From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Beam, Ulysses S., and John W. Beam (brothers)

Dr. Ulysses S. Beam (1868-1942) was the first African American physician to practice in Lima, OH. Born in Nelson County, KY, he was the son of Hines and Maria Lyons Beam.  Dr. U. S. Beam was an older brother of Dr. Augustus G. Beam. Both were graduates of the Louisville National Medical College and maintained a medical practice together in Lima, OH, for a brief period in 1906. Dr. U. S. Beam had previously practiced in Muncie, IN, moving to Lima in 1892. He was a wealthy doctor in Lima, where he spent the remainder of his life except for a brief period when he was forced to returned to Kentucky in 1909.

Dr. U. S. Beam left Lima after his brother, John W. Beam (born in KY - d. 1909), a lawyer and real estate agent, was arrested for the murder of widow Estella Maude Diltz, who was white. There were rumors of a lynching party being formed, and Dr. Beam, whose wife was white, feared there would be retaliation towards him. Also, the U.S. Marshal had a subpoena for Dr. Beam pertaining to another matter. Dr. Beam closed his medical practice and fled to Kentucky with his father, Hines Beam, who had come to Lima to secure an attorney for his son, John. In November 1909, John W. Beam was convicted of murder and sentenced to life in the Ohio Penitentiary; it was reported that he committed suicide while in prison, December 1909.

Dr. Ulysses Beam returned to his practice in Lima, where he is listed in the U.S. Federal Census for 1910, 1920, and 1930. He died at his home in 1942 and was buried in the Woodlawn Cemetery in Lima.

For more see "Dr. Beam Gone," Lima Times Democrat (5/26/1909), p. 8; and "Dr. Beam dies in home after long illness," The Lima News (10/12/1942), p. 4. For more on John W. Beam's case, see "Suicide faked by slayer to avoid possible lynching," Chicago Tribune (5/25/1909), p. 2; "Declare Beam sane in every single particular," The Lima Daily News (10/25/1909), p. 1; "Beam sentenced by Judge Bailey," The Lima Daily news (11/05/1909), p. 5; and "Thomas Dillion helped Beam pave way to eternity," The Lima Daily News (12/14/1909), p. 1.

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Nelson County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Outside Kentucky Place Name

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Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Beam, Ulysses S., and John W. Beam (brothers),” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 12, 2024,

Last modified: 2023-12-26 19:57:27