BiographyAlexander Beckstead, Sr. was born 16 March 1802 in Schoharie, Schoharie County, New York, United States to Francis Beckstead (1773-1841) and Margarita Catherine Barkley (1770-1837) and died 25 February 1870 in West Jordan, Salt Lake County, Utah, United States of unspecified causes. He married Catherine Elinore Lince (1807-1889) 25 January 1823 in Williamsburg, Glengarry County, Ontario, Canada. He married Keziah Albine Petty (1835-1907) 18 November 1854 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah. He married Clarrisa Ann Brown Gilson (1837-1911) 15 March 1862 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah. Ancestors are from the United States.
History - When Alexander was about five years old his father and family moved to Williamsburg, Canada, where his father secured 200 acres of land, under a land grant. It is assumed, therefore, that Alexander worked with his father on the farm until he was married in 1823 to Catherine Lince/Lenss, at which time he farmed for himself.
During the period 1837-38 three Mormon missionaries visited the homes of Alexander, his father Francis, Sr., and others of the family. Most of them accepted the Gospel, sold their land, and made preparations to join the Saints then located in Missouri. They traveled by ox-team and wagons enduring many personal hardships, and finally reached DeWitt, Caldwell County, Missouri, in the last week in September 1838. At that time the Saints were being persecuted severely by the mobs, and after a short time our families escaped to Far West, Missouri, where they spent the winter. The next spring, 1839, they moved with the Saints to the area near Nauvoo, Illinois.
The families located wherever they could find suitable places to make a home - some were at Lima, some at Carthage, and some at Warsaw, Illinois, all near Nauvoo. By this time Alexander's family consisted of 9 children.
After the death of Francis, Sr., in 1841, the great responsibility of looking after his family, and the others of his father's family, rested upon the shoulders of Alexander.
When the Saints were driven from Nauvoo in 1846, Alexander and the other families moved to the area of Council Bluffs, Iowa. Almost immediately upon their arrival the United States Government requested President Brigham Young to furnish 500 volunteers for the Mormon Battalion to fight in the War against Mexico. Three of the Beckstead boys joined this group, thus reducing the help that was so much needed to look after the families.
Alexander was not discouraged, however, and commenced preparation for movement of the families to the Great Salt Lake Valley. Just as they were moving, and had gone only a short distance, tragedy struck again; this time in the death of Francis Beckstead, Jr., a young brother of Alexander, which was a great shock and a tremendous loss to the families. However, Alexander continued on, and most of them reached the Utah Valley in September 1849. For more detailed information of the history of our ancestors read the Introduction history section.
Alexander Beckstead settled in West Jordan, Utah, where there was practically nothing but sagebrush. They all located on what was known as the River bottoms, of the Jordan River, which was their only source of water.
Alexander and his family were reported to be the first to get water on the land from the river. They worked with pick and shovel, and mostly by hand, built the Beckstead Ditch, which permitted them to take the water from the Jordan River for us as they needed it. They had to dig wells for drinking water, and at first most of their homes were adobe huts, and some were merely holes dug into the bank along the river bottoms. Then as rapidly as possible better homes were built, a Church meeting place was provided, and they had a place for school children, very meager of course.
Later Alexander erected the first Blacksmith shop in that area. This shop, built before 1853, was west and south of the Old Rock Meeting house, in West Jordan. The building was made of slabs and rough lumber with a roof of slabs. It did not contain a bench to sit on. The men who came to visit or were waiting for their work to be finished, just stood around.
In 1861 to 1863 Alexander Beckstead assisted materially in sending outfits back to the Missouri River to help the Saints in the movement West. During the hard times when flour cost $25 a sack, Alexander, instead of selling his flour, divided it among the poor. It is reported that on one occasion he sent his son, John Alma Beckstead, with 5000 pounds of flour to the poor people in St. George, Utah, area - without cost to them.
Alexander was a veteran Elder in the LDS Church, during his entire life, and a friend to everyone in need. He passed away at his home in West Jordan and was buried in the South Jordan Cemetery.
Marriage and Family
1st Marriage :
- Margaret Mariah Beckstead (1823-1901)
- Gordon Silas Beckstead (1825-1891) - Veteran of Mormon Battalion - joined by one cousin and a uncle.
- Henry Beckstead (1827-1889)
- William Alexander Beckstead (1829-1830)
- Harriet Vernitia Beckstead (1831-1905)
- Thomas Wesley Beckstead (1833-1893)
- Lucy Ann Beckstead (1835-1848)
- Emeline Beckstead (1837-1917)
- Sarah Elizabeth Beckstead (1838-1890)
- Samuel Alexander Beckstead (1840-1861)
- Amanda Jane Beckstead (1843-1851)
- George Washington Beckstead (1845-1912)
- Mary Ellen Beckstead (1848-1848)
- John Alma Beckstead (1848-1927)
- Joseph Alonzo Beckstead (1850-1923)