12/05/09

 

Welcome to the Beard Family Web site!

The original Beard settlers were one of many Scots-Irish immigrants who came to settle in what is now known as Augusta County, Virginia (Thomas Beard).   Thomas's son, John Beard, moved to Renick's Valley in what is now West Virginia around the Greenbrier County and Pocahontas County areas.  John's son, Josiah Jonas Beard, inherited the Locust Creek Plantation in Pocahontas County.  Most of the descendents listed in the family tree are from West Virginia.

Early Scots-Irish History (wikipedia.org)

The Scots-Irish are descendants of the Ulster Scots immigrants who traveled to North America from Ulster in the late 17th and 18th centuries. Historically, they had settled the major part of Ulster province in northern Ireland. Most had previously lived in Scotland, usually in the Lowlands and Scottish Border Country.

Ulster has a population of just under 2 million people and an area of 24,481 square kilometers (8,952 square miles). Its biggest city, Belfast has a conurbation of well over half a million inhabitants. The next largest city is Derry, with almost 100,000 residents.old map of Ireland

Six of Ulster's nine counties, Antrim (Aontroim), Armagh (Ard Mhacha), Down (An Dún), Fermanagh (Fear Manach), Londonderry (Doire) and Tyrone (Tír Eoghain), form Northern Ireland, and remained part of the United Kingdom after the rest of Ireland set up a separate political unit in 1921. Many people (especially some unionists) refer to the six-county Northern Ireland as "Ulster". Three Ulster counties, Cavan (An Cabhán), Donegal (Dún na nGall) and Monaghan (Muineachán) form part of the Republic of Ireland. About half of Ulster's population lives in Antrim and Down, 

The Scots-Irish who immigrated to Virginia came from the northern region (teal blue area) of Ireland.

Thomas Beard came with his family, including five brothers, one sister, and his parents John and Rebecca (Sterrett) Beard, and with Jean McNutt's ancestors (through Alexander McNutt, the immigrant; and James McNutt, her father)  immigrated from the Strabane, County Tyrone, Ireland.  They likely entered through Philadelphia, PA in 1720, and settled in the NewCastle, Delaware area.  They then migrated to Pennsylvania, and then Thomas migrated down the Potamac River and purchased land near Staunton, Virginia, in 1747.

Thomas Beard and Jean McNutt were Presbyterians, these were persecuted in Scotland (ancestral home of the Beard family) and in Ireland, and there was a prohibition of Presbyterian marriages.  A marriage conducted by a Presbyterian minister was not recognized as a legal marriage.  The children of Presbyterians in 1704 many people being married in Ireland and Scotland were prosecuted in Bishop's courts for illegal marriages..

Virginia was a Royal Crown colony ruled by the king and governed by the Parliament through the Episcopalian system of Vestries, which at that time did not exist west of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Gov. Gooch arranged with the English parliament to grant the Scots-Irish then living in Ulster the right to establish their own church in Augusta County if they agreed to settle in the county and defend—with their very lives, if need be—the frontier against French and Indian encroachment

Early Beard History

It is believed that the first of the name Bard came down from Norway to France with Rollo, and later in 1066, a Baird came from France to England with William the Conqueror.  Most of those remaining in England spelled their name Beard, however, several by that name went to Scotland in 1230 and changed the spelling of the name to Baird or Bayard.   About 1600, several families of the Bairds migrated to Northern Ireland where they become known as the "Scots-Irish".  Many descendents of the Scots-Irish, in search of religious freedom, came to America as early as 1650 settling mainly in Pennsylvania and New England.  They were almost without exception of the Presbyterian faith.

Early West Virginia History

(A large part of the following history comes from the Encyclopedia Supplemental of W. VA Heritage, by Virgil A. Lewis, State Historian and Archivist published in 1974).

The first inhabitants of West Virginia who came before the settlers from the new world are of course Native Americans.  During the period of Native American occupation, West Virginia was a favorite hunting ground for many tribes.  Over these extensive wilds, herds of bison, elks and deer roamed at will, all the way from the Alleghenies to the Ohio River, and bear and much other game abounded in the region.  The Native Americans built their Wigwam along the courses of streams, and then chased the game through the dense forests, or wound his way along the war-path against the foe of his own race who had dared to trespass upon his hunting ground.  Far to the northward and to the southward stretched a vast mountain system, which the Native Americans called "Ap-pal-ach-ia".. meaning the "endless mountains".  They clambered over the mountains long covered with snow and they named them the Alleghany, signifying "the place of the foot print" or "the impression of the feet".

The name "Ohio" for the "Ohio River" came from the warring of the Native Americans for the Ohio Valley, and this means "river of blood".  Such was West Virginia before the arrival of the settlers from the old world.

West Virginia, being an inland state, was not settled directly by emigrants from Europe, as were the states along the East Coast.  It was from those states that the settlers primarily came.  Virginia, of which West Virginia was so long a part, is the oldest American state.  One hundred and fifteen years passed since Columbus to the founding of Virginia.  King James I in 1606 granted a land patent for the territory in America to the Virginia Company of London, and the new world founding resulted from this.

Many of the people of West Virginia trace their ancestry back to a century or more to Pennsylvania homes (there is some reference that Thomas Beard may have settled in Lancaster before coming the Augusta County). 

The early records of the colonists of Virginia show they were a devoted Christian people, who brought the teachings of Christianity to the New World.

In the 1730's a number of daring frontiersmen made homes in West Virginia.  They made their homes principally upon the Opequon, Back creek, Tuscarora creek, LIttle and Great Cacapon, along the Potomac, and in the South Branch Valley.  Some were Scots-Irish and others Germans, but these were not the only people who found homes there; there was a blend of all of the elements of European civilization which were transported to our country.   The following poem illustrates the spirit of these early settlers -

Our forest life was rough and crude,   And dangers closed us round

But here among the green old wood,   Freedom was sought and found...

               --- Gallagher

 

The Beverly Manor

The settlements on the borders of Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Maryland were rapidly expanding to the westward and thus encroaching on the lands of the Native Americans, which were claimed by the six nations of Tuscaroras, the Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagos, Cayugas, and Seneca tribes.  That matters might be adjusted to allow colonization into this area was secured with a meeting of the chiefs of these tribes with the commissioners, those in part being Thomas Lee and William Beverly.  The negotiations began on June 22d, 1744 and continued until July 4, 1744, the place of the meeting being Lancaster, PA.  A peace was concluded and the region lying between the Alleghenies and the Ohio was ceded to the British, the consideration being 400 pounds.  Thus the title of what is now West Virginia passed from the Six Nations to the English King.

In the 1730s, Virginia's Governor William Gooch granted William Beverly more than 118,000 acres in Augusta and Rockingham Counties known as the Beverley Manor or Irish Track. Beverly sold this land to Scots-Irish immigrating from Pennsylvania for half a shilling per acre, primarily because the land would have reverted back to the English Crown if not cultivated within a certain period of time.

Also, Gooch needed the Scots-Irish as a "valuable buffer between the Native American tribes and the English planters.".  Although there were early settlers in this region at this time, they were Quakers who would not raise defenses and therefore were not useful as buffers between the Native Americans and the "good citizens of Virginia". 

This open range land was home to large herds of bison as well as deer, elk, bear and wild turkeys, making it advantageous for many settlers to earn their living as pack men — hunting and then selling animal pelts to settlers — and becoming ranchers as well as farmers

The original Thomas Beard purchase was made in the Beverly Manor.

The below recounts the Beard ancestry.  The ancestry of the Beards back to John Baird (Beard) in Strabane comes from the account of Pauline Beard Cooney.  It is contested and may not be accurate.  The ancestry from Thomas Beard in Staunton through present day is well documented.

John Baird (Beard) - Strabone County - Ireland (Abt 1620-1661/5)

The progenitor of the family is believed to be John Beard (Baird) of Strabane, County Tyrone, Ireland.  He died between 1661 and 1665 and had two sons, James and Andrew.   "They settled near Strabanetown with James Hamilton; Earl of Abercorn, at the Plantation of Ulster" (Ref. Beard-Baird Families by Fermine Baird Catchings).   His son, James inherited most of his father's property.

 

James Baird (Beard) - Strabone County - Ireland (Abt 1640-1719)

James Beard inherited most of his father's property, and when he died in 1719 (Will dated 1719), he left considerable property to his children, John, William, James, Sydney, Rebecca, and Jane.

 

John Baird (Beard) - Strabone County - Ireland (the Immigrant) Abt 1700-Abt 1750)

John, the eldest son of James Beard, married Rebecca Sterrett and they had six children; Robert, John, William, Thomas, James, and Hannah.   All of the children were born in Ireland before John and Rebecca immigrated to America in 1720, shortly after James father's death in 1719.  The family settled in Christiania Hundred, Newcastle, Delaware; and about 1729 they moved to Chester County, PA.  In 1728 Rebecca (Sterrett) Baird and her eldest son Robert returned to Ireland to settle the estate of her father in law, James Baird.  Robert Baird was evidently of legal age to be given a Power of Attorney from his father to sell property and settle his grandfather's estate.

 

Thomas Beard (1700-1769)

The Beard relationship of Pocahontas County descend from Thomas Beard, one of the members of Rev. John Craig's congregation of Augusta County, Virginia.  Rev. Craig was pastor of the old Stone Meeting House.   Thomas Beard, fourth son of John and Rebecca (Sterrett) Beard lived in Hanover Township, Northampton County, Pa. and migrated to Augusta County, VA in 1747.  Other Scots-Irish friends and neighbors who migrated to Augusta County at that time included the Steele, McNutt, John Mills, and McClure families; many of whom were inter-married with the Beard families. 

One of the earliest records of Thomas Beard was the Virginia Land Deed record:

AUGUSTA CO. LAND DEEDS PER CHALKLEY (Abrev):
Compiled by Norma Jennings1997-1998
265 19 Nov. 1747 (432) L27 Current money Virginia, George Brackenridge to Thomas Beard, 309 1/2 acres in Beverly Manor; corner to James Lynn :& John Tate; corner to David Steel. Teste: James FULTON, Samuel Wilson, Samuel Steel. Acknowledged by George, 18 Nov. 1747 and Ann rel, dower.

 

This site from George Brackenridge (Breckenridge) is identified on the map in the Augusta County resources on the web :

http://www.rootsweb.com/~vaaugust/augusta2.html#maps

Where a section of the original Beverly Manor land grant is shown. 

The McNutt family web site lists other information regarding Thomas Beard and the McNutt family, where Thomas married Jean:

Although no definitive connection to the Augusta, Virginia McNutts listed in Chalkley's Chronicles has been established, there is one connection that is hard to ignore: AUGUSTA COUNTY, VIRGINIA - CHALKLEY'S CHRONICLES; Vol 3, PP 30 - 49:

Thos. Beard, administrator. Paid to Robt. Alexander, for schooling James and Robert McNutt. Paid to James Dobbins, for schooling Alex. McNutt. Paid one new Bible, for Alex. McNutt. Paid one new Testament, for James McNutt. Paid one new spelling book, for the children, Also, Page 516.--15th August, 1753. John Brownlee's bond as guardian (appointed) to Alexander McNutt, orphan of James McNutt, with sureties Samuel Doake and Arthur Hamilton [15 August 1753].

[Ed Note .. Robert Alexander was Thomas's Son In Law, who married his daughter Esther Beard.  Robert went on to found a private school which eventually became Washington & Lee University].

This shows a definite connection of Thomas Beard providing financial assistance to the McNutt orphans, likely Jean McNutt's brothers in the 1750's.  Another record shows Thomas Beard administered Alexander Smiley's estate in 1749.  We do not know if he was a relative or a trusted friend.  This time it is James McNutt and in this document it says that James paid for land bought by Thomas Beard's wife.  He paid quit rents for Thomas Beard 10 years in advance in 1744.  Thomas had paid David Hays debts before his marriage, and paid for the schooling James Jr. and Robert McNutt one year in advance (as above).  He paid James Dobbins same for Alexander McNutt in 1748.

(Ed. Note  the following account is from a Pocahontas Times article from 1931, attributed by Pauline Beard Cooney to Georgiana Dunlap Arnold.  It is believed to be incorrect, as Martha (aka Elizabeth) is known to have married James Mitchell, whereas it is believed another daughter, Margaret, actually married Robert Ramsey).

In Price's history William Price knew there were some daughters and he says "They went to Kentucky".  A good many of this relationship did go to Tennessee and Kentucky.  But at least two of these daughters of Thomas Beard remained in Rockbridge, and I think four, viz: Esther who married Robert Alexander in Pennsylvania, Martha who married Robert Ramsey, Mary who married Dunlap, Jane (or Jean) who married George Weir.

Thomas Beard did marry Jean McNutt, daughter of the Elder James McNutt who died in 1753; and his son-in-law was the executor of his estate.  Thomas Beard was "very aged" in 1764, and exempted from taxes, according to Lyman Chalkey in his "Records of Augusta County, Va.".

Thomas Beard left a quaint old will dated 15 May1769, and proven in 18 October 1769, and had his Son-In-Law, James Mitchell, as executor.   He gave his several children certain household items, and his wife is remembered substantially therein.

In his will of 1769, Thomas Beard speaks of his daughter, wife of Robert Ramsey as if she had died.  One Robert Ramsey was killed by the Shawnees in 1759. His will was probated November 21, 1759,  Robert Hall, administrator.   He gave to his beloved wife Jean all of the cleared land where the house stood to the cleared land for turnips, where they last grew.  A daughter Pane and a daughter Jane were mentioned.   Again, his mind went back to his faithful old wife and he wants her to have his elbow chair.  He left cleared land to his son Hugh, and Hugh's son Thomas was left 170 acres lying next to John Montgomery and Thomas Hill.  Then he left 10 pounds each to the grandsons named Thomas - Thomas Alexander and Thomas Dunlap.  To Robert Ramsey's children, 12 pounds and 12 shillings each.  A legacy to son William and to daughter Ester Alexander and Martha Mitchell, frequent provision for...

Thomas Beard and Jean Beard deeded in their son "John.. 183 acres of land on Cathey's Creek, some times called Jennings Branch," in May 24, 1765.  It cornered with David McNaire.  This was delivered to John Beard in January 1769.  I just wonder if May 20, 1765, could have been John Beard's 21st birthday, as he did not accept the gift until his marriage in January 16, 1769.

 

John Beard (1733-1808)

The ancestry of our Beard family lies with Thomas's son, John Beard, born in 1733 in Augusta, Virginia (now West Virginia). John Beard came to the head of Renicks Valley about 1770 and, though unmarried, built a cabin and cleared ground for cropping.  he later married Jannett Wallace (in 1746).  The following is from "Historical Sketches of Pocahontas County, West Virginia, by William T. Price, Marlinton, WV.  Price Brothers Publishers, 1901.  Reprinted 1963 by McClain Printing Company, Parsons, W.Va", and reprinted 2002 by Clearfield Company, Inc. for the Genealogical Publishing Company, Inc., Baltimore, MD:

So far as we have authentic information, the Beard relationship traces their ancestry to John Beard, the pioneer of Renicks Valley, Greenbrier County.  He was of Scots-Irish antecedents; his parents have migrated from the north of Ireland.  While a young man he had his parental home in Augusta County, in the bounds of John Craig’s congregation, and no doubt helped to build the old Stone Church and the forts spoken of elsewhere, and may have heard the very sermons Craig preached, opposing the people who ere thinking of going back to Pennsylvania, or over the Blue Ridge towards Williamsburg.

(ed note. An original print of the Old Stone Church is shown on the right.)

His valley home was in the vicinity of New Hope, and after attaining his majority he came to Greenbrier County, and commenced keeping bachelor’s hall at the head of Renicks Valley, on lands now occupied (Ed. as of 1901) by Abram Beard, a grandson.  This was about 1770, and though unmarried, John Beard secured land, built a cabin, and cleared ground for cropping. 

According to the book  "Greenbrier Pioneers" and Their Homes .. by Ruth Woods Dayton, West Virginia Publishing Company, Charleston, WV, 1942 - (Early Log Houses) - "The Beard Cabin as of 1942, though dilapidated, is still occupied.  It is thought to have been built in 1770.  Small and only one story in height, it is all that remains of a much larger log house which was the original homestead of the well-known Beard family, the pioneer, John Beard, settling there at the time.  Located on a splendid twelve-hundred acre farm three miles north of Lewisburg on Route 219, the tiny cabin seems lost in the extensive acres surrounding it.  The property is remarkable in that it remained in the possession of descendents of its builder until sold two or three years ago to Mr. Ward Buchanan."

A story about John Beard relates the difficulties with the Native American population.. as follows:

While living in this isolated manner in Greenbrier County, some Indians came along and liberally helped themselves to whatever they could find in the way of something to eat; and when they went on their way took the pioneer’s gun, dog, and only horse.

It occurred that Mr. Beard was absent that day.  It is thought he had gone over to Sinking Creek on a social visit to the Wallace family, old neighbors in Augusta, and whose coming to Greenbrier possible had its influence with the young bachelor.

While young Beard returned and saw what liberties his visitors had taken in his absence, he looked up the trail and started in pursuit.  Upon following the sign for some miles in the direction of Spring Creek, he heard the horse’s bell.  Guided by the sound he came upon two Indians in camp.  They seemed to be very sick, and Mr. Beard supposed it was from over eating raw bacon and Johnny cake they had taken from his own larder.  One appeared to be convulsed with paroxysms of nausea; the other was lying before the fire vigorously rubbing his belly with a piece of bacon, on homeopathic principles that like cures like.

Seeing his own gun near a tree and his own dog lying by it, he crawled over to get the gun but his dog fiercely growled and he was forced to withdraw quietly as he came, and leave the two sick Indians unmolested.  He thereupon went to his horse, silenced the bell and succeeded in getting the animal away.

About this time, or soon after, Mr. Beard seemed to realize there was nothing in single blessedness for him and he and Miss Janet Wallace were married by taking a trip to Staunton and making their wishes known to the rector of the imperial parish that extended from the Blue Ridge to the Pacific Ocean.  In their pioneer home in Renick's Valley they reared a numerous family of sons and daughters, one of the sons being Josiah Beard, lately of Locust Creek.  

John Beard bequeathed in 1808 "the rest of the Locust Creek plantation and till Josiah come to age, and the money arising from the sale of the place at the head of the ??? and also my part of Knob place to be equally divided among all of my daughters.".  and left to his son William Rynack the land he lived on in Greenbrier County. Josiah Jonas Beard was only 16 at the time, but would live in Pocahontas County and become one of the founding families there.

 

 

 

Josiah Jonas Beard (1792-1878)

There are many references to Josiah Jonas Beard.  The town of Beard, WV (24921) Pocahontas County, is named for Josiah Jonas Beard.  he operated a mill near the mouth of Locust Creek (in fact it is thought that Beard, West Virginia was originally named "Beard's Mill").  T

The following is additional sketch information from "Historical Sketches of Pocahontas County, West Virginia, by William T. Price, Marlinton, WV.  Price Brothers Publishers, 1901.  Reprinted 1963 by McClain Printing Company, Parsons, W.Va, and reprinted 2002 by Clearfield Company, Inc. for the Genealogical Publishing Company, Inc., Baltimore, MD:

In John Beard's pioneer home in Renick's Valley they reared a numerous family of sons and daughters, one of the sons being Josiah Beard, lately of Locust Creek.  This paper will be mainly for the illustration of his personnel and family history, as his name appears so prominently in our county history.  Mr. Beard was the first Clerk of the County after its organization and served in that capacity during the formative period of the county’s history.

When Josiah was 18, he was a ruling elder in the Falling Spring Church (Zip 24966), Greenbrier County. (historical landmark)

His wife, Rachel Cameron Poage, was the eldest daughter of Major William Poage, of Marlins Bottom.  The names of their children are given in the paper relating to Jacob Warwick and his descendents.

The first meeting of the Pocahontas County court was held on March 5, 1822. at John Bradshaw's home near Huntersville. Mr. Bradshaw named the town in honor of the large number of hunters who came there during the trading season. John Jordan, William Poage, James Tallman, Robert Gay, John Baxter, George Burner, and Benjamin Tallman served as the county's first Justices of the Peace. John Jordan was named county sheriff, Josiah Beard was appointed county clerk, and Sampson L. Mathews was appointed county surveyor.

He was an expert hunter, and found recreation hunting deer upon the hills and ridges that make up Huntersville scenery so picturesque.  He killed scores of fine deer during his residence at the court house, and rarely went beyond the immediate vicinity in quest of game, unless it would be occasional visits to Marlins Bottom for a chase.  It proved however that there were attractions to draw him there of a more pleasant and romantic nature.

He seemed to have his own ideas on how he could best promote the interests of the county and would sometimes carry them out.  When residing in Locust Creek he set out one morning to attend court.  On the way near his home he discovered fresh wolf signs.  He hastened back, got his gun and called up the dogs, and sent Aaron, a colored servant, who was also a skillful hunter and a dead shot, to beat the laurel break and drive out the wolves.  Quite a number were killed and the pack retreated from the neighborhood so far back into the mountains as to give no further trouble.

In the meantime, court met and adjourned owing to the absence of the clerk.  That official however was present the next morning and explained the reasons for his absence, believing it would do the people more good to have the wolves killed and scattered than to hold court that day.  Court could meet almost any time, but it was not every day that such a good chance to kill wolves could be had.

He was a stanch friend of education, and was one of the first trustees of the Pocahontas Academy at Hillsboro, and one of its most faithful patrons and wise counselors.  In business affairs he was successful, and in a quiet, judicious, industrious, manner acquired a very extensive landed estate; the larger proportion of which is yet to be the possession of his descendents.

Josiah Beard was a person of fine mind, had a good education which he improved upon by reading and reflection.  Though gentle in his manners, he had a pronounced will of his own, being endowed with physical and moral courage to a large degree, a rare combination.  His practical wisdom and spotless integrity gave weight to his opinions.   The tenor of his life was peaceful, and his influence was for good morals and intelligent piety, and there is but one instance where his temper seems to have gotten the better of his discretion. 

During the Civil War, when over seventy years of age, he was taken prisoner by Federal Troops during the close of the war.  At time time referred to he was past seventy years of age.  The aged prisoner flared up, reminding his captors he was old and unarmed, but if they would put down their guns, ''pick out a dozen men, and come at him one at a time he would show them a thing or two".

His passion for hunting was strong to the last.  Every fall he would get restless, and nothing but a hunt would quiet him.  One of the last excursions to the mountains, though far advanced in age, he was the only one that killed a deer.  On his return he would chaff his younger associates by telling all he met on the way that the young men had taken him along to kill their meat for them.

He retained remarkable bodily vigor to the age of four score and over; mental faculties were unimpaired to the last.   Not many days before his final illness that closed his life, he felt it his duty to see the county surveyor on important business – as he believe it to be – and should be attended to without delay.   He went from his home on Locust Creek to Mr. Baxtor’s near Edray, about twenty miles distant, and returned – a cold, raw day it was too.  He overtaxed his endurance by the ride.  He soon became sick and peacefully passed from his long and useful life.

In his life was exemplified the highest type of citizen – a pious, intelligent cultivator of the soil – the occupation for which the Creator saw fit in his wisdom to create the first man.   It is the occupation now that feeds the world, and whatever hinders, depresses, or retards the farmer’s prosperity, threatens the worst evils that can befall our humanity.

There are numerous references to Josiah Jonas Beard with the Oak Grove Presbyterian Church in Hillsboro, West Virginia; where he served as a founder and elder of the church.   One such incident is recorded after the Civil War illustrates the divisions in church and family.  This story is related in the reference to James Henry Moffet Beard, below.

Josiah operated a mill on Locust Creek, which ruins extend near the existing covered bridge on Locust Creek.  The mill operation was passed along to Josiah's youngest son, Mr. Edwin Beard, who later became a Hillsboro merchant.

Around 1897, the mill property was bought by Mr. Patrick Mason Henry who operated the mill about three years.  Mr. Henry was hurt in a log jam on a sluice on a Williams River log job in the fall of 1901 and subsequently died in Johns Hopkins Hospital in the spring of 1902.

The next mill operator was a Mr. Dunlap and later operators listed here may not be listed in proper sequence : Mr. Val Perkins, Mr. McClure, Mr. Charles Donnelly, Mr. Henry Poague, Mr. Tate Hiner, Mr. Richard Snedegar  and the last operator, Mr. Sidney McCoy.  When Mr. Snedegar operated the mill he walked across Droop Mountain from his home at Jacox to attend mill operations.

Mr. McCoy installed a gasoline motor which he used in times the water was too low to turn the Mill wheel.  Around the 1940's the mill was destroyed by a fire of unknown origin.

The mill was used for many years as a polling place for Beard precinct which extended from the Jordan place [at Mill Run] to the Greenbrier County line, and took in the east side of Droop Mountain and across the Greenbrier River to Laurel Run.

Mrs. Sidney McCoy remembers having been told that during the war some Federal soldiers set fire in the basement of the mill one night, but some of the local men who were fearful this would happen were hidden nearby and were successful in extinguishing the fire.

As can be seen from the above, Josiah Jonas Beard was an amazing individual who had a great love of life and served his community with distinction.

 

James Henry Moffet Beard (1837-1889)

There is little information in the way of historical sketches of James Henry Moffet Beard.  He was the son of Josiah Jonas Beard (one of 7 sons and 1 daughter).  He was born at "Beard's Mill", the home of his father.  Records indicate he was a Lieutenant who went by the name of "Moffet Beard".  A court record indicates he was a Captain, and for years he was among the most prosperous Pocahontas farmers.

Moffet Beard married Nancy Estalene Crouch (known as Nannie) in Randolph, WV on June 25, 1867.  Nancy was the daughter of Jacob Crouch and Rachel McNeel.   This was shortly after the Civil War.  They had 6 sons and 3 daughters, Richard McNeel Beard, Jacob Warwick Beard, Mary Virginia Beard, Josiah Paul Beard (my great great grandfather), George Cameron Beard, Harry Isaac Beard, Samuel Crouch Beard, Rachel Pearl Beard, and Virena Grace Beard.

A record in 1886 shows that Moffet improved the road between Hillsboro and Beard's Mill "to avoid a steep section at no cost to the County of Pocahontas", and that Moffet Beard was responsible for "maintaining the width of the road".  The county clerk at that time was John Jordan Beard, a cousin descended from John Beard through John's son Samuel.

In 1871, James Henry Moffet Beard along with his brother, Wallace Warwick Beard and James's wife, Nannie Crouch Beard, took exception to the Pastor of the Oak Grove Church and attempted to remove him from his office (the Rev. M. D. Dunlap). The objection had to do with the post-Civil War "Iron-Clad Oath", which was eventually abolished in 1871 as unconstitutional, where M. D. Dunlap took the oath in order to obtain restitution for properties seized during the war.   From the minutes of the Oak Grove meeting, it is believed that their attempt did not succeed and M. D. Dunlap continued in his role as Pastor of the Oak Grove Church.  He resigned a few years later.

However, the incident shows the difficult adjustments after the Civil War, and the effects these adjustments had on the religious affairs of the churches at the time.

A record of an exciting bear hunt was recorded in the Greenbrier Independent Pocahontas County Items in 1882, this account can be found on the Moffet Beard Biography page.

In 1904, the covered bridge near the Beard mill operated by Josiah Beard was in disrepair because of a decaying roof.  Mr.. W. M. Irvine who had come to Pocahontas County from Staunton, Virginia, rebuilt the interior supports, trusses, sides and roof of the bridge as it stands today.  he was assisted by his brother Clem.  The Irvines stayed in the home of Mrs. Moffet Beard [now the home of Mr. and Mrs. K. N. Beard] while working on the bridge.  In 1907 Mr. W. M. Irvine married a daughter of the home, Miss Grace Beard.  He operated a builder's supply warehouse at Seebert [later moved to Huntington] and was a make of fine furniture.  They had two daughters, Mrs. Floyd [Rachel] Taylor of Huntington and Mrs. Bernie [Virginia "Jack"] Dunkle.

James Henry Moffet Beard died in 1889 at the age of 53 of liver cancer, one of his children was only 3 years old at the time.    His wife, Nannie, survived until Sunday January 10, 1926 where she passed away of pneumonia at the age of 79.   She lived at her home in Beard WV for 55 years.  Services were conducted by her pastor Rev. J. C. Johnson, and she is buried in the Oak Grove Cemetery.

 

Josiah Paul Beard (1873-1935)

Our next step on the family tree is Josiah Paul Beard, married to Nancy Grace Kinnison (in 1901).   We have actual photographs of Nancy Grace Kinnison in her older age (leftmost with her daughter Lucille Agnes Beard Price, and Stewart Paul Atkins (baby).   Josiah Paul was known as the Colonel Beard.

Shirley Place Beard Fairchild (my mother) remembers Nancy Grace Kinnison as a very nice person, a real southern lady.

The children of Josiah Paul Beard and Nancy Kinnison included Julian Lynn Beard (my grandfather), Lucille Agnes Beard Price (shown), Nancy Eula Beard, Ethel Julia Beard, Pearl Beard, Annette Beard (for whom Sheryl Annette Beard is named) and Paul Franklin Beard (for whom this website is dedicated, and gathered the original Beard family information in the 1980's).

Josiah Paul (J. Paul) Beard passed away on October 9, 1935 at the age of 62.  He was of ill mental health.

 

Julian Lynn Beard (1902-1962)

Julian Lynn Beard was born in Hillsboro, Pocahontas (the same birth location as the famous author Pearl S. Buck).    He married Beulah Jean Weiford, daughter of Ditimus Notley Weiford and Mary A. Kellison (whom my brother, Paul Kellison Beard, was named for).   They had four sons, Julian Ralph Beard (my father), Ray Cameron Beard, Edward Ross Beard, and Guy Winters Beard.  These four sons settled in different parts of the east coast of the USA as the USA went to War in WWII.    Beulah Jean Beard continued to live in the original home built by Julian Lynn Beard in the 1920's up until the 1970s, and I remember many visits there as a child.

Lynn was a storekeeper for the C&O Railroad, and moved to Daniels, West Virginia, where he built a home and settled with his wife and four sons.  Many remembrances of visiting this home on summer vacations as a child.

The picture on the left is Julian Lynn Beard, age 20, taken around 1922.  He died in 1962, my recollection of his passing, as a young boy, was a profound sadness from my father (Julian Ralph Beard).

 

Julian Ralph Beard (1923-1981)

Julian Ralph Beard grew up in "the home he built with his father" in West Virginia.  He went to Berea college when World War II interrupted, and enlisted as a marine.  He was honorably discharged after serving as an MP on a troop transport ship, going around the world to pick up soldiers after WW2 and bring them home.   He then returned and went to Penn State University (as did many others in the Beard and extended families) on the GI Bill, where he met my mother, Shirley Elaine Place Beard Fairchild.  The picture below was taken in 1943 in State College, PA.

Julian Ralph always went by the name of J. Ralph Beard (or Ralph to everyone..).  He was called "Sonny" by those who knew him in West Virginia.  He moved to Pennsylvania, originally in Springfield PA the home of Shirley Place parents and started farming.   He subsequently took a job as Assistant County Agent in Luzerne County, PA and subsequently Associate County Agent; where he spent the rest of his life working with dairy farmers, and also running the 4-H clubs for Luzerne County.

When I was small, my father needed emergency brain surgery and had this done at Geisinger Medical Center.  My memories of visiting him after the surgery and he was wearing a football helmet to protect his head.   The surgery was successful, and during a two year recuperation following the surgery we lived in State College, PA around 1963 and he earned his Master's degree (along with my mother) while working part time.   We returned to Wilkes-Barre around 1966, and then moved to Dallas, PA in 1968.  

I have many memories of my father talking about his life in West Virginia.. always complaining he moved up north with the "d..n Yankees".  He cared for his mother, Beulah Weiford Beard, dearly, and sent her money every month for her sustenance.   She came to live with us in the winter at times to escape the harsh winters in West Virginia, later she stayed with her son Ray Beard's family in Virginia Beach.   He was soft spoken due to his southern roots, and his goal was to build a log cabin in West Virginia and retire there; but unfortunately his life ended at 58 before he retired, when he passed away suddenly with a heart attack.  

My Dad's project for his Master's degree was the Pennsylvania 4-H Geology project book.  My brother Brian did many of the illustrations for this book while he was in 8th grade, and posed for the cover of the book along with my brothers Brian Warren Beard and Paul Kellison Beard and sister Sheryl Annette Beard (this project  book has subsequently been updated and no longer carries these pictures).  Brian Beard became very interested in geology as a result and became a successful geologist around the Maryland and Washington, DC areas.

J. Ralph Beard was a caring son, a devoted father and brother, a faithful husband, a hard working person, who supported himself through college and who raised five children who all graduated from college and went on to good things in their lives.  He instilled a strong work ethic and also need for education in those that he came in contact with.

This site was last updated 12/05/09