Heber William Beckstrand 1873-1955

Heber William

Heber William Beckstrand was born in Meadow, Millard County, Utah, 18 March 1873, the son of Elias August and Henrietta Cecilia Ahlquist Beckstrand. During his boyhood days, he and older brother, John, "pedaled" apples through towns in Nevada in a covered wagon hitched to two teams of horses. As they came back, they would load the wagon with silver bullion bringing it to the Union Pacific Railroad at Delta. Heber loved to break wild horses, and he helped his father amd brothers on the farm.

He went to school in Meadow's first old log cabin school house which also served as the church and the recreation hall. From there he went to the Fillmore Academy and in 1895 to the Brigham Young Academy. While he was there, he was called to serve as a missionary in the Southern States Mission. He labored mostly in Virginia. He traveled most of the time without purse or scrip and he tells about the number of haystacks he and his companions slept in at night. His mission lasted thirty-eight months. On his release he returned home and again attended the Brigham Young Academy in Provo.

On 23 August 1899, he married Mary Elizabeth Stewart in the Manti Temple. Eight children were born to this union: Thelma (1900), Elias Stewart (born and died, December 1902), Viola (1904), Mary (1907), Melvin "H" (1909), Ava (1913), Monte Verl (1917, and Dawn (1923).

Heber was called to the High Council of the Millard Stake and he held this position under five stake presidents during his life. In 1907, Heber got a job with Consolidated Wagon and Machine Company in Oasis, Millard County. His brother, John, was manager and Heber was a warehouseman. They traveled on weekends back to Meadow by horse and buggy--fifty miles each way. When Henry Ford made his Model-T, Heber and John each had one--the first cars in Meadow. For thirteen years, they would meet the train in Delta and bring the apostles and other church officials to stake conferences in Fillmore--first by team and buggy and then in the Model-T.

In 1920, Heber was made manager of Consolidated Wagon and Machine Company and he moved his family to Delta. Here he was called to be the stake Sunday School superintendent and he helped to organize the first Sunday School in Garrison, Nevada.

In 1925, a call came from the church headquarters saying that there was an urgent need for older Priesthood brethren to serve a mission, a special short term mission, to Chicago. Would he go?. He would have to furnish his own expenses. With just one daughter married, there were still six children at home. One daughter had a job at a lumber company. The others were in school or too small to attend. There was some concern about how they would finance the mission but after a family discussion, it was felt that with the Lord's help, they could do it. The family resources were pooled together. The younger boys milked cows for people whenever they were away. They raised a garden and with a little red wagon they "pedaled" produce to the stores in Delta. Those were lean years, but the family members were proud to help support Dad on his mission.

In 1929, the family moved back to Meadow. In 1949, Heber and his wife, Mary Elizabeth, were called on a mission to the Manti Temple. They served two and one-half years in this calling and during this time, they celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary.

Heber died 13 June 1955, at the age of 82 in Meadow, Utah. To sum up his life: he was like his forefathers--a teacher of religion, a man of high principle devoted to God, his family and his country. During World War I, a Baptist preacher came to the little town of Meadow in a covered wagon, loudly challenging any Mormon to a debate on religion. They sent for Heber. The fiery spoken minister started the debate yelling loudly that if you were not a Baptist, you would not be saved. Then when Heber was allowed to speak, armed with the Bible and the Book of Mormon as references and having the power of the Holy Melchizedek Priesthood given to him by one having authority, he calmly referred to each point the preacher had made explaining to him where he had been misled in his interpretation of the Bible passages. The man became emotionally upset and visibly shaken. Before Heber could baptize him a Mormon, the preacher laid the whip to his horses and roared out of town.

Histories Compiled and Edited by Sue Anne Beckstrand Thompson
Our Beckstrand Heritage: Christina Beckstrand Pehrsson, Karl Johan Beckstrand, Elias August Beckstrand and their families
(Logan, Ut., self published, 2003)