from Past and Present of Mahaska County, Iowa by Manoah Hedge The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co. 1906
Nicholas Beal, a veteran of the Civil war, now engaged in general farming on section 20, Prairie township, was born in Guernsey county, Ohio, June 8, 1837. His father, Hiram Beal, was a native of Fayette county, Pennsylvania, born July 3, 1813, and his parents were Nicholas and Mary (Pearsall) Beal. The grandfather died January 23, 1843, at the age of fifty- four years and nineteen days, while the grandmother passed away April 25, 1860, at the age of sixty-eight years, eight months and four days. Hiram Beal was united in marriage to Jerusha McDonald, who was born in Fayette county, Pennsylvania. October 27, 1813. They came to Mahaska county in 1854, when there was not a railroad in the state. They drove to Iowa from Illinois where they had settled after leaving Ohio. They had one team of horses and two yoke of oxen and Nicholas Beal of this review drove the oxen. He had driven two yoke of oxen through to Mahaska county the year before for his uncle, William Beal. The family began life in this county in true pioneer style and for many years Hiram Beal was identified with general agricultural pursuits here. He died upon the home farm in Prairie township, this county, January 31, 1899, while his wife passed away August 18, 1884. Further mention is made of them on another page of this work in connection with the sketch of their son, H. A. Beal. Nicholas Beal remained with his parents until twenty-seven years of age and assisted in the development, cultivation and improvement of the old home farm. On the 3d of May, 1868, he was united in marriage to Miss Virginia Totten, who was born in Indiana, November 30, 1843, and was a daughter of John and Ruth (Debord) Totten, who came to Mahaska county about the same time as the Beal family. When they were married Mr. and Mrs. Nicholas Beal removed to Hardin county, Iowa, where he had previously purchased a farm, and there they spent two years, after which they returned to Mahaska county, where Mr. Beal purchased a farm in Madison township, making his home thereon for a short period. At different times he owned and sold various farms, always disposing of his property at an advance of the purchase price and thus adding somewhat to his income. Twenty-nine years ago he purchased the farm upon which he now resides. It was then improved with good buildings which he has, however, since replaced with more modern structures until he now has a well equipped farm property. He owns a nice farm of one hundred and twenty acres upon which is an attractive residence, substantial barn and other outbuildings. All are well painted, there are good fences and the places gives indication in its attractive appearance of neatness and prosperity. Mr. Beal now rents much of his land on shares, while he is practically living retired from the more arduous duties of farm labor. During the period of the Civil war Mr. Beal put aside personal considerations and enlisted at Montezuma, Iowa, on the 29th of February, 1864, as a member of Company E, of the Thirty-third Iowa Reserves under Captain Prouty. now residing in Des Moines. They rendezvoused at Davenport and afterward went to Little Rock, Arkansas. Mr. Beal was in an engagement at Jenkins Ferry on the Saline river when Steel was making a retreat to Little Rock. He was also at the battle of Spanish Fort across the bay from Mobile, the siege of that place lasting for thirteen days and nights. He was subsequently at Little Rock, Arkansas, and becoming ill was in the hospital for a short time. He was mustered out at Houston, Texas, August 15, 1865, and now receives a snmll pension in recognition of his service. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Beal were born three children, of whom two are living: Elma, the wife of Louis A. Burden, who is residing upon a farm in Prairie township; and Emma, at home. The second child died in infancy. Mr. Beal has given to each of his surviving children a tract of land. He well remembers the early days when pioneer conditions existed, when a grease lamp was used and when cooking was done over an open fireplace. His parents, however, were in comfortable circumstances and did not suffer many of the privations and hardships incident to pioneer life. In politics Mr. Beal has always been an earnest democrat, but has never been an aspirant for office preferring to concentrate his energies upon his business affairs. He is a good neighbor, an honest and upright man and a faithful friend and in citizenship is as true and loyal to his country as when he followed the stars and stripes upon southern battle-fields.
Past and Present of Mahaska County, Iowa
Mahaska County, Iowa Genealogy