Among Yolo county’s old and honored residents is Aaron Beck, who has been living here continuously for nearly fifty-five years, during which period he has set a worthy example of persistent industry, good citizenship and neighborliness, and has gained the sincere respect of all who know him. He was born in Wurttemberg, Germany, May 19, 1847, and received a good public education. He learned the trade of shoemaking, which he followed at various places in Germany and Switzerland, including Constance, on Lake Constance in Switzerland. In 1854 his father and three brothers emigrated to the United States, locating in Newark, New Jersey. Shortly afterwards occurred the death of the father, who had intended to form a German colony in that state, but died soon after his arrival. Later the oldest son went to Pennsylvania, thence went west to Nevada, and from there to Boise, Idaho, reaching Yolo County in 1861.
Aaron Beck, who came to the new world in 1866 with his mother and three children, is now the only surviving member of the family. They crossed the ocean on the old side-wheel steamer “Atlantic,” which on its next trip was lost with four hundred passengers. Aaron Beck was nineteen years of age when he reached Newark, New Jersey and there he engaged in making custom shoes and later worked in a shoe factory. In October, 1876, he boarded an emigrant train, as a third class passenger, for California, and on his arrival in this state located in the Capay valley, Yolo County. There he opened a custom shoe shop, and later formed a partnership with James Duncan, opening a shoe store in Woodland in 1887. This proved an unfortunate venture, however, as fire completely destroyed their store and stock. Mr. Beck bought ten acres of land in the Willow Oak Park district in 1890, and subsequently added ten acres more, securing the property in fee and clear of encumbrance. He now has the twenty acres planted to walnut trees and juice grapes, though formerly he had it planted to alfalfa, during which time he was running a dairy and raising hogs. He has been a hard worker, but has been progressive in his methods, so that he has secured maximum results and has a highly improved and valuable property.
In 1869, in Newark, New Jersey, Mr. Beck was united in marriage to Miss Mary E. Krumeich, who was a native of that state and a daughter of one of its pioneer pottery makers. To this marriage were born the following children who are living: Anna E.; Selma, the wife of Alfred Streng, of Oakland, this state; Mrs. Joseph Wetzel, of Oakland; Jesse J., who was born in the Capay valley and is in charge of the home ranch; and Francis H., of Sonoma, California. Maria, Aaron, Jr., and Gertrude H. are deceased. The mother passed away March 10, 1912. Mr. Beck is a member of the Sons of Herman and his religious affiliation is with the Roman Catholic Church. Kindly in manner, generous in disposition and an earnest supporter of those things which make for the well-being and advancement of the community, he is regarded as one of its best citizens and popular men.
Transcribed by Gerald Iaquinta.
© 2010 Gerald Iaquinta.