|Birth: ||Jun. 28, 1725|
New London County
|Death: ||Mar. 19, 1814|
On June 28, 1759 Joseph Beeman 1725-1814 married Catherine Durkee at Washington, Conn. They were the parents of nine children. The first eight being born at Kent/Waren Litchfield County, Connecticut. Phebe b 1760, Mary b 1762, Rhoda b 1764, Ruth b 1766, Joseph Jr b 1768, Susan b abt 1769, Jedadiah Durkee b 1771, Asa b aft 1772 and the last two born in Vermont. Beriah b 1781 in Bennington, Vermont, and Catherine b abt 1783 in North Fairfax, Vermont.The Beeman and the Story families were early settlers in North Fairfax.
Information Provided By: Snow (#46839016)
ADDITIONAL ARCHITECTURAL OR STRUCTURAL DESCRIPTION:
Possibly the oldest structure in the town, built by the Hessian Revolutionary soldier and stonemason, George Magers, who also built two other solid stone structures in Fairfax (604-22, 604-38). This structure, at the northwest end of the village is the finest of the three, and in the best condition, though the interior has been gutted and altered. The structure was built for Joseph Beeman in c. 1795 and sold to Joseph Grout in 1814. At one time the building is reputed to have been an inn. 1 1/2-story, 5 x 2 bays, stone structure w/a wide plain narrow overhang, and short cornice returns. The unadorned central entrance is recessed 1 1/2 feet. The right interior end chimney has a corbelled cap and has been reworked. The corner stones and lintels atre massive. Windows on the first floor are 12/12 in plain surrounds. On the eaves side there are narrow horizontal eyebrow windows. On the gable ends their eaves side are four second floor windows: two 12/12 flanked by shorter and narrower 9-light windows. Immediately behind the house, there is a 1 1/2 story, frame constructed, gable-roofed barn w/a shed extension. Clapboard and vertical plank siding.
To see the House that was built for Joseph Beeman in 1795.
Joseph Beeman & Catherine Durkee
In November 1872, Aaron S. Beeman, a grandson of Joseph and Catherine, wrote an account of the Beeman Family. It contains some errors. Editor's notes will appear in parentheses.
In the year 1635 Gamaliel Beeman landed in America from England. At the time he was 12 years old. Without much doubt he was the first ancestor of the Beeman family in America. Rev. Charles C. Beeman of Cambridge, Massachusetts finds that he came over in the ship Elizabeth Ann in the same year that Henry Vane came to America and probably in the same vessel. He landed in Dorchester, Massachusetts where he settled, married and had a family of children.
My grandfather, Joseph Beeman, was born in 1725. He was probably a descendent of Gamaliel 1st, but in what line I cannot ascertain certainly. He was a soldier in the French and Indian War, and suffered all the trails and privations and hairbreadth escapes incident to such a war in their campaign of 1755-7. About 1757 (actually June 28, 1759) he married Catherine Durkee. She was a daughter of Jedediah Durkee in the town of Warren, Connecticut. (This is an error. She was the daughter of Nathaniel Durkee, and was probably born in Woodbury, Connecticut. She had a brother, Jedediah which probably accounts for the error in the name of her father.) They had a family of ten children, all of whom lived to have families of their own. The following are the names of the children in order of their birth: Phebe, Mary, Roda, Ruth, Joseph, Susan, Jedediah, Asa, Beriah, who was my father, and Catherine. Some were born in Warren (this is in error, the older children were all born in Kent, per Connecticut vital records) and some in Kent to which place he removed and some in Bennington, Vermont where he removed with his family shortly before the Revolutionary War. He was not a soldier in that war, his age prevented him, but his feelings were strongly in favor of the war and his sympathy was with the cause of freedom for which it was prosecuted. He had no sons old enough to take part in it as his first four children were daughters.
The town of Bennington was then comparatively new and thinly settled. Wild cat, lynx, bear, and catamount roamed her forests and frequently made their raids from their forest home upon the flocks and herds of the scattered settlers. One of which I will relate as it happened on Joseph's farm situated at the foot of Bennington Mountain. One day, he (Joseph) being away from home, his two oldest boys, Joseph 14 years old and Jedediah, 12 years old started with their little dog to get up the cows for the night. The cow pasture was near the mountain and to reach it they had to go through a strip of girdling where the bushes had grown very thick on each side of the path. Just before they got into the pasture they heard their little dog bark furiously but a few rods from their path in the thick bushes. They crawled along through the thick bushes until they got within 15 or 20 feet of the noise where they saw a panther sitting on the ground with a dead dog before him his hair all on end, snarling and growling and lashing his tail and making ready for a spring at them. As soon as they saw it, Jedediah hallooed "Joe it is the devil" and caught a dead limb and said, "He has killed our dog and I'll kill him." But Joseph told him to stop, it is a panther and to run backed out of the bushes keeping his eyes on the panther until they got into the path that led into the pasture. They ran and jumped on the old horse and without saddle or bridle up for home for the gun to shoot the animal. When they got home it was nearly sundown. Their mother told them they should not go back for they would certainly get killed. But they got the gun and loaded it as quickly as they could and ran back as fast as they could to where they had left the panther. Their mother ran to their neighbor, Biddlecome, who had to boys at home, three or four years older than hers and rallied them to go to their assistance.
When Joseph and Jedediah got back they saw the panther just across the path opposite where they saw him first. Joseph drew up and fired at him and put the ball right through its side. The animal made a tremendous scream and ran as well as he could off into the bushes. Joseph loaded the gun again as quickly as he could and soon the Biddlecome boys with their gun came on and they all started in pursuit of the wounded panther. It had got to be almost dark. Pretty soon they saw it crouched down beside an old long log. Joseph and the young Biddlecome boys crept up as near as they dared and both fired together at him. The panther gave a horrible scream, bounded up and down tremendously for awhile and then died. Then the boys hallooed and shouted and hurrahed and flung their hats in the air and made the woods and hills echo with the shout. "We've killed the panther, hurrah, we've killed the panther." Then they slung him across a pole and carried him triumphantly to the house.
In the mean time many of the neighbors had run to the house to learn the cause of the noise and hurrahing. When the boys got home with their splendid trophy, then they were cheered in turn rousingly with three times three and a tiger. The neighbors escorted the boys with their panther down to the tavern in the village. The news of their exploit had spread so that by 8 or 9 o'clock at night nearly half the men in town had come together to congratulate the boys on their heroic adventure and the reception of their $25 bounty and to have a first rate time generally on account of the destruction of one of their most dangerous enemies, the ravenous and destructive panther.
The boys were treated to the best the landlord could procure and altogether they kept them waiting on them and the people till broad daylight. Then the people skinned the panther as nearly whole as they could and stuffed it with straw and stood it up on the signpost of the tavern where it remained for a number of years as a memorial of the courage and resolution of the boys, Joseph and Jedediah Beeman and Richard Biddlecome. At the session of the U. S. Court in the fall of 1832 at Rutland the writer of this (article) heard the incident of the killing of the panther at the request of some gentlemen from Bennington who said they were knowing to the facts at the time and that they were as he has said.
In the spring of 1786 Joseph Beeman removed to Fairfax, Vermont. Some other reminiscences will be left until after the family history.
The first child of Joseph and Catherine Beeman was a daughter named Phebe. The first I knew of her she was in Bennington living as a hired maid in the family of Solomon Millington just before the Revolutionary War, and that she was married to one of the sons, named Samuel Millington. He shortly afterwards enlisted in the continental service, was sent with an army south and never heard of after. He is believed to have been killed in battle as his clothes were found on the field of battle after the dead were buried. In 1777 she had a son born and called his name Samuel after his father. He was the only child she ever had of her own although she had four husbands during her lifetime. Old Mr. Millington, after his son's death, settled off with her and gave her and her child Samuel an equitable portion of property. She and her son went and made their home at her father's house and Samuel came up with them as one of the family. A few years after they came to Fairfax, Aunt Phebe married Mr. Roger Kinsley, a widower with one child, a little girl named Rhoda. He built a house and they lived there in it next east of the school house where Samuel Brown recently lived. While they lived there an Indian girl who alone wandered about here was taken sick with the fever and Mr. Kingsley took her into his house and they charitably took care of her till she died and was buried. She was the first person buried in what is now the North Fairfax burying ground. Soon after, Mr. Kinsley was taken sick with the same disease and in a few days he died and was buried in the same yard, being the first white person buried in the burying ground.
Aunt Phebe, later married Mr. Hoadley who died about 1817. They lived on and owned the farm near the four corners in the north part of Georgia, Vermont, afterwards called Millington farm. After Mr. Hoadley's death, Samuel Millington and his family moved from Shoreham where they had been living for some time onto the place and his mother lived with him until she married in her advanced age a Mr. ______ of Georgia, a widower with a large family of children. After living together for a few years they agreed to separate and she went back to live with Samuel till her death which occurred______. She was a remarkable woman, very smart, judicious, a good calculator, thorough in what she undertook. Her remains rest with her parents, brothers and sisters in the same burying ground at North Fairfax.
Polly (Mary) the second child married Mr. Harmon. They lived in Providence, New York. I think they had five children. One of them named Alva, was said to be the brightest and most intellectual young man in the County. He delivered an eloquent 4th of July oration before he was 18 years old. He died young.
Rhoda married Joel Stratton of Bennington and always lived there. Their children were Joel, Sheldon D., Elhanan, Susan, Roda, Joseph B. and Freeman. Aunt and Uncle Elhanan died in Bennington, Sheldon in Cambridge, Joel in Fairfax and Susan in Fairfax. They all lived to raise up and provide for large families.
Ruth married Francis Story in Bennington and came to North Fairfax in 1786 with grandfather. They had nine children, three born in Bennington and the rest in Fairfax. Their names were Aaron S. Asahel, Adrian D. Alvan T., Samuel, Fanny, Patty, R. Kinsley and Daniel. They all lived to have families and large ones at that, and lived nearly all the time in this vicinity, except Samuel who was a soldier in the war of 1812 and who a few years after moved to the State of Indiana. They and all their children have passed away except Patty and all but Samuel and Kinsley buried in the North Fairfax cemetery.
Joseph Jr. married Agnes, commonly called Nancy, Merrill of Bennington. Joseph, his father and Francis Story came here from Bennington in 1786 the first settlers in Fairfax north of the Lamoille River. He was an uncommonly smart and talented man, and held many important offices, as Judge of the county court, representative, 10 years as Surveyor General of the state and nearly all town offices. For many years he did more business than any man in the county if not in the state. He was known throughout New England and many of the other states his business requiring him to travel extensively. He was the father of eight children, Anson, Susan, Lucas, Rhoda, Mary, Sarah, James Madison, and Cynthia. He and all his children have died except one, widow Rhoda Richards and they are all buried in Fairfax except Rev. James Madison who died in eastern New York. All had families except Anson.
Susan married William Mills of Johnson, a millwright by trade. They resided principally in Fairfax. Their children were Nancy, Sarah, Samuel, William B., Catherine, and Joseph. Sarah died young in Morristown. Nancy and her mother in Crafsbury, William and Samuel in North Fairfax. Joseph is living in Sand Lake, New York where Catherine and her husband, Reubin Merrill died.
Jedediah Durkee married Rhoda Chapman. They had children Rhoda and Ruth, twins. The wife died the same day. He married a second wife, Polly Osgood. Their children were Lucy, J. Hubbard, Polly, Nancy, J. Monroe and Clarissa.
Asa married Rhoda Kinsley (this is probably the step-daughter of Phebe, and daughter of Roger Kinsley) and had 11 children, all born on the old homestead of his father in North Fairfax: Phebe, Kinsley, Lois, Electa, Martin, Catharine, Joseph, Susan, Aurelia, Sarah and Mary. In 1833 or 34 he sold his farm and removed to Brasier, St. Lawrence County, New York where he died at the advanced age of 91. Phebe, Kinsley, Sarah, Susan and Martin have died. All but one lived to good age and raised up families of more or less children. But two of his children are living now in this state, Lois in Cambridge and Electa in Richford.
Beriah Beeman, my father, was born in Bennington in 1780 (actually November 1, 1781) and emigrated to Fairfax in 1786 in his father's family. In his 22nd year he married Miss Abigail Howard, then recently from Boston, Massachusetts. My parents had five children, first Aaron S., the writer of this piece, born January 9, 1804, Charles H. born June 3, 1806, Anson, born in 1808 and died at 6 months of age, two who died at birth, and Abby, born September 6, 1812. The children of Aaron S. who is the only one now living are Caroline R., Charles H., Hiram C., Susan who died at 27, and Edwin G. The children of Charles H. my brother, were Isaac T., Julia, Charlotte, Lavanter who died young, and Abby.
The children of Abby, sister of the writer, are Mary, Charlotte E., Jane, Damon, and Fayette Howard.
Catherine, youngest child of Joseph and Catherine Beeman married William Barrett. (The writer does not record her family.)
What are the names of the six brothers of Joseph Beeman? I do not remember any but Daniel and Park. He had a good many nephews who I knew or heard about. One, Daniel, lived with him till he was 21 years of age and took a right of land of Sterling about the beginning of this century. He enlisted as an officer in the War of 1812 and died during the war. I don't know if I ever saw him.
Two of his nephews lived in New Haven, Vermont at what was called Beeman's Hollow. One had a mill dam and mill worth $6,000. In an hours time this was swept away and his intervale meadow below covered with logs, sand and stones by the great freshet of 182?.
Another nephew, Elijah Beeman, born 1743, moved into the town of Stafford at an early day and was for two years a town representative. The 3rd one elected in the town. (1781-2). He was Captain of the Melita and a prominent man in his day. He came up here and spent a number of weeks on a visit when I was 10 years old. He was a large framed man, rather portly, and dressed in the style of the revolution, with short breeches, long stockings, shoes and shoe and knee buckles. He died in 1833, age 90.
Another of his nephews and consequently a cousin of my father, was Samuel Beeman, and I think a brother of Captain Elijah Beeman. He originally came from Worcester County, Massachusetts and died in 1842 in the State of New York, age 87. He was father of the late Rev. Nathan Beeman, a brother of Samuel. He was the guide to Ethen Allan when he and his Green Mountain Boys first took the fort at Ticonderoga from the British at the beginning of the Revolutionary War. I have been told that he came to Fairfax the fore part of this century on a visit to grandfather and his family. He died a number of years ago in the western part of New York and I never saw him to remember him.
Another was Friend Beeman. He lived the intervale on the river Lamoille in Milton, next south of the old Gilder place. His grandchildren are living in different towns of Chittenden county. I have see him many times. Another of his nephews was the Rev. Jacob Beeman, some time a presiding Elder in the Methodist Church. A number of years ago he presided over the Plattsburg District. Occasionally he preached in North Fairfax when on a visit to his relatives. He married one of Deacon Conger's daughters whose whole family were members of the church. She was aunt to Captain George Conger in the cavalry in the war of the Rebellion.
Elder Beeman labored in the ministry till age rendered him incapable. He died in Poultney four or five years ago.
One more, Nathaniel Beeman, I have heard considerable about and know he was a relative. He was a son of John (?) And if I am right was a cousin of my grandfather, although in speaking of him my father called him cousin. I believe he has been here but I do not recollect seeing him.
My grandmother, Catharine Durkee Beeman was born in 1737, the daughter of Jedediah Durkee (actually Nathaniel). As I remember her she was an uncommonly smart woman and every inch a lady of the old school such as are seldom seen this day. One who is remembered by her descendants with deep affection, and high esteem. One who faithfully discharged her duties and obligations as a wife, mother, neighbor and friend. At home in the bosom of her large and growing family from early dawn till late at night at almost all time might be heard her sweet and musical voice accompanied with the sound of her needles, her cards, her spinning wheel or her loom. I must mention that she had an uncommon musical voice, strong, sweet and clear as that of a trumpet. If she had had the opportunity of improving upon it that are enjoyed at this day, she would have equaled any of those remarkable singers who are held in such esteem at this day. And that peculiar talent or gift of voice for music she has richly and remarkable transmitted to almost all of her descendants down even to the third and fourth generations. In many instances to the whole of the family so gifted as in the case of Uncle Joseph's Family, aunt Polly Herman's, Aunt Ruth Story's, my father's and his children, aunt Rhoda Stratton's, Aunt Barrett's, Hubbard Beeman, my brother Charles, William M. Beeman, Leonard Searles, Laura Marvin, Joseph Carroll and numerous others I need not mention. She died of a cancer on her face which ate out one eye and one side of her face, in September 1814, age 77. She is buried in the North Fairfax burying ground by the side of her companion.
Of her brothers and sister I know of only one each. The sister married a Mr. Gillett. (This must have been a second marriage of the eldest sister Hannah). They were the parents of Ebenezer Gillett who settled on the farm now owned by Lyman Hunt. Her brother, Sheldon Durkee (this was actually her brother, Timothy) was a soldier in the French War. He was at the surrender of Fort William Henry to the French commander Montcalm and in retiring from that Fort to Fort Edward (in Washington County, New York) he was chased by the Indians from the French Army, knocked down, and while in the act of stripping him for the purpose of robbing him of his colthes and money, being a very powerful and athletic and vigorous man, he wrenched himself away from the three Indians that had hold of him and made his escape. One of them in pursuit of him hurled his tomahawk after him. The handle struck and broke his collar bone, still he out ran them and got to the Fort only in his shirt and pants and saved his money and his life.
The next I knew of him after the War, he was a Captain of the Militia, living with his wife and six children in the town of Royalton, Vermont on a farm in a small clearing in the wilderness. In 1780 the Indians plundered and burned many of the settlers in the vicinity (see two previous issues of the DFN on the Burning of Royalton). On the Sabbath while he was gone to meeting about two miles from home, leaving his family as he supposed in peace and security, Mrs. Durkee saw a number of Indians with some children they had just taken captive emerge from the woods. They entered the house and took the woman and five children captives. The other, a little boy four or five years old, the next to the youngest, in the tumult crept into the current bushes and from there ran into the woods and escaped. (This was Harvey Durkee). The Indians plundered the house, ate the best they could find, emptied the bedticks on the floor and then stuffed them with the best they could find, killed his cows and hogs and destroyed all they could not carry away. Then the leader of the Indians took Mrs. Durkee's black silk dress and bonnet and put them onto himself and over all he buckled on Captain Durkee's sword and, ludicrously swaggering around, set fire to the house and straw on the floor and ordered his companions to shoulder their sacks of plunder and with the prisoners previously taken that day, to start with Mrs. Durkee and five of her children on the march for the home of the Indians in Canada. It was a little after noon when they started from their burning building to traverse the wilderness, captives of the murderous Indians. The family of Captain Durkee who started for Canada as prisoners were his wife Sarah, her babe who was a girl (Lucy Anna) and four sons (Herman, Adin, Timothy and Andrew.).
We cannot imagine the agony of the Captain's feelings when he returned from the meeting to find nothing but a heap of smoldering ruins where had but a few short hours before left his family as he supposed in peace and security. Now, fearing they had been murdered by the Indians or perished in the burning buildings, the settlers rallied as soon as possible and pursued on the trail of the Indians until the next day in the afternoon when they met Mrs. Durkee with her babe returning home. The Indians having given her liberty early that morning together with some children from the vicinity because they could not be made to travel as fast as the Indians wanted to go. They followed the back trail by bushes that they broke as they passed along the day before. From her they learned the particulars about the raid, how many were prisoners and who they were and that none had as yet been killed and that a few, the least able to travel had been set at liberty.
It was then concluded that as the Indians had got so far ahead and traveled in such a hurry, that it would be useless to follow them further, so they returned back to the smoldering remains of their former homes. They then went in pursuit of the little boy who had escaped into the woods, he not having been seen or heard of for two days. At last he was found. He had hidden himself so that it was a wonder that he was ever found alive. For in his fright he thought all the calling and hallooing for him was done by the Indians hunting for him. He was so scared that when he was caught he was on the run as hard as he could go screaming, "Indians, Indians" with all his might till they thought he would go into fits and it was some time before he was clam enough to know his father after he came up to him. After a awhile when he know he was safe with his own folks and friends, he said he knew somebody was trying to find him. He had glimpses of them often and heard them call his name, but thought they were all Indians trying to deceive him so as to catch him and drive him off as he had seen them do to the rest of the family. He didn't mean to be caught by them for that purpose or any other. Of the four taken to Canada, the girl, I believe was the one that died in captivity in consequence of the hard fare and bad treatment of the Indians (This is in error, it was the second to eldest son, Adin, who died in captivity in Montreal). Of the boys I recollect the names of but two, one was Sheldon and the other was Adrian (actually Adin). I recollect seeing Sheldon about 55 years ago at a camp meeting at St. Albans. He was then a merchant at Plattsburg, New York. It is said that when he was traveling through the woods as a prisoner to Canada, he would scold the old Indian for wearing his mother's silk dress, as he was it ripped and torn on the bushes as they went along. He would get a rap of the tomahawk for his interference and the Indians would laugh and say he was a spunky white Yankee. He was, at the time I saw him, 80 years old. He took the Freeman's oath and voted in Fairfax in 1793. Of the rest of the family, I only recollect that it saw several years after their capture by the Indians before the last one got home. The Captain had other children that were born after the Indian's raid, the first being a girl (Lorena).
I think I can recollect seeing Captain Sheldon Durkee (this was actually Timothy) when I was very small at grandfather Joseph Beeman's. He was there on a visit. At any rate, I remember the circumstances and that he was a near relative of theirs and knowing as I have since, so many of their near relatives besides him, I cannot imagine who else it could be but Captain Durkee. As I see him now in my mind's eye, he was a very good looking old man. I think the Rev. J. D. Beeman in form and features resembles him in a very remarkable degree, except perhaps the Captain was not quite so portly and was a good deal older.
I consider Durkee Beeman as the true representative in the Beeman families of Captain Sheldon (Timothy) Durkee as I remember him. He was dressed in the fashion of the gents of the old times, in a dark yellow kind of buff cloth coat, vest and breeches. With long stockings, shoes, and knee buckles, powdered hair, wig, and braided queue behind his head. His looks and appearance indicate that he was in every sense a man and gentleman. About the rest of the Captain's family or where they or their descendants are, I have no certain knowledge.
Further reminiscences of my grandfather, Joseph Beeman Sr., as I remember hearing him relate them.
In the French and Indian War he was frequently selected as a scout or sentinel in posts of difficulty and danger on account of his physical strength, fleetness, courage and daring. In the discharge of these duties he often came in conflict with Indians and his superior skill and unerring aim always resulted in his victory.
So fierce had been the conflict or contest in one instance that his gun became so heated that he had to tie his handkerchief around it to hold it. This was in the battle, not a single combat. I owned the gun once that he used and carried through the war and that he used and kept until a few years before his death. He gave it to me. It was a long large gun, heavily mounted with brass and carried over an ounce ball. It was called the Old King's Arm. It was through the French and Indian War, the Revolution, and the War of 1812 and remained a part of it down to the time of the war of the Rebellion. It was the first gun my father ever used and the first one I ever fired, and the one he used to kill more game than could fill a barn, I have heard my father say. I remember seeing his powder horn often. He said he took it from an Indian whom he killed. It was a very large horn, beautifully ornamented with carving representing a deer running in the distance pursued by a dog and an Indian with his gun aimed at it in the act of shooting the deer.
At one time during the war he was detailed to drive a horse and cart loaded with an English Captain and his wife and their baggage. I think it was on the retreat from Fort William Henry to Fort Edward. The Captain and his wife were pretty drunk, so my grandfather had to hold first one and then the other so as to keep them from falling out. It happened as they were descending a hill, the wheel of the cart ran over a large stone and tipped the cart up a little on one side and threw the old woman out in front of the wheel. Before he could stop it, the cart ran over her. As soon as possible he sprang out to assist her and see what her injury was. Her drunken husband drawled out, "Never mind, never mind, drive on, drive on carter, there are enough more women in London." But he got her into the cart again and drove on to their destination. He was in the army at the unfortunate attempt of General Abercrombie to reduce the Fort of Ticondaroga where by the general's imprudent assault he was repulsed with the loss of nearly 2,000 killed and wounded, many of whom were provincials. He did not wait for his artillery to come up. The General then retired to his former quarters on the south side of Lake George. In consequence, of the loss in that attempt in life and material, the general was very much blamed by the provincial soldiers and in ridicule of him, they procured an old petticoat and stuffed it with straw. Got an old cap and bonnet and constructed the image of an old woman with the name Aunt Nabby Crombie in large letters attached to the front of it. This so maddened the General that he cursed and swore that he would have them arrested and punished. But he was soon informed that he had been the means of the death of all the lost soldiers and dared not to put his threat into execution. He, thinking discretion was the better part of valor, thought best to smother his rage and swallow his words and submit to the insult.
During the French War some of the Mohawk Indians were on the side of the English. I recollect hearing him tell of their pow-wows, war dances, and war and death songs which he saw and heard and their barbarity in torturing their prisoners and burning them alive at the stake.
I will relate next some of the hunting stories he used to tell, as he was a noted hunter.
At one time he found that some of his sheep had been killed by wild cats as shown by the tracks in the snow, it being late in the fall and a light snow
on the ground. He and his brother Daniel, who was much older but who had not much love of hunting, took their guns and followed the tracks which led off onto the mountains in that vicinity. They followed along the mountain until they came to the mouth of a cave or den on the side of the mountain where the wild cats had gone in. Within it appeared as dark as Egypt and as still as death. Grandfather proposed to crawl in and drive them out if he could, while Daniel with the two guns, was to shoot two of them as they came out and with the dogs, tree the rest of them, if he could.
Grandfather proceeded to the performance of his part of the business. He poked away the loose stones and crept along in and crawled along in the dark to quite a distance from the entrance of the den, when he discovered 18 or 20 eyeballs glowing like balls of fire, and gleaming at him. They were yowling, squalling, spitting and spluttering as they made sight of him such as he had never heard before, when they all at once sprang at him. As there was no time or chance to run, he dropped flat on his face and screamed, "Scat you bitches, scat you bitches," till the old pair and their litter of nearly full grown young ones quite as scared as himself ran over his back and out of their den and cleared like a streak off onto the mountain. As quick as he could grandfather backed himself out of the den and not hearing any gun and seeing no dead wild cats around, he called out, "Haloo Dan, where have the creatures gone and why did you not shoot some of them?" "Gone," said Daniel, "Gone to thunder I hope and as for shooting them, you might as well shoot a streak of lightening. They came out as if they were shot out of a cannon and were out of sight before I had time to take aim. But I thought certainly they had killed you, Joe, for I was sure that I heard them sing your death song." And thus ended the adventure of the wild cats for that time.
On another occasion at a deer hunt started by my grandfather and some of his neighbor, his brother, Daniel, proposed to go as one of the party and to gratify him, he was placed on the runway where he was to stand and shoot the deer when it should be driven along near him by the hounds. But grandfather, fearing that Daniel would not kill the deer, went a few rods below, unknown to him, to shoot it himself if Daniel should miss. After awhile the dogs started the deer and he came bounding along on the runway. Daniel raised his gun to shoot the deer and aimed at the deer as he came opposite him. There he stood with his gun pointed towards the deer and trembling with excitement until the deer had passed by him and came into range of grandfather's gun, who shot and the deer fell dead. When Daniel saw in amazement what was done and who had shot the deer, he hallowed out, "I say Joe, what was you in such a hurry to shoot for? I was all ready and should have shot in a minute more if you hadn't been in such a plaguey hurry."
This ended Daniel's deer hunting for that, and I believe, all future time. At another time, as grandfather was on a hunting trip, he came across a bear's track and following along on the track, not thinking he was anywhere near the bear, till he came to a fallen tree when up the bear jumped and he shot him just as he was about to spring on him. And that was the end of old bruin.
One more hunting story I will relate. In one of his hunting trips he came across a fresh moose track, and after following it a few miles, he came in fair gun shot of it. He shot and the moose fell and before he could get to him, the moose jumped up and rushed at him all venom. A basswood tree with a clump of sprouts stood near. Grandfather ran to that and the moose after him, and around he ran for his life. Round and round they went till he emptied his powder and ball into his gun and turning quickly, fired into the animals forehead and dropped him for good. The old gentleman was so exhausted by the chase that it was some time before he could proceed to skin and dress the moose. It is said that Joseph Beeman, my grandfather, was in his infancy nursed by an Indian woman who lived in a wigwam, near by, who had lost her own babe and that she used to go to his mother's every day for that purpose. His mother, by reason of her age, not affording him with the necessary nourishment. Notwithstanding all this, he always had a peculiar antipathy and hated all Indians and wanted to be fighting them. He said he could kill them, but the Indian never did live and never was born that could kill him. And his mother would say to his father when he objected to his going to war, "Do let him go, I tell you. He will never get killed by an Indian or anybody else and will come home all right and well." which eventually proved to be the case.
The Following is from a letter written by Reverend L. Beeman of Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, in 1919.
My grandfather, Jedediah Durkee Beeman was born in Kent, Connecticut February 21, 1771 according to the Kent Town records. His father's name was Joseph and his mother was Catherine Durkee. They were married June 28, 1759 in the town of Washington, Connecticut. Joseph was the son of Thomas Beeman and Phebe Parks (a great-granddaughter of Sir Robert Parks). Thomas and Phebe lived at Preston, Connecticut where Joseph and his six brothers were born. Joseph was born in 1725 and died at North Fairfax, Vermont, September 4, 1814. He was one of the first settlers of northern Vermont. It is said he felled the trees where is how the city of St. Albans. He was afraid of the malaria, being so near Lake Champlain, that he settled on the first range of hills to the eastward. It is a sightly spot, York state across the Lake and the Adirondack Mountains in the distance.
Eastward, the Green Mountain range 20 miles or so away. With Camel's Hump 40 or more miles to the south. On this sightly place Joseph settled and his sons and daughters with their husbands and wives settled on adjoining farms all about him. My grandmother and my father stood on this hill and watched the battle of Plattsburg across the Lake during the War of 1812.
The mother of Jedediah Durkee Beeman was Catherine Durkee, a woman of fine ability and a good singer for those days. Her singing ability has been transmitted to a good many of her descendants.
Her brother Sheldon (again this is her brother, Timothy) was a Captain in the Revolutionary War. He settled at Royalton, Vermont. One Sunday when he was at church the Indians burned the town and carried off as prisoners several of Mr. Durkee's family. His corn barn was the only building left standing in the town. The Indians fired that but it was just built and the timber was green so it was not destroyed. I saw the building some 20 years ago. And one of the descendants of the Captain gave me a cane made out of one of the braces in the old corn barn. Francis S. Beeman now has the cane.
The work of sifting the history of our particular branch of the family is far from easy. There are four distinct branches of the Beeman family who came and settled in New England not many years after the landing of the pilgrims. Gamaliel who settled in Dorchester, Massachusetts, John and William. These three in 1635. Simon of Springfield, Massachusetts also came the same year. William settled in Saybrook and John's descendants in Enfield.
The descendants of these four families cross and re-cross each other all over New England and to make it still more difficult to identify them the same given names are forever recurring. A little help is found in the fact that there is a tendency in the Gamaliel tribe to spell the name Beaman. Simon seems to favor Beeman, the Enfield branch Bement, but pronounced Beeman, while the Saybrook line is inclined to Beamont, though the early spelling at Saybrook was Beamont or Beaumont. Our branch favors Beeman, though I have found other spellings.
I had a letter from Professor W. W. Beman of Ann Arbor, Michigan. He said he had just come into possession of an old deed in Latin given by Thomas Beamon of Barnham, County Sussex, England, next of kin and heir of William Beamon of the same place to Thomas Knight of Yapton, County Sussex. This was in 1598.
Thomas Beaman (1660 - 1750)
Phebe Parke Beaman (1692 - 1777)
Catherine Durkee Beeman (1742 - 1814)*
Phebe Beeman Kinsley (1760 - ____)*
Rhoda Beeman Stratton (1764 - 1836)*
Ruth Beeman Story (1766 - 1845)*
Joseph Beeman (1768 - 1840)*
Jedadiah Durkee Beeman (1771 - 1858)*
Beriah Beeman (1781 - 1863)*
Catharine Beeman Barritt (1783 - 1861)*
Thomas Beaman (1715 - 1790)*
Ezekiel Beaman (1717 - 1736)*
Ebenezer Beaman (1719 - 1784)*
Daniel Beaman (1721 - 1757)*
Ruth Beaman Morris (1722 - ____)*
Joseph Beeman (1725 - 1814)
John Beaman (1727 - 1776)*
Parke Beaman (1737 - 1802)*
Note: He was a soldier in the French and Indian War
North Fairfax-Beeman Cemetery
Maintained by: Our Family History
Originally Created by: Barb Destromp
Record added: Jan 23, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 17646225