Jonas J Beachy

Jonas J Beachy

Death 2 Jan 1931 (aged 99)
Burial Grantsville, Garrett County, Maryland, USA
Memorial ID 70549131 · View Source
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He Lived Almost a Hundred Years
Jonas J. Beachy's Life Span Stopped 35 Days Short of Full Century
Impressive Funeral of Venerable Citizen

Had he been granted 35 days more of life, Jonas J. Beachy, oldest resident of a wide section of country embracing the greater portions of Garrett County, Md., and Somerset County, Pa., would have attained the age of 100 years which was the goal of his ambition during his latter years.

The near centennarian passed peacefully away at his home at Mount Nebo, two miles east of Grantsville, Md., at 5 o'clock Friday evening, January 2nd. He was born Feb. 6, 1831, two miles north of Grantsville, near the Pennsylvania state line, and lived most of his life in the Grantsville District of Garrett County.

His parents were John and Christina (Livengood) Beachy of German Swiss descent and of the Amish Mennonite faith, of which he also was an adherent during his entire life. He came of very sturdy pioneer stock, noted for both mental and physical vigor, as well as for industry and integrity. Physically Jonas J. Beachy, when young, had no promise of great age. He was afflicted with "white swelling" in one of his legs when a boy, which left him lame for the rest of his long life. His father was a man of giant strength, and he also had several brothers who were noted for their physical prowess, yet he lived many years longer than either of his parents, brothers or sisters, who seemingly outclassed him in health and strength.

His father helped to haul the rock for the building of the big stone arch bridge over the Casselman River at Little Crossings, which was completed in 1817, and remains one of the most interesting structures of its kind in the entire country. His father was also for many years one of the leading farmers of Garrett County, in the Bittinger district. Jonas Beachy, like all the farm boys of his generation was inured to hard toil during his youth, and received little schooling. Yet by reading and observation he acquired a fairly good elementary education and a great fund of interesting and useful information gleaned from books and periodicals which he read. His memory was most remarkable, even in his extreme old age. He had a mind for figures and could correctly quote more numerical statistics than any person of his wide acquaintances.

After Mr. Beachy was 21 years of age he made three trips to and from the West, the first one by ox-team from Grantsville, Md., to northern Illinois in 1858, with Rev. Henry Knepper and family of Grantsville, who emigrated from Maryland to the Prairie State. It was while in Illinois that Mr. Beachy embarked on the greatest adventure of his life. During the Pike's Peak gold rush of 1859, Mr. Beachy, in company with the late William G. Schrock of Somerset, Pa., and several other young adventurers started from the vicinity of Dixon, Illinois, for the gold fields of Colorado, a long and hazardous trip by ox-team across the Great Plains at that time still infested by hostile Indians and roamed by countless herds of buffalo.

They experienced many difficulties and hardships, and finally turned back before reaching the eastern border of Colorado, on account of meeting many prospectors returning from the Rocky Mountains with the report that there was little gold to be found there. Wearily they wended their way back to Illinois, Mr. Beachy a few years later returning to his native county in Maryland to make his home there the remainder of his life, and his buddy, "Bill" Schrock, to Somerset County, Pennsylvania. For sixty years they lived within less than 40 miles of each other without hearing from or seeing each other again, or either knowing of the other's whereabouts until an article written by Mr. Beachy's son, the late Leo J. Beachy, and published in the Meyersdale Republican, telling about their Pike's Peak trip, came to the attention of Capt. William G. Schrock and resulted in their reunion. Capt. Schrock, who was five years younger than Mr. Beachy, paid the latter a visit at least once a year, after their first reunion until the captain passed away about two years ago.

After his return from the West to his native heath, Mr. Beachy on Sept. 2, 1864, married Miss Anna D. Yutzy, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Daniel Yutzy of Pocahontas, Somerset County, Pa. Mrs. Beachy was a sister of the late Col. Enoch D. Yutzy, Dr. Joseph Yutzy, Jeremiah, Joel, Samuel and Dr. Simon D. Yutzy, all men of local renown, now deceased, and the late Mrs. Barbara Beal of Sand Patch. After their marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Beachy moved on to the Warnick farm at Mount Nebo, which he afterward purchased, and where they spent the remainder of their lives. He was a prosperous farmer and a good neighbor, delighting in the company of his fellowmen, who always found in him a most genial and interesting companion.

Ten children were born to Mr. and Mrs. Beachy, of whom only five survive, namely: Mrs. Christina Unzicker, of Elkhart, Ind.; Mrs. Mary Custer Orendorf, of Bittinger, Md., Elmer J., living on a farm adjacent to his father's farm, and Edward and Kate in the parental home. Miss Kate ministered to her aged parents most tenderly and efficiently during their old age, and also to her crippled
brother, Leo J. Beachy, during the many years he was a helpless invalid, unable to walk, but possessed of a brilliant intellect, and a poet, author and landscape photographer of more than ordinary ability.

All of Jonas J. Beachy's brothers and sisters preceded him to the grave, most of them by many years. They were: Abraham, John, Samuel, Christian, and Gideon, (the late Dr. G. J. Beachy, dentist) brothers, and Mrs. Jacob Gnagey, Mrs. Jeremiah Durst and Mrs. Edward Hershberger, sisters.

Mr. Beachy was the oldest living subscriber to The Republican since the death of Rev. Dr. William Gerhardt of Martinsburg, W.Va., who died several months ago, about one month after celebrating his one hundreth birthday. Mr. Beachy was a great reader until his sight failed several years ago, after which he had the newspapers read to him. He maintained his interest in current events, both local and worldwide, until a short time before his death. Last summer he had one or two slight strokes of paralysis, but rallied each time, and he retained his mental faculties and was able to converse with his friends until several weeks ago when his tongue became so palsied that he could no longer make himself understood. His great desire the last year or two was to live a full century, but he failed rapidly the last few weeks and one of his last understandable utterances was that he had lived long enough and was ready to go at any time.

He was a member of the Miller Amish Mennonite Church whose meeting house is close to the A.M. Children's Home, one mile north of Grantsville. Funeral services were held in his church home Monday forenoon, and despite the drifted country roads and steady down-pour of rain, the commodious meeting house was filled to overflowing with people, old and young, as well as middle-aged, who came from miles around to attend the obsequies of this venerable citizen who was the friend of all.

Preacher Jonas B. Miller of Grantsville was the minister in charge of the funeral services. The opening prayer was offered in German by Christian W. Bender, of Niverton, followed by the singing of "Home Sweet Home," in German, by the congregation. M. S. Zehr, a minister from Pigeon, Mich., who has been conducting Bible schools in some of the Amish Mennonite churches around Grantsville, then gave a splendid funeral discourse, alternating his remarks in German and English. Jonas B. Miller followed with an able discourse in English, after the singing of the hymn, in English, "There is a fountain filled with blood," Mr. Miller stating that it was one of the last requests of the deceased that this hymn be sung at his funeral. It had also been sung at his wife's funeral. Mr. Miller, in his sermon, spoke intimately of the life of the venerable brother and related many anecodes about him which illustrated his splendid traits of character. He spoke feelingly of his long acquaintance with him and of the high esteem in which he was held, as was evidenced by the large outpouring of people on such a sodden winter day to pay their last loving respects to one so aged and wise in his generation, of whom he was the very last. He also paid tribute to the devotion of the daughter who so faithfully ministered to her aged parents and her invalid brother during their years of helplessness. The ceremonies were concluded with prayer by Brother Miller and the singing of "Nearer my God to Thee."

The casket was then opened to give opportunity for all to look for the last time upon the kindly face of the oldest inhabitant of the community. Hundreds filed reverently by the bier and gazed with tear-dimmed eyes upon that pale but serene countenance.

The casket was then resealed and conveyed to the cemetery nearby where it was lowered into the new-made grave with simple ceremony. The pall-bearers were six grandsons of the deceased - Ellsworth Beachy, Paul Orendorf, John Custer, Morris Beachy and Clark and Wilbur Custer. William Winterberg of Grantsville was the undertaker in charge.

A veteran newspaperman and kinsman of Mr. Beachy who attended the funeral made the following comment:
"The obsequies held over the remains of the late Jonas J. Beachy, I consider among the most impressive I ever attended. They were the more impressive for their simplicity, earnestness and absence of overdone modernday funeral customs.
"With two sermons preached each carried with them a beautiful and consoling line of thought, expressed clearly in both the English and German languages, and the singing, some of which was in English and some in German, was also very impressive and beautiful, a blending of solemnity and melody that was restful to the soul and a soothing balm to saddened hearts."

Meyersdale Republican, January 8, 1931

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  • Created by: mdshome
  • Added: 29 May 2011
  • Find a Grave Memorial 70549131
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Jonas J Beachy (6 Feb 1831–2 Jan 1931), Find a Grave Memorial no. 70549131, citing Maple Glen Cemetery, Grantsville, Garrett County, Maryland, USA ; Maintained by mdshome (contributor 47492564) .