James R. Beckley (1840-1879) and his wife, Martha Rebecca Parsons (182- ) and two sons came to Clay County in 1872 from Tennessee, and James died in November, 1879 of Pneumonia. Martha and her children show up on the 1880 census. J. R. is listed in the Blooming Grove Church Register but with no dates. We can assume he is buried in the Blooming Grove Cemetery along with his wife. Martha was living with her sons, George R. and Thaddeus
in 1900, and died sometime after that. James was born in Kentucky, and the first child was born in Arkansas in July, 1864. The second child was born in Tennessee. The marriage has not been found.
Records for James R. Beckley indicate that he served in the Company C, 27th Arkansas Infantry (Shaler’s). Muster records indicate he enlisted as a private at Bellefonte, Arkansas on 15 Feb., 1862 at the age of 21. On 1 Aug. 1862 he transferred to Co. D. He is listed as AWOL on 28 Feb., 1863 but returned to service in 1864 with Schrabel’s Missouri Calvary where he is listed as a participating solider in Price’s Raid into Missouri in late 1864. Going AWOL from an infantry unit to join a Missouri Calvary unit was not an uncommon occurrence amongst north Arkansas soldiers, many discovered that riding a horse was more fun than marching. Many soldiers also went AWOL to visit home or try to put in crop or harvest crops and then returned to service. James was captured at Marion County, Arkansas on 10 Jan., 1865 and was held until June, 1865 when he was discharged on his oath of allegiance to the United States. Martha applied for a pension in Clay County in 1909 for his service in an Arkansas regiment. (Military record found on Ancestry.)
James and Martha had Melodious Commodore, George R., China, Ada, and Thaddeus Richard Beckley, and three children whose names are unknown. On the 1900 Clay Census she is listed as having had nine children.
Melodious Commodore (M. C.) Beckley (1864-1953), son of James R. and Martha, married Amanda Palmer in 1883 in Clay Co., and had these children: (1) Lula Mae Beckley (18871968) married Charlie Bevel Hooks and had Imogene Cullum, Floretta Tanner, J. C. Hooks, Floyd Ghuyrane, and an infant (May 1882-July 1882) buried in Blooming Grove. (2) Ada L. Beckley married E. Cleo Wagner and raised a foster child Henry Allen Cosey, (3) Chester M. Beckley married Ola Gatewood and they both died in St. Louis and are buried there. (4) Bertie Elizabeth Beckley married John Cox in 1907 and had Herman, Bernice, Lynn, John, Jr., Gale and a child died. They lived in St. Louis. M. C. Beckley’s second marriage was to Mrs. Annie Cosey, daughter of William and Mary (Crews) McNiel, in 1925. She had two children, Richard and William (Bill) Cosey. She is buried in Gravel Hill.
George Rufus Beckley (1869-1960), son of James and Martha, married Jennie Ellen Merriwether in 1912 in Clay County and had Bert Lindsey married Ival Ethalene Copeland and had Mary Ellen Hector, Larry L., Bennie M., and Joel; James Warren married Opal Presley; George Wallace married (Lizzie) Lavern Parham and had Byron, Eugene, Deloris Deluryes, Brenda Kay Wilcott, and Velma Robinson; Dalton Vern married Angie Manning and had Dalton, George, Chester, Phillip, and Gail; Glendal M. married Frances E. Berry; Denver married Nadine Brandon and had Karen; Jewell Henry married Ruth Margaret McGinnis and had Gary; and Marie married Louis Young.
China Beckley (1873-1951)m daughter of James and Martha, married an Alexander and was a widow in 1900 and was back living with her parents. She married a Gatewood and is buried in Blooming Grove Cemetery. She had two children by the Alexander; an infant died young and Sylestia E. Alexander (1895- ). She had J. Raymond Gatewood (1906- ) by the second marriage.
Ada Beckley (1875- ), daughter of James R. and Martha, needs a married name to be identified.
Thaddeus Richard Beckley (1877-1957), son of James R. and Martha, died at his home in Piggott at 79 years. He was married to Rosa Dean in 1910 in Clay Co., and they are buried at Blooming Grove. They had nine children: Thelma C. Woodard, Veda Shelby, Amy Lack Pike, Delcie Brocker, James D., Orley Lee, Delmer W. (Peck), and Jay Beckley, and one name unknown.