The Century Chest Collection

Beitmen Family Package - Letter from Adelbert S. Heaney to "a Generation yet Unborn"

(Transcribed from the original)

101 E. 3d Street, Oklahoma City,
Oklahoma, April 19, 1913

To A Generation yet Unborn,
Some of Whom may be Relatives of the Writer and his Wife
Tis said: "The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones."
If I believed the above quotation to be true I would not be writing this sketch of our lives for future generations to scan. My Great-Grandfather was evidently a good man, as the appended Certificate attests. He left Ireland in 1773 and came to Pennsylvania. In 1805 he immigrated to Ohio with his family, bringing with him another church certificate herewith appended.

My grandfather, Thomas Heaney, lived and died in Belmont County, Ohio on the farm that he secured from the Government by original entry. He was a good citizen. [He was] born in Fayette Co., Pa. October 15, 1784 [and] married to Margaret Griffith of Scotland, his second wife, January 25, 1815. To them eight children were born, my father being the youngest. Grandmother Heaney died July 1, 1862, and Grandfather Heaney died May 17, 1864. I have no record of hand of their religious beliefs or connections, but they both left a good name in the community in which they lived. In a conversation with my Mother after I became a man she made this remark to which was borne good fruit my own life when tempted to yield to some weakness or other: "Your Grandmother was a lady born, if ever there was one." My Father frequently impressed upon me, as his eldest son, the family traits – uprightness of character and honesty of purpose in dealing with my fellow men. These, he said, were handed down to him by his forefathers and he wished to pass them on to those of his own blood succeeding him. I have kept the family faith and all my brothers and sisters have done the same. Thus has the good name and Christian character of John Heaney of Killeleagh, County Down, Ireland, as attested by the Minister of his church, and some of his neighbors, been handed down from father to son, son  to grandson, and finally grandson to great-grandson. I now copy these ancient documents faded by time and worn with handling, and place them in the Century Chest of the Lutheran Church in Oklahoma City as a testimony to those who are yet to follow of the name or blood of Heaney, that their forefathers were upright Christian men.

My father, Andrew Jackson Heaney, was born on the farm, in Belmont County, Ohio, May 17, 1831, and died July 12, 1897. He was buried in the cemetery of the Christian Church at Morristown, Belmont County, Ohio, and a granite monument erected at his grave.

My mother, Mariah Emily Varner Heaney, was born on the farm, near Somerton, Belmont County, Ohio, November 16, 1833, and died March 27, 1908. She was buried by the side of her husband and there they two side by side in dead as they were in life await the resurrection of the righteous dead.

They were married at Somerton, Ohio, January 22, 1856, and to them eight children were born, 4 boys and 4 girls. They both became members of the Christian church after marriage and continue faithful to the end. All their children as they reached the age of accountability became members of the same church. I distinctly recollect some sermons in those days said to have been 2 ½ hours long. I thought they were longer, but I loved church and stayed to hear.

I was born December 8, 1856, in Belmont County, Ohio on the farm and attained my majority a farmer. However, my parents had encouraged me to make the most of my opportunities at school during the winter session and I naturally developed into a teacher in the public schools which profession I followed for a period of about ten years attending Private schools and Colleges to develop my mind and increase my ability as a teacher. Later I studied stenography and typewriting and became a very good reporter of public speech. I also studied bookkeeping.

Thus equipped I went to New York City, a city of strangers to me, but the largest and best city in the Union, to my mind, for my purpose to seek my fortune. I made good and became a teacher in the best business college in that city at that time – the Packard. Upon the death of Mr. Packard, about eight years later, I found Rhode Island Commercial School in Providence, Rhode Island. The attendance the first year was very small, but afterwards the school grew in popularity and usefulness so that in 1907 I was able to take a long-promised rest from school-room duties and responsibilities. I therefore disposed of the school and came to Oklahoma City with sufficient means to give myself and wife (we are childless) a living without exacting hard work.

In 1902, while in Providence, Rhode Island, I was married to Alice V. Beitmen of Oklahoma City. Miss Beitmen had been a teacher in the Public Schools of Livingston County, Illinois, and later Principal of Ward Schools in Oklahoma City; still later she had been County Superintendent of Public Schools of Oklahoma County to which office she declined further election at my request. In Providence she studied shorthand and typewriting, graduating in the Gregg System, and became an able teacher of those branches. On the sale of the school in 1907 we both retired from work, I have served for 31 years almost continuously and she 27.

I will now speak of my early life and the influences, so far as I can identify them, that helped to mold my career. I was always an apt student at school, and while I did not secure a finished College education on account of having to help my parents with money that I might otherwise have spent on myself in school, I nevertheless feel that I have ranked fairly well as an ordinary scholar and done a fair share of the work that useful thinking men should do while rounding out a career for themselves in the world.
Had I chosen a profession, I should by all means, I think now, have been a physician and surgeon. While employed in New York I had a Phrenological examination by Nelson Sizer of the firm of Fowler & Wells. At the beginning I asked him three pointed questions: 1. My strongest point? 2. My weakest point? 3. My vocation? His answer to the first question was, Human Nature; to the second, Lack of self-assertiveness; and to the third, Medicine and Surgery.

In answer to further question as to whether I should go into business for myself to continue to be someone else's hired man he said, "By all means go into business for yourself; don't wait for large capital but take what you have and start accordingly." My own experience confirmed the truth of what he had said, so in 1899 with only about $150 cash capital I founded Rhode Island Commercial School in Providence, Rhode Island with myself as the only teacher.

Mr. Sizer's reference to my lack of self-assertiveness strengthened me at that point and I therefore pushed myself into prominence in many ways where I felt that I could sustain myself by effort.

Copy of Church Certificates of John Heaney of Killeleah, County Down, Ireland – 1773
These are to certify that John Heaney is a Protestant, born of honest decent Protestant parents. He always maintained a very good character, and when he left this place he might be received into any worshiping Society where his lot is cast.
Attested at Killeleah in the County of down in Ireland this 19 Day of April, 1773, by
Jos Little, Diss'g Min.
Will Willey

I do not know the certainty of the whole of the about; my Land Steward informs me this young man has been employed in my works, and that he knows him to be diligent and honest.
I believe the persons who sign the above are satisfied of the truth of it, as I know them to be of judgment and integrity.
April 25, 1773.
John Mackwood, Justice of the Peace for County Down
Chief Magistrate of Killegleah.

Copy of Church Certificate of John Heaney and Agnes, his wife, of Laurel Hill, Fayette County, Pennsylvania, 1805
These certify that John Heaney and Agnes and his wife have been in communion with the Associate Reformed Church at Laurel Hill in the County of the Associate Reformed church at Laurel Hill in the County of Fayette and State of Pennsylvania, for a considerable time immediately preceding the date hereof; that their principles and deportment as far as known to us are agreeable to the Gospel; and that they may be admitted to the privilege of any Christian church to which that providence of God may direct them.
Also that their children are of good moral character.
Given at Laurel Hill this 13th day of August, Anno 1805
David Proudfit, Minister
William McFarland, Elder

These Certificates, faded and worn, were handed over to me by my Father as a heritage of good name, and it is my intention to pass them on to some member of the family at my death so that they may be preserved as long as the name or blood of Heaney is in existence.

My Great-Grandfather, John Heaney was dead before I was born; my Grand-Father, Thomas Heaney, died when I was 8 years old, and I distinctly recollect him. He was a farmer and also County commissioner for a number of years. The thing for which he was distinguished in his neighborhood was his strength and activity. He was a good shot with the old-fashioned rifle providing the family with meat from the deer, bear, and wild turkeys that abounded in Eastern Ohio in early days. The Heaneys settled in Belmont County, Ohio, in 1804 or 05, and a part of the land that they homesteaded is still in the possession of my Brother, John T. Heaney.

My Father, Andrew Jackson Heaney, was a farmer all his life, and a good one. He was distinguished in the community for his kindly nature and fairness of dealing with his neighbors. Comment at his death was; "There is a good man gone to his reward."

A S Heaney
April 21 -1913

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