BEER, HENRY. merchant, postmaster, and justice of the peace; b. 7 June 1835 in Charlottetown, son of George Beer and Mary Ann Holland; m. ca. 3 August 1857 Amelia Ings of Pownal, and they had four children, Henry Herbert, Annie Augusta, Emma, and Frank Alfred; Methodist/United; d. 2 August 1886 in Charlottetown.
Beer, a Liberal, was first elected to the House of Assembly for 3rd Queens in 1870. He was reelected in the general elections of 1872, 1873, and 1876. He was defeated in the general election of 1879. At the formation of the Haythorne-Palmer government in 1871, Beer was appointed to Executive Council, but resigned in January 1873. He opposed the construction of the railway and Confederation. Beer resigned his seat in 1872 when a delegation left for Ottawa to negotiate terms of union. He served as Speaker of the Assembly under Premier L. H. Davies'1 in 1877.
Beer’s father had represented 2nd Queens, then Charlottetown and Royalty, in the House of Assembly, and later represented 2nd Queens in the Legislative Council until the time of his death in 1872.
Born in Charlottetown. Beer received his early education at Central Academy, where he was awarded prizes in arithmetic at various times, including 1845. From 1855 to 1881, he and his family operated a general store in Southport. Beer dealt in produce, imported goods, and owned a brickyard. The first post office in Southport was operated from his store, and Beer served as postmaster from I860 to 1873, and from 1875 to 1876. He was Justice ot the Peace around 1870. Beer moved part of his store to Charlottetown in 1881, but the business was destroyed in the fire of February 1884.
Beer was active in the local militia, attaining the positions of Captain of “G” Company (Southport) and Captain of the “Dundas Rifles” (Southport) — a company of the Queens County Brigade — and rising to the rank of Lieutenant- Colonel of the 82nd Battalion of Volunteer Militia, Colonel of the 82nd Queens County Battalion of Infantry, and Colonel of the Queens County Regiment. Beer was present at the formation of the Provincial Rifle Association. He was a prominent Mason and a past master of St. John’s Lodge A.F. and A.M.
In 1885 Beer was elected Mayor of Charlottetown. He was a strong proponent of a waterworks program and a civic building for Charlottetown, but did not live to see these plans come to fruition. In 1885 a smallpox epidemic erupted. Beer, who during his term chaired the Board of Health, received credit from the Ex./miner and the Herald for his work on behalf of the sick. It is perhaps this contact with the disease that led to his death on 2 August 1886. As a measure of respect for Beer’s dedication to Charlottetown, local stores and businesses closed during his funeral.
Amelia Beer, born 10 July 1832, was the daughter of John Ings and Sarah Wood. Ings was prominent in public affairs as publisher of a Conservative-supporting newspaper, the Islander. Beer’s daughter Annie Augusta married William Stewart*.
References: Bremner Scrapbook Appendix p. in; Checklist and Historical Directory pp. 48, 118; CPG 1879. 1880; Elections PEI 1998; Past and Present p. 510; Polland p. 176; Charlottetown Herald 8 September I886; Examiner 2 September 1886, 3 September 1886; Islander 16 July 1847; Patriot 4 September 1886; Royal Gazette vol. 15 30 December 1845; Summerside Journal 9 September 1886; PARO: RG 19 Vital Statistics series 3; Acc. 3979 Colonel Henry Beer Biography p. 1; Henry Herbert-Baptismal record 6 June 1859; MNI; lngs Family File. Guide to abbreviations
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