George A. Beebe, ca. 1920s

As noted in the Glimpses May 2019 article, George A. Beebe actively promoted the development of Elgin by promoting the “free” land that was available for claiming under the provisions of the Homestead Act. Beebe came to Arizona from Michigan in the 1890s and somewhere along the way acquired the title of “Colonel.” There is no record of any military service on his part – he was only 10 when the Civil War ended. Throughout his life Beebe was involved in the mining industry as a surveyor, inspector, investor, and owner. He spent about 15 years as a “dry farmer” in Elgin.

George A. Beebe was born in New York state in 1855. His family moved to Detroit, Michigan about 1866 where his father worked as a silversmith. According to the U. S. Census, George worked for the U.S. [Geological] Survey in 1880. He moved to Mohave County, Arizona in the late 1890s to take up mining. In 1898 he was “taking good ore from his lease on a portion of the Rainbow mine.” [Arizona Republic, 8/22/1898]. The 1900 Census lists his occupation as surveyor; that same year he was appointed inspector of mines in Chloride. [Mohave County Miner, 6/23/1900]. In 1911 he made a rich ore strike in his own mine: “a small streak running through the center of the vein gives returns of more than $8,000 gold and large values in silver.” [El Paso Herald, 9/27/1911]. That same year, at age 56, he married 34-year-old Edna Woodworth, a Michigan native who was working as a bookkeeper in Chloride.

Not long after their marriage the couple moved to Elgin to homestead 160 acres. “The elegant home of Col. and Mrs. George Beebe, near Elgin which is rapidly being converted into one of Arizona’s beauty spots… The great orchard at the Beebe place is doing nicely, only ten out of 400 trees planted this year having failed to grow. Mr. Beebe is busy plowing, and this season expects to have more than 200 acres planted in corn, beans, Egyptian corn, milo maize, etc.” [The Border Vidette, 7/26/1913].

The Beebes’ home appears to have been a focal point of the community. “On Friday of last week there was held at Elgin, at the residence of Mr. and Mrs. George Beebe, a meeting of friends of the cause of equal rights called to perfect an organization and to arrange for an active propaganda of the movement now in operation to add to the constitution of the state Arizona an amendment which will extend the right of suffrage to the women of the new commonwealth.” [The Oasis, 6/29/1912]. There is no record of their further involvement in the suffrage movement. Edna was not one of the women who assumed a leadership position at the meeting.

In 1915 the Beebes seemed to consider moving back to Mohave County. George was appointed county engineer in January but resigned the position a few months later. In
1917 they explored investing in the oil industry in Texas. They kept their farm in Elgin, though, and were known for being “instrumental in inducing many dry farmers to locate in the Elgin-Sonoita region.” [The Border Vidette, 5/19/1917]. They sold their Elgin farm in 1925 and returned to Chloride where George operated a quartz mine. [Arizona Daily Star, 8/11/1925]. He died in 1934, age 78, and is buried in Kingman. Edna returned to Michigan after George’s death and lived there until her death, age 86, in 1963.