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Saturday, January 31, 2015

When Harry met Jennie.

On December 6, 1916, my great grandmother, Miss Jennie Bryant of Stedman, North Carolina became Mrs. Harry L. Beazley of San Francisco, California. My uncle, Jeff Hubbard, one of many members of my family who have generously shared the research they have done on our common ancestors, wrote an excellent synopsis of Harry and Jennie Beazley's story, so I'll let him tell it.

Captain Harry Leslie Beazley
Harry Leslie Beazley was born on October 5, 1877 on the farm of his parents, Williamson Clive Beazley and his wife, Charlotte Delanie Henry. Leslie, as he was called in the 1880 census, was born weeks before his father's 25th birthday. Delana, as his mother was called, was 21. He was their oldest child. The family lived on a farm near Forest City, in St. Francis County, Arkansas. The farm was located at a place known as Crowley's Ridge.

Williamson C. Beazley, was the oldest of ten children born to George Washington Beazley and Lucy FMichie. Census records show that William was born in Arkansas, his father is listed as born in South Carolina and his mother's birthplace as Tennessee. The same record indicates that Lucy was born in Louisiana and lists both parents as natives of Tennessee. 

Harry spent his first twenty years living on his father's farm. According to his widow, Harry wanted to go to medical school, but his father refused to send him. He moved to Tampa, Florida in early 1898, where he spent several months working as a bartender before he enlisted to fight in the Spanish-American War, serving in Company A of the First Regiment of Florida Volunteers. He was honorably discharged on December 3, 1898 at the war's end and mustered out at Tallahassee, Florida.

Corporal Beazley returned to his father's farm after discharge and remained for about six months. Farm life did not suit Harry; having seen the world, he developed a taste for adventure and exotic lands. On July 27, 1899, Harry reenlisted in the US Army, assigned to Company B of the Thirty-third Infantry of the United States Volunteers.

During the next nineteen months, Harry Leslie Beazley served with honor. His discharge papers indicate that he obtained the rank of Quarter Master Sergeant and participated in a number of skirmishes and other actions. He was a participant in the bombardment and landing at San Jacinto under General Wheaton on November 11, 1899. Master Sergeant's Beazley's discharge was dated February 5, 1901 at Manila.

Harry Beazley joined the Manila Police Force (run by US Army) on February 12, 1901. Patrolman Beazley then joined the ranks of the Philippine Constabulary being assigned duties at Leon, as of December 19th. Harry spent several years working for the Constabulary, being promoted to the rank of Captain and Inspector on March 26, 1906.

While living in the Philippines, Captain Beazley married a Spanish woman named Irene Santa Maria. She was a beautiful woman (there was a picture of her that Jennie Beazley had, that since her death has disappeared). She was an opera singer. Her devotion to Harry was less than that of her Spanish roots and he caught her passing information to a local priest, who in turn was passing the information on to rebels. Harry told Jennie the couple had divorced and that Irene Santa Maria was dead by October, 1906.
Among the stories of this period Miss Jennie used to tell was this one; one night Harry came in late and another soldier was drunk and asleep in his bed. Harry simply slept in the other soldier's bed and in the morning the soldier in Harry's bunk had had his throat cut. He believed his former wife was behind this attack, having recently separated from her.

Another story told was about traveling with guides through the jungle and reaching an area that seemed disturbed. The guides were leading him to a covered pit with stakes, meant for him to fall in. He claimed he threw the guides in the pit and let them meet the death they had planned for him.
Captain Beazley submitted his resignation from the Philippine Constabulary on May 20, 1907. He was very ill and spent most of the year of 1907-1908 in the American Hospital in Manila. He was being treated for tropical sprue, which is essentially a form of dysentery. Harry would be affected by bouts of sprue for the remainder of his life.

Over the next seven years, Harry Beazley held several positions in both the private sector and in civil service jobs in the Philippines. He worked as an auditor at the Singer Sewing Machine Company in Manila. He also worked in several clerical positions for US Engineers Bureau at Carabas Island, the Bureau of Navigation and the Property Division of the Bureau of Public Works in Manila. During this time he was treated several times for sprue and cholera. The tropical climate of the Philippines, which he loved, was killing him.

He re-enlisted in the US Army on February 16, 1915, joining the Quarter Master Corps in Manila. Returning stateside, he was honorably discharged at Fort Winfield Scott, California on February 16, 1916, most likely due to health issues. It is believed being well respected among the government and military personnel, a few strings were pulled to get him stateside, due to health.

By the end of February, 1916, Harry went to work at the Hercules Powder Works in Hercules, California, across the bay from San Francisco. He would work here until leaving California on March 20, 1919.
Sometime during 1916, Harry was introduced to Jennie Bullock Beazley, by a distant cousin, Grover Hornrine(sp?). They began a courtship by mail. At some point, Harry asked Jennie to marry him. She accepted, with the condition that he would pay for her return trip to North Carolina if she didn't like what she found. The young schoolteacher packed her bags and left for San Francisco. She must have liked what she found. They were married in San Francisco on December 6, 1916. They spent their honeymoon in San Francisco.


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