A Short Biographical History Of Nearly 70 Years Of The Life Of N. B. Beers, Written By Himself, January 1st, 1886
I piirposed nfter closing u) my businesí nt Washington to vlsit my dear oíd houie from wliich I had been absent so long. When about to take lea ve of tlie Seeretary of the department he gave me an inrltation to remain a few days to attend the Presiden t's toree and after participating n the festivities of that occasion I returned to New York, where I had to fill an engagement with líobert L. Stephens, a man that I hlghly esteemed and considered one of the best men with wlioni I had become acquainted. He was wealthy and public spirited, it might be sai 1 he mostly owned Hoboken. He was proprietor ol Hoboken Ferry and owned sereral steaiuboats. He had become very much interested in railroads.agreat niniiy accidents hnd oceured on account of the imperfect construction of railroad tracks. The flat rail was in use, we talked upon the subject and feit that u great improvemont mlght and should be made. I suggesled that instead of the long stringer ruiming parallel with the road-bed to wliich the flat rails were gpiked, there should be cross ties at a reasonable distanee apart, put on the road-bed. I then drew a plan for a heavy rail in the fomi of a T, and would spike the lame down to the cross tles with a kind of spike h.iving a long hend projeeting over, formlnga hook for the puipose of going down on the flange of the rail and holding the rail fast to the ties. Modern rallroadl are eoustrueted in this way. Thls was satisfactory to Mr. Stephens aud he believed it to be the only tangible way to build a permanent, safe road and he wUwd me to make drawings of these different sizes and have patterns made in accordance, so as to show the form more perfcctly. He wished to adopt this plan when the railroad between Schenectady and Utica was built. He wished me to come back to the city aftcr I had visited my friends, gaid he would go to Albnny with me and it should uot coat mo unv tliiiif;. I was going to Albany to see about the inclinad planes, it bcing de=iied that thcro should be some plan to dispense with Ihem, this was on the Albany and Schenectady road. Mr. Stephens was going to Albany to meet with the directors of the new company for a railroad from Schenectady to Utica, and he wished me to make a preliminary survey of the railroad and make au estímate of the cost of the same per mile etc. This would have to be done if possible before the ground was frozen too hard. After the plans for a T rail were coinpleted Mr. Stephens was so well pleased with the radical change it would make in building railroads he gave me a bank check for $500.00 and secured for me the appoiutment of superintendent of the survoy of the road above spoken of at ten dollars per day. Mr. Stephens soon went to Kngland to find some rolling milis that he could employ to muke the r rail. we were well aware wuen we made a plan for the rails that it would be a great achieveinent to adjust a rolling mili so as to make the rails perfectly, Unit the work would require patience and capital and Mr. Stephens had botli and accoinplished the undertaking. I had become tired of being harrassed with business and of changing from place to place and was contemplating inarrlage and settliug in a home of my own. In tlio fall ot 1832 I left the eastern part of the state of New York where I lmd been engaged for a time in the carpenter business witb a brother who resided there. Traveling westward, I stoped in Macedón, Wayne Co., N. Y., prospecting wliere I remained. I returned in the spring and was marrled to Miss H. Holmes, on the 30th of April, 1833, In the town of Clinton, Dutchess Co., N. Y., :uul we soon went to the place I had selected for our future home in Macedón, Wayne Co., N. Y. From this time for a number of years 1 was successful in business matters and luid a fair prospect for the future, luit met with a sad dissapointmeut through misplaced conlideuee in a filend, or one wliom I eupposcd to be a frlend. Through his management I met with heavy losses in 1839 and 1840 and darlug the same years tlirough the eflect of the bankrupt law, lost several thousand dollars. My health seemed to be failing, the cllmate I thought did not agree with my constitutlon nnd as time pas.-cd on I grew worse and concluded 1 could live but a short time. I had some land in Illinois, located in the military tract and the time had come whon taxes had to be paid on military lamia and I made up my mind to try and get there and appoiut an agent to attenil to the property. Most of the land was in Hancock and Macdonoufih countks. Owing to my poor health my hope of ever coming back ulive was very faint, so I made my will and I had also a paper containing directions, what I desired to have done with my remaing in case 1 thpuld die, a number of addresses to my (rienda, &C These papers I sealed up and put the in in my tronk, üeing ready to start I bade my famlly as I thought more than probably a last good-bye. Tliis was iu 1845, tlie vear uftcr the irreat flood in the vallcya of the HlMinlppi, Missouri, Ohio and Illinois rivera. The bottom lands along these rlrers whioh huil been overflown the previous year were now very dry nnd the sediment ol the flood was deconiposing, and the inhabitants all over the country were inhallng the malaria l'roni tbc atmosphere wlth every breath, conaequently therc was a grcat many slck pcople and few that were well enough to take care of the siek. In Chll oondition the country at this time dld not secm very inviting, and the diet was uot at all desirabli'. moldy bread, frowey butter, sometimrs beef almost burned up by cooking nul sometimes coffue without milk or nigar. In Cass Co., Illinois, I had a brother-lnlaw and after stopping wlth hiin a little while I got a horse to ridc. I had previously been traveling in the old, wornout coaches from the east. After I had obtaiued a horse to ride I got alonr bettcr on some accounts thun beforo. Sometimes I would sec in the distancc, people tramping out seed wheat to sow and would go where they were at work, take up tomeliandfuls of wheat, blow out the chaff, and fill my pockets. Icould thon take my meal while travellng, my tteth were good and I er.joyed it bettcr tlian the cooked food that I had found on my journcy. This was the time of the Mormon war and from Sprtngfleld, I travelcd in the rear of the socalled army over to Haucock Co., the anti-Jlormons had a convention at Carthage. Many of the liouses in the country had been burned and those that remained standing weie full, and beginning to think lt was time to And some place whero I could stay througli the night I saw in the uistance a cluster of hay stacks and I concluded to take leave of tlie army and choose my ( wn quarters for the night. I got to the hay stacks, removed the saddle from my hWM, tied him to a rail where he could eat hay, and next tliing to do was to try and lind some water. I disoorered the raiai of a house that liad been burned by the Mormons and made up my mind there must be a well near by and looking down a ravlne I saw a rail pen. 1 went to that and found a well of' water. Soarching around the pen by the dim light of the new moon, I found a grasa rope tied to the bottom rail and taking liold of it found there was a pail fastened to the end of the rope. I pulled up a pail of water, took it to the horse to let him test it, he drank it frecly and then ïfter satisfyiug my thiist, I pulled some Imy from the ptack for a bed and having my pocket Itill of w!:eat I was provided with bed and board and could take a good rost. Roogttug it la this waj sceined to ngrce with me and I finishod my business and returned home with health very mueh improveil, but In a few montlis after my return the same trouble carne upon me again. I tlien decidcd to move my family to Illinois. We wcre aware that we would have to sacrince many comforts that we had been accustomed to and would be deprived of privileges that we had cnjoyed, but were williug to make the change thinking that by so doing my life might be prolonged.