Henry Beckman, who is known all over San Joaquin county, of which he is one of its most prominent and highly respected citizens and agriculturists, has been a resident of San Joaquin county for over half a century, having witnessed as much of its development and growth as probably any other living resident, and the large success which he has acquired has been entirely deserved through his steady industry and business management.

Born in the kingdom of Prussia, March 13, 1834, a son of William Beckman of that country, he was deprived of his mother's care when he was three years old, and at the age of fifteen years was thrown on his own resources, so that he has really been the architect of his own fortune and is a self-made man in the truest sense of the world. What early education he received was obtained in his native land, where he lived during the first fifteen years of his life, and in 1849, in company with is brother Christopher, he left his native fatherland and emigrated to America, taking passage in a sailing vessel which was some fifty-four days on the voyage from Bremen to Baltimore. From the latter city he and his brother went to Whitehaven, Pennsylvania, and thence to Peru, Illinois, and a short time later to Wisconsin, where he was employed in farming and lumbering until he came to California.

In 1853, he and his brother Christopher left Wisconsin, joining an emigrant train in which there were four wgons, and made the long journey across the plains to California. They both became early settlers of San Joaquin county, and Mr. Beckman has since lived here and prospered from year to year. At the present time he owns nearly a thousand acres of land in the county, and is accounted one of the most substantial men, from a financial point of view, in his locality. And with it all he has been thoroughly public-spirited and enterprising, giving his efforts, time and money freely for that which will promote the best welfare of the county. The irrigation movement has found in him one of its stanchest supporters, and his ranch is watered from the Woodbridge irrigation canal, which runs across his place. In connection with his general farming operations he is running a small dairy, and he has the name of being able to make a success of almost any undertaking to which he gives his efforts.

Mr. Beckman was married to Miss Margaret Toni, who was born in Switzerland. They are the parents of five children: George V., of San Joaquin county; Theodore H., of San Joaquin county; Frank W., the well known merchant at Lodi; Eva, at home; and one deceased.

Mr. Beckman is independent as to politics, but casts his vote intelligently and supports men and principles that he believes are best for nation and local community. He is identified with the German Lutheran church at Lodi, and is affiliated with the Masonic lodge at Woodbridge, and the Knights Templar at Stockton. The sons Frank and Theodore are members of the Masonic fraternity at Woodbridge, Frank being a Knight Templar at Stockton.

The brother Christopher Beckman, who accompanied Henry Beckman to America, and who resided many years in San Joaquin county, of which he was an old settler, died several years ago. His widow and one son Henry C. survive and reside on the old Christopher Beckman ranch near Lodi.

Source: History of the New California Its Resources and People, Volume II

The Lewis Publishing Company - 1905
Edited by Leigh H. Irvine

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