So. California District blessed by Beck family

THE BECK FAMILY soldiered at Los Angeles No. 1 until Mr. and Mrs. Beck were appointed as specials to visit the corps in California. Photo courtesy Western Territorial museum.


A talented group of jubilee singers contributed much to the spirit of early meetings in Southern California.

Alexander Beck was born in Tennessee, the son of slaves who were freed a few years later. As a boy he had a reputation for good humor, always ready to sing a plantation hoedown or blow a lively tune on a cane whistle.

He had always been considered a moral young man, but after moving to Kansas he took a downward track, beginning to drink and gamble. According to Mrs. Beck, he just sobered up long enough to get a wife.

He continued in his wild ways as they started for the West, but it was not until his wife became a Salvationist that he thought of being saved. They became soldiers at Los Angeles No. 1 until 1893, when he and his wife and daughter were appointed as specials to visit the corps in California.

Mrs. Beck (the War Cry did not mention her first name), had been raised a Christian, joining first the Methodists and then a Holiness Band in Los Angeles, before the Salvationists came to town.

Their daughter, Pearl, 13 at the time, became a Salvationist one week after her father, and wore full Army uniform. She contributed her soprano to the plantation melodies and jubilee songs for which the Becks were famous.

When Staff Captain William McIntyre was planning to invade the Southwest, appearances by the Becks played a large part in raising the $300 needed for the venture.

“Let your faith go up when they visit your corps!” said the War Cry. The Becks, who saw hundreds saved at the penitent form, were a blessing to the Southern California District.

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