The world claims a certain interest in every mans reputation; the laws of nature have forbidden isolation; hence it is self-evident truth that "No man liveth unto himself." Every individual is forced to submit to the controlling influence of others or, as a more powerful factor than the majority, wields an influence for good or evil on the mass of human kind. Admitting those facts, it is fitting and proper that acts of any man, as they affect his public, social and business relations with the world, be justly considered and, if necessary, placed upon record. If he be upright and successful in his chosen field of endeavor, investigation will add to his reputation and point out the path which others may follow to a sure reward. The writer is led to this line of thought in considering the life and achievements of Mr. S. A. D. Beckner, one of Indianas native sons and a gentleman whose fidelity to duty, adherence to principle, honor in business and industry in the active affairs of life have attracted the attention of his fellow men and made his example worthy of emulation.
Henry Beckner, father of Stephen, was a native of Fleming county, Kentucky, and the mother, whose maiden name was Sarah Webster, was born and reared in Rush county, Indiana. These parents were married in the latter county and state, Henry Beckner following agricultural pursuits all of his life. On coming to the county of Rush he purchased an eighty-acre tract of wild land, which, by much hard labor, he cleared and reduced to a successful state of cultivation and in due time became one of the substantial farmers and highly respected citizens of the community in which he lived.
He was twice married, the first time in his native state to Harriet Conaway, who bore him three children, Robert J., a member of Company D, Nineteenth Indiana Infantry, in the late Civil war, and who was killed in June, 1864, in the battle of Petersburg, Virginia; Catherine and Rebecca, the other two, are also deceased. Mrs. Beckner died in Rush county and subsequently the second marriage, to which reference has been made, was solemnized, this union resulting in the birth of four children, namely : Stephen Arnold Douglas, subject of this sketch; William, who married Lillie Lee and lives in Rush county; Horace, a nurseryman of Greenfield, Indiana, and who married Oma Conaway and is doing a large and lucrative business; Hannah F., the youngest, is the wife of Zora Stanley, a resident of Rush county.
Stephen A. D. Beckner was born in Rush county, Indiana, May 20, 1860. Reared in the country, he spent his childhood and youthful years on his fathers farm and to him fell much of the labor required to clear the place and later to look after its cultivation. In his young manhood he worked in getting out timber, thus developing strong bodily powers and a resoluteness of purpose which have been potential factors in his subsequent career as a business man and deviser of important undertakings. During his boyhood he attended the common schools in his neighborhood and obtained a good, practical edcuation, which, supplemented by his training in various lines of business, has enabled him to take the initiative in the different enterprises to which his attention of recent years has been devoted.
Mr. Beckner remained at home until his twenty-first year and then began life for himself as a traveling salesman for a nursery company at Quincy, Illinois. During the succeeding ten years he represented this and other firms on the road and not only built up an extensive trade and gained the unlimited confidence of his employers, but so enlarged his conception of business that he determined to become a leader instead of a subordinate in industrial affairs. Mr. Beckners first visit to Greenfield was in the year 1884, at which time he was impressed with the place and the advantages it possessed as a commercial and industrial center. Subsequently, in 1891, he again came to the city, this time with the object in view of making it his permanent location. In the spring of that year he effected a co-partnership in the drug business with Wm. A. Wilkins, under the firm name of Wilkins & Beckner, and the year following the two established The Acme Remedy Company, which was conducted by them four years, Mr. Beckner becoming sole owner, and in 1898 it was established upon a firmer basis by incorporation and started upon its career as one of the leading medical enterprises in the state. It was founded for the purpose of manufacturing and giving publicity to the celebrated Acme remedies, the efficacy of which had been sufficiently tested as to put their merits as wonderful curative agents beyond question. These remedies have achieved national repute and are for sale in nearly all first-class drug houses in the United States, besides being handled by private agents in various parts of the county. They embody the discoveries of some of the most noted chemists of the day and the almost unparalleled success with which they have been received by the public is a sufficient guaranty for every merit claimed for the by their discoverers and manufacturers. They include among other articles the following: Acme Kidney Cure, Blood Purifier, Nerve King, Cough Syrup, Ointment, Cholera Cure, Worm Candy, Liver Pills, Tooth Powder, Corn Cure, Vegetable Soap and flavoring extracts. To meet the constantly increasing demand for these widely celebrated remedies, the establishment is operated to its utmost capacity and from the present outlook it is plainly apparent that increased facilities will ere long be necessary. From the beginning the enterprise has fully met the expectations of its founders and of late has far transcended what many of its friends and promoters believed possible to realize.
At the present time the Acme Remedy Company is composed of men of the highest business and professional standing and its reputation in commercial circles is second to that of no other company of like character in Indiana or any of its sister states. The personnel for the year 1902 is as follows: William Bosson, president; S. A. D. Beckner, vice-president and general manager; J. C. Apple, secretary, L. E. McDonald, treasurer; Elmer J. Binford, general counselor, the same gentlemen composing the directorate. Much of the success which has come to the company is directly attributable to the careful judgment, wise forethought and untiring energy of its wide-awake and enterprising general manager. Possessing abilities of a superior order and a discriminating knowledge of every detail of the business, he gives it his undivided attention, carrying out the general plans and regulations of the company, many of which originated in his practical brain or result from his wise counsel in the meetings of the directors.
As previously stated, Mr. Beckner early became imbued with the idea of occupying no inferior station in the world. In his youth he started out with the determination of making the most of his opportunities and if possible realize success in whatever he engaged. His present position as a leader and adviser in one of the most important concerns of Greenfield is proof that his well-formed and laudable purposes have not failed. His energy is proverbial in the community and by nature and training being well adapted to devise and carry to successful issue large and important undertakings, and being still in the prim of vigorous physical and mental manhood, it is reasonably probable that the future has in store for him much larger and farther-reaching undertakings than any which has claimed his attention to the present time.
Since becoming a resident of Greenfield Mr. Beckner has been closely identified with the growth and prosperity of the city and, like all enterprising citizens, manifests an enthusiastic pride in whatever tends to promote the community along material lines. He is a public-spirited and a generous contributor to all movements calculated to advance his fellow man, morally as well as a business way, and all who come in contact with him are at once impressed by his energy and progressive spirit. Socially he is noted for his genial manners and good fellowship and fraternally he is identified with several of the leading secret and benevolent organizations for which the city of his residence is noted. He belongs to Lodge No. 101, F. & A. M., Lodge No. 133, I.O.O.F., and is also a leading member of the society of Ben Hur, an insurance organization conducted on fraternal lines. The claims of his large business interests have not been such as to render him unmindful of the higher duties which he owes to his Maker, consequently he is a firm believer in religion and a liberal contributor to the means of spreading the gospel throughout the world. While believing in the efficacy of all denominations as forceful factors in promoting and fostering true religion and fraternal love among mankind, he has little use for human creeds, taking the Bible alone as his rule of faith and practice. He claims to be a Christian only, and for some years has been an earnest and consistent member of what is known as the Christian church, or church of the Disciples.
Mr. Beckner has a pleasant home in Greenfield, the presiding spirit of which is his wife, in every respect a fit companion for a man of his taste and characteristics. Mrs. Beckner is a native of Rush county, Indiana, and previous to her marriage, January 6, 1892, was Miss Bertha Rucker, daughter of Henry L. and Susan Rucker, the father a merchant in the town of Arlington. Mr. and Mrs. Beckner have one child, Earl R., whose birth occurred on the 23rd of October, 1895.
Transcribed from Biographical Memoirs of Hancock County B. F. Bowen, Publisher, Logansport, Indiana, 1902 Pages 256-258.
Submitted by Sylvia (Rose) Duda, Laingsburg, MI July 7, 2002.
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