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General Alfred Beckley

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Photo: Alfred Beckley

Alfred Beckley was born May 26th, 1802, on Capitol Hill, Washington, DC, when his father was clerk of the Lower House of Congress. The father died in 1807, when the son was but five years of age. Beckley was educated at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Frankfort, Kentucky. Entering the United States Military Academy at West Point, he was graduated therefrom in 1823 and assigned to duty in the regular army, serving in the Fourth United States Artillery.

In 1836, Beckley married Miss Amelia Neville Craig, of Pittsburgh, resigned his commission as first lieutenant in the army, and moved to southern Fayette County, Virginia, to improve a body of unsettled lands for his widowed mother and himself. These lands are located in what is now Raleigh County, a county that Beckley was instrumental in having created. Largely through Beckley's influence, the Giles, Fayette and Kanawha Turnpike was constructed from the Giles County Courthouse to Fayette Counthouse during the 1830's.

Soon after his arrival to the region, in the 1830's, Beckley discovered what he described as an Ancient Stone Fort near Beckley in the present-day community of Blue Jay.

In 1850 Beckley was made a brigadier-general in the military establishment of Virginia, a position he occupied until the beginning of the Civil War. Beckley entered the Confederate army in 1861, and was made a prisoner of war in 1862, but was soon released and returned to his home in Beckley, in Raleigh County, where he resided until his death May 28th, 1888. Beckley is buried in the Wildwood Cemetery near the center of present-day Beckley, WV. On June 21st, 1939, a monument to the Joh Beckley, father General Alfred Beckley, stands on the courthouse lawn in Beckley.


See also: Autobiography of Alfred Beckley,
Alfred Beckley: History of Raleigh County