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Biographies ~ Beatie, John Silas (1894 - 1970)
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John Beatie was a modest man; it wasn't until their seventh child and fourth son was born that he and his wife, Alice Ellen Hawes Beatie named one John. John Silas Beatie, born August 10, 1894, spent his early years on their ranch on the site of Fort Reading. He attended a one-room school and did the farm chores suitable to his age, herding turkeys when he was little and joining his father's threshing crew when he was older.

In 1911, Alice Ellen moved the family to Stockton because her husband's health was failing. The four youngest children were enrolled in school but John soon quit and apprenticed himself as a carpenter. He became a Master Carpenter though the process was interrupted by World War I.

John and brother Charles had both started riding and racing motorcycles as a hobby and both served as couriers and rode motoreycles in France.

When John returned from WWI, he returned to carpentery. Through the years, he built houses and many of the landmarks throughout the state. He worked on Hetch-Hetchy Dam, many bridges on the Sacramento River and the first two bridges across San Francisco Bay. Politics--living in the wrong county got him fired from the Golden Gate Bridge, but then he worked on the Bay Bridge. He had many friends among his coworkers who died when the safety net failed.

On October 21, 1927, he married Anita C. Cornwell. They lived in many different places in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Valley on different jobs with their two sons:

  • John William
  • Glen Albert

In 1936, John was hired by the State Agricultural College at Davis. (Then it was called a "Cow College". Today it is the University of California at Davis.) He rose through the ranks to the office of Construction Engineer. All construction projects had to be cleared through his office. The motto of his Department was "If it needs to be built we will build it."

After his retirement, John helped build Fairy Tale Town in Sacramento's William Land Park.

One of the real builders of our state, John Beatie died December 29, 1970.

Source: Shasta Historical Society
August 1996
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