A sketch of his life was originally published in the Wooster Democrat, March 9, 1843, and which gives a good many interesting items of history. We republish it in entire.
To render the tribute of approbation to the merit and worth of departed friends, and indulge in expressions of regret at the bereavement we experience in their death, has, in some form or other, been a custom from the earliest ages. Independent of the incentive to noble actions which such a practice holds forth to the minds of youth, there is, on the part of those who may be called to the performance of the service, a kind of pleasing melancholy, which almost seems for the time to bring them again into the society of the friend whose final exit it is their misfortune to deplore. General Reasin Beall, who died at Wooster, Ohio, on the twenth day of February 1843, was born in Montgomery County, in the State of Maryland, on the third of December 1769, and a few years thereafter accompanied his parents to Washington County, in the State of Pennsylvania, where they made a permanent settlement. The exact time of this settlement is not known, but it must have been some years before 1782, for in that year the father, Major Zephaniah Beall, was an officer in the unfortunate campaign made by a body of volunteer militia from western Pennsylvania, under the command of Colonel Crawford, against the Indians of Upper Sandusky. At the age of fourteen years, Mr. Beall entered the office of the Hon. Thomas Scott, at one time a member of Congress, a gentleman of considerable note in the public affairs of Pennsylvania, and then prothonotary of Washington, county. With that gentleman he remained until he was twenty-one years of age, and on quitting his employ, received the most flattering testimonials of good conduct.
The privations and sufferings which were experienced by the hardy and intrepid pioneers who first undertook to tame the forest west of the Allegheny mountains, has no parallel in anything of the kind that has ever existed. Favored with no government aid or protection, and without roads, other than such as they opened by their individual efforts, they had to scale a rugged mountain wilderness, of more than miles in extent; and when arrived on the western waters they, for a long time, had to subsist mainly by the chase. But this was not all; the treaty of peace, which acknowledged American independence, brought no peace to them. The Indian nations, who exposed the cause of the British during the war, were not content to desist from their depredations upon the western settlements, and such was the inefficiency of the government under the confederation, that it was not until the new organization under the present constitution, that measures were taken to repel their incursions. In 1790 an expedition was fitted out, and marched against the Indians on the heads of the two Miami's. The command of this corps was given to General Harmar. Mr. Beall served in the expedition as an officer in the quartermaster's department, and was with the army when a severe action was fought between a detachment under Colonel Harden and the Indians near its object, the troops returned to the Ohio river, near to where the city of Cincinnati now stands, and Mr. Beall returned to his friends in Pennsylvania.
Subsequently to his, General St. Clair marched a second force on the same route, and unfortunately met with an entire defeat. These repeated disasters determined the government to put forth all its energies in order to secure peace by the chastisement of the savages. On General Wayne's being appointed to the command of the northwestern army, Mr. Beall received a commission as ensign; and after some time spent in the recruiting service, repaired to headquarters, then at Legionville, on the north bank of the Ohio, near the site of the present town of Economy, in Beaver county, Pennsylvania. It was in the campaign which succeeded that Mr. Beall became acquainted with General, then Captain, Harrison, the late lamented President of the United States; an acquaintance in which the mutual friendship of the parties seemed to be increased rather than diminished by a separation and time.
Mr. Beall remained with the army until some time in the year 1793, when he resigned and returned to his friends in Pennsylvania to consummate a matrimonial engagement of long standing. Soon after his return, he married his late wife, then Miss Rebecca Johnston, and with whom he continued to live in the enjoyment of the greatest connubial happiness, until her death, which happened in the latter part of 1840. To the many excellent qualities and Christian virtues of that estimable lady he was, no doubt, much indebted for those Christian impressions which softened the death bed pillow, and served as an effectual solace to his mind when looking to an eternal separation from all things here below.
Like many enterprising men of his age, Mr. Beall fell in with the current of emigration, which has constantly set to the west, and, consequently, several times changed his place of residence. In 1801 he removed with his family from Pennsylvania and settled for a short time in Steubenville, from which place he removed, in the fall of 1803, to New Lisbon, where he remained until 1815, in which year he removed to his late residence near Wooster.
On his settlement at New Lisbon he received the appointment of clerk of the supreme and common pleas courts, which offices he held nearly the whole time he remained in the county. Although Mr. Beall had served but a few years in the regular army, it was sufficient to give his mind a military bias, and previous to the late war, he took much pains to infuse into the militia of his county a military spirit, confidently anticipating that the difficulties then existing between this country and England would ultimately end in war. Soon after his settlement at New Lisbon he was chosen colonel of a regiment (Being at that time the entire militia of the county), and in a few years thereafter, a brigadier general. The war of 1812 found him in that capacity. On the surrender of General Hull at Detroit, a general panic seized upon the people of the sparsely settled counties to the west of Columbiana, and many were inclined to abandon their homes and seek places of greater safety. In this state of things all eyes were turned to General Beall for relief, and, to his great honor be it said, they were not in the least disappointed. Immediately on the receipt of the unwelcome news, which was communicated to him by express from Canton, he set about the organization of a detachment, and in a very few days put himself at the head of several hundred men, and marched to the support of the frontier inhabitants of Wayne and Richland counties, and ultimately, continued his route to Camp Huron, where he joined the troops from the Western Reserve, under General Wadsworth and General Perkins. At that place General Harrison, the commander in chief, who attended in person to the reorganization of the corps, visited them and, as the whole was not more than sufficient for a brigade, the command devolved on General Perkins as the senior officer. After this General Beall returned home, with the consolation of having done a good service by the promptitude of his march, which was a means of inspiring confidence among the people almost ready to surrender all hope of protection. Those who have never witnessed scenes like these can form a very imperfect idea of the difficulties which surround those who undertake to ward off such evils as were then impending. A frontier of more than a hundred miles was perfectly defenseless, abounding with all the facilities for an attack by a savage foe. Not a single company of government troops in the State; and no means either in money, provisions, or munitions of war within the reach or control of any officer who was called to the field.
In the spring of 1813, President Madison issued his proclamation for a special session of Congress, and the seat for the northern district being vacant by the death of Mr. Edwards, the member elect, General Beall was, at a special election, chosen to fill the vacancy. He served in Congress during that and the succeeding session, assisting to the full extent of his abilities, in providing ways and means for a vigorous prosecution of the war, then rendered extremely difficult by the prevalence of a reckless party spirit in various portions of the country.
But a congressional life did not suit his taste. He was naturally of a domestic turn of mind, and he longed to rid himself of a trust, which compelled him to a separation, for so large a portion of his time, from his family.
The office of register of land office for the Wooster land district becoming vacant in 1814, General Beall was appointed, and resigned his seat in Congress, and in the following year removed to his late residence in the vicinity of Wooster. The office of register he resigned in 1824, when he retired from all public employment. But he was not permitted so to remain. At the great Whig mass convention at Columbus on the twenty second of February, 1840, he was chosen to preside over its deliberations, and was afterwards chosen one of the electors of President and Vice President, and had the honor as well as the pleasure of casting his vote in that capacity, for his old friend and military associate, General Harrison. No incident of his life seemed to give him so much pleasure as this; and with an ardent hope that in the performance of this last trust, confided to him by his fellow citizens, a foundation was laid for the lasting prosperity of his country, he considered his account closed with the public forever. How illusory are all earthly prospects and how vain are all human hopes.