Adelbert E. Beaumont was born in Fairbault, Minnesota, January 21, 1871. In the fall of 1879, he removed with his parents to Spink county, Dakota Territory, and they settled on a homestead close to the banks of the James river. Here, for eight years, far from any line of railroad, the family underwent all the hardships of pioneer life. The Beaumonts were among the first settlers in that portion of the James River Valley. Bands of Indians roved the plains but showed no hostile inclinations. In a sod house, surrounded by the seemingly boundless prairie, the character that forms the theme of this sketch, spent his boyhood days and became acquainted with Nature in her "grander mien" and formed an attachment for the Universal Mother that remained with him in his later years.

The family went through the "winter of the big snow" and "the starving time"—familiar terms to the early settlers in Spink county—and finally becoming weary of the hardships moved back to civilization.


As a youth Beaumont taught school in Osceola county, Iowa, and later learned the printing trade and became associated in the publication of the Sibley, (Iowa) Gazette. For a time he was also interested in the Register, published at Akron, Iowa, to which place he moved after his marriage in the summer of 1893. Later he returned to Sibley and was one of the publishers of the Gazette for a number of years. He came to Sioux Falls in January, 1902, to accept the position of city editor on the Sioux Falls Press. Three years later he took the post of telegraph and assistant editor with the Sioux Falls Daily Argus-Leader, remaining with that paper until November, 1909, when he resigned to become editor of the Sioux Falls Daily Press. This position he occupied until December, 1911, when he accepted an offer of an editorial position on the Sioux City Daily Tribune, and took up his duties there January 1, 1912.


Few men can write entertainingly in both prose and poetry. The latter must come from a poet's heart and move along rhythmically like a pacing horse. Prose is more like a trotting horse, and usually, a prose writer, when trying his hand at poetry, acts just like a trotting horse hobbled for a pacer. Beaumont is chuck full of double action. He resolves himself into one of those charming literary moods, spins off some of the most bewitching poetry, and then, as if by magic and without stopping to take off his mental hobbles, he dashes off a piece of prose as vibratory and as flashy as an eruption of Vesuvius. Such is the commendable, composite, qualitative mental make-up of the man with whom we are now to deal.

Having spent his boyhood on the plains in the northern part of what is now South Dakota, Beaumont received a vivid impression of the charms of the prairie which remained with him as a pleasant memory in later years. He saw the beauties as well as the wonders of "the untracked plain." In a descriptive poem on "The Prairie in Autumn" he mingled with pictures of the phenomena of Nature in that new part of the world a tribute to members of his family. Of the lavish profusion of paririe flowers that brightened the autumn turf, he says:

To me the potent breath of Autumn brings
A fond remembrance of serener things—
A broad and noble sweep of virgin plain,
Where traces of the Red man yet remain,
Its billowed bosom dotted here and there,
With those fair blossoms—rarest of the rare—
The prairie flowers of fall. No well-kept bed
With gaudy leaves and petals blazon-ed
Can show more variegated form or hue;
No woodland ferns or flowers that ever grew,
More simply grace or symmetry obtain,
Than these that blossom on the untracked plain.

His appreciation of Nature's wilder phases is shown in the same poem where he describes a hailstorm on the prairies:

Upon this wild and treeless tract is seen
Each mighty element in grander mien;
The rush of winds, the storm cloud's awesome crest,
Struck chords responsive in a boyish breast.
When burning, blighting winds had seared the plain
For days, unswept tempestuous hail and rain,
Driving before the timid beast and bird,
From hollowed lair or grassy nest bestirred.
Often the storm-fiend drove so fierce a pace,
The stock to shelter ran a losing race
Staked in the hollow when the storm began,
The frightened cattle broke away and ran,
Pelted and blinded madly down the wind,
Dragging the twisting rope and stake behind.

One of the vivid impressions of his youth was afforded by the terrible fires which frequently laid waste the land, and which he also describes in his "Prairie in Autumn:"

When, sapped by later frosts, the upland yield
Lay crisp and yellowing—a ripened field
Swept o'er the plain with devastation dire,
The awful bosom of the prairie fire.
Far in the distance first appears a glow,
Redder where evening clouds are hanging low,
Spreading and mounting up the dome of night;
Then breaks the dim horizon into light;
A long, red line of flames that leap and dance
Still higher with their undisturbed advance;
Skyward the columns dense of smoke up-pour;
Follows the crackling and the awful roar;
A million hollowed stalks of grasses burst;
Withers the prairie like a thing accursed;
Louder the uproar and the fiery wave
Rolls by, beneath its far-flung arms a cave
Infernal. With a dazzling, deafening sweep,
'Tis gone-and darkness comes, and silence deep.

We reluctantly come to a close by publishing in full three of is shorter poems which reveal his originality in composition as well as in thought.


There is in grace an ample store
   Of benediction, sent to bless
The heart, whene'er it bows before
   The altar of unselfishness.

And we receive no dearer gift
   Of happiness, than we plan
To leave our beaten path, and lift
   His burden from a fellow man.

The stream of bounty long hath flowed
   From many a living spring supplied.
And every cheerful gift bestowed,
   Is to the giver multiplied.

What tender joy the mother knows,
   That well from Nature's kindly spring,
When to her infant's lips there flows
   Her fruitful bosom's offering.

The blessings we receive from Heaven
   Refill the cup that we dispense:
And by the largess we have given,
   Is measured out our recompense.


Ay, muffle with the barrier rocks,
   And check with mighty walls
The monody of ages gone—
   The music of the falls.

The song that through ten thousand years
   No interlude hath known,
Is dead. But hark! The sudden wail
   That parts the lips of stone!

There once the wandering Redmen stood
   Upon the spray-wet shore,
And heard the voice of Manitou
   In that unceasing roar.

How fair the artless scene appeared,
   In spreading cedar's shade
Where classic Nature's prefect touch
   The misty background made.

Now vandal hand of man hath torn
   The canvas from the frame;
The triumph of his strength the loud
   Discordant notes proclaim.

How like my fettered soul to thee,
   On, prisoned waterfall!
That foamed past rock and flower and tree
   And found a joy in all.

But checked by sordid circumstance,
   The eddies sluggish grow,
And crowding walls of fate enclose
   The once unhindered flow.

Aye, stifle it with rocky bands,
   And with unyielding walls—
The song that older is than man—
   The cadence of the falls.


Staunch builders of a nation's fame,
   Partakers of her former woe
Thy dearest bequest of peace we claim;
   Our tender gratitude bestow.
Dread memory of a gory field;
   Wild cannon roar and shriek of shield;
The furrow, where ye would not yield,
             And dying, fell.

Sons of those standard-bearers true,
   Who late in far-found islands fared,
The purpose of those sires ye knew;
   Their lofty patriotism shared.
Dense tangle of the jungle main;
   The noisesome marsh—the torrid sun;
Mad throbbing of a heated brain;
             The trenches won.

Sad watchers by a cold hearthstone,
   Thy heavy burden mutely borne,
Let bride-white blossoms, newly blown
   Thy cherished sepulchre adorn.
Long waiting with a dreadful fear;
   Dull nursing of a silent care;
Consoling with a bitter tear
             Thy lone despair.

Sire, son and mother, trinity
   That rears the bulwark of our home,
Each floating flag is dipped for thee
   On steel-girt ship and statehouse dome.
Wide stretch of plain and sweep of shore,
   Hills, falling into the ocean's swell;
Our fair land's name in stress of war,
             Ye guarded well.

The sad procession, moving by
   Drops bud and petal on the sod.
Where in a sacred place there lie
   These servants of our country's God.
Clouds floating in the summer sky,
   Green fields reclining 'neath the blue,
And over all, tranquility
             That hallows you.


Mrs. Beaumont is one of our prominent educators. She may almost be said to be the mother of Industrial work in the South Dakota schools. She is an ideal educator. Nature endowed her with a gentle disposition, with sober thoughts, with high ideals, and with a dozen-and-one other virtues that go to make up a great teacher.

She is director of the training department of the South Dakota State Normal School at Madison, and she is the highest paid woman educator in the state.

Mrs Beaumont graduated from Col. Francis W. Parker's famous normal school in Chicago. She first devoted her energies to primary and kindergarten work, establishing a public school kindergarten at Sibley, Iowa, where she taught for a number of years. She accepted a position as primary teacher in Sioux Falls, in 1903, and introduced kindergarten work into the Sioux Falls public schools. Mrs. Beaumont was active in forwarding industrial and manual training work in the grades in the Sioux Falls schools and she was principal of a ward school in that city for four years. This is her fifth year in the Madison Normal. She is in such great demand as a lecturer and instructor in methods in teachers' institutes that she is not able to fill all the requisitions made upon her time.


©2002, Virginia A. Cisewski
All Rights Reserved