Frances E. Beauchamp (1857-1923)

Historical Marker #1872 in Richmond recognizes the work of Frances E. Beauchamp, an advocate for prohibition. Beauchamp was born in Madison County, Kentucky, and attended the Science Hill Academy for girls in Shelbyville. She married attorney James H. Beauchamp in 1875 and the couple lived in Lexington.

As a devout Presbyterian, Frances was an early adherent to the temperance movement and, in 1866, became active in the Lexington chapter of the Women's Christian Temperance Union (WCTU). She became president of the Lexington WCTU, assistant recording secretary of the national WCTU in 1894, and president of the Kentucky WCTU in 1895. In her efforts with the WCTU, she was mentored by the well-known national temperance leader Frances Willard. During Beauchamp's involvement in the WCTU, more than three hundred chapters were established throughout Kentucky.

In addition to her involvement with the WCTU, Beauchamp was also an advocate for prison reform and women's suffrage. During the latter half of the nineteenth century, Kentucky's prisons had become abysmal. State government leased the Kentucky State Penitentiary in Frankfort to the highest bidder. Lessees kept expenses low and worked convicts hard at making various products to be sold for profit. As a result, Kentucky's prison population lived in miserable conditions. Many private citizens, including Frances Beauchamp and Governor Luke Blackburn (elected in 1879), were instrumental in reform efforts that improved Kentucky's prisons.

In addition to her community service efforts, Frances and James Beauchamp raised seven boys from disadvantaged circumstances. Frances died in Geneva, New York, on April 11, 1923. She is buried in the Lexington Cemetery.

Images

Dr. Luke Blackburn

Dr. Luke Blackburn

Image of Dr. Luke Blackburn, yellow fever expert and hero and governor of Kentucky. Courtesy of University of Kentucky. View File Details Page

Kentucky State Reformatory

Kentucky State Reformatory

Image of Kentucky State Reformatory in Frankfort Kentucky (formerly the Kentucky State Penitentiary). The Frankfort prison was renamed the Kentucky State Reformatory in 1912 when the state branch penitentiary in Eddyville was renamed the Kentucky State Penitentiary. Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society. View File Details Page

Christmas at Frankfort Prison

Christmas at Frankfort Prison

Excerpt from article, "Christmas at Frankfort Prison," by George L. Herr, prison evangelist. The article mentions that Frances Beauchamp sent 68 cakes to the Frankfort Prison for a Christmas dinner provided to the inmates. Courtesy of the University of Kentucky. View File Details Page

Science Hill Female Academy

Science Hill Female Academy

Postcard image of Science Hill Female Academy, Shelbyville, Kentucky. Courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society. View File Details Page

Frances Willard

Frances Willard

Photograph of Frances Willard, national leader of the Woman's Christian Temperance Union. Courtesy of the Library of Congress. View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Amy Roe, “Frances E. Beauchamp (1857-1923),” ExploreKYHistory, accessed April 26, 2017, http://explorekyhistory.ky.gov/items/show/333.

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