Beck, Fannie Davis Veale (1861–1956)

By: Jo Ella Powell Exley

Type: Biography

Published: November 1, 1994

Updated: August 3, 2017

Fannie Beck, writer, daughter of William and Maria Lavenia (Cresswell) Veale, was born in Dresden, Texas, on October 15, 1861. In about 1863 the family moved to the vicinity of Palo Pinto, then on to the extreme western frontier of the state, where they were frequently attacked by Indians. At first the Veales lived in a large, rectangular, stone building that had been used for a fort. They later moved into a four-room, double log cabin. In On the Texas Frontier, a vivid, first-hand account of her life in Texas published in 1937, Fannie recalls the thirteen years of living in fear of the Indians before they were confined to reservations in 1875. Although she had only three years of formal education, Fannie was also taught by her father, who was a teacher, lawyer, judge, and state legislator. In about 1877 the Veales moved to Breckenridge. There, on March 3, 1885, Fannie married Henry Harrison Beck, a cattleman and merchant, who had founded the community's first church. The Becks first settled on a ranch in Bosque County. In 1888 they moved to the Gulf Coast, where they lived for two years in Rockport and twelve years in Aransas Pass. In 1903 they moved to Corsicana, where they lived for one year before moving to Morning Sun, Iowa, Henry's childhood home. Fannie and Henry Beck had eleven children; nine were born in Texas and two in Iowa.

Fannie Beck was a civic leader in Morning Sun. She was president of Sorosis Club National, a member of the board of directors of the Morning Sun Public Library, and a Sunday school teacher at the Presbyterian church. She was a Democrat and was keenly interested in politics. In 1937, so that her children would know about their Texas heritage, she published her historical memoir On the Texas Frontier. She died in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1956.

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Fannie Davis Veale Beck, On the Texas Frontier: Autobiography of a Texas Pioneer (St. Louis: Britt, 1937). Mary Whatley Clarke, The Palo Pinto Story (Fort Worth: Manney, 1956). Jo Ella Powell Exley, ed., Texas Tears and Texas Sunshine: Voices of Frontier Women (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1985).

  • Women
  • Writers, Authors, Publications, and Literature
  • Literature
  • Memoirs, Diaries, Letters, and Travel
Time Periods:
  • Late Nineteenth-Century Texas
  • Progressive Era
  • Great Depression
  • Texas in the 1920s
  • World War II
  • Texas Post World War II
  • West Texas

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Jo Ella Powell Exley, “Beck, Fannie Davis Veale,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 28, 2022,

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November 1, 1994
August 3, 2017

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