People of Ontario County: Henry C. Beeman

Beeman as police chief of Canandaigua.

Henry C. Beeman was born in Canandaigua on Oct. 8th, 1847, the youngest child of Reuben Beeman and Orpha Crane. Beeman was educated at Canandaigua Academy until June 23, 1863 when he enlisted in Company C, Fifteenth New York Calvary. Although just 15, he lied on his enlistment papers claiming to be 18, and was eventually considered the youngest person in Ontario County to fight in the Civil War.

For part of his three year service in the war, Beeman served under General George A. Custer in Sheridan’s army, and participated in notable engagements in the Shenandoah Valley, as well as at Appomattox. On August 23, 1865, Beeman was honorably discharged from service. Though Beeman never met General Custer during his service, he did shake the General’s hand in 1866 during Custer’s visit in Canandaigua with Andrew Johnson on Johnson’s presidential campaign trip.  

The 1907 reunion of General Custer’s men. Beeman pictured fourth from left.

Beeman began his detective career in 1872, and later became the Canandaigua deputy sheriff in 1877 until 1884. He also served as the manager of the Canandaigua Steam Boat Company until he was appointed chief of police for the Village of Canandaigua in 1896, a position he held until 1923. 

Henry married Lucia C. Crane, his first cousin, daughter of George H. Crane and Sarah Martin on December 24, 1874. They had three children, Seth T. born December 25, 1875, Roscoe born August 7, 1877, and Grace O. born May 29, 1883. 

In 1907, Beeman organized a reunion of General Custer’s men in Canandaigua, in which 300 Civil War veterans attended, including Custer’s widow. 

Beeman died June 24, 1927 in the care of his daughter at his home on Bristol St. While alive, he lived at homes in Canandaigua on S. Main St. and W. Gibson St. He was buried at Woodlawn Cemetery.