Biography of General Edward G. Beckwith
Madison County, NY Biographies





Beckwith, Brevet Brigadier General Edward Griffin, son of Judge Barack Beckwith, and Polly (Kennedy) Beckwith, his wife, was born in Cazenovia, January 25, 1818. His father came into Cazenovia in 1803, bringing his own family and also his father, Rev. Roswell Beckwith, a Presbyterian minister, who afterwards affiliated with the Baptists. Roswell was a son of Elisha, who was killed at the battle of White Plains, whereupon his four sons immediately enlisted, including the minister, an uncommon procedure. Judge Barack Beckwith took up a farm on the lake which is the only one adjoining the lake still owned in the name of the original settler. He became a man of prominence in this region, representing the district in the State Legislature and holding various local positions of public trust; he died in the prime of life, in 1844. General Beckwith obtained his preliminary education at Cazenovia Seminary and entering West Point in 1838, was graduated with the class of 1842. He was assigned to the 3d Artillery, a regiment which was offiicered by many men who during the civil war, became conspicuous on both the Federal and Confederate sides. He served throughout the Mexican war; in 1849 commanded the escort to the first governor of California, and in 1853 was appointed to succeed Captain Gunnison, who had been killed by the indians, as commander of the survey of the Union Pacific railroad. During the civil war he served as chief commissary on the staffs of Generals Patterson. Pope and Banks and was three times breveted for meritorious services. After the close of the war he was brought to Washington to settle the claims held against the commissary department throughout the country. His record of fidelity and ability in the accomplishment of this arduous task is too well known to need comment. He was retired upon his own application in 1879 and died in Washington in 1881. in the sixty third year of his age. General Beckwith married in June, 1850, Cornelia Williamson, daughter of John P. Williamson of Savannah, Georgia. Two children were born to them: Madeline Beckwith and Nellie Beckwith.

FROM:
Our County and it's people
A Descriptive and Biographical Record of
Madison County, New York
Edited by: John E. Smith
The Boston History Co., Publishers 1890


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