Joseph Bever was born in Seneca County, Ohio, on 7 October 1835, to George Bever and Sabina Bretz Bever. He was living there 15 years later when the census was taken in 1850. On 21 February 1861, in Dallas County, Iowa, he married Ruth Payne, the daughter of William Wilson Payne and Mahalath Haworth.
Joseph and Ruth Bever had six children: Sarah Melissa, Sovina Mahalath, Tunis Melvil, Elmer Edward, Minerva Elizabeth, and Junia May. Minerva Elizabeth was my great-grandmother. All of the children appear to have been born in Dallas County, Iowa.
They were living in Dallas County, Iowa during the 1870 census, and Ruth's parents, William and Mahalath Payne, were living three farms away from them. (Another Bever/Beaver, Alvin, was living with the Paynes and working as a farm hand. Family Tradition says that the Paynes raised their niece, Sarah Wright; the 1870 census lists her as living with them as a "domestic servant". )
Photo of Joseph Bever's First House
The Bever family moved to Medford, Jackson County, Oregon, in about 1884, hoping for health and a better climate. "In both they were very much benefitted."
Joseph and Ruth Bever, along with four of their children, were among the twenty-five charter members of the Medford Methodist Episcopal Church, which was founded on November 15, 1885. Joseph was also one of the Trustees of the church, while his daughter Melissa was one of the stewards.
In September, 1887, the family moved north to the little community of Cheney, Washington Territory. Family notes say that they moved "for the school", but we don't know whether or not it was so that one of the children could attend Eastern Washington University, which was founded in April, 1882 in Cheney. We do know that they joined the Methodist Church in Cheney.
They moved again two years later, in September, 1889, this time to the town of Centralia, Washington Territory, once again joining the Methodist Church in their new town.
Washington Territory became Washington State on 11 November 1889.
Minerva Elizabeth Bever, the fifth child of Joseph and Ruth, was married to William Peyton Henderson on 13 October, 1891.
Joseph Bever and his wife, Ruth Payne Bever, both died while living in Centralia, Lewis County, Washington. Joseph died 19 November 1921, and Ruth died just five months later, on 6 April 1922. They both died shortly after their 86th birthdays.
I have included two photograhs of Joseph and Ruth Bever.
One was taken when they were younger and still in Adel, Iowa, and the other was taken when they were older, and living in Centralia, Washington.
I have also included a Timeline for Joseph Bever's life.
Photo of the April 23, 2001 reunion of the grandchildren of four of Joseph Bever's children.
Some of the information on this site is Family Tradition;
some of it has been documented.
Please see "Sources" page or e-mail me.