Samuel J. Beck
Samuel J. Beck (1845–1906) was a metallurgist and land developer who was a judge in Montana and a member of the State Legislature there in the 19th Century. He was also on the Los Angeles, California, Common Council from 1878 to 1880 and was president of that council during 1878–79.
In 1849 the young Beck "fought his way into Montana," to an area that is now the city of Bozeman. As a wounded veteran of "Many conflicts with the Sioux Indians" in Oregon and Montana, he drew a survivor's pension for fourteen years. He was graduated from F.T. Kefnper's Collegiate School in Booneville, Montana, in 1853 and then studied at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he earned a degree as a metallurgist in 1870. He also became a lawyer that year.
Beck was a Presbyterian and a Republican. In 1905 he was supreme commander of the Grand Council of the Legion of the Red Cross and presided at the organization's annual meeting in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
His first wife was Sarah E. Beck, who died in April 1893. He was then married in July 1905 to Fidelia A. Anderson, who was at that time the principal of Washington-street School. The wedding of the "well-known school teacher" to Beck, who was "about twenty-five years" her senior, came as a "great surprise," the Los Angeles Times reported, adding: "That the wedding was unexpected in some quarters is indicated by the fact that Miss Anderson was named by the Board of Education only a week or so to continue as principal. In those days the policy of the Los Angeles School Board was that married teachers had to resign their positions.
Beck died November 24, 1906, in his Los Angeles home. Masonic services were followed by cremation at Rosedale Cemetery. He left an estate of $26,982, and in November 1909 Beck's sister, Mary A. Chappell, filed suit to have Fidelia Beck removed as trustee of the will because the sister had not received monthly allowances promised to her. Fidelia responded that all the money was gone.
After moving to California, Beck was elected to the Los Angeles Common Council in December 1878 and was unanimously chosen council president in 1878–79. He was a council member in 1879–80 as well and was "one of the principals in the opening and widening of both San Pedro and Seventh streets." He "took an active part in the inaugurating and completing of the city waterworks, whereby the lands of the east and west parts of the city which had hitherto been barren were made to flower by irrigation." Beck, it was said, had the idea of building two large reservoirs, one of which became the nexus for the lake in Echo Park.
References and notes
Access to the Los Angeles Times links may require the use of a library card.
- "Masonic Home Head and Pioneer Dead," Los Angeles Times, November 27, 1906, page II-3
- Los Angeles Public Library reference file. Further citations can be found there. The library file, compiled in 1937, differs in some respects from a 1906 Times obituary; the former states that Beck was born in New Hampshire on July 5, 1845, but the obituary states he was born April 22, 1835, in Alsace-Lorraine.
- "Died," Los Angeles Times, April 11, 1893, page 7
- The Los Angeles Public Library reference file states he was married February 14, 1903.
- "Marriage a Surprise," Los Angeles Times, July 7, 1905, page II-1
- Los Angeles Herald, March 15, 1900
- "Courthouse Notes," Los Angeles Times, December 5, 1906, page II-7
- "Accounting Sought," Los Angeles Times, November 24, 1909, page II-2
- Montana History Wiki See sources on that page.