Theodore Lewis Beck

Theodore Lewis Beck, was born on September 18, 1861, the eighth of eleven children born to William and Ann Elizabeth Cornelius Beck. Only five of the children would attain adulthood.

Theodore's father was a manufacturer of ribbons and trimmings for the dress trade. His factory was located at No. 10 Vestry near Canal Street in New York. The family also owned a farm in Coldenham, Orange County, New York.

For this reason the family maintained a cemetery plot at the Goodwill Cemetery in Montgomery, New York. They must have bought their farm in the 1850s since two-year- old William died in 1857 and was the first to be buried there. Theodore's aunt Margaret Beck Barr and her husband Nathaniel also lived in this area in Newburg. One of the yearly excursions for the Beck family was the two or three day trip to Goodwill every Memorial Day, to clean up the plot and replant peonies and geraniums for the summer. Dorothy Babcock once remarked that she had only realized after many years that this was more of a houseparty for her parents than a chore. The weather was warm and balmy, the scenery, peaceful and serene: a trip to the countryside for the winter-weary.

Theodore (called Theo by his brothers) married Cora Martin Scott on February 19, 1891 at the Thirty Fourth Street Reformed Church (between 8th and 9th Avenues) in New York City at four o'clock in the afternoon. The young couple made their home in the city until 1900, when they moved to Summit, New Jersey, first to live on Crescent Avenue, and than at 41 Woodland Avenue. Their four children, Alexander (1892) John Scott (1893) Margery Elizabeth (1895) and Dorothy (1897) were born in the family home at 101st Street, New York.

When they moved to Summit their uncle, William Beck, his wife, Clara, and daughter Margaret (born in 1897) lived across the street, so these were happy years, especially for Dorothy, who was very fond of her cousin. It was a short train ride to Beck Brothers Incorporated, Silk Manufacturers, at Ferry and Bloomfield Streets in Hoboken, New Jersey. Three Beck brothers were involved in the manufacture of silk ribbons: Theodore, William and Don Alonzo. Don Alonzo died in 1902, so the other two brothers continued in the company until Theodore died on May 27, 1927.

Theodore and Cora celebrated their twentieth wedding anniversary in 1911 at home in Summit with all the Beck and Scott family present. There is a wonderful group picture of them all and a commemorative china dish with their initials to mark the occasion. Cora Beck would die two years later after several years of living as a near invalid from tuberculosis.

Theodore died on May 27, 1927 in Summit from a coronary thrombosis. His three older children never married. They lived together in the family home until their deaths. Dorothy married Guilford Carlile Babcock on October 10, 1925, and delivered her first child the day of her father's funeral. Luckily the doctor had vetoed her plan to go to Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx following the service. Theodore and Cora Beck are buried at Woodlawn with their four children, one son-in-law, and Laura Kramm, the family housekeeper.