|Birth: ||May 27, 1817|
|Death: ||Jan. 9, 1903|
From the LeMars Sentinel, Friday, January 9, 1903, Page 4, Column 4:
WAS A PIONEER RESIDENT
Captain Betsworth Responds to the Final Summons.
FIRST RESIDENT OF LEMARS.
He Built the First House in this City and Lived in this Vicinity for Nearly Forty Years--Had Reached the Four Score Mark Several Years Ago.
Captain B. F. Betsworth, one of the oldest and best known residents of LeMars, passed away on Wednesday afternoon, after an illness lasting several weeks. For the past few days it has been patent that the end was near and the gallant old man was ready and even anxious to respond to the call which would relieve him of earthly ills and summon him to the realm where there is neither sorrow nor care. Until a few weeks ago the old man enjoyed that good health which has been one of his chief joys through a long and useful life, and no malady in the pharmacopeia hastened his end, which was due rather to the wearing out of the virile forces, the strength of which were characteristic of the man from youth to good old age. He had outspanned the allotted time given to man on earth by the scriptures by several years, and until the illness, which proved his last, was possessed of unusual vigor and heartiness. He was known and beloved by every man, woman and child almost in the city, and his cheery nod and hearty greeting on the streets will be missed by many. Until the last he took an active and hearty interest in the doings of the world at large, and also in the welfare of his numerous friends and in the daily happenings of the community where he had been known and had lived for almost forty years. In the words of the prophet "his days were long in the land and he lived until a ripe old age, and died full of years and honor and was gathered to his fathers, in the fullness of time."
Captain. B. F. Betsworth was born in Somerset county, Maryland, on May 27, 1817, and was the third child of B. F. and Rebecca Betsworth. His father was reared in Baltimore and was by trade a shoemaker, and his mother's people were natives of Maryland, and among the pioneers of that state. She was one of eight children--four boys and four girls. Capt. Betsworth received only a limited education, as at an early age he was obliged to assist in the task of bread winning for the large and struggling family. His early experiences doubtless molded his character which was sturdy, independent, and self reliant. When a youth of seventeen he was apprenticed to the ship caulker's trade, and three years later he was engaged principally in the fruit and oyster trade, and was owner and captain of a trading schooner for fifteen years. After leaving his native state he made his home in Bergen Point, near New York City. In 1856 he caught the emigration fever and decided to move west and located near St. Charles, Kane county, Illinois, where he became a farmer and tilled 350 acres of land. In 1866 he came to LeMars and with his wife and sons started to make a home for them and himself on the virgin prairie. He homesteaded the land which is today the city of LeMars with its more than five thousand people, its manufactories, business houses and fine residences. He built a log house where the brick yards now stand, on the Floyd river. He broke the first sod, built the first school house, where school was taught by his eldest son, and also erected the first frame house. One of these frame houses was located on Franklin street and the other was located where the St. Joseph's church now stands. The latter was destroyed by fire. The other is a portion of the house now occupied by E. T. Bedell.
When Capt. Betsworth located here the Indians roamed up and down the Floyd valley and had a camp on the river just west of town. Sioux City was a frontier outpost and was the only trading point for miles around, and provisions were freighted from Boone to that town. When the route of the Illinois Central railroad was surveyed through here, Mrs. Betsworth owned the southwest quarter of section nine, and was induced by the corporation to exchange his farm for another tract, receiving from the company 240 acres in exchange for his quarter section of land. This land was situated in section 17, and is now known as the Brown place. Here the Betsworths lived until 1887, when the farm was sold to A. Y. Weir. The captain then determined to retire after a long life devoted mainly to agricultural pursuits and built himself a fine residence on Cedar street, which he sold last year to Johnson Pemberton, moving into a smaller house on Sixth street.
Captain Betsworth was married twice. He was united in marriage on December 28, 1839, to Alvira Dougherty, of Somerset county, Maryland. This union was blessed with fifteen children, twelve of whom survive. They are: John, who lives at Los Angeles, California; Mrs. Henry Cammickle, Granite, Ill., Mrs. H. Hammond, Los Angeles; Mrs. D. P. Hammond, LeMars; Stephen, Pensacola, Florida; Anthony, Meriden; William, Perry, O. T*.; Jasper, LeMars; Mrs. E. S. Prescott, Spokane Falls; Ira, Tomah, Wis.; Warren, Washington. [Transcriber's note--"O. T." denotes "Oklahoma Territory".]
Captain Betsworth's second wife was Mrs. Andrews to whom he was married June (damaged copy) 1896, and who survives him. She devotedly attended him and soothed him in his declining years.
For the past several weeks the Captain has been confined to the house, he gradually becoming weaker and weaker and was unconscious the three days previous to his death.
Captain Betsworth was a devout and consistent church member and affiliated with the Methodist church. He was a regular attendant and was in his pew every Sunday, rain or shine. He contributed regularly to the church funds and since he has been confined to the house, gave his weekly contribution every Saturday night to the pastor of the church, whose ministration he was pleased to receive during his last days. The funeral will be held from the First Methodist church this afternoon at half past two o'clock, Rev. W. T. McDonald officiating.
Elvira E Daugherty Betsworth (1822 - 1895)*
Cinderella Ann Betsworth Cummickel (1841 - 1921)*
Created by: Linda Roller
Record added: Dec 04, 2012
Find A Grave Memorial# 101699855