Articles

DID THE INCOME TAX KILL KASPAR BECK?

The bare facts say it did. But the inner truth lies in a deeper tragedy: This simple Saskatchewan farmer, who ruled his six sections and his family of fifty-three like a feudal knight, had to learn in death that no twentieth-century man in any country is his own master

McKENZIE PORTER July 15 1951
Articles

DID THE INCOME TAX KILL KASPAR BECK?

The bare facts say it did. But the inner truth lies in a deeper tragedy: This simple Saskatchewan farmer, who ruled his six sections and his family of fifty-three like a feudal knight, had to learn in death that no twentieth-century man in any country is his own master

McKENZIE PORTER July 15 1951

DID THE INCOME TAX KILL KASPAR BECK?

The bare facts say it did. But the inner truth lies in a deeper tragedy: This simple Saskatchewan farmer, who ruled his six sections and his family of fifty-three like a feudal knight, had to learn in death that no twentieth-century man in any country is his own master

McKENZIE PORTER

A FEW HOURS before he hanged himself last May 4 in the garage of his prairie home in Allan Township, thirty miles southeast of Saskatoon, Kaspar Beck spoke three words of puzzled elegy. “Times have changed,” he said.

For forty years the cross-grained old wheat farmer had fought to have it otherwise. In a society grown far too complex to permit such luxuries he had tried to live as he chose to diein his own way, according to his own standards, by his own hand. He had sought to survive as an independent, self-sufficient man in an age which has made the completely independent self-sufficient man a tragic anachronism.

In specific terms he died as the result of a dispute over an income-tax debt which he clearly owed and persistently refused either to acknowledge or to pay, and which threatened him with the loss of his home, his land and his lifetime savings. Few people, even among the neighbors who stood sadly beside his grave, could find reason to say that he

had been done an injustice. The events which led to his death are no less worthy of record, if only as an episode in the ancient inevitable struggle between the single human being and humanity itself.

When he died Beck was sixty-seven years old, a stocky Russo-German-Canadian with steely eyes, shaggy brows, tousled grizzled hair and a body hardened by manual labor to the toughness of hickory. His six and a quarter sections of prairie wheatland, accumulated during four decades of war, depression and drought, had become a strange stronghold of family feudalism.

Here Kaspar Beck and his wife Katharina headed their clan of seventeen children, nine childrenin-law and twenty-six grandchildren. The old man ruled his kin with the mingled severity and love of a medieval patriarch. Refusing all outside help, he fed them, clothed them, housed them and provided them with cars and the finest mechanical implements.

The eight sons and nine daughters ranged in age from fifteen to forty but he paid them no formal wages—merely a little pocket money. Although four married sons and five married

daughters were settled with their immediate families on six separate farms Kaspar Beck stubbornly hung onto the land-title deeds himself. In his role of chieftain he administered the scattered estates from a spick-and-span house on a trim lot in Allan proper. He bought all the seed, sold all the grain, took most of the profits and invested every penny possible in new land. With peremptory authority he switched his single children from farm to farm as the exigencies of seeding, threshing and harvesting arose. He was a law unto himself and not even his oldest son Roy dared dispute his word.

In Allan they say the horizon is always about seven miles distant. That was about the limit of Kaspar Beck’s holdings—and of his vision. He could speak little English and always addressed his family in German. He couldn’t grip the significance of the fact that beyond his domains lay a nation called Canada. When business drove him to contact with the outside he always spoke through his children. Suspicious of something for nothing, he consistently spurned relief during the depression and family allowances ever since their inception.

He asked nothing of Canada and acknowledged no debt to Canadr. The income-tax authorities,

however, took a different view. They said he owed the state $28,623 in back taxes for the years 1941-46. Kaspar Beck, who never filed an income tax return in his life, refused to pay.

“All he could think of,” says Roy Beck, his eldest son, “was that a lot of men in white collars were trying to trick him out of the farms.”

During three years of haggling in which incometax officials cajoled, explained, threatened, then beat their foreheads in frustration before the obdurate Beck, the acid of a supposed persecution bit deep into his min'1.

His obstinate refusal to pay caused a local fure re. The Saskatoon Star-Phoenix carried several long letters from readers who bitterly assailed the little Russo-German for failure to support the democracy under which he had thrived.

These letters touched the surface of a problem and, on the surface, were impressive in their cogency. But Beck’s story goes deeper than the income-tax files. Its implications are wider than the letter of the law. Beck’s is a history which shows how hard tradition dies. The story is charged with an almost majestic tragedy. It ended last Friday May 4 when

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he walked down the garden path with a rope in his hand. It began in Odessa, Russia, in 1909.

About that time Kaspar Beck emerged sullenly from a term of conscripted service in the Czarist armies, an obligation he regarded as an injustice.

He was born in 1884 near Odessa in a colony of German farmers who had been lured to Russia to pump European knowledge into primitive Asiatic agrarian practices. The Russian government of that day had promised the German settlers immunity from military service in return for their proper cultivation of the soil. But Moscow, even then, was notorious for breaking its word. Kaspar Beck, dragged to the barracks from his father’s farm, soldiered angrily with the rough Slav and Mongol rankers he considered beneath him, and on his discharge determined to quit Russia forever.

He sailed for the United States with his young wife Katharina, heard land was cheaper in Canada, and in 1910 joined a German community digging in around Allan. He wasn’t poor. He brought with him thirteen hundred dollars, a goodly sum for the times. On his father’s death he was due for a share of the family estate in Odessa and the plan was that when the time came he would receive this in currency for reinvestment in Canadian land.

The Becks bought a half section, two horses and an ox. Together they built first a sod, then a frame homestead. They cleared the land of rocks. From dawn till dusk Katharina helped Kaspar load the stoneboat. She stopped working only for a few days when Roy, their first child, was born.

All through World War One they sweated on and Katharina paused in her toil to produce a child once every twelve months, as regularly as the shoots of wheat made springtime green. When Roy Beck was six years old they roped him onto the seat of the binder so he would not fall among the flails. He drove the team while his parents followed behind and did the stooking.

In 1918, when he was eight, and his parents were both in the grip of the ’flu epidemic, Roy Beck worked the two horses alone, hauling wheat in a seventy-five-bushel wagon. In the evenings he cooked for the whole family and put the toddlers to bed.

“That’s how Dad always wanted things,” says Roy today. “He didn’t want any outsiders coming in to help.”

By 1919 Kaspar Beck owned a whole section of land, paid for in cash, and Eva, Marcus, Rose, Tony, Caroline and Joseph had arrived in turn. In Russia his father died and Kaspar Beck needed his share of the Odessa holdings to buy more land to feed more mouths. But by then the Soviets had seized all property and not a ruble came Beck’s way from the old country. Beck’s neighbors nodded sympathetically when he stormed and raved about the inhumanity and thievery of governments. His antipathy to bureaucracy was already glowing like a hot coal inside him.

“A man buys land and rears children to work the land,” he told a neighbor. “And when he dies the children share the land. That has been the law of ages. What right have governments to upset it?”

By slogging and pinching, by keeping his children away from school whenever he needed their help, Kaspar Beck added to his holdings, a quarter section at a time, during the Twenties. Martha,

Matthew, Anna, Regina, Frances and Teddy arrived to increase his food bills —and swell his labor force.

The Thirties came, bringing drought, depression, hunger, patched pants, scuffed boots, bums, panhandlers and duststorms over the shimmering rim of the parched prairies. But Kaspar Beck had his money in the earth, and he had the latest machines. He owed nothing to the bank. He had a team of willing hands who toiled for food, clothing, shelter and love alone, and to whom a stick of candy, an afternoon at the movies or a new toy were something you read about in magazines—if you could read, and if you could pick up any old windblown magazines from the ditches.

Beck survived when others were ruined.

Several times he was fined for keeping the children away from school. But he always shrugged his shoulders and said: “It is cheaper than hiring a man.” According to Roy Beck, the oldest son, few of the children got beyond Grade 5. Of himself Roy says: “I don’t think I had one complete month’s schooling in my life.”

“Divided We Fall”

Stoically, Katharina Beck, now sixty-one, knotted and bronzed to the texture of teak, still worked around the farms and without a murmur gave life to Katie, Pius, Helen and Jackie. When Jackie, now seventeen, was born, Katharina Beck was forty-four. Jackie was her seventeenth and last. She never lost one.

During recent years Kaspar Beck extended his holdings to six and a quarter sections in the adjacent municipalities of Colonsay, Blücher and Lost River. On every section there were homesteads and farm buildings. Four of his eight sons and five of his nine daughters married and reared twentysix grandchildren. Every member of the clan worked on the farms. As they saw old Kaspar prospering few of the sons thought of mutiny. The truth of his favorite saying, “United we stand, divided we fall,” was patent to them.

They had the latest agricultural machinery. Kaspar íleck ran a fleet of six late-model cars, including a Buick, two La Salles and a Chrysler. With these the family maintained close communication. Last year he had two thousand acres under crop. Yet he was so keen on extending still farther that in the winter he sent his younger single daughters to work in Saskatoon as domestics and ordered them to bring home their earnings to the family pool.

John Weninger, who keeps an implement shop in Allan, says: “Some people called him a land hog, said he was greedy and selfish. But everybody had a sort of secret respect for him.”

Roy Weninger, John’s brother, who is secretary of the Rural Municipality of Allan, says: “Kaspar Beck never owed a penny that was due, except perhaps income tax. He never took any relief during the depression and wouldn’t allow his children to take family allowances. The only time he borrowed any money was in 1937 when things were very bad. He got a rural loan of two hundred and thirty-five dollars for seed grain. He paid it back, plus seventy-seven dollars interest. Later half the interest was refunded.”

The more Kaspar Beck flourished the more independent he became in his manner, the tighter he knit his growing flock and the more devices he found for economy.

He bought groceries in bulk for the entire family. Every member of the family, even his daughters and sonsin-law, were instructed to get their clothing on Kaspar Beck’s account at Lehrer’s Limited, a solid old-fashioned department store on the industrial side of the tracks in Saskatoon.

Early Blurred A bright-and-early riser Is what I’m never quite, For when I get up early I fail to get up bright. — C. l\ Clark

“We could get anything we liked in reason,” says Roy, the oldest son, “provided we told him. If we didn’t tell him he got real mad.” On the day of his death Kaspar Beck owed Letirer’s about eighteen hundred dollars for recent purchases of clothes. These included everything from overalls for the men to brassieres for the women and diapers for the infants. But Lehrer’s weren’t worried. They were used to Beck accounts of this size and never had difficulty collecting.

The Beck family was considered the best dressed in the Allan district.

Nor was Beck stingy. He would take his oftspring, sometimes ten to twenty of them, into Chinese Joe Yee’s Victoria Café in Saskatoon, tell them to order what they liked, and when they’d all eaten as heartily as sturdy farm folk can he paid the bill for the lot. Joe Yee says: “Sometimes they’d fill four or nve booths. When he died I lost my best customer.”

“He believed it was his duty to hold onto the purse strings,” says Roy. “Of course the older ones who were married needed a little ready cash. So he used to allow us a fraction of the grain crop. Just enough to get by on. But he never paid us wages. He said everything would be ours some day. We never went against him.”

W hen Roy got married Kaspar Beck gave him one quarter section of land—a privilege to the oldest son. But he never repeated this for the younger children. He once told Roy: “If I give them a quarter section now they’ll borrow money to buy another quarter section. Then they’ll be in the hands of the banks.”

First a Car Was Seized

As time went on Kaspar Beck got off the farms himself and did all the administrative work in the house at Allan. The home is so clean it dazzles. It is filled with knickknacks, little gifts of the children to their parents. On one wall there is a pair of faded watercolored photos of Kaspar in Russian uniform and his young bride Katharina. The family is Roman Catholic and in a corner of the living room there is a little shrine consisting of a crucifix surrounded by wedding photos of the married children. The kitchen equipment is first class.

Although before the war few Saskatchewan farmers paid income Lax, owing to depression, Kaspar Beck’s failure to make returns during the later affluent years aroused the National Revenue Department’s suspicions.

The legal machine began to clank.

First indication of Beck’s trouble came on Jan. 31, 1947, when he was fined one hundred dollars in court for failing to file a return for 1945. He continued to ignore this obligation in spite of patient, repeated requests from income-tax officials. They knew he could not understand English but they wondered why he didn’t employ an accountant to fill his forms. They figured he owed more than twenty thousand dollars.

To prove the law was in no mood for trilling, Sheriff Basil P. Boyce drove out to Kaspar Beck’s home early in 1948 and on instructions of the Department of National Revenue seized a car worth $1,500 which he at once sold for $628. Helen Beck, a younger daughter, says: “Dad was speechless!”

About this time Beck fell under the influence of a man named Roger Smith who toured the district haranguing farmers with the notion that Canada was never properly constituted under the British North America Act and therefore had no legal authority to impose federal taxes. Beck joined Smith’s anti-income-tax league. Roy Beck says with some awe: “It cost him twenty dollars!”

Whether Kaspar Beck continued to support Roger Smith’s precepts out of expediency or sincerity is debatable. It is certain, however, that the sum of $28,623, unally demanded of him by the Revenue Department, staggered him.

Beck arguments were always obscure, especially when translated by one of his children who had never passed Grade 5, but he did manage to get across the point that the figure was reached without taking into consideration exemptions from his taxable income which would have been allowable if he had paid his family wages and charged operating expenses. He even worked out an estimate of $51,000 in wages and $36,000 operating expenses for the years 1941-1946 in dispute.

The officials in Saskatoon replied something like this: “Quite! But you didn't pay your children any wages. You haven't listed in the proper way any expenses. You haven’t even filed a return. The whole business is in your hands. If you don’t claim exemptions what can we do but charge you with the full amount?”

When confronted with such ration d arguments Kaspar Beck, according to one lawyer, “sometimes looked as though he had been hit with a rubber hammer.” At other times a suspicious glint came into his eyes. It seemed to ati'ront him that men sitting at desks far away from the dust and sweat of his farms should know so much about his personal affairs.

“I think he had the idea,” says a friend, “that the income-tax officials were a bunch of sharpies who were wanting his money for themselves.”

Beck tried half-a-dozen different lawyers. He dropped them because he distrusted them or else they dropped him in despair.

Last year the Department of National Revenue informed Beck that unless he acknowledged a debt to them his lands would be seized and auctioned. The Saskatoon Star-Phoenix said at the time: “The income-tax department bent over backwards to get a settlement.”

The Department said that if Beck would deposit a bond of $10,000 to show faith of his intention to pay when he understood the significance of the debt no action would be taken. But Beck refused.

They suggested he hand over the land to his children so that, taxes due could be paid by them. But Beck said the land would go to his children only on his death. That was how they had done things in the old country and that was how he was going to do them here.

They asked Beck to take a mortgage on one section of land to raise cash for settlement. But Beck backed out of this hurriedly. Reginald Taylor of the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix who worked on the story says: “He didn’t know what it was all about. He would clutch the title deeds of the land to his chest and with tears in his eyes say he would

never give them up. He believed that as long as he held the deeds nobody could touch his land.”

Kaspar Beck’s case went right up to Ottawa, to the Minister of National Revenue himself—Dr. James McCann. On Sept. 26, 1950, McCann wrote to Saskatoon saying his department had gone as far as possible in consideration of Beck’s case and that unless he was willing to show faith of intention to settle by depositing a bond the sale of his property would be held.

The sale was scheduled for Oct. 24 last year. A number of people prepared to snap up a bargain. One man in Saskatoon borrowed between $6,000 and $7,000 cash in readiness to bid. The auction was advertised in the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix. The whole city was talking about it. Kaspar Beck blinked in the flash of photographers’ bulbs and the clouds of mystification and fear grew deeper in his eyes.

Pointing to his forehead, he told reporters through his children: “If

they sell the land now and take it away from the children they might as well put a bullet through here.” Whereupon he showed his appreciation of the principle of some taxes by paying municipal dues in townships where his lands were situated. This was not consistent with the actions of a man who believed their loss inevitable.

The Star-Phoenix carried a story pointing out that the fifty-four members of the Beck clan would he thrown from the estates they had worked years to build if the sale went on. This brought angry letters from some readers. Old racial sores were irritated.

There were references to “Englishspeaking citizens who pay their taxes” and veterans whose income-tax cases would never receive “personal consideration of a minister.”

There was much comment on the fact that Beck had only one son in the services.

Meanwhile Beck had found a champion in Emmett Hall, KC, a brilliant pleader who has won renown in Saskatchewan for what he himself describes as “taking up many lost causes.” He was the first lawyer Beck had fully trusted and Beck gave him power of attorney. Hall took the view that while the Revenue Department had a legal right to some income tax the amount demanded was extortionate.

Says Hall: “The Government had a right only to the tax that was properly payable if returns had been made. Beck was being asked as an individual to pay tax for the combined incomes of himself and all the children who worked the land. The Government is entitled only to its lawful dues and if Beck failed to file a return and claim the allowable exemptions this did not alter the proportion of those proper dues. Morally he owed only the amount that would have been payable if he had been granted his just exemptions. The Government stand was based solely on the fact that he did not pay his sons wages in the formal sense and did not claim expenses. On these grounds they claimed tax on the gross income. The decision was precipitate.”

Sheriff Basil P. Boyce seized the land, and on Oct. 24, 1950, stood in the Saskatoon Court House before a crowd of about a hundred people and prepared to sell it. He had taken six sections and was offering it in twenty-four quartersection lots. Before opening the sale he referred to the obstinacy of Beck whom, he said, had been given a chance the previous evening of turning over the land to his sons and allowing each to assume responsibility for the taxes assessed against the respective quarters he was allotted.

(This was true. Beck had momen-

tarily seemed ready to turn over the land to his sons. W. A. Gilchrist, KC, representing the Department of National Revenue, had worked till midnight with two secretaries preparing the transfer documents. But as he was about to sign in Saskatoon Kaspar Beck suddenly flung out of the room and rushed into the street. Five or six of his sons were up all night scouring the city for him. They found him wandering at dawn, seemingly in a daze.)

Sheriff Boyce announced that he was holding the sale with “a clear conscience.”

Then Katharina Swooned

Bidding opened tardily. The first quarter section for which Beck had paid $2,500 was knocked down for $100. The sheriff informed the crowd the sale was not a joke but held to realize $28,623 that Beck owed in back taxes, plus interest and costs. He asked for genuine bids and said the sale would cease as soon as enough land had been sold to liquidate the debt. One quarter for which Beck paid $5,000 went for $1,100. A whole section that cost Beck $14,080 sold for $8,321. Beck paid $3,000 for a quarter that went for $200. So the sale went on— with most of the land going ridiculously cheap.

One or two neighbors of Beck’s bought what they could afford at fair prices. But a group of speculators, refraining from bidding against each other, purchased other lots for a song. Among the purchasers was the man who had borrowed between $6,000 and $7,000 in anticipation of the sale.

During the auction Kaspar Beck shouldered his way through the crowd, followed by his wife and a large group of his children. Twice, with shaking hands and tear-stained face, he tried to read a statement in German. Boyce warned him that if he continued to interrupt he would be removed by the

police. Old Katharina Beck swooned and had to be helped out of the room by one of her daughters.

To his consternation, Sheriff Boyce found the land slipping away without realizing anything like the debt. Finally he had to sell the last quarter—almost every inch of Kaspar Beck’s holdings. Even then the total raised was only $21,850, more than $6,000 short of what the revenue men asked.

Beck thought he was suddenly penniless and his family homeless. But it was explained to him that before the purchasers could get title to the land the sale had to be confirmed by the courts. “Confirmed by the courts?” he asked wearily. “What does that mean?” According to his son Roy he was so shattered it would have been hopeless to try to explain.

A week or so later the Saskatchewan Mediation Board, appointed by the province to settle legal disputes with the least hardship to both sides, met with the object of persuading purchasers to waive their rights to the land so that Emmett Hall, now endowed with power of attorney, could reach an equitable settlement with the Department of National Revenue on behalf of Beck, and thus retain the lands for the family.

Only three of the buyers were present to waive their rights. These were three farmers, L. A. Senger of Bradwell, J. A. Ussleman of Allan and B. C. Starks of Colonsay. The chairman of the board, H. W. Warren, congratulated them on their public spirit. A number of other buyers, described as speculators, insisted on sticking to their bargains.

Emmett Hall said the sale should have been stopped when it was realized the bidders were not offering fair prices.

Nodding his head, H. W. Warren, chairman of the board, said: “I am not making a plea for Beck. He did the wrong thing. I am thinking of the family who will have to quit the land they have worked so hard to acquire.

[ saw that Beck was set in his ways and he was convinced that he was right in refusing to pay the tax. I never saw a better family (than his) and I couldn’t help thinking what it would cost Canada to immigrate from Europe seventeen people who could take their places. They spent most of their lives doing what their father told them—something that’s not too common a practice these days.”

Warren added that the board would do everything in its power to see that those who had bought land for a quarter its worth and had refused to waive their rights of purchase did not get title.

The money paid for Beck’s lands was lodged in official care until the decision of the court on confirmation of the sale could be known. Meanwhile the man who had borrowed between $6,000 and $7,000 was paying interest on it.

An Ace Up His Sleeve

Emmett Hall prepared his brief for Beck. It seemed to the average lawyer that W. A. Gilchrist, KG, ofSaskatoon, counsel for the revenue authorities, had an open-and-shut case. By persistently refusing to reach a settlement Beck seemed to have damned his chances. Beck stayed at home brooding as, in Saskatoon, the legal machinery clanked on and the advocates debated the possible disposition of his land.

Some of his sons tried to persuade him to settle but he silenced them with a word. In any case it was too late. The purchasers had a right to legal decision now. Roy Beck made five journeys to Regina where he heard there was a German-speaking lawyer who might be able to clear up the situation in the old man’s mind. But nobody could do anything except Emmett Hall. And Hall had an ace up his sleeve.

Last April 11, nearly six months after the sale, applications for its confirmation opened before Judge V. R. Smith in the Saskatoon District Court. W. A. Gilchrist, for the revenue authorities, submitted that the amount raised was “exceptionally good” for a sheriff’s auction and asked the judge to ratify the purchases and settle the business once and for all.

Then Emmett Hall spoke up. He described the sale as “a farce under the law.” He produced his ace. According to law, he said, the sale should have been advertised in the newspaper nearest to the. site of the property.

This meant the advertisement should have appeared in a small weekly called The Viscount Sun. In fact, the advertisement was carried only by the daily Saskatoon Star-Phoenix.

Gilchrist leaped up to state that the Viscount Sun had a circulation of only thirty-nine copies in the towns nearest the Beck lands, while the Saskatoon Star-Phoenix had a circulation in the same area of two hundred and twentyeight. In Allan proper the StarPhoenix sold fifty-three copies and the Viscount Sun only one. Therefore, he submitted, he had better fulfilled the purpose of the law in choosing the Star-Phoenix, because it brought the sale to the attention of more people.

But, Hall argued, the law still said that the advertisement must be published in the paper nearest to the lands to be sold. The nearest paper was the Viscount Sun. The revenue authorities had not complied with the law. Therefore, was the sale illegal?

Judge Smith accepted Hall’s plea and ruled the sale invalid. Hall had found a loophole, and for the first time the law was on old Kaspar Beck’s side. The decision created a sensation. The Beck children were delighted, for their

father still held his land. The man who borrowed between $6,000 and $7,000 was still paying interest, and would continue to do so as long as the case was in dispute and his money was held.

It remained to be seen now whether the revenue authorities would appeal Judge Smith’s decision and take the case to a higher court, or whether they j would allow the money raised at the ¡ sale to be returned to the land pur\ chasers and negotiate a new settlement with Beck through Emmett Hall.

Kaspar Beck remained at his home in Allan, staring out over his wheat fields, the long strange litigious words ringing meaninglessly in his ears, and fearing the next scene in the drama.

Less than a month after his victory I in the courts— it was last May 3— Kaspar and Katharina Beck were ! sitting in the front room looking out over their disputed wheat fields when two well-dressed men came up the garden path.

Beck sprang to his feet, his eyes blazing. “It’s the income-tax men again,” he said. “They’ll never leave me alone.” He rushed down and hid in the cellar.

Mrs. Beck admitted the men and discovered through one of her children they were representatives of an oil company touring farms in the district to secure drilling rights on the land. The terms of their agreements were well known to most farmers and considered very generous.

Katharina Beck went to the cellar to get her husband. She found him covered with blood. He had tried to kill himself by striking himself on the head with an axe. Exactly what transpired is obscure, for Mrs. Beck is hazy about the details. But her husband washed his head, came upstairs, told the visitors he had fallen on the coal pile and hurt himself, then began listening to their approaches.

Finally he signed a number of documents, giving drilling rights on his land. Roy Beck says that so far as he knows the old man did this without a murmur.

But no sooner had the men gone than he started to rant and rave. “I have signed away my lands!” he cried. “They have tricked me out of my lands at last!”

Mrs. Beck tried to calm him. Roy Beck said his father kept saying: “Send the kids to school. Send all the kids to school. Times have changed.”

Next morning Mrs. Beck found him swinging from a rafter in the garage.

The newspapers were not very interested. The Toronto Star dismissed Kaspar Beck in four inches of type under the heading, “Tax-Battling Dad Of Seventeen Dies At End Of Rope.”

From Ottawa came news the Department of National Revenue would not j appeal Judge Smith’s decision but would make a new agreement about payment of the debt with Kaspar Beck’s family. Emmett Hall said the lands would probably now be divided one third to the widow and two thirds j to the children, under the law governing intestate deaths.

W. A. Gilchrist, KG, said if Beck had not died the lands would undoubtedly | have been sold. Judge Smith’s decision would have been appealed and the j technicality of the advertising issue overruled. “I would have taken it to the Supreme Court with confidence,” he said.

Roy Beck, now the new patriarch of the clan, told this writer: “My dad had some fine ideas and we all believed j in them. Some of them were a bit out of date but most of them suited me. I’ll try to carry on as he did and keep the family working together. But 1 won’t go bucking the law.” if