Page:History of Iowa From the Earliest Times to the Beginning of the Twentieth Century Volume 4.djvu/53
power, a fine memory, knew history and literature, appreciated the best in the arts, had been an observant traveller and was in sympathy with current affairs. “As trustee of the State library during his long term he was largely instrumental in building it up in law, literature and all departments.”
A marked characteristic was his devotion to his children, to his beloved wife—a woman of rare charm, culture and spirituality—and to his home, where he died May 30th, 1903.
BYRON A. BEESON was born in Columbiana County, Ohio, February 26, 1838. His education was obtained in the public schools, and in 1854 he removed to Iowa, locating on a farm in Marshall County. When the Civil War began he enlisted in a company raised by William P. Hepburn which became a part of the Second Iowa Cavalry. Mr. Beeson served in that famous regiment three years and then reenlisted as a veteran in 1864 and was promoted to first lieutenant of Company B, serving to the close of the war. He was elected treasurer of Marshall County, serving until 1882. In July, 1878, he was commissioned adjutant in the Iowa National Guards and was repeatedly promoted holding the position of captain, lieutenant-colonel, colonel and Brigadier-General. In 1889 he was appointed Adjutant-General of the State, and in 1890 he was elected on the Republican ticket, State Treasurer, serving four years. In 1897 he was appointed quartermaster of the Iowa Soldiers' Home at Marshalltown where he served until 1903, when he was appointed Treasurer of the National Soldiers' Home at Norfolk, Virginia.
WILLIAM W. BELKNAP was born in Newburg, New York, in 1829. He graduated at Princeton College in 1848, studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1851. He came to Iowa in 1853, locating at Keokuk where he entered upon the practice of law in partnership with Ralph P. Lowe, afterwards Governor of the State. He was elected to the House of the Seventh General Assembly in 1857 on the Democratic ticket. When the War of the Rebellion began he was commissioned major of the Fifteenth Iowa Infantry. He was in command of the regiment at the Battle of Corinth and was soon after placed on the staff of General McPherson. After the Battle of Atlanta he was promoted to Brigadier-General and at the close of the war was brevetted Major-General. He was offered a commission in the regular army but preferred to return to civil life. General Belknap had become a Republican, supporting Lincoln for President in 1864 and in 1866 was appointed Collector of Internal Revenue for the First District. When General Grant became President, General Belknap was invited into his Cabinet as Secretary of War, where he served seven years, resigning in March, 1876. Charges of official misconduct had been preferred against him by the House of Representatives in a time of great political bitterness, but in the trial by the Senate he was acquitted. Judge