Bio: Beell, Fred (1923)



Surnames: Beell, Witt, Zobel, Hackenschmidt, Scheuren


----Source: History of Wood County, Wis. (1923) pages 543-544

Fred Beell, whose name is one of the most noted in the sporting annals of America, or, indeed, of the world, as that of a wrestler who, not so many years ago, held three separate championships-the middle-weight, light heavyweight and heavyweight and who has for a number of years heen a respected resident of Marshfield, was born in Germany, Jan. 17, 1876. His parents, William and Katherine (Witt) Beell, were natives of that country, the father for several years being coachman for a family of high social station. In 1879 Mr. and Mrs. William Beell, with their family, wishing to found a new home in a country of greater freedom, set out for the United States. They landed at Baltimore, but came on directly to Marshfield, Wis., where Mrs. Beell had a brother living. Here they settled, becoming well known and respected residents of the city, and both finally passed away here, Mrs. Katherine Beell in the fall of the year 1887, and William Beell Sept. 29, 1902.

They were the parents of five children: Augusta, who is deceased; Fred and Herman, both living in Marshfield; Charles, of Sceptre, Saskatchewan, Canada; and George, who is deceased. Fred Beell, who was but a child of four years when he arrived in Marshfield, was reared in this city and educated in its public schools. At an early age he displayed a strong taste for athletics, and in a short time he had become a leader among his associates in most athletic and acrobatic "stunts." Continuing to develop his physical powers, at the age of 15 years he took up professional acrobatic work and in time became a noted heavyweight lifter. After following that occupation for some time, he decided to become a professional wrestler, and it was from Louis Zobel that he received his first training in that line of athletics. At the age of 19 he was so perfectly developed that he entered the mat game as a professional, his first victim being his former trainer, Louis Zobel, from whom he wrested the laurels. Being thus satisfied that he had a good chance to become champion, he sought other opponents, the next after Zobel being Otis Patterson, whom he easily defeated. The Spanish- American war interrupted his mat career for a short time, as in the spring of 1898 he enlisted in Company A, Second Wis. Regiment, and during his term of service was stationed in Porto Rico. Having been honorably discharged the same fall, he returned to Marshfield and resumed his career as a wrestler, a career that he followed until 1919.

His most noted achievement was undoubtedly the defeat of the famous Frank Gotch, a task which many noted wrestlers had essayed but failed in. Mr. Beell accomplished the difficult task in 1906, at New Orleans, when he was 30 years old, and it made him the world's heavyweight champion. Previous to that match, however, he had already wrestled many others and won the middleweight and light heavyweight championships, so that he now held three, being the first man to hold three championships at the same time. During his professional career Mr. Beell wrestled every prominent man in his profession except George Hackenschmidt, known sometimes as "The Russian Lion," who refused to meet him on the carpet. Mr. Beell had many flattering offers to go abroad, which, however, he declined, though he was always ready to meet all comers, whether home or 'foreign wrestlers, in "good old America." In 1907 Mr. Beell purchased 120 acres of wild stump land in Cameron Township, and subsequently spent much of his spare time in wrestling the stumps out of the ground, which work served to keep him in good physical condition, so that it did not take him long to prepare for any mat contest that he was offered. In time he developed a fine piece of agricultural property, on which he followed farming for nine years. Then, in 1916, he sold it and took up his residence in the city of Marshfield, where he has since continued to reside. His last wrestling match was in 1919, with Bob Rogers of Chicago, whom he defeated, and since then he has lived practically a retired life, enjoying the recreations of hunting, fishing and motoring. On Aug. 6, 1902,

Mr. Beell was married in Marshfield, Wis., to Anna Scheuren, daughter of Frank and Barbara Scheuren. Her parents are now deceased. Mr. and Mrs. Beell have a pleasant home at 306 North Maple Street. They are members of the German Lutheran Church. Mr. Beell is treasurer of a cheese-box factory at Colby, Wis., in which he owns a one-third interest. He has many friends, not only in Marshfield and vicinity, but scattered all over the United States, who in former years followed his athletic career with interest and are glad to know that in his retirement he is well and prosperous.



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