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Autobiography of Mary F. Beeson: James Warfield family in Old Shawneetown

 Collection — Folder: 1
Call Number: RH MS P615


Typescript of the autobiography of Mary F. Beeson, including Beeson's account of the murder of her father, James Lot Warfield, by William Quantrill's guerrilla band on October 17, 1862 at Shawneetown, Kansas.


  • Creation: 1905-1910


Conditions Governing Access

No access restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Spencer Library staff may determine use restrictions dependent on the physical condition of manuscript materials.

Biography of Mary Frances Beeson, 1848-1943.

Mary Frances (Warfield) Beeson was born on December 14, 1848 in Jacksonville (Macoupin County), Illinois to James Lot Warfield and Mary Jane (Jones) Warfield. The Warfield family moved to Johnson County, Kansas, on the Kansas and Missouri border, where they became residents of Shawneetown in 1861.

On October 17, 1862, James Warfield was one of several Shawneetown residents killed by a band of Missouri bushwhackers led by William Quantrill. Warfield's widow later moved with their children to Wyandotte County, Kansas, where she married Allen Beeson in 1863. Mary Frances Warfield married her stepbrother, Clarkson Lewis Beeson, on April 5, 1865. In 1879, they moved to Walla Walla County, Washington, where Mary Frances died on January 4, 1943.


1 folder

Language of Materials


Scope and Contents

This 10-page typescript of the autobiography of Mary Frances Beeson was produced by Jean Suman from an earlier typescript of Beeson’s autobiography by Lester Merklin, Beeson’s great grandson, who estimated that it was written between 1905 and 1910, when Beeson and her husband lived near Walla Walla, Washington. Beeson’s autobiography describes events from her first sixteen years, including her family’s move from Illinois to Kansas and the murder of her father in 1862 at Shawneetown, Kansas by William Quantrill’s band of Civil War guerrillas.

Suman’s typescript includes her introductory synopsis of Beeson’s life and a list of photocopied documents which Suman incorporated with the autobiography. Accompanying the autobiography are 16 leaves of photocopied family documents from holdings of Lester Merklin, including family photographs, family crests of the Beeson and Warfield families, genealogical records of the Beeson family, family-related articles, and records of family tombstones at Mountain View Cemetery, Walla Walla County, Washington.

Physical Location

RH MS P615

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift, Jean Suman and Lester Merklin, 1996.

Guide to the Mary Frances Beeson Collection
Autobiography of Mary F. Beeson: James Warfield family in Old Shawneetown
Finding aid prepared by mh, 2004.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Finding aid written in English.
Finding aid permalink
Preferred citation
Mary Frances Beeson Collection, Kansas Collection, RH MS P615, Kenneth Spencer Research Library, University of Kansas Libraries

Repository Details

Part of the University of Kansas. Kenneth Spencer Research Library Repository

1450 Poplar Lane
Lawrence KS 66045-7616 United States