The Century Chest Collection

Beitmen Family Package - Letter to descendants from Alice V. Beitmen

(Transcribed from the original)

To any and all of the name or blood of Beitmen who may be living at the time of the opening of the Century Chest by the Lutheran Church in Oklahoma City, April 22, 2013.
Alice Verminia Beitmen was born June 8, 1863, at Pontiac, Illinois, where she grew to young womanhood, receiving a High School education and afterward teaching in the Public Schools in that neighborhood for some time.

She was married to Adelbert Sidnor Heaney at Eldorado Springs, Missouri. On August 10, 1902. her residence at that time was in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Mr. Heaney's residence was in Providence, Rhode Island. He had spent several months in Eldorado Springs in 1886 and 87; Miss Beitmen came to the Springs in 1888[.] Both [made] their home with Dr. and Mrs. J. N. Shaneyfelt, a very estimable couple. The friendship thus begun before marriage [and] has continued and will continue so long as "Josh" and "Harriet," and "Alice" and "Dell" continue in the flesh; and we all hope and believe that we shall renew that relation on the "other side."

Mr. and Mrs. Heaney resided in Providence, Rhode Island for a period of five years. She joined her husband in the conduct of Rhode Island Commercial School as teacher of Shorthand and Typewriting until 1907 when the school was disposed of, thus rounding out a period of 27 years in school work, all successful years, for Alice V. Heaney equally successful in Commercial work as she had been in Public School work. She holds a Diploma from Rhode Island commercial School in Shorthand and Typewriting; [she] also [has] a Teacher's Diploma from John R. Gregg for proficiency in Theory and Practice of Gregg Shorthand.

Mr. and Mrs. Heaney came to Oklahoma City in 1907 after a long trip in search of a new home where they might lead a quiet life of retirement after a long period of teaching for both. They together erected New England Apartments at the corner of E. Third Street and Oklahoma Avenue on two lots that "Miss Beitmen" had purchased from the city when Military Addition was placed on sale. At the time of this writing "The New England" is one of the most artistic and commodious Apartment Houses in the city, producing an income of a little above $400 per month.

No children have been born to us much to our regret, but we have both assisted in the education of a large number of other people's children many of whom have grown into prominence in various walks of life. We are both of the Christian church of this city and assist wherever we can in any good work for the community in which we live.
To my Mother and Father six children were born: Mary Belle, a widow now living in Pontiac, Illinois (Mary Belle Kerr); She has two daughters: Mrs. Elizabeth Gourley and Mrs. Vernia Kimball living near Pontiac; Alice V. Heaney, the subject of this sketch; Grant A. – deceased in infancy; Charles E. Beitmen, a Physician (unmarried) living in Skedee, Oklahoma and enjoying a good practice. He also owned the Drug Store there; William I. Beitmen now living in Geronimo (married) and owner of the Rural Telephone system of that village and vicinity; and Nathan T. Beitmen (married) and living at Perry, Oklahoma on a farm.
My father David N. Beitmen died at Pontiac in 1889 and is buried there. A neat little monument is erected over his grave. My mother Frances m. Beitmen lives with "Tom" at Perry on her farm. She sold her property in Pontiac and came West to be near her unmarried children who had settled in Oklahoma at the opening of the Territory to settlement.

Sketch of the life of Alice V. Beitmen, as it appears in Portrait and Biographical Record of Oklahoma, published by Chapman Publishing Company, Chicago – 1901.
Throughout the length and breadth of Oklahoma County there is no lady better known and none more popular than the efficient County Superintendent of Schools, Miss Beitmen. Identified with the history of Oklahoma since its opening, she has been an important factor in the promotion of its education progress. She was one of the first teachers in the Oklahoma City public schools, and Secretary of the first County Teachers' Association in this County, of which she has since been an active member, and at one time served as president. Three other associations for teachers in various parts of the county number her as member. She is warmly interested in the Territorial Teachers' Association Educational Association, attending the convention of the latter in Washington, D. C. in 1897. The Teachers' Institute and the Institute for Colored Teachers have received the impetus of her encouragement.

In the Organization of the Territorial Association of County Superintendents in 1897 she was deeply interested and was elected its first Secretary, which office she has since filled.

The prominence which Miss Beitmen has attained, through her efficiency in educational work, renders a sketch of her work peculiarly interesting. Remotely of German extraction her Father, David N. Beitmen, was a native of Pennsylvania and grew to manhood near Piqua, Miami County, Ohio where he engaged in building. He was an early settler and a prominent architect of Pontiac, Illinois where he had the contract for the State Reformatory buildings and many other substantial blocks and private residences. He died at 57 years of age. His wife, Frances M., was a daughter of Jacob Ullery and who went from Ohio to Pontiac, Illinois and afterwards settled at Pleasanton, Kansas where he died. His brother, Henry Ullery was a noted Preacher in Ohio, and another was a United States Marshall. Mrs. Frances Beitmen is now living in Perry, Oklahoma. Of her children, Belle lives in Pontiac, Illinois; Charles E. is a student in the college of Physicians and Surgeons in St. Louis; William is a farmer near Britton, Oklahoma; and Thomas, who graduated from the Normal School at Valparaiso, Indiana, is farming near Perry, Oklahoma.

In her native town of Pontiac Miss Beitmen received a High School education, subsequently attending the Cook County Normal School at Chicago, Illinois, gaining a thorough preparation for her chosen life-work. She began her career as a teacher in Livingston County, Ill., where she taught a country school for four years, afterward becoming Principal of the Dana schools. The latter position she resigned in order to accept that of First Assistant of the High School at Odell, Illinois.

In 1888, on account of her Mother's failing health, she accompanied her to Eldorado Springs, Missouri. While at the Springs, Miss Beitmen was appointed Assistant Principal of the schools there.

At the opening of Oklahoma in 1889, she joined her Brother Charles at Britton and filed a claim on a quarter section adjoining his claim while another Brother, William, took an adjoining quarter on Section 19. All of these claims were proved up in due time.

Shortly after coming to Oklahoma City, Miss Beitmen opened a select School for Young Ladies. Her success in the enterprise was of such a character that attention was drawn to her as a superior education, so that when the Public Schools of Oklahoma were first established she was asked to become one of the staff of teachers.
In 1891 she became Principal of the Third Ward School. At the opening of Emerson school she was made its Principal.

In 1894 she received, unsolicited, the nomination for County Superintendent of Schools on the Populist ticket. The election returns gave her a majority, but the official count defeated her election by thirty votes. Though urged to contest election, she declined to do so. In 1896, while attending the Cook County Normal School at Chicago, she was again nominated by the Populists with the endorsement of the Democrats. She accepted the nomination, immediately resigning as the Principal of the Emerson School, and entered actively upon campaign work. In the election she led the ticket, and was elected by a majority of 477 votes. In 1898 she was elected by a majority of about 500 votes, and is still acceptable filling the office. Under her capable and energetic management many improvements have been made in the country schools.

For four years Miss Beitmen was President of the Territorial Reading Circle Board, in which capacity she urged the organization of Teachers' Reading Circles throughout Oklahoma. A course of study for institute work was also adopted, covering a period of three years, at the end of which time diplomas were to be given. A school library has been established in every school district in the county. A teachers' special library has been started with Miss Beitmen a custodian. The funds for this library were raised by entertainments. District schools have been graded and diplomas given graduation, 45 having graduated from these schools since she has been advanced. Work has been systematized, teachers have encouraged to better qualify themselves for their responsible calling, and the welfare of the pupils has been carefully considered.

Besides her connection with educational activities, Miss Beitmen has other movement at heart. She is a Charter member of the Library Association of Oklahoma City, and is a firm believer in the value of free reading rooms. At one time she was an officer in the Order of Rebekahs, of which she is a Charter member. She is also identified with the Woman's Relief Corps. Connected with the Methodist Episcopal Church and the Epworth League, she is a worker in each. All in all her interest are varied and important, and her reputation is that of a successful educator, a progressive worker, and a contributor to movements whose importance is beyond question.


Mrs. Alice V. Beitmen Heaney

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