At this point in this series of biographical reviews the writer would call attention to the life history of one of the prominent and influential business men of the prosperous town of Tracy, Minnesota, Nathan Beach, a self made man in every respect and one well worthy of special consideration on the pages of this volume.
Mr. Beach comes of Welsh ancestry, his people having long been residents of America, and he was born in Randolph county, Indiana, December 18, 1841, son of Milton and Mary (Chandler) Beach. Milton Beach was a native of Pickaway county, Ohio, and died in Olmsted county, Minnesota, at the age of seventy four years, he having come to this state about 1863 or '4. His wife, whose birthplace was in Washington county, Ohio, also died in Olmsted county, Minnesota, her age at death being about fifty four years. They were the parents of eight children, six of whom are yet living and are occupying honored and useful positions in life. The paternal grandparents of our subject were Timothy and Sarah (Sprague) Beach, the former a native of Rhode Island. Grandfather Beach died in Scotland county, Missouri, at the ripe old age of eighty six years; his wife passed away in Macon county, Illinois, at the age of fifty eight. He was a veteran of the war of 1812. Reverting to the maternal grandparents of Nathan Beach, we find that they were Hiram and Sarah (Humiston) Chandler, who doubtless were among the earliest settlers of the Buckeye state. Grandfather Chandler died in Randolph county, Indiana, near the age of sixty years, and Grandmother Chandler attained the ripe old age of eighty eight years, her death having occurred in Minnesota.
Coming down to the direct subject of this biograhical notice, Nathan Beach, we record that he was reared on a farm, and educated at the district schools and in a select school in Salem, Indiana. He remained at home until twenty years of age, and August 9, 1862, before he reached his majority, he enlisted as a member of Company F, Sixty ninth Indiana Volunteer Infantry, under Captain Lew K. Harris, the fortunes of which command he shared until he was honorably discharged at St. Louis, June 27, 1865. He was at the battle of Richmond, Kentucky, nineteen days after he enlisted. Chickasaw Bluffs was his next battle, followed by Arkansas Post and Port Gibson. At this last named place, May 1, 1863, he was shot in the left shoulder, and was laid up practically until the close of the war. After three or four weeks spent in Milliken's Bend Hospital in Louisiana, he went to Benton Barracks Hospital at St. Louis, where he remained until convalescent. There he was transferred to the Veterans' Reserve Corps and remained in St. Louis until he was honorably discharged at the close of hostilities. He has been a sufferer ever since from his army wounds.
The war over, Mr. Beach came direct to Minnesota and settled first in Marion, Minnesota, with his parents, making that his home and carrying on farming operations on a tract of one hundred acres of wild land he bought. In 1871 he exchanged this farm for a stock of goods in Marion, where he was engaged in business for two years and a half. At the end of that time he and his partner divided the stock, and he removed his share to St. Charles, Minnesota, and entered into partnership with his brother in law, dealing in groceries, boots, shoes, and crockery. In 1878 they divided their stock, Mr. Beach bringing a part of the goods to Tracy, Minnesota, and for three or four years longer the business was conducted in partnership at both places. After that he disposed of his interest in the St. Charles store and became sole propietor of the establishment here, and has ever since continued his business, carrying a large stock of groceries, hardware, and lumber. His every venture and enterprise seemed a fortunate one. He has prospered from year to year, and has accumulated a large property. Besides his valuable property in Tracy, his business house and home, he owns a fine country seat and summer cottage at Lake Shetek, and has eighty acres of fine farming land.
Mr. Beach was married January 1, 1867, in Marion, Minnesota, to Miss Elizabeth Robertson, a native of Sullivan county, New York, and by her has had two children, Mary E. and Jessie A. The former is married and settled in life, and the latter is a member of the home circle. Mrs. Beach is a daughter of Eli and Eliza L. (Young) Robertson, early settlers of Minnesota, he being now deceased and she a resident of Tracy.
Not only in business circles, but also in those political and fraternal Mr. Beach is prominent and active. He is a stanch Republican, voted first for Mr. Lincoln's second term, and has always maintained his allegiance to this party. He has alway been active in the conventions and caucuses of his party, and has filled some local offices, but has never been an office seeker nor has he cared for official preferment. He is a member of Joe Hooker Post, No. 15, G. A. R., of Tracy, of which he served as commander in 1894. His prominence in Grand Army circles is equaled by his wife's popularity in those of the W. R. C. Indeed, Mrs. Beach is one of the most enthusiastic and efficient corps workers in the state of Minnesota. For the year 1895 she filled the office of department inspector of the state, and while serving as such showed marked executive ability, and by her charming manner and winning ways made hosts of friends.
Mr. Beach and his family attend worship at the Methodist Episcopal church. [Source: Memorial Record of SW Minnesota, published 1897, Submitted by Gary Boomgaarden]