July 31, 1849 (Tuesday)

What a change a few hours ride will bring about.  Last evening I was with plenty company in Norristown; now I am buried in the woods in Chester Co. at my father’s.  Of course the evenings here are pretty much all passed at home.

Nathan’s father was John Beekley (17 Apr 1793 – 17 Jun 1882), a shoemaker and veteran of the War of 1812. The elder Beekley was a private in the 65th regiment, 2nd company, commanded by Captain George Hartmann, Jr.  He was drafted in 1814 for a six month stint but likely served no more than three months.  By 1840, John Beekley owned a farm in East Nantmeal.  The 1850 U.S. census indicates he shared his household with his ninety-five-year-old mother and two adult daughters. Beekley is buried at St. Andrew’s Cemetery, in West Vincent, Chester County.

East Nantmeal is forty miles west of Philadelphia and, in 1849, completely bucolic.  After the vibrancy of the big city and the female attractions in Norristown, East Nantmeal must have been culture shock for our Nathan.


Futhey, J. Smith and Gilbert Cope. History of Chester County: with Genealogical and Biographical Sketches. Bowie, MD: Heritage, 1995.

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