Researched & written by descendant Vickie Beard Thompson in 2011
The origins of my Beard family start out for certain in Ireland in the early 1700’s, and according to family lore somewhere in County Antrim was where they lived, before migrating to the America Colonies, before the Revolutionary War. County Antrim in Ireland is directly across the North Channel of the Irish Sea from Scotland. The surname in Ireland and Scotland is found as Baird for the most part, back throughout the ages and stayed that way in America for the first few years but then went back and forth between the spellings of Baird and Beard. My family spelled our surname as Beard, since at least 1820 or so. Below is a map of Ireland, and County Antrim is in Northern Ireland and I have highlighted it in red so you can see where it is located.
Image Source Page: http://www.map-of-ireland.org/
My first known Beard ancestor here in America was Hugh Beard who was born about 1740 in Ireland and his wife was Mary Gibson also born in Ireland about 1747. Hugh and Mary were part of a large migration of Scotch/Irish Presbyterians who left Ireland because of religious persecution for America before 1775. Scotch/Irish were for the most part people who were born in or resided in Ireland, mainly Northern Ireland, but whose earlier ancestral origins were in Scotland, but they could have been in Ireland for 200 years or 2 years and still been called Scotch/Irish. Hugh and Mary arrived in America sometime between 1770 and 1775, possibly in Charleston, South Carolina but so far I have been unable to find the exact ship they came over on or the exact year. From everything I have been able to find, all of our Beard ancestors and their children followed farming as their occupation, some would pick up odd jobs here and there, but for the most part farming was what they did to make a living and to survive.
The crossing of the Atlantic by our ancestors during the 1700’s would have taken anywhere from 5 to 6 weeks depending on weather, winds, the worthiness of the ship, captain and crew. It could have taken even longer if they had been blown off course by a storm. There were not really any passenger ships during the 1700’s; there were mainly war ships or commercial ships. When more and more people started to immigrate to America they started to refit these ships to carry passengers. Often times 300 or more people would be packed into a ship and assigned tiny cots lined up, side by side, extra floors were sometimes installed to add more people, but standing up would have been almost impossible. Sometimes you would have to literally crawl to your cot and you were not allowed to go on deck except for a short time every few days in some instances. Food was eaten where you stood. There were no dining rooms and by the first week the food was moldy and sour and water became foul and undrinkable. Disease would have been present in many shapes and forms. If you died during the crossing your body was thrown overboard and it was not like in the movies where they wrapped you in some kind of cloth and said a prayer and slid you slowly into the deep. No, there was no extra cloth, there was no time for prayer and you weren't allowed on deck, so you usually did not see your loved one thrown in. Pirates were also common during this time period and if you did not die of hunger or disease then the pirates might get you, either way you would have had to have been made of some pretty sturdy stock to even think of leaving your homeland for the unknown and uncertainty of reaching America. A ship during this time period would have possibly looked something like this, or maybe not even this good.
Image Source Page: http://thegoodhatchery.wordpress.com/2007/12/
The homes our ancestors lived in here on the frontier in America would have probably been made of logs, one room with a fireplace on one wall, to cook the food and heat the home. If the family was really lucky they might even have had an upstairs loft where everyone slept, giving them more room for cooking and cleaning downstairs. There might have been one or two windows downstairs, but they would have been very small and most likely covered in some kind of animal skin. Glass in the windows was pretty uncommon during the time period our ancestors were living in the Carolina’s and even in Kentucky and glass cost so much that most people could not afford it even if they could acquire some.
Below is a picture of an old log home that is still standing in Eastern Kentucky which may have been built around the early 1800’s. This picture can kind of give us an idea of the type of home our Beard ancestors might have lived in during the 1700’s and in to the late 1800’s. If you will notice this cabin has a metal chimney, metal roof and a porch, but these would have been added in much later. Most cabin fireplaces during the frontier times would have been made of rock inside and out and also with wood shingles on the roof or even heavy sod and no porch. This one also comes with a small loft, but as you can tell there still was not a lot of room in these cabins. Can you imagine our ancestors with 8 to 12 children living in a home this small? Most of the cabins during this time period were only about 16 feet by 16 feet, so as you can see not spacious at all.
Image Source Page: http://folkwaysnotebook.blogspot.com/2009/12/historic-small-log-houses-kentucky.html
I know that Hugh Beard and Mary Gibson had at least three sons born here in America in approximately 1778 (Simon), 1780 John (my ancestor) and 1784 (James), because of their (Hugh and Mary) ages I am assuming they had older children who came with them from Ireland, but to date I have been unable to find any of them with any certainty. Hugh and Mary are first found in the Lancaster County, South Carolina area when they received a land grant of 250 acres on the north side of the Catawba River on the south side of Cane Creek on Rum Creek, in Lancaster County, South Carolina, which was granted on 15 Nov 1774. By the early 1790’s and before 1797 the Beard family has moved over to the Abbeville County, South Carolina area. The following picture is a county boundary map for the state of South Carolina and I have colored in the areas for Lancaster County and for Abbeville County. The Catawba River runs along the western boundary of Lancaster County between York, Chester, Fairfield and Kershaw Counties and Cane Creek and Rum Creek if you look at the following map would be about where the ‘A’ in Lancaster is located, so that would have been approximately where the Beard land grant was located.
My Beard families settled in the Cedar Springs area of Abbeville County and were members of the Cedar Springs Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. If you look at the map above, this church and cemetery would be located in the top right corner of Abbeville County almost on the border of the Greenwood County line. Hugh Beard and his possible brothers or cousins, Simon Beard, John Beard and Adam Beard were some of the signers of a petition to have Rev. Alexander Porter preach at Cedar Springs in March of 1797. By August of 1814, Rev. Porter asked to be released from Cedar Springs and went to Kentucky and Ohio to preach. This was granted and the following month in September of 1814, Rev. Porter left with 34 members of his congregation in Cedar Springs for Kentucky taking wagons and livestock. Some of the Beard family went with him, however, part of the Beard families that left at this time or shortly before, stopping in Kentucky only briefly then went on to Preble County, Ohio and others went to Randolph County, Illinois. My ancestors, Hugh Beard and Mary Gibson, I believe died in Abbeville County, but so far I have not found any death dates for them, but they could be in unmarked graves at the Cedar Springs Church Graveyard. One of these days I would like to go there and look around and who knows I might just find a marker for them.
Just to clarify a little for those that might not know, back in the day if you belong to certain congregations you could ask for a certain preacher to be assigned to your church or if you needed a preacher and none were around you could send a letter to the main church and request that a preacher be sent. You would get the members in the area to sign a petition requesting a new preacher and hopefully your request was granted as soon as possible. The people in the Cedar Springs area must have really liked Rev. Alexander Porter, because there were a number of children born in the area who were named Alexander Porter, even in my own family there were at least four descendants of Hugh Beard and Mary Gibson named Alexander Porter Beard. When a preacher wanted to be released from the area he was serving in, he would have to send a letter to the main church and request this and once it was granted then he could move on to new areas. Rev. Porter was born in about 1770 in Abbeville County, South Carolina and was the first native born minister of the Associated Reformed Presbytery of the Carolina’s and Georgia here in America. Rev. Porter died in about 1836 in Preble County, Ohio. The following is a picture of the Cedar Springs Church and Graveyard as it looks today. The original church was framed and made of wood and built in about 1797, but the church today is made of brick and was built in about 1853.
Image Source Page: http://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=7184
My next ancestor John Beard son of Hugh Beard and Mary Gibson, with his wife Catharine McKinney who was born in Ireland in about 1780, as well as their first six children, namely: Robert, Hugh, John, Alexander (my ancestor), Simon and William; left Cedar Springs in the spring of 1817, for Kentucky, moving into the Livingston County area that eventually became Crittenden County in 1842. John Beard and Catharine McKinney had been married at the Cedar Springs Church on 13 September 1803. After arriving in Kentucky, John Beard and Catharine McKinney had five more children, namely: William, Matthew, Margaret, Catharine, James and Nancy Agnes; making eleven children in all that they had. At one time my Dad, Duell Franklin Beard, talked to a woman in Marion, Kentucky named Nina Ordway, who had the old Beard family bible and in it were listed all eleven children with their complete birth dates. I don’t know whatever happen to the bible, but it would sure be great if it still existed out there somewhere. The following picture is a county boundary map for the state of Kentucky and I have colored in the areas for Livingston and Crittenden Counties so you can see where the family eventually came to live after leaving South Carolina in 1817.
When John Beard was about 52 years of age in 1832, he died, weather it was from an illness or an accident I have been unable to determine as of yet. His youngest child was just five years of age. John’s wife, Catharine McKinney never remarried, but lived out the remainder of her days with most of her children living either with her or close by. Catharine McKinney Beard died in January of 1873, having been a widow for almost 41 years. John and Catharine had two children Hugh and Nancy Agnes who never married and who both lived to be quite old, they are both buried at what is called the Coleman Donakey Place Cemetery in Crittenden County and I believe that John and Catharine may also be buried there as well, but none of them have markers that I am aware of. It was not unusual at all for a woman to remain widowed during this time period, although there were many that did remarry sometimes within months of their spouses death, I think it just depended on the person.
My next ancestor, Alexander Beard was born in 1811 in Abbeville County, South Carolina the son of John Beard and Catharine McKinney. Alexander was just 6 years old when the family moved to Kentucky. In 1838 Alexander Beard married Hulda Ford and they became the parents of seven children, namely: Julia Ann, Charlotte, Nancy Agnes, William, Sarah, Mary Ann and George Anderson (my ancestor). When Alexander Beard was about 61 years of age in 1872, he died, I have been unable to determine as of yet what the cause of death may have been for him as well. Alexander Beard died less than a year before his mother, Catharine McKinney Beard died.
Alexander Beard’s youngest child was just 13 years of age and was my ancestor George Anderson Beard. Hulda Ford Beard remarried in 1875, to Anthony Franklin a widower and who my brother Tony (Anthony Franklin Beard) was named for. Anthony died in 1890 and Hulda lived as a widow after that time until 1905 when she passed away. Hulda is buried at the Hurricane Cemetery in Crittenden County, Kentucky. My Dad, Duell Franklin Beard was also given this man’s last name for his middle name, so they must have thought very highly of him. My Dad also said he was named for the doctor who delivered him Dr. Franklin, who by the way was a descendant of Anthony Franklin who married the widow, Hulda Ford Beard.
My next ancestor, George Anderson Beard was born in 1859 in Crittenden County, Kentucky the son of Alexander Beard and Hulda Ford. He was married first to Nellie Elder and she died in childbirth along with the baby in 1890. On the December 17, 1891 in Marion, Kentucky, George Anderson Beard married Rose Etta Daniel and to them were born eight children, namely: Nina Ruth, Aubrey David (my grandfather), Addie Lou, George Duell, Cleo Wilma, Daniel Nunn (Petieman), Gladys Rosemond and Mary Gwendolyn; the last two being twin girls who were eleven years old when their father died. George Anderson Beard also died fairly young at the age of 65, in 1924 in Clarksville, Arkansas and is buried at the Oakland Cemetery in Clarksville. He had been sick just a short time, but I do not know what the illness was. The following is a picture of his grave taken the day he was buried.
George's widow Rose Etta Daniel Beard never remarried and she and the children had moved over to Bowlegs, Oklahoma before the 1930 census was taken. Rose Etta Daniel Beard and some of her children moved to Tulare County, California sometime after the census was taken that year and by the end of the summer of 1930 and she died in Woodlake in 1939, being a widow for 15 years. Rose Etta Daniel Beard is buried in the Woodlake District Cemetery in Woodlake, California and thanks to great-granddaughter Sheena Sharp Wilson who saw to the ordering and placing of the marker and the many cousins who donated the money needed to order the marker, Rose now has a marker there. Also listed on the marker are two of her children who did not have markers either and their names were: Daniel ‘Petieman’ Beard and Cleo Wilma Beard Jones. The following is a picture of Rose's grave the day she was buried in 1939 and then the marker placed at the cemetery years later.
The following are pictures of George Anderson Beard and his wife Rose Etta Daniel.
George Anderson Beard and Rose Etta Daniel’s second child and first son, was my grandfather, Aubrey David Beard who was born in 1895 in Marion, Crittenden County, Kentucky. In 1925 Aubrey David Beard, who had never been married before, married Jessie Holeman Doss who had already been married and divorced three times and had two sons, William Teague and Harold Walls. All most all of us grandkids called Aubrey, Papaw Beard and we called Jessie, Mama Jessie. The marriage of Aubrey and Jessie apparently started off pretty rocky and went downhill from there. They ended up having seven children together before eventually getting a divorce in June of 1942.
The divorce decree gave the seven children to Aubrey with a stipulation that said that Jessie could see the children when she was orderly and at reasonable times. The following year in July 1943, Aubrey and the seven children, Helen, Dale, George, Don, Violet, Jack and Tog (my Daddy), left Kentucky and moved to Woodlake, California. Aubrey never remarried, he always said once was enough and he would never make that mistake again. J Papaw Beard and Mamaw Jessie had seven children together and if I counted right those seven children gave them thirty-seven grandchildren. The following is the only picture I know of where my grandparents, Aubrey & Jessie are together. It was taken in either Marion or Providence, Kentucky around 1925 or 1926.