Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Tragic End of Colonel Benjamin Beck

Flag of the 9th Georgia Infantry

       Benjamin Beck was born in North Carolina in 1827. He served in the artillery during the Mexican War and was a merchant in Georgia when the war began. Beck began the Civil War as captain of Company F, 9th Georgia Infantry. He was promoted to colonel two months later. He was wounded in action at the Battle of Second Manassas and was forced to resign his commission due to disability in early 1864. 

       He returned to Georgia and was captured during Stoneman's Raid as he helped to stop the raiders. He would spend his post war years working as a farmer, teacher and as a preacher. Beck had married Angeline Stubbs, the widow of James Stubbs. Following the war, Angeline died, and Colonel Beck, his son, and stepson's all lived on the same plantation. 

       Colonel Beck was called a gallant Confederate officer and well liked man. He and his son were called peaceable and law abiding men. Beck and his son would die a horrific death on Sunday, November 16, 1884. 

       Colonel Beck, his son Benjamin Beck, Jr., and James Beck, along with the two Beck boy's half-brothers all farmed the same land. Each had their own plots that they farmed. The Beck's had a patch of corn growing between two patches of corn grown by the Stubbs boys. The Stubbs fed their livestock from the Beck's corn on Friday, November 14th. A quarrel resulted and on Sunday morning, Colonel Beck sent his son James Beck to obtain an arrest warrant from the sheriff.

       Colonel Beck told the two Stubbs brothers that they were not to leave the premises as he was expecting an officer to arrive and arrest them both. An argument ensued between the Stubbs and Becks. James Stubbs told his brother Stephen to go back into the house and get their guns. Stephen returned with two pistols and a double-barreled shotguns. Colonel Beck and Benjamin Beck, Jr. both begged for their lives. Colonel Beck was shot in the left side and struck in the right side by buckshot. 

       Colonel Beck fell to the ground face first. The Stubbs brothers then callously bent over and shot him in the back of the head with two pistol shots. They also shot their half-brother Benjamin seven times, five in the side, twice in the arm, and one bullet passed through the stomach and into the spine. He did not die right away, but lived long enough to tell what had happened to the doctors attending to him. Neither of the Beck's were armed at the time. 

       The Stubbs brothers then entered their home as if nothing had occurred. Stephen Stubbs wife went out and assisted the younger Beck. The sheriff arrived about noon and then the Stubbs brothers decided to make their escape. It was too late and they were both arrested. Following the trial, both Stubbs brothers received ten years sentences. The reason given for such a light sentence was because James Stubbs wife and small children came to court each day and the young children caused members of the jury to take pity on the Stubbs brothers. 

       It was a sad end to such a brave man who had faced enemy soldiers in battle and being wounded once at Second Manassas. Shot down by two cowards who had been stealing from him. The Stubbs brothers even went so far as to shoot their half-brother, Benjamin. Colonel Beck was 57 years old. History will remember Colonel Beck for his bravery, but what will be remembered about his step-sons?

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