Col. D. A. Beamer Obituary

From the (Town Edition of the Lamar Democrat) March 1, 1934

A picturesque and vivid career comes to an end.

Col. D. A. Beamer, after weeks of pain and suffering, sinks into a sweet sleep and goes calmly to his death.  Born seventy eight years ago, in Iowa, he really began his career in Barton County -- left Lamar after the death of his young wife and went to the Northwest -- returned just forty years ago -- Shortly after this began his colorful and varied career --- the long lines of trees in the College Addition, the College Hill Farm, are local monuments of this wonderful man's activities -- golden fortune was his -- with the late Col. Trice, he almost repopulated the county -- the passing of the conditions that made for his though they ruined him financially they never broke his spirit -- his collection of samples and data on Barton County's partially dried up oil field, the most notable in this part of America -- his spirit never broke, and to the last he beat its dauntless wings against the bars of fate.


Col. D. A. Beamer died in his room at the Commercial Hotel at 10:30, Wednesday evening.  He had been confined to his room, for nearly two months.  He suffered from a cancer inside his throat.   Col. Beamer began to be troubled with his throat, perhaps almost a year ago.  He bore it heroically, and , for a considerable time went about as usual.  Gradually, however, it became more and more difficult and excruciatingly painful for him to take any kind of food.  For two days before the end, he could not even swallow a few drops of water.  For many weeks, a little broth, or semi-liquid food in very small quantities was all he could take.  He died upon his 78th birthday.

David Beamer was born near Uniontown, Iowa, February 28, 1856.  He grew up in Iowa, his father, the late George Beamer, moving to Barton County about fifty years ago, and improving a fine farm in Northfork township.

The family first located in Kansas, then moving to Springfield, Missouri, shortly coming from that city here, about 1884.

"Dave" as everybody called him taught the Rocky Mound school.  He took a keen interest in politics and was soon appointed county surveyor.  He entered the implement business, in the building that stood where the O. P. Combs feed and flour wholesale stands at present.  The Commercial Hotel was built about this time.  Mr. Beamer was one of the guests at the first meal that was served in that building -- the hotel in which fifty years later he was destined to breath his last.  He was in the implement business with at late Judge Waters, who later went to Carthage.

Early in 1887, Col. Beamer married Miss Emma Stewart, elder sister of Mrs. Shelby Jones of this city.  She lived only about eighteen months after their marriage, leaving her six months old baby.  In the gold watch, which Col. Beamer carried to the last is a photograph of this handsome young woman and her baby, plainly taken a very short time before her death.  Mrs. Beamer died in September 1889.  Shortly after her death, Col. Beamer went west and traveled for an implement company, with headquarters in Portland, Oregon.  He traveled in the far Northwest for perhaps three years and returned to Lamar.  Not long after he came, he suffered a long siege of illness from typhoid fever.  He had become acquainted with Col. C. Y. Trice.  The latter came to see his friend occasionally during his convalescence.  The result of their talks was that Col. Beamer remained here and devoted himself to real estate.  He and Col. Trice formed a partnership, under the firm name of the Missouri Immigration Association, about 1898.

In 1896, Col. Beamer purchased the Lamar College that had been built by Prof. J. K. Hull, who came to Lamar, from Norwich, Connecticut in 1888 and erected this college building, establishing the Missouri Polytechnique Institute.  Prof. Hill was an able educator, but the Institute went the way of all colleges that were not endowed, or supported by the state.  The old College was used for a year or so, by the Lamar school district, while the present school building was in the process of erection.  Then the stately brick building stood out there on the hill, from which sloped the college addition, tenantless and lonely.  The first thing Col. Beamer did when her acquired the building and most of the land that comprised the addition was to line the streets on each side of practically all of the blocks in the general vacant sub-division with elm and ash trees.

Today, thirty-eight years after this tree planting, the large spreading elms and the trim and handsome ash stand in long double rows, one on each side of the street, throughout this subdivision.

It was not long after Col. Beamer went into the Missouri Immigration Association, that he started the Lamar College.  Of course it was never anything like self-supporting, but he paid the deficits, year after year, himself.  The whole college subdivision became a spot of rare beauty.  The long lines of trees were meticulously trimmed the college lawn was landscaped and maintained in a manner that would have delighted an artist.

Col. Trice and Col. Beamer continued in business together about two years, when Col. Trice withdrew, going under his name, while Col. Beamer continued with the Missouri Immigration Association.  T. R. Perry was at this time in the firm.  From 1900 to 1910 were wonderful years in the land business.  Col. Beamer's company sold many thousands of Barton county land, usually at a margin of about ten dollars an acre.  Money came in a golden stream.  The late Miss Ora VanPelt sat at the desk and kept the accounts.  It was by far the most considerable money maker than had ever been in the county.

In 1904, Col. Beamer arranged to transfer the college to the Benedictine sisterhood of Atchison, Kansas.  He was largely instrumental, at this time building St. Mary's Catholic church, the cornerstone of which was laid by Father Wm. Keunhof in August 1904.

During this time Col. Beamer developed College Hill farm into perhaps the most modern ranch in this part of the state.  He devoted the big farm to the raising of Duroc Jersey hogs.  His great hog sales became famous throughout the Southwest.  About 1909 Col. Beamer began to prospect for oil on College Hill farm.  He first sent down one or two prospect holes to a distance of about nine hundred feet.  Then he bored a well to the granite, a distance of thirty-five hundred feet.  Samples of every five feet of the rock cuttings of this well were preserved and carefully labeled.  This was the most remarkable physical record of the stratified formation of this part of the country, ever assembled and classified.

Col. Beamer became interested in Barton County oil rock.  He soon obtained chemical and mechanical equipment that extracted the oil from this rock, accumulating hundreds of samples.   It was he who made the first asphaltum blocks from this rock.  This really marvelous collection of oils and cuttings, that has no duplicate in or equal in this part of the country is still stored away in the Lamar Opera block.  Lamar should see to it that this collection is preserved, both as a tribute to the memory of the remarkable man who obtained and assembled it, and for its own scientific value. 

In the great days of the land sales Col. Beamer spent his great revenues in a manner that was truly princely - little upon himself, nearly all in plans of public improvement and the prosecution of his own ideas, which were always of a semi-public nature.  He almost rebuilt the opera house.  He established a state experiment station.  He was really the man who located the present post office site.

Col. Beamer was a man both of action and of dreams.  He was an incurable optimist.  He was marvelously convincing, and had a courage that never blencged at threatened financial loss or risk.  Along with Col. Trice, he practically repopulated the agricultural part of Barton county's more prosperous population.  One can sit down and count families by the hundred who were brought here by Col. Beamer.  There were many times, after he devoted himself to Barton county's oil rock, when he was on the eye of establishing a powerful company to exploit this oil saturated sandstone, that bears in its porous strata, millions of barrels of the finest oil absorbed from the northeastern extremity, of the great Mid-Continent Pool.

But failure never daunted, His resilient and unconquerable spirit arose above disappointment, and the sickening trial of hope long deferred.

One of Col. Beamer's most golden deals, in the days of rich land exploitations was the purchase of the Buckwalter land a body of 2000 acres in Northfork township.  He fought this through the courts, with the tenacious and unbreakable courage, for which he was noted, until he finally won the suit of around sixty thousand dollars.

Even in the days when he was vainly seeking to launch a great company to exploit the oil rock, when everything had crumbled, and he knew not whiter to turn, he still retained his invincible courage.  His head was high, his words were confident.  He scorned to strike colors.

The men, who had stood with him in his brilliant and golden days were gone.  A new world confronted him.  Land values once sacred and inviolate in their soundness in every bank in the country, had slid to their final debacle.  The old world in which he arose had crumbled and disappeared.  Naught but the morass and quicksand of values gone to nothing, but the bankruptcy of those who had founded upon them their hopes and their houses of refuge, remained.

But his eye still kindled, as he discussed his plans.  His spirits arose, he never accepted defeat.  Neither painful privation, disappointment or failure ever crushed his proud and ever buoyant spirit.  In the days of his suffering and weakness he asked to get up and get out.  Not until his invincible spirit sank into the last placid moments that preceded a quiet and painless passing, did it cease to mount and beat its wings against the bars of fate.

What man, that ever lived in Lamar can leave such landmarks to his memory, what man who to the last so maintained the spirit to arise from the debacles wrought by irresistible change and the steady and fatal march of time, as D. A. Beamer?

His achievements were great, his failures were poignant, but his spirit was invincible and his memory should last as long as his beloved Lamar.

Submitted by Donna Lane on June 10, 2003.

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