The Beasley’s…royal family of regional music

Beasley003A single family runs through the entire history of music in Texarkana, that of the Beasley’s. H. V. Beasley came to Texarkana in 1898 and founded the Beasley Music Company, which was in business until 1969.  The story of how H. V. Beasley came to Texarkana and engaged in business is told in interesting style in the Piano Trade Magazine of Chicago, June 1935. Excerpts are here quoted: “Seldom is a man attracted to a business because another man is discouraged by the same business. But that is exactly how Mr. Beasley got into the Piano business, and he got into it because of the spirit of helpfulness which made him a beloved figure in his community. In 1892 he was operating the Beasley Hotel in Waldo, Arkansas. Late in December, among his guests was a piano salesman from Little Rock who was discouraged and depressed. There were no prospects and the weather was bitterly cold, after several days of sleet and snow. The kindly proprietor said to him, ‘I know some people who can pay for pianos if you can get their orders. I’ll get out the hotel hack and we will call on them – what do you say?’ The salesman agreed and they went into the cold. The result was the immediate sale of several pianos, and Mr. Beasley became so enamored with the idea that he gave up the hotel and became a piano salesman himself. After a few months of selling for Little Rock and St. Louis firms, he started in business for himself operating out of Waldo until Jan. 1899, when he located in Texarkana.

There is evidence from several sources that Scott Joplin performed in the Beasley store during his last visit to Texarkana before his death. Further, it is known that S.C. Nancarrow, father of Conlon, purchased a player piano from Beasley when Colon was growing up.

It is known that Beasley was a dealer in AMPICO player pianos.
Beasley was born in Columbia County, Arkansas, three days after the assassination of President Lincoln.  Rule Beasley, married Lida Oliver, sister of noted band director Ruel Oliver.

But wait, there’s more! Two descendants of the Beasley family are still prominent musicians. Both require their own pages.