FLGenWeb Digital Library and Archives
Presented by Nancy Rayburn
Transcribed from: The History of Florida: Past & Present, The Lewis Publishing Co., Vol.
III, page 112, 1923.
BEACHAM, BRAXTON. In business and public circles of Orange County the name of BRAXTON BEACHAM,
of Orlando, has been for years considered synonymous with industry and integrity. He is a
native son of Georgia, and was born on a farm in Laurens County September 12, 1864, his parents
being LEWIS and MARTHA (KNIGHT) BEACHAM.
LEWIS BEACHAM was born in Georgia, of an old Southern family, while Mrs. BEACHAM was born
in Rhode Island, of New England ancestry, but her people moved to the South and she was reared
in Georgia. Unto LEWIS and MARTHA BEACHAM eleven children were born, five daughters and six
sons. The father, who was a farmer by occupation, died when his son BRAXTON was about ten years
of age. About two years later the widowed mother, with her children, removed to the town of
Dublin, Georgia, where BRAXTON BEACHAM was given excellent educational advantages in a private
school under the direction and instruction of able teachers, advanced in the studies of Greek
In December, 1883, when only nineteen years of age, BRAXTON BEACHAM, with $250 given him by
his mother, left home and his native state to begin the battle of life for himself. He came
to Orange County, Florida, and put out an orange grove near Maitland. This grove he later
sold, and in the fall of 1884 changed his base of operations to Orlando, which has been his
home to the present. At the time of his arrival he accepted a clerkship in a dry goods store
at Orlando, and with the lapse of time saved a working capital out of his earnings as a clerk,
with which he engaged in dealing as a realtor, a form of business in which he still is interested.
He has speculated extensively in timbered lands, buying and selling large tracts. In the city
of Orlando he has bought and sold much real estate, and in addition thereto has been a contributor
to the development of the city, being the owner of the Beacham Theatre, of which he was the builder,
and a promoter and builder of the eleven-story modern hotel known as the Augebilt. For many
years he has been numbered among the most extensive orange-growers of Florida. In 1920 he
sold a 300-acre orange grove of his own development, but soon thereafter reinvested in the
industry. In Alachua County he is the owner of a stock farm of 1,500 acres. His business career
has been an active and prosperous one, attended by gratifying success. For many years Mr. BEACHAM
has been a prominent figure in the democratic party. In 1910 he was an unsuccessful candidate
for nomination as his party's nominee for congressman-at-large from Florida. He made the race
on a platform declared in favor of Government aid in the construction of improved public roads.
At that time he was considered a dreamer and visionary for advocati0ng such aid; however that
may be, he and other farsighted men have lived to witness the securing of such aid and to enjoy
traveling upon the resultant public improved roads. The only elective office Mr. BEACHAM had
held is that of mayor of Orlando, for one term, which was a businesslike administration.
Appointed by President Wilson, Mr. BEACHAM served as food administrator for a period of eighteen
months during the World war, discharging his duties without remuneration and confronting many
new and difficult problems, for never before in the history of our country were its people
restricted as to what and how much they should eat, a restricti0n, however, that the Government
deemed necessary to victory for the cause of liberty. With true patriotic devotion and unswerving
courage Mr. BEACHAM administered the affairs of his office, without fear or favor, and while
there were some malcontents at the time, even they now join others in praise of his service
as food administrator.
In 1896 Mr. BEACHAM married Miss ROBERTA HOLLAND, of Kentucky, and they are the parents of
three children: NORMA K., the wife of Dr. DUDLEY HUGHES, of New York City, New York; BRAXTON,
Jr., a soldier in the United States Navy during the World war who married ROBERTA BRANCH and
reside at Orlando; and ROBERTA AUGUSTA, who is the wife of W. D. ROGERS, of Orlando.
This page created August 22, 2010
© 2010 Fran Smith