NameJames W. BEENEY
Birthabt 1840, Ohio1195
Birthabt 1845, Ohio2424
Deathbetween 1878 and 1880, Saline County, Nebraska2682 Age: 33
FatherStillman Satterley MOREY (~1815-1893)
MotherMelinda NEELY (~1823-1873)
Marriage1866, Johnson County, Iowa1195
Notes for James W. BEENEY

Family Remembrance:2680 "My dad's brothers and sisters were: Calvin, Vergal, an older sister, I can't think of her name, she married Jim Beeney, Stilman, Minnie and Ruth. Grandma and these last three were burned in a prairie fire at Wilbur Neb. Stilman was 8, Minnie 9, and Ruth ? They were on the prairie when their mother went to school for them when she saw the fire coming. Ruth died that night Grandma lived a day and a night. 3 grandchildren were with her. The Jim Beeney children, Charley, Elic, and Dickey. Charley and Elic lived.Uncle Jim Beeney had 2 other children, Linnie and Nettie. Later he married Sarah, I don't know her last name. They had 1 boy Jay."

Prairie Fire Tragedy 1873:1195 "J. W. Beeney, contractor and builder, settled in Nebraska in 1864, locating at Brownville, and engaged in contracting and building, and remained until 1872, when he moved to Saline County, settling on a farm five miles west of Wilber. While living on the farm Mr. Beeney met with one of those terrible catastrophies which occasionally occurred to a Nebraska pioneer -- a prairie fire. In September, 1873, Mrs. Morey, mother-in-law of Mr. Beeney, who was living near them with her family, saw a fire coming some five or six miles distant. Mounting a horse, she rode with all speed to the schoolhouse, some three-fourths of a mile distant, where her three children, and also those of Mr. Beeney's, three in number, were attending school, in all eleven persons. Giving the alarm, they started ahead of the fire to seek a place of shelter, but before a mile was passed the fire overtook them. Taking refuge in a sod stable, the flames quickly surrounded them, the intense heat driving them out only to be caught in the flames on the outside. One, the oldest daughter of Mrs. Morey, was burned to death on the prairie. The rest managed to reach Mrs. Morey's house in a very badly burnt condition, where nine of them died from the effects of burns, Mr. Beeney's two oldest sons being the only ones who recovered -- one crippled for life, the other scarred for life. Mr. Beeney was born in Licking County, Ohio, in 1840. In 1855 he moved to Johnson County, Iowa. He came to Nebraska in 1864; settled in Wilber in 1874, and has since been engaged in contracting and building. He was married in 1866 in Johnson County, Iowa, to Miss Samantha Murray (i.e. Samantha Morey, daughter of Stillman Morey and Melinda Neely) of that place. They have six children -- Charles B., Alex, Della, Mattie, Lenna, and Richard, deceased."

1880 U.S. Census:2682
Saline County, Nebraska (Wilber Precinct)
Enumerated 14 June 1880
James Beeny •• white, male, 39, widower, carpenter, born in ohio
Charles •• white, male,16, son, single, farmer, born in Iowa, father born in Ohio, mother born in Ohio << survivor of 1873 prairie fire
Ellek (i.e. Alec) •• white, male, 15, son, single, schoolboy, attended school within the year, born in Nebraska, father born in Ohio, mother born in Ohio << survivor of 1873 prairie fire
Della •• white, female, 11, daugher, single, housekeeper, attended school within the year, born in Nebraska, father born in Ohio, mother born in Ohio
Geanetta •• white, female, 5, daughter, single, born in Nebraska, father born in Ohio, mother born in Ohio
Lena B. •• white, female, 2, daughter, single, born in Nebraska, father born in Ohio, mother born in Ohio
J. V. Morey,2681 brother-in-law, enumerated as separate family in same dwelling.

1873 Death Poetic Tribute:2441, p. 13-15.
A tributary of Turkey Creek was Brush Creek,
Southwest of Wilber, a precinct was Brush Creek.
The land was prairie, homes of dugouts or sod,
Gold School, built here, was a frame school, most were sod.

Miss Ella Taylor was the schoolteacher,
On Sundays many a school was used by a preacher.
One and a half miles west in a blacksmith shop,
In October ' 73 here people voting would stop.

A prairie fire started near Beatrice on Otoe Reservation,
Men had plowed fireguard for protection.
Fires were enemies of pioneers of all classes,
Winds whipped flames in the tall native grasses.

Many people saw smoke coming this way,
Mrs. Malinda Morey galloped to school one mile away,
And took ten children towards home north one mile;
Shelter was found in a vacant sod house a while.

As Silas Bullis was going home from voting,
He could hear heart-rending children's crying.
He couldn't see, the smoke had clouded his eyes,
He found Charles Clark and Alec Beeney yet alive.

He found nine dead, from burns and suffocation;
He loaded all bodies, clothing burned, flesh fallen,
Hurried to his place, covered them with a sheet,
He sent son Joseph for Dr. Root in Crete.

Though Miss Taylor and pupils had become alarmed,
Because of plowed fireguard they remained unharmed.
Even though the building was missed by the fire,
Miss Taylor went to Omaha, another they must hire.

The bodies were buried near the school ground,
As there was no cemetery around.
The Bohemian Cemetery was platted, coffins carried,
Mrs. Morey and some children were reburied.

Burned were Mrs. Malinda Morey, 45, children:
Ruth age 11, Stilman age 9, Minnie age 7;
Neighbor children Arnie Berkley, Eva and Johnny Neely,
And their friends Charles and Dick Beeney.

—— Irma Anna Freeouf Qurecky, A Poetic History of Wilber, 1985
Last Modified 7 Sep 2008Created 5 Aug 2014 using Reunion for Macintosh