This letter from Grandpa to his sister, Elsie May Guion, included news of the death and funeral of a close family friend which I will not include, and the very interesting Biography of their Grandmother, Clara Maria de los Delores Marina de Beck Guion. The story begins with Clara’s Grandmother, Juana Cadoret and will fill the entire week.
About three years after his marriage (to Clara Maria de los Delores Marina de Beck), Mr. Guion entered the ministry of the Episcopal Church, and many years later, while living in Louisiana, where much of their married life was spent, he became a Chaplain in the U.S. Army. His wife did not discontinue her teaching, and many years were spent in the school room either as his assistant or as a governess or as the head of a boarding school for young ladies.
Alfred Beck Guion, my great-grandfather
11 children were born to them – John Beck (Oct. 14, 1840), Clara Beck (Dec. 14, 1842), Josephine Beck (Dec. 15, 1843), Elijah Beck (Dec. 6, 1845), Adolphus Beck ((Oct. 3, 1847), Covington Beck (July 24, 1849), Elizabeth Beck (Aug. 23, 1850), Johanna Beck (Oct. 14, 1852), Alfred Beck (Sept. 23,1853), Almira Beck (Dec. 21, 1855) and George Beck, who died in infancy. Each child received for his second name that of Beck. John, Johanna and George died in infancy. Adolphus grew to manhood and died. Covington, when he was four years old, fell out of his bed and became blind. The other children married and became parents.
On 19 October, 18__, Mme. (Josephine) de Beck passed away in New York City. A great celebration was being held in honor of the opening of the Croton Waterworks. As she lay dying she heard the sound of a clarinet beautifully played. Calling her daughter, she said “Clara, do you hear that clarinet? That is your father playing that.” The poor wandering mind had gone back to the happy days of her youth with the beloved husband from whom she was no longer to be separated.
In 1874 Mr. Guion’s health failing him, his wife went to California to become a teacher in St. Mary’s Hall – a large church boarding school for young ladies in Benicia. Her husband soon followed her. While there, she was reunited with her brother Adolphus Gustavos de Beck) whom she had not seen since the early days of her married life. At that time he went from Cuba to the United States where he made his home, dying in California soon after his meeting with his sister, leaving two children, Mercedita and Francis Edwin.
Mr. Guion and his wife finally went to New Almaden, where he died January 17, 1879.
Clara Maria de los Delores Marina de Beck Guion
At the present time (Christmas, 1893) his wife, my grandmother is still living.
She died February 15, 1896 and her grandchildren will remember her as an extraordinary woman, accomplished to an extraordinary degree, skilled in cooking, needlework, teaching, a fine linguist, a better pianist, with a voice, which, when in its prime, was second only to the finest singers of her generation and which has yet by no means lost its strength and sweetness.
Back through the years of a long life she can look and note its many and great changes. The petted and only daughter of a wealthy Spanish family, the wife of a humble American clergyman, the mother of a large and widely scattered family, ending her days among a few of her children on the extreme western coast of the United States – the land of her adoption – the dearly loved country of her many descendants.
Tomorrow and Sunday, I will post more of the Early Years with the Memories of Elizabeth Westlin (Guion) Zabel.