BEEMAN, EDWIN E. (Mar. 1839-6 Nov. 1906), a physician, became "the Chewing Gum King" after introducing "Beeman's Pepsin Gum." Born in LaGrange, Ohio, son of Julius and Margaret Beeman, he grew up in Lorain and Erie counties. After 2 years at Oberlin College, at 18 he started reading medicine under his father and joined him in the drug business in Cleveland in 1863-64. Beeman then practiced medicine in Birmingham, Ohio, for 12 years, and in Wakeman, Ohio, for 6 years. A specialist in digestive disorders, Beeman discovered that pepsin, an extract from hogs' stomachs, provided relief from indigestion. By 1883, Beeman returned to Cleveland to manufacture pepsin.
Beeman produced pepsin on a small scale until 1888, when he organized the Beeman Chemical Co. with Albert C. Johnson, Chris Grover, and Wm. Cain. In Jan. 1890, the company's bookkeeper, Nellie M. Horton, suggested that Beeman add pepsin to chewing gum. The following month, "Beeman's Pepsin Gum" appeared. Its success led to a company reorganization in 1891; Beeman's earlier partners sold their interests to Geo. H. Worthington, Jas. M. Worthington, and Jas. Nicholl, with Nellie Horton becoming a stockholder and assistant secretary and treasurer. By 1898, the company's gum sales totaled $408,685; pepsin sales were $1,449; and profits totaled $131,487. In June 1899, the directors authorized the sale of the company to the American Chicle Co. Besides his business and medical interests, Beeman served 4 terms on CLEVELAND CITY COUNCIL and was a Royal Arch Mason. Beeman married Mary Cobb in 1862. They had 2 children: Harrie L. and Lester A. Beeman died in Cleveland and was buried in Harvard Grove Cemetery.