Beckham-Wickliffe Collection, 1818-1974 (bulk 1900-1941)

Descriptive Summary

Title
Beckham-Wickliffe Collection, 1818-1974 (bulk 1900-1941)
Creator
Beckham, John Crepps Wickliffe, 1869-1940
Extent
2 boxes, 1 c.f. & 2 vols.
Subjects
Beckham, John Crepps Wickliffe, 1869-1940
Wickliffe, C.A. (Charles Anderson), 1788-1869
Beckham, John Crepps Wickliffe, ca. 1905-1934
Beckham, Jean Fuqua, 1879-1962
Clay, Henry, 1777-1852
Harrison, William Henry, 1773-1841
Jackson, Andrew, 1767-1845
United States. Congress. Senate
Governors--Kentucky
Compromise of 1850
Theater
Finding Aid Author
Lynne Hollingsworth
Repository
Kentucky Historical Society

Collection Overview

Biography / History
John Crepps Wickliffe Beckham was born August 5, 1869 in Bardstown, Kentucky. His political family included his grandfather, Charles Anderson Wickliffe, who also served as governor of Kentucky, and his uncle, Robert Wickliffe, who became governor of Louisiana. Charles Wickliffe was born June 8, 1788 near Springfield, Kentucky. His political career included terms in the state house of representatives in the general assembly and service in the U.S. House of Representatives for a ten-year period from 1823 to 1833. He was alternately allied with the political forces of Henry Clay and Andrew Jackson. In 1836 Wickliffe was elected as the Whig candidate for lieutenant governor. His running mate, Governor James Clark, died in office in 1839, causing Wickliffe to succeed him as governor and serve for one year. Following his short term, Wickliffe was appointed U.S. postmaster general by President John Tyler. He later ran unsuccessfully for another term as governor on the Peace Democratic ticket during the Civil War. He died October 31, 1869, shortly after the birth of his grandson.
Beckham attended Central University [later Eastern Kentucky University] in Richmond. While serving as principal of the Bardstown public schools from 1888 to 1893, he studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1889. He was elected to three successive terms in the Kentucky House of Representatives from 1894 to 1900. Beckham became speaker of the house in 1898. He was nominated as William Goebel's running mate on the 1899 Democratic gubernatorial ticket. Senator Goebel and Beckham weredefeated narrowly by the Republicans led by Attorney General William S. Taylor. While the Democratic-controlled legislature reviewed the election under a controversial law drafted by Goebel himself, Goebel was shot outside the state capitol. The legislature decided in favor of Goebel and Beckham before Goebel was declared dead February 3, 1900. Beckham was then sworn in as the youngest man to serve as Kentucky governor.
Beckham won a special election held in the fall of 1900 for the governor's chair and won a full term in 1903. He married Jean Fuqua of Owensboro in the fall of 1900. Among the notable achievements of his terms in office were the establishment of the Eastern and Western State Normal Schools [now Eastern and Western Kentucky Universities] and the beginning of construction on the new state capitol. After leaving the governor's mansion, Beckham became the first popularly elected U.S. senator from Kentucky. He only served one term there before being defeated. Later efforts to return to the Senate failed. He died January 9, 1940.
Scope and Content
These are papers of the family of Governor J.C.W. Beckham which include some papers of his grandfather, Governor Charles A. Wickliffe. Both accessions to this collection came from the family papers held by the Beckhams' daughter, Eleanor. Eleanor Beckham (died circa 1987) was an artist and sculptor. Her brother and only sibling, J.C.W. Beckham, Jr., was involved in politics, the arts, and amateur theatricals when he died at the age of 29 in 1934 from pneumonia. The later and more significant accession came from Eleanor Beckham's estate. These materials include papers of her great-grandfather, Governor Wickliffe. Among them are an 1818 business letter to Wickliffe from William Henry Harrison and an 1828 political letter to Wickliffe from Andrew Jackson. Other items include a manuscript copy of a speech or essay concerning Henry Clay's last speech in the U.S. Senate on the Compromise of 1850 and slavery, author unknown; a copy of Wickliffe's will; a resolution passed by the Kentucky General Assembly on the death of W.N. Beckham, J.C.W. Beckham's father, who also served in the legislature; numerous clippings, particularly obituaries of J.C.W. (Crepps) Beckham, Jr.; and genealogical papers relating to the family of Jean Fuqua Beckham.
The earlier accession to the collection was donated to the Society by Ms. Beckham during her lifetime. It contains printed and typed copies of speeches made by Governor Beckham during his gubernatorial terms and as U.S. Senator; a copy of a survey for the Wickland estate near Bardstown established by Governor Wickliffe; clippings and programs relating to Crepps Beckham's amateur theatricals and dance exhibitions; and a scrapbook with clippings pertaining to the elder Beckham's political career.
Variant Name: Beckham Collection
County: Nelson; Franklin; Daviess; Jefferson
Arrangement: Collection is arranged by original series.

Contents of the Collection

A.T. McCormack, M.D., Sec., Kentucky Medical Association, TLS to Mrs. J.C.W. Beckham, enclosing TD editorial for KENTUCKY MEDICAL JOURNAL on the death of Gov. Beckham. This is the carbon copy sent to Eleanor Beckham., Item - Year: 1940. , Date: February 15.

Two photostatic copies, death certificate, for Jean Fuqua Beckham, Item - Year: 1962. , Date: October 9.

Genealogical papers - RECORD OF TURPIN AND HARRIS FAMILIES, typed mss., genealogy of Jean Fuqua Beckham, Item - Year: n.d. , Date: n.d.

Genealogical papers - TD, copy of will of Thomas Turpin of Powhatan County, Virginia, ancestor of Jean Fuqua Beckham, Item - Year: n.d. , Date: n.d.

Genealogical papers - copy of will of Philip Turpin of Henrico County, Virginia, ancestor of Jean Fuqua Beckham, Item - Year: n.d. , Date: n.d.

Genealogical papers - TD, copy of will of Obedience Turpin of Goochland County, Virginia, ancestor of Jean Fuqua Beckham, Item - Year: n.d. , Date: n.d.

Genealogical papers - SOME OF THE DESCENDANTS OF MARTHA GOODE, WHOSE DAUGHTER OBEDIENCE BRANCH MARRIED THOMAS TURPIN, genealogy of Jean Fuqua Beckham, Item - Year: n.d. , Date: n.d.

Photostat, birth certificate, for Jean Fuqua Beckham, Item - Year: 1947. , Date: May 9.

Copy of a land grant in Jefferson County: later Nelson? Originally dated December 2, 1785, originally signed by Virginia Governor Patrick Henry and issued to William Combs., Item - Year: n.d. , Date: n.d.

D, copy of will of Charles A. Wickliffe, Item - Year: 1875. , Date: August 9.

Kay?, TLS to Eleanor Beckham: Davis? expressing sympathy at the death of J.C.W. Beckham, Jr., Eleanor's brother, Item - Year: n.d. (1934). , Date: n.d.

Handbill or broadside, "Home-Coming Proclamation", for Homecoming celebration in Louisville from June 13 to June 17, 1906, issued by J.C.W. Beckham as governor., Item - Year: 1906. , Date: May 9.

J.C.W. Beckham, TL (carbon) to Miss Carolyn Leech of Louisville, reporting his attendance at Armistice Day ceremonies. He criticized the militaristic style of the ceremonies and wanted solemn and dignified music in place of martial. He objected to Army and Navy representatives speaking, as he felt they only "preach for increased armaments". He attributed his feelings to the "present attitude" toward wars and thought the contemporary situation was similar to that of 1914. This caused him to "regard with alarm all manifestations of national pride and martial patriotism.", Item - Year: 1933. , Date: November 14.

Joseph Muir, TL to J.C.W. Beckham, letter of sympathy on the death of J.C.W. Beckham, Jr., Item - Year: 1934. , Date: November 27.

Two copies, CONGRESSIONAL RECORD, with tributes to J.C.W. Beckham on the first anniversary of his death., Item - Year: 1941. , Date: January 9.

Miscellaneous clippings concerning J.C.W. Beckham, Item - Year: n/a. , Date: n.d.

Sketches by Eleanor Beckham - two sketches of Eleanor Roosevelt, one showing her barefoot, in short dress or dancing costume, carrying small basket with overhead caption, "Here we go, gathering Nuts in May!"; another sketch in profile, possibly Charles De Gaulle:?; the last shows two unidentified, well-dressed women walking with caption underneath, "5th Avenue - 1943", Item - Year: n/a. , Date: n.d.

Clippings - Old and New Governors' Mansions and Capitol, Item - Year: n/a. , Date: n.d.

Andrew Jackson, ALS to Charles A. Wickliffe, written from Jackson's home, reflecting on his opponents in that year's presidential election, the current administration, and their "ignorance of the American character.", Item - Year: 1828. , Date: August 2.

Copy of a land grant original dated June 9, 1786, Jefferson County, original signed by Virginia Governor Patrick Henry, Item - Year: n.d. , Date: n.d.

Ben Hardin, ALS to Charles A. Wickliffe, concerning a lawsuit expected to come before the: U.S. Supreme Court, written presumably when Wickliffe was in Congress, Item - Year: n.d. , Date: January 6.

Manuscript copy of a speech or essay concerning Henry Clay's last speech in the U.S. Senate on the Compromise of 1850 and slavery, author unknown, Item - Year: n.d. , Date: n.d.

William Henry Harrison, ALS to Charles A. Wickliffe, concerning some "conveyance" or transaction between Wickliffe and members of Harrison's family, Item - Year: 1818. , Date: January 7.

Copy of legal document conveying land to Charles A. Wickliffe, the original was dated January 18, 1817., Item - Year: 1839. , Date: June 10.

Copy of a land grant for land in Kentucky County, signed by Virginia Governor Benjamin Harrison. The original was dated September 1, 1782, Item - Year: n.d. , Date: n.d.

Resolution on the death of W.N. Beckham, father of J.C.W. Beckham, passed by the Kentucky General Assembly: in which the elder Beckham also served., Item - Year: 1882. , Date: n.d.

Photograph copy of military commission in Virginia militia issued to Thomas Turpin, ancestor of Jean Fuqua Beckham. The original may have been dated August 31, 1754., Item - Year: n.d. , Date: n.d.

Clippings, etc., re Wickland, "House of Three Governors", also including some postcards., Item - Year: n/a. , Date: n.d.

"Clippings of Crepps' death",: J.C.W. Beckham, Jr., Item - Year: 1934. , Date: n.d.

Excerpt from Hugh Potter's A HISTORY OF OWENSBORO AND DAVIESS COUNTY, KENTUCKY - a sketch of Jean Fuqua Beckham: Mrs. J.C.W., Item - Year: 1974. , Date: n.d.

Genealogical papers - TD, copy of will of Peterfield Turpin of Powhatan County, Virginia, ancestor of Jean Fuqua Beckham, Item - Year: n.d. , Date: n.d.