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Firman Forrest McBeth
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Birth: Aug. 1, 1923
Death: Nov. 8, 2009

On a stormy and terrible night in 1962, Marshall Firman McBeth was one of the first on the scene and pulled a small baby from a dark farmhouse and swaddled him in a bloody blanket. Firman's brother Andy McBeth, wife Dora and children Anna, Amos and Donna had just been shot to death in one of Iowa's worst mass murders.

Brother Andy had been kind enough to take in his wife's nephew, Gayno Smith, who had been in trouble while living with his mother in Denver, Colo. Gayno had been sent to Iowa to live with his father and stepmother, but he couldn't get along there either. It would be later discovered that he had also killed his stepmother and buried her in a shallow grave near her home. Andy, who was suspicious as to the sudden disappearance of his stepmother, may have been getting to close to the truth and Gayno couldn't have that.

Firman brought the baby home to his wife and then told his sons to get their guns. A massive manhunt followed lasting several days until Gayno Smith was captured, hiding in a rural barn near Wapello Lake. Gayno Smith pleaded guilty to the five murders and later to the murder of his stepmother Juanita Smith. He spent the rest of his life in prison at the Iowa State Penitentiary in Fort Madison where he died at 67 years old.

Written by Dana


Firman Forrest McBeth, 86, of Martinsburg, died November 8, 2009 at the Keokuk County Health Center in Sigourney, Iowa. He was born August 1, 1923 to Zac and Estella Adella Yeoman McBeth north of Martinsburg, Iowa. He attended Monkey Den school. He served in the United States Army during World War II.

On August 3, 1941 he married Erma Ruggles they later divorced in 1978. He later married Virginia Pilcher. He was self employed and ran McBeth Welding and Wrecker Service. Firman was the Martinsburg town marshal for many years. He lived most of his life in Keokuk County and Wapello counties. He was a member of the Hedrick American Legion, and the Eagles.

He was preceded in death by his parents, first wife Erma, granddaughter Michelle McBeth, six brothers Hessel, Roland, Archie, Lawrence, Denver, Andrew, five sisters Hazel McConnell, Ida Bell Samuels, Lucille Blevins, Alma Terrell, Irene Becknor.

Those left to mourn his passing are his wife children, 21 grandchildren, 41 great grandchildren and special friend Laura Spurlock.

Funeral Service Thursday 10:30 Holm Funeral Home Sigourney. Burial Helm Cemetery Fremont Visitation Wednesday after 5:00 P.M. Memorial to the Keokuk Co Health Center
Family links: 
  Estella Adella Yeoman McBeth (1882 - 1954)
  Zac McBeth (1881 - 1966)
  Erma Ruggles Pilcher (1924 - 2004)*
  Firman Duane McBeth (1946 - 2016)*
*Calculated relationship
Helm Cemetery
Keokuk County
Iowa, USA
Maintained by: InSearchOf
Originally Created by: Carla Burdock
Record added: Nov 11, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 44216589
Firman Forrest McBeth
Added by: Brenda Cavner Wolcott
Firman Forrest McBeth
Added by: Carla Burdock
Firman Forrest McBeth
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Mike & Robbie
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- zoey
 Added: Sep. 18, 2011
my 2nd cousin 1x removed. Shared grandparents Richard and Fanny Axtell Yeoman
- InSearchOf
 Added: Jul. 8, 2011

- Carla Burdock
 Added: Jun. 28, 2010
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