ransom and Lyman's father, Nathaniel. Thus, the letter is from the husband of Ransom's cousin and is in reply tone he had written to them. Dr. Catlin is writing because his wife, whom he calls Mary, has failed to do so, for which he faults her at great length. He implores Ransom to visit them--"We are earnestly hoping that you will come to Ct. this season. Traveling is very cheap indeed. Merit Beecher, David's son, who with his wife has gone to Illinois, writes that bag - baggage, themselves and all cost only $25. Can you not come? Will you not come? We want to see you very much and the journey would do Maria good. We are thankful to learn that her health has so much improved." (We have noted that Maria lived to be 92.) "Many deaths among the aged have occurred since the year came in ... Father holds himself in readiness to go clamming with you if you come out this season. I intend to come to Ohio as soon as I can afford it." (He had reference to moving, not just a trip.) "I am very urgent that you should come this season." We learn from the Beecher history that they did move to New Carlisle, Ohio (north of Dayton) where he continued the practice of his profession. In later years they moved to Cleveland, Ohio, where they died.
In this collection of papers we find several Deeds including Ransom Beecher's farm of forty acres. This document is dated, the fourteenth day of November 1820. Ransom and his brother William, who remained in the east, acquired the property north and west of the church at "Methodist[s] Corners," in 1841. This property was owned by Lyman Beecher descendants until around 1900.
The collection includes many old tax receipts, some of which indicate that Lyman and Ransom owned some property jointly. One dated 1823 and another dated 1824 are made out in both names. In 1824 Ransom's county tax was 30 cents and Lyman's was 10 cents. The state and road tax on the forty acres was 32 1/2 cents. The valuation on the forty acres in 1828 was $77. The tax was 50 cents and one mill [sic]. The value of one horse and five cattle was $80. The tax was 52 cents. In the year of 1841 a framed house was added to the tax statement with a valuation of $93. The valuation on the forty acres had increased to $158. The live stock was now, one horse and seven cattle, valued at $96. The total tax was $4.04 and 7 mills [sic].
A fairly complete series of these tax receipts contain their own interesting story spanning much of Ransom Beecher's adult life. They were entirely handwritten until 1832, when printed forms appeared. There are other receipts of interest--one such is dated December 18, 1860, to R. Beecher from the Cleveland and Mahoning Railroad Company for one 20 lb. keg of butter, consigned to L.L. Beecher, New Haven, Conn. This would have been a nephew, Lewis Lyron Beecher, son of Ransom's eldest brother, Lewis, and a noted musician. Another receipt is for a one year subscription to the Western Reserve Chronicle, dated February 14, 1882. It shows Ransom Beecher as a "50 year Subscriber," which apparently gave him a special rate of $1.00, for other years were two dollars per an[n]um. This probably was his last subscription. He died April 26, 1883.
We will close this review of letters and documents with portions of a newspaper clipping found in this collection of interesting papers. A feature story appeared in the Warren Chronicle in late 1886 or early 1887 and was captioned, "Reminiscences of Vienna--Methodists Corners Fifty Years Ago." The story described the location and the beginnings of the church in a log schoolhouse on the southwest corner, which was followed by a frame "meeting house." Our principal interest here is of the people that were named in the story. Therefore, I will quote only a few excerpts: "Of the families living in the immediate vicinity, we remember Chauncey Hickox, Reuben Scoville, Lyman Beecher, Ransom Beecher and a Mr. Booth. ... Chauncey Hickox and the Beechers were leading spirits of the church. ... Among the female members, who manifested great devotion, we recall the names of Maria Beecher and Eliza Hickox. ..." The Beecher names are familiar to us, and it was from the Hickox family that Ransom Beecher purchased his farm. I would have you keep the name of Reuben Scoville in mind as we will be referring to it later on.