From Biographical Memoirs of Huntington County, 1901
Adam Beck is one of the self-made men of Huntington county, Indiana, and his life fully demonstrates what can be accomplished through industry and enterprise, combined with good management and sound business judgment.
He was born in Bavaria, Germany, on the 16th of April, 1831, and is the youngest of six children, whose parents, Jacob and Catherine (Schramm) Beck, were also natives of the Fatherland. The former was born January 15, 1792, and died December 16, 1847, when our subject was a youth of sixteen years. By trade he was a stone mason, and followed that pursuit as a means of livelihood throughout his life. He was twice married and had four children by the first union, namely: Catherine, who was born in 1816 and became the wife of T. Motz; Margaret, born in 1819; Jacob, who was born in 1821, and married Catherine Snyder; and Nicholas, who was born in 1824, came to America in 1847 and died in 1850. The mother of this family died about 1825, and Mr. Beck afterward married Catherine Schramm. Their elder son, Peter, born June 8, 1827, attended school in Germany from April, 1841, until April 1, 1845, married in 1853, Frederica Copp, and died February 6, 1863. Their children were Catherine, Mary Rebecca and Daniel. The last mentioned is a fireman on the Chicago & Erie Railroad.
The first of the family to come to America was Nicholas, who crossed the Atlantic in June, 1847. After six months spent in Ohio he came to Huntington, where he followed the mason's trade. On the 2nd of June, 1849, our subject and his widowed mother sailed from from Havre, France, and landed at New York on the 3rd of July. Eight days later they arrived in Huntington, which was then a village on the Western frontier. With the history of its development and upbuilding since that time Mr. Beck has been prominently connected. He had no capital with which to begin life in the New World, but was obliged to depend entirely upon his own resources, and sought and obtained employment in a stone quarry. Through the three succeeding years he followed any occupation which would yield him an honest living, and at the age of twenty years learned the trade of wagon-making, which he followed through the sixteen succeeding years with good success. In 1854 he established a shop of his own, which he carried on until 1866, at which time he entered into partnership with Henry Drover and William Bickel, as proprietors of a spoke factory, with which he was connected for three and a half years. Since 1870 Mr. Beck has been engaged in the manufacture of lime, erecting four kilns with a capacity of 1,000 bushels each. He was the owner of several quarries, and sold his own products until 1879, when he aided in the organization of the Huntington White Lime Association, and then disposed of his lime through that channel. In 1888 the firm of Beck, Purviance & Beck was organized, and for a time sold their lime direct, after which they allied themselves with the Western Lime Company, which was organized on the 9th of January, 1890. Our subject thoroughly understands his business in every particular, and his capable management and straightforward dealing has succeeded in building up an extensive trade. He is one of the most successful lime merchants in this section of the State, and today is the possessor of a handsome competence, which has come to him through diligence and perseverance.
On the 6th of April, 1854, Mr. Beck was united in marriage with Mrs. Magdalena Wittmeier, widow of Ferdinand Wittmeier and a daughter of George and Mary Magdalena (Spittle) Stetzel. She was born in Alsace, Germany, February 6, 1817, and died December 18, 1880. The first two children of their family died in infancy. Mattie was born February 14, 1857, and is the wife of Frederick Bolanz, who is operating a farm belonging to our subject. Their children are: Edgar, Mary, Gladdis, Magdalena and Adam. Mary Magdalene, born June 19, 1859, is the wife of L. F. Smith, a lumberman of Rochester, Indiana. John Adam, born November 15, 1860, died February 22, 1862. Adam Lazarus, born May 9, 1862, is engaged in business with his father. Mr. Beck was married the second time December 18, 1884, the lady of his choice being Mrs. Mary Ellen Nillie, a daughter of Samuel and Vrena (Walte) Baumgartner. She was born in Adams county, Indiana, July 28, 1852, and by her first marriage had one childe, Emma Amelia, who was born March 19, 1876, and is still with her mother. Mr. and Mrs. Beck have one son, Harmon Samuel, born September 20, 1885.
Our subject and his wife hold membership in the Evangelical church, and are highly-esteemed people. The former casts his ballot in support of the men and measures of the Republican party, but has never been a politician in the sense of office-seeking. As a citizen he is public-spirited and progressive, devoted to the best interests of the community and to all that is calculated to embrace the general welfare. It was a fortunate day for him when he decided to leave his native land and come to America, for here he has found a pleasant home, has won many warm friends and become one of the substantial citizens of Huntington.