The Beke family had also had a member in the region before Charles and Emily. In 1839 Charles’ younger brother, William Beek (he kept the old spelling of the family name), an engineer in The East India Company had worked with the Irishman, George Moore around the Dead Sea ('On the Dead Sea and Some Positions in Syria', JRGS 7 (1837): 456). Various hints point to William having also been to Petra and Jarash at least. William is an interesting character in his own right. A few years earlier he had apparently served as an adventurer in the army of the Persian Crown Prince, Abbas Mirza. It was reported that ‘he led a siege and an escapade against a Turkoman fortress in Khorasan’, in what is now Turkmenistan.
William later appears in Sicily and Italy apparently managing mining operations. An infant son died there as a gravestone from the English Cemetery at Messina in Sicily records:
“William James Beek born 1st December and died 25th June 1840, the son of Ann and William George Beek”.
Another son – Charley, survived to work alongside his father until the 1870s at least and a further son – Reginald Maitland Beek, married a girl in Queensland in September 1888.
A fascinating family and deserving of further investigation, not least for their activities ‘east of Jordan’.