Harvey C. Beeson
Harvey C. Beeson, son of Jacob and Elizabeth H. Beeson, was born in Niles, Mich., January 1, 1856. Mr. Beeson's father was one of the pioneers and prominent citizens of Niles, and was one of the men who drafted the first constitution for the State of Michigan; the family removed to Detroit in 1858, where he established a banking business.
At an early age young Harvey, after completing his studies in the public schools, entered the employ of Messrs. Robinson, Burtenshaw & Co., wholesale shoe dealers, for the purpose of learning the shoe business. Shortly after, or in 1876, he associated himself with his father and brother in the grain business, under the firm name of Jacob Beeson & Co. In 1881 he established the firm of H.C. Beeson & Co., produce and commission merchants, which he continued until 1885, when he was appointed deputy collector and marine clerk in the United States custom service. While in this position, early in 1887, he had called to his attention the desirability of a marine manual that would answer the many inquiries necessarily made by vessel men, generally in relation to marine documents, etc., and he at once set about the production of such a medium of information. His first publication was what is known as Beeson's Marine Directory, which was issued in the spring of 1888, in pocket form, and with no idea that there were any of the possibilities in it that have since developed. This publication, at the end of the third year, had obtained a prestige and circulation sufficient to warrant him in throwing up a position from which he realized $2,000 per year that he might devote his entire time and attention to the requirements of his manual. The work was published in Detroit in 1894, when he removed his office to Chicago in order that he might be in the center of a trade in which vessels and vessel men were more in evidence. As he had surmised, his location in Chicago called forth more strenuous and increased efforts on his part, and a very material enlargement of his work was the result. The last issue of the work is from Mr. Beeson's own plant, and judging from the typographical standpoint, it strikes one as being a work of art.
In 1878 Mr. Harvey C. Beeson was married to Miss Henrietta L. Bourke, of Detroit, to whom were born three children, Walter B., Harvey C. and Henrietta Louise. In May 1893, he was again married, his second union being with Miss Esther R., a twin daughter of the Hon. George S. Clapp, of Niles, Michigan.
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This version of Volume II is based, with permission, on the work of the great volunteers at the Marine Captains Biographies site. To them goes the credit for reorganizing the content into some coherent order. The biographies in the original volume are in essentially random order.
Some of the transcription work was also done by Brendon Baillod, who maintains an excellent guide to Great Lakes Shipwreck Research.