Skip to main content

Beusse Family collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Collection number: MSS-041

Scope and Contents

Many of the items in the first series are record books or Bibles owned by Beusse family members. The most significant of the contents are the extensive memorial book for Henry W. Beusse, son of Henry Beusse. Among the correspondence are numerous postcards, letters from Henry W. Beusse to his wife, Lena, and letters from Fred M. Beusse to Henry W. and Lena Beusse. The photographs series contains depictions of Beusse family members over several decades. These materials mostly come from the Beusse family, but also show members of the Gibson, Burkhalter, Skelley, and Eppard families.


  • 1881-1959


Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

This collection has no restrictions. This collection is open to the public. Library policy on photography and photocopying will apply. Advance notice may be required. Apply in the Heritage Room for access.

Biographical / Historical

Henry Beusse was the first Mayor of Athens. Born in 1827 in Altona, Germany, Beusse left his homeland to become a sailor. His father, a sea captain, had died when his son was only seven years old. He landed at New Orleans on Christmas day, 1845, then went to Charleston, January 26, 1846, and from there moved to Athens. He was engaged in sales until 1852, when he took a trip to California. Upon his return to Athens, in 1856, he married Meneces Lindsay Evans. In 1858, he organized the Champion Hook and Ladder Company No. 1, later the Pioneer Hook and Ladder Company, and remained president and captain of the volunteer company until the city switched to a professional department. He participated in the U. S. Civil War in several ways: as a member of the Ninth Georgia Regiment, a railroad conductor, and an employee of the Confederate Commissaries. Following this extensive service in the Rebellion, he was elected Alderman of the City Council in 1866. He then served for three years as chairman of the Finance Committee; Mayor for the years 1871, 1872, and 1881; and City Assessor for roughly 20 years.

Beusse was involved in numerous commercial enterprises in Athens, including the city’s first street-car company, first laundry, and first building-and-loan association. He worked for railroad companies as well. In 1872, he opened the first roller skating rink in Georgia and, in partnership with Samuel M. Hunter, operated a general store on Broad Street. He too engaged in community endeavors: in the 1850s, he joined the Odd Fellows and in later years he was active in the local Presbyterian church.

Beusse and his wife had eleven children, including two sets of twins: Albinus Evans, Rosa B., Wilhemnia M., twins Henry Hodgson and Clarissa Catharine, twins Alice H. and Jesse Hoyt, Annie S., Henry W., Carlton Gerdts, and Fred M. Of these eleven, Wilhelmina and Henry H. died during childhood. Albinus Evans married Margaret Butler, had two children, and died in 1900. Rosa B. married Joseph Munday, had seven children, and died in 1885. Clarissa Catharine married William Dorsey, had six children, and died in 1927. Jessie Hoyt married Jessie Middlebrooks, had four children, and died in 1931. Alice H. married Clarence Adams and died in 1955. Annie S. married William Briggs and had seven children. Henry W. married Lena Gibson, did not have children, and later became Athens Police Chief; he died in 1932. Carlton Gerdts married Flonnie Collins, had five children, and died in 1912. Fred M. did not marry and died in 1933. Meanwhile, the elder Henry Beusse died in 1903; he is buried in Oconee Hill Cemetery. His wife died in 1919.


1.71 Linear Feet (One full legal document box (Box 2), one box measuring 15.5 by 5 by 13 (Box 3), one box measuring 13.5 by 10.5 by 3 (Box 1).)


Photographs, notebooks, correspondence, and miscellaneous other items from the Beusse Family, most of all Lena Beusse, wife of Henry W. Beusse, an Athens Chief of Police who was the son of Henry Beusse, a German immigrant who became a major political and commercial leader in Athens during the late nineteenth century.


The collection is organized in the following series: I. Books and notebooks II. Correspondence and other printed materials III. Photographs

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Carolyn Bittick

Related Materials

Beusse, J. H., ed. Sketches of the Beusse and Evans Families and Items of Interest to Family and Friends. The McGregor Co., 1923. GR 929.2 Beusse.

Joanna Eppard collection, MSS 026.

Pioneer Hook and Ladder Company records, MSS 037.

The Beusse-Gibson-Eppard Families collection, Small Collections, MSS 016.


Beusse, J. H., Sketches of the Beusse and Evans Families and Items of Interest to Family and Friends. McGregor Co, 1923.

Henry Beusse, Find a Grave,

Physical Description

Fair to good

Beusse Family collection
Beth Whitlock, Mikaela LaFave, Justin Kau
Feburary 2017, August 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Heritage Room, Athens-Clarke County Library Repository

2025 Baxter Street
Athens GA 30606