Transcribed from A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans, written and compiled by William E. Connelley, Secretary of the Kansas State Historical Society, Topeka. [Revised ed.] Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1919, c1918. 5 v. (xlviii, 2530 p., [155] leaves of plates): ill., maps (some fold.), ports.; 27 cm.

Anna Marie Beck

MISS ANNA MARIE BECK is now in her third consecutive term as county superintendent of schools of Stafford County. She is energetic, clear-minded, with high ideals, and her thorough preparation for school work, together with her long experience as a teacher and administrator, gives her a notable position among Kansas educators.

Miss Beck was born in Maroa, Illinois, and as a very small child came to Kansas with her parents in 1880. The family settled on a farm in Pratt County, but a few years later moved to Clear Creek Township, Stafford County.

Her father was Aaron N. Beck, who was born in Dayton, Ohio, in 1845. He was of English and Irish descent, his ancestors coming to America in colonial times. He was reared in Dayton, moved to Illinois, and in 1872, at Maroa, married Miss Susan Louise Cummings, who was born near Buffalo, New York, April 22, 1855. He was a successful pioneer farmer, and working at his carpenter's trade built most of the early frame houses of the community. He also conducted every sale in his part of the county for many years. His unfailing good humor and his Irish wit, together with his big generous heart, made him a favorite and a blessing in the dry, difficult early days. He died at the old home in Clear Creek Township December 9, 1900. He was a republican, a member of the Presbyterian Church, was affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and a member of the Grand Army of the Republic. He saw service with Company C of the First Ohio Volunteer Infantry as first sergeant, and spent four years in the army, was twice wounded, and received honorable mention for bravery in action.

Miss Beck's mother was also a teacher of more than average ability. In the early times and later, after the ill health of her husband, she taught for a number of years, always with marked success. She had the distinction of having taught the first school in the community. This school was held in a sod school house, on almost the same site where now stands the finest two-roomed standard rural school in the county. In this little sod school house, under the able and sympathetic guidance of Mrs. Beck as teacher, attended boys and girls who now are among the leading citizens of the county. Mrs. Beck assisted her husband in the organization of the first school district, and the first church and Sunday school in the neighborhood. Mrs. Beck survived her husband nearly eighteen years, and continued to take an active part in all that made for the betterment of home and community until her death in St. John, September 16, 1918. She was a devoted mother, a good neighbor, a kind friend, always with a pleasant smile, a kindly word and a helping hand. She was a member of the Presbyterian Church, of the Rebekah Lodge, the Woman's Belief Corps, and the Woman's Christian Temperance Union.

Aaron N. Beck and wife had but two children: Royal D. and Anna Marie. The son was educated in the Pratt High School, and is one of the substantial farmers of Albano Township, Stafford County, where he is recognized as a leader in all progressive movements for the advancement of the community.

Miss Anna Marie Beck received her first school advantages in the rural schools of Stafford County, for several years under her mother as teacher. Later she attended the Pratt High School, then took academic and college work at the Kansas State Normal at Emporia. She was graduated from the Life Diploma course of this institution in 1911. The following year she returned to her Alma Mater as second assistant in the English department. She was already an experienced teacher, having begun in the rural schools of Stafford County, and for two years had taught in the primary grades of the Macksville School. She taught five years in the grade school of St. John, and two years in the St. John High School, where she was in charge of the English department. She served one year as principal of the schools at Hoehne, Colorado, and two years in the Antrim Rural High School, Stafford County. She was elected county superintendent of schools in 1914, and was re-elected in 1916 and 1918. Under her supervision are eighty-nine schools, a staff of 150 teachers, and a total school enrollment of 3,000 pupils. Miss Beck is energetic and tireless in her efforts to advance the school interests of her county. Already Stafford County takes high rank among the most progressive of the state. In 1918 there were twelve standard rural schools; and during her administration, in spite of the drawbacks of war times, ten new school buildings have been erected, and many others renovated and remodeled. Stafford County teachers are among the best paid in the state, and among the most professional. The annual school meet and play festival is an interesting school feature of the county, bringing together the school children and their parents for a day of improvement and pleasure. Miss Beck is a well known member of the Kansas State Teachers' Association, and is also a member of the National Educational Association. In her church she is a Presbyterian, and in politics a republican.

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