Beckman house on Devils Lake near Perham, MN built by August Beckman in 1909
photo taken 1912
August and Marie Beckman seated
Emil Beckman (age 17), Minnie Beckman (age 20) , John Beckman (age 26), Frank Peters, Elsie Beckman (age 16) and Marie Beckman (age 24)
in the back left to right.
Photo taken 1917. Frank is a cousin to the Beckmans
Map of Europe
The following was written (in the 1960s) by Kathlyn (Flatau) Steinmetz for a school project and information for it was gathered by deciphering German from a Bible and other interesting papers, as well as listening to Grandparents. Photos added by Kristin (Johnson/Granquist) Peterson.
John "August" Beckman in 1917 (age 62)
There are church record books of the Zion Evangelical and Reformed Church, Perham (1897-1950), containing parish registers and administrative records. Also present are minutes of congregational meetings and of the Ladies’ Aid (1897-1972) of the Zion church. Many of the records of these churches are in German.
Zion Evangelical and Reformed Church records
He joined the service when he was seventeen years old and before he left at the age of twenty-eight, he had many a mariners’ tale to tell. One of these experiences is when Kaiser Wilhelm, the Emperor of Germany at the time, was taking his six-week course of training in the Navy. Each ruler of Germany took a training course, for they were military commanders. A few men were chosen to be on the crew of the ship with him, and he was one of them. His voyages took him from Japan to Hawaii and from Australia to an Island in the Pacific. Near one of these secluded islands, a typhoon suddenly struck. Since my great grandfather was the chief architect, it was his job to climb the mast and control the ropes which were tangled and wildly out of place. He was perched upon the mast towering the ship. The boat was rocking, what one would say, a few more times more than slightly, for every once in a while, he could reach out and touch a wave or two. The water was swept wildly onto the ship. After a few more blasts, the ship cracked up. A few hours later, only about three or four other members of the crew were rescued from the shipwreck that had scattered sailors like bubbles on the sea. It is said that his survival rested partly on the fact that he hung onto the mast.
October 4, 1879, he received a good conduct award for the years between February 2, 1877, to October 3, 1879.
With as much time as he spent building, he still found time enough to do the hobby he loved most, which is fishing. He could sit and fish all day! If he still had a little time left over, he would and could play cards for recreation. He was a good friend of the Hausens and often did these things with them. They were laborers with German nationality and language also.
A 'high tide' on his sea of success rose on June 17, 1882, at Belfort Ofemeinde, Germany when he married Henrieta Marie Sophie Hausen. She was a light complected, light-haired dressmaker, who was born on
August 13, 1864. She was seventeen and one half at the time.
John "August" Beckman in 1914 (age 59)
August and Marie Beckman are the parents of Elsie (Beckman) Flatau.
Ahoy! This is a saying of my great grandfather, the sailor. John August Beckman III is one of the four best great grandfathers I've ever had, so I'll give you a brief sketch of his navigations through life. He 'set sail' on May 25, 1855 in Bodstedt, Germany.
John August Beckman III grew up in a city called Wilhelmshaven, a short distance from Boldstedt. This is a bustling seaport fringed by the Jade Bay, which is on the North Sea. Wilhelmshaven is marked as a blue glob on the map in the state of Bremen, which has an area of 186 square miles and a population of 700,500. This city with many railroads slithering through it, has a population of 100,500. Its agricultural background is in dairy farming, pastureland and fodder crops.
February 10, 1914
In back: Emil (age 15), Emma (age 29), John (age 22), Louise (25), Bill (24), Marie (20),
In front: Minnie (age 16), August (age 58), Elsie (age 13), Marie (age 49), Clara (age 18)
Beckman house in Perham, MN built by August Beckman
August Beckman with children Bill, Minnie, Marie, Marie Beckman, Elsie, and Emil
photo taken 1909
John August Beckman III
That's enough geography for now. The two 'rudders' in his life were Mr. and Mrs. John Beckman I. They both had a well-rounded education. His father was an officer in the German Navy and his mother was a lady-in-waiting to the Swedish Queen. They each had a German nationality and spoke with a German tongue. The rest of themselves were German also. Some of the characteristics they handed down to their number two son was a medium stature with a light complexion, blue eyes, and light hair.
John III had a sister, Lina and an older brother, John II. They both had a good grade and high school knowledge. John III built his knowledge up even further, for he started architectural training in shipbuilding. On April 1, 1873, he graduated from an apprentice to becoming a journeyman. He was a journeyman under the master shipbuilder, R.C. Schlar. January 8, 1876, is undoubtedly a date he remembered and entered in the log-book of his memory, for he graduated from being a journeyman to becoming a master craftsman on the ship, Borth.
Wilhelmshaven in Germany
When he retired in 1910, he moved to a farmstead on the western edge of Devils Lake, about six miles northwest of Perham. This was his ideal. It was a fisherman's paradise in winter and summer. He may have been in retirement, but that doesn't mean he was helpless. He built boats like they were going out of style; then he sold or rented them to fishermen. He was also a guide to fishermen. He showed them where to drop their lines so they would come up with something other than a few pounds of seaweed.
The major illness he had in these later years was asthma. Every fall he would get a severe case of it. He may have even called this a blessing though, for he could sit out in a boat in the middle of the lake and relax while the rest of the family did the chores. There weren't many chores, fore he was not a farmer. He was a great shipbuilding master (if you think that is a long word, you should see it in German) and a fisherman.
In the fall on September 12, 1917, my great grandfather, John August Beckman III docked his 'ship' to be with the "Greatest Fisher of Men" and his kingdom in the sky.
1894 - Ladies Aid of Zion's Evangelical and Reformed Church in Perham, MN
L to R Mrs. John Neurnburg, treasurer, Mrs August Beckman, president, Mrs. Nick Jahn, secretary.
Marie Beckman was the first President of the Zion's Ladies Aid founded in 1894 in Perham, Minnesota
Before they came to America in 1882, they were required to be vaccinated. The rules then were as complicated and strict as they are today. They were vaccinated on September 12th. They received the certificate of vaccination on September 20th and then journeyed to America in 1882 by ship and started homesteading.
Nine 'whitecaps' washed ashore in the years to follow. The first is named Emma, who is married to Clinton Parks and lives in Ponchatoula, Louisiana. The next one is called Louise, who married Peter Schriner. William, who now lives in Canby, Oregon is married to Marie. They have many police dogs and beautiful flowers. What a combination! John, fourth of the waves, married Ann Graff and presently lives in Lodi, CA. The fifth and sixth waves are Marie, married to Anker Friestad and resides in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota; and Clara, married to Alex Walther and lives in Lodi too. Minnie, the seventh, married Fred Heilman and lives in McMinnville, Oregon. Emil, the next in line, married Elizabeth Weimann and lives in Hinckley, Minnesota. Elsie is the last wave of excitement. She married Albert Flatau and lives near Perham, MN.
When they first came they started homesteading near the Red Eye River which is northeast of Perham, Minnesota. It didn't work out for them so they moved to Perham, where he did the work he loved, carpentry. While they lived here, he built a pavilion at Grand View Heights Resort. More examples of his work are illustrated in the homes he built for people, including himself. He displayed more of his handicraft with tools, in the cabinets he made in the homes he built. Since he was trained to be a shipbuilder, he made many boats which he sold or rented.