Judson Barclay Beckner

Arkansas Conference President, 1894-1896

His Early Years

Judson Barclay Beckner was born on February 6, 1851, in Laporte, Indiana. He moved to Pleasant Hill, Missouri, around 1873, where he married Margaret Thornton. The Beckner’s had four children, Clara Lee in 1875, George Thornton in 1879, Harry Stewart in 1883, and Robert Arnold in 1886 (Ancestry, 2017).

Back L to R: George, Judson; Front L to R: Harry, Margaret, Robert.

Years of Ministry

Judson Beckner at the time of his presidency in Arkansas

Judson accepted the third angel’s message in 1886 and within six months began to actively engage in evangelism. He baptized his son George in 1887 at the age of eight, in the Missouri River (Durrant, 1916; Gleaner, 1957). In 1894 the General Conference recommended that Judson go to Arkansas, which he did on May 10, 1894 (Beckner, 1894). That year at the 1894 conference session in Fayetteville he was elected as the president of the Arkansas Conference. He was reelected in 1895, and in 1896 when J. A. Holbrook was elected as the Arkansas Conference president, the Beckners moved to Texas to serve (Review, 1895).

Mission Service

Registration of American Citizen form for the Beckner family in 1907

In 1901, Judson with his wife, went to Jamaica, British West Indies, where he labored most faithfully as president until the year 1907, when he went to British Guiana, South America, to serve as president there. Here his stay was short, as his once robust health gave way to an attack of malaria, which forced him to go to Trinidad to recuperate. There, as president of the South Caribbean Conference, he labored in spite of failing strength, until 1913, when he returned to the United States. After quite some time of declining strength, Judson died of heart failure on May 9, 1916, at the home of his son George (Durrant, 1916), a feather duster manufacturer in Athol, Massachusetts (Ancestry, 2011). Judson was sixty-five years old. Three of the Beckner’s children became missionaries in foreign fields: Harry went to South Africa, Robert to India, and Clara, who was married to Dr. Otis, went with her husband to Santo Domingo, British West Indies (Durrant, 1916).


(1895, Sep. 17). Review and Herald, p. 604.

(1957, Jan. 21). Atlantic Union Gleaner, p. 6.

Ancestry.com. (2011). U.S. City Directories, 1822-1995. Provo, UT: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc.

Ancestry Family Trees. (2017, Jan. 31). Judson Barclay Beckner. Retrieved from ancestry.com.

Beckner, J. B. (1894, Jun. 12). Review and Herald, pp. 380, 381.

Durrant, A. N. (1916, Jul. 13). Ibid., p. 21.