The Beecher Family is shown in 1908. In back, from left, are Henry Ward “Hal” Beecher, Mary Hadley Fletcher and Harriet Foster Beecher. In the middle, from left, are Mary Eunice Beecher Susmann, Paul Julius Susmann, Blanche Cameron Beecher and Capt. Herbert Foote Beecher. In the front, from left, are Sievers William Susmann and Beatrice “Trixie” Beecher. (Jefferson County Historical Society)

BACK WHEN: The Beecher saga concludes

CAPT. HERBERT AND Hattie Beecher’s older daughter, Mary Eunice, first married when she was 18 years old, in 1902, to Roscoe Herman Susmann, a young man from Boston who had served in the Army in the Philippines in 1900.

Their first son, Paul Julius, was born in 1903 in Seattle, and a second son, Sievers William, was born in Perth Amboy, N.J., in 1905.

Roscoe and Mary soon divorced. Roscoe remarried and stayed in the east.

He died in 1930 in New York.

By 1909, city directories show that Mary was living in the family house in Port Townsend, and the 1910 census indicates that she was living in a boarding house on Second Avenue in Seattle and working as a stenographer.

The same census shows that Paul and Sievers were boarding with a family named Woods in their home on Tennes Avenue.

Mary remarried in 1912 to a man named Edward Martin, and her sons lived with them.

The older son, Paul, died when he was 15 years old in 1918.

By the time of the 1920 census, Mary was again divorced and living on Summit Avenue with ­Sievers.

She worked as a secretary at Inspector Express.

Mary married again, to Charles Rowell, in 1926 in Tacoma. Sievers was still living and working as a clerk in Seattle.

By 1935, Sievers was living in Port Townsend working at the National Paper Co.

He married Lois Elvine Rohlfing from Springfield, Mo., in 1938 in Los Angeles.

They lived in Glendale, Calif., in 1940, the year their son, John Ethan, was born.

Then they lived for a short time in Burbank.

When their daughter, Eunice Anne, was born in 1942, they lived in Salinas, where they remained until a few years after Sievers retired from working in auto repair, around 1974.

Their son, John, died in 1956 when he was 16.

The city directories from the 1950s from Salinas show that Mary Rowell, by that time a widow, was also living in Salinas.

In 1959, at age 75, she married again, to 79-year-old Fred Schwartzel. Mary died in Monterey, Calif., in 1969.

In their later years, Sievers and Lois lived in Parker County, Texas, where their daughter, Eunice, lived with her husband, Donald Fitzgibbon.

Sievers lived until he was 94 years old. Louis died nine years earlier, in 1988.

Beatrice B. Beecher

Beatrice B. “Trixie” Beecher married in Port Townsend when she was 20 years old, in November 1912.

Her husband, 26-year-old Harold Halleck Johnstone, came from a prominent Butte, Mont., family and was a former Navy lieutenant.

They lived in San Francisco, where Harold worked for the Electric Boat Co.

They had two daughters, Alexandrea “Drea” in 1913 and Beatrice “Madeline” in 1915.

Trixie seems to have been unhappy with the constraints of motherhood, and she was not pleased when her husband left to travel to western Russia for his company in late 1915.

Before he left, he told her that unless she took better care of the children, he would have to separate from her.

An article in the Port Townsend Leader on May 8, 1916, quotes from the San Francisco Examiner: “Blinded by the bright lights of San Francisco’s fashionable cafes, Mrs. Beatrice Beecher Johnstone, 3751 Clay Street … has fled the city, leaving her two children in the care of her mother-in-law, who left with them last night for Butte, Mont. … Mrs. Johnstone … left her home … after telling her grandmother, Mrs. Mary Fletcher, and her mother-in-law, Mrs. Samuel Johnstone, that they ‘could have the kids.’ ”

She was also fleeing from warrants from creditors, having “… tumbled into debt through her desires to participate in the gay life of the uptown cafes and the fashionable resorts of lower [Coronado] California.”

An article in the Leader on Oct. 1, 1926, tells of Trixie, again using the name Beatrice Beecher, helping to organize a “little theater” in the basement of the Plymouth church in Brooklyn, with an acting company known as The Plymouth Players.

“Her famous grandfather [Henry Ward Beecher] for many years worked to make Plymouth church one of the most famous religious institutions.”

Also lived in New York

Subsequently, Trixie lived at various locations in New York.

In 1928, she married Jacob Levi Mareno, but the marriage does not seem to have lasted.

Trixie passed away in Kings Park, N.Y., in April 1972.

Meanwhile, Harold Johnstone worked all over the world as an Electric Boat Co. consultant to the submarine industry.

Passports and visas show him in Vladivostok, Petrograd, France, England, Finland, Denmark and Belgium.

After four years with their grandparents, Sam and May Johnstone, in Butte, Drea and Madeline lived with Harold in Vlissingen, Holland, from 1920 to 1923.

They traveled to be with him by ship, accompanied by a nurse.

Drea died in 1925

After returning to Butte, Alexandrea died in 1925, when she was 11 years old, from a brain abscess that followed a middle ear infection.

In 1930, Harold, new wife Stella and Madeline were living in Butte.

During World War II, Harold and Stella were in Groton, Conn., where he still worked for the Electric Boat Co.

Harold died in New London, Conn., in 1953, at age 66.

Madeline married a 1933 Naval Academy graduate, Joseph Warford Williams Jr., the year that he graduated.

Williams was a Navy submariner during World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam.

He received the Navy Cross in 1944 for actions in the Pacific.

Many decorations

Among his many other decorations were the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, a Navy Commendation and 11 Legions of Merit.

Madeline and Joseph had two children, Clark and Alexandria.

After 44 years of service, Williams retired as a rear admiral.

He died of pancreatic cancer in San Diego in 1985.

Madeline Johnstone Williams died there in 2004, when she was 89.


Linnea Patrick is a historian and retired Port Townsend Public Library director.

Her Jefferson County history column, Back When, appears on the third Sunday of each month, alternating with Alice Alexander’s Clallam County history column on the first Sunday of the month.

Patrick can be reached at [email protected]. Her next column will appear Nov. 19.

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