Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Peaks of Otter Presbyterian Church Land

One hundred and two members of the Peaks of Otter Church in Bedford County, Virginia, petitioned the House of Burgesses for permission to purchase slaves in order to work church land in order to support the maintenance of a full-time minister. The Burgesses' Committee on Religion reported the petition as reasonable on 21 May 1774 but Lord Dunmore, the royal governor, dissolved the House of Burgesses on 25 May. So we don't know if an official act was ever passed granting the petition. However, we know the church members did buy four slaves. (See Peaks of Otter Presbyterian Church Petition)

In From Slaves to Satellites: 250 Years of Changing Times on a Virginia Farm, published in 1999, author Peter Viemeister wrote on page 29:

"Neither church nor county land records reveal where the slaves were quartered nor where they worked. Relevant church minutes have been lost. Perhaps one of the big landowners -- like Beard or Ewing -- said, in effect, 'Here, use this land as long as the church wants to. No need for formal deed, contracts, and all that. If the church stops using it, we'll take the land back.'..."

I believe I have found the record regarding the land in Chancery Court cause 1769-003. Robert Mitchell, my five times great grandfather, and John Erwine purchased two hundred acres from John Hardiman which was described as being located between "Molly's Creek on the one side, the road on the other, and Dutchman's Branch on the last side" for "settlement of a certain David Rice, their minister."

Snippet from page three of Bedford County Chancery 1769-003; courtesy
of the Library of Virginia

John Erwine and Robert Mitchell entered into two bonds each for the sum of fifty Virginia pounds for the agreed upon 200 acres. The parties also agreed if after being surveyed the triangle described did not include 200 acres additional acreage would be added to the agreement. And that was the rub.

Surveying revealed the land to be 150 acres and the parties had two different ideas about how to make up the shortfall. John Hardiman wanted to add land along the banks and across Falling River and John Erwine and Robert Mitchell thought that land was worthless and refused. The first bond was duly executed but while Hardiman, Erwine and Mitchell were discussing what to do about the additonal 50 acres they had committed to purchase, Hardiman assigned the second bond to John Richards, who promptly went to court and obtained a judgment against Erwine and Mitchell.

John Erwine and Robert Mitchell were outraged, and their ire comes through the stilted court language almost 240 years later:

"...the said Hardiman disregarding every principal of honesty has confederated with the said Richards...to defeat your orators out of the just deductions and encouraged the commencement and prosecution of the said suit; and after judgment by bond, used a subpoena...for recovery of the debt."

John Erwine and Robert Mitchell told the court they were always willing to pay some portion of the second bond if agreement could not be reached on which land should be used to make up the acreage shortfall. They felt the dealings of Hardiman and Richards had been unnecessary and resulted in needless and expensive court costs. They begged the justices to put the two men under oath each time they were questioned -- clearly they didn't think much of the two men's word!

This is yet another Chancery Court case file that peters out without a final decree. John Richards never responded to two subpoenas to appear in court and answer the bill of complaint. The last page is a bond signed by John Erwine, Robert Mitchell, and Israel Read for twenty Virginia pounds which was be effective until the court rendered its decision. If Ewine and Mitchell prevailed, the bond would be void.

_______________
Peaks of Otter Presbyterian Church Petition

Monday, April 16, 2018

Peaks of Otter Presbyterian Church Petition

The Peaks of Otter Presbyterian Church was established in 1761 by a group of Bedford County, Virginia, settlers who were of Scottish descent. The Mitchell and McMullen families, and perhaps others had immigrated from Northern Ireland, where they had been planted by English kings in and effort to quell the "unruly" Irish Catholics. They typically arrived in Philadelphia and settled in Lancaster and York counties before eventually taking what became known as the Great Wagon Road through the Shenandoah Valley and settling near Peaks of Otter in Bedford County.

My five times great grandfather, Rev. David Rice[1], served as part-time minister of the church from 1766 until he removed to Kentucky. My four times great grandfather, Rev. James Mitchell[2] was also a minister of the Peaks church. So I have also become interested in the history of church.

While reading Peter Viemeister's book, From Slaves to Satellites: 250 Years of Changing Times on a Virginia Farm, I learned that the church petitioned the House of Burgesses in 1774 for permission to own slaves:

First page of the petition from the Peaks Church to the House of
Burgesses as printed in The Virginia Magazine of History and
Biography,
Vol. 12, No. 4 (April 1905), pages 417-424

Petition of the Peaks of Otter Presbyterian Church, 1774

To the Honorable Mr. Speaker and Gentlemen of the House of Burgesses, --

The petition of a number of Presbyterians, members of a Presbyterian church congregation, in the county of Bedford known by the name of the Peaks of Otter humbly sheweth, that your petitioners have in time past and are still willing to contribute their quota in support of the Church of England as by law established in this Colony of Virginia; which they do with the more cheerfulness as they have hitherto enjoyed their rights and privileges and free exercise of the religion as Presbyterian Dissenters unmolested : nor have they any fears or doubts of being disturbed therein by this honorable House while your petitioners duly obey the laws of their country, continue good subjects of their most gracious sovereign, and are useful members of the community.  And as they look upon obedience to laws, and protection from the legislature be reciprocal, they therefore pray the protection of this honorable House in the future in the free exercise of their religion, which they humbly conceive is well calculated to make men wise and happy hereafter; to enforce due obedience to their lawful Sovereign, and to live in proper subjection to the laws.

While they thus implore your protection and favorable notice, they beg leave to inform this honorable House that they find it very convenient to support clergy of their denomination by the usual method of subscription, therefore a number of well disposed persons in said Presbyterian church or congregation, have made contributions to purchase therewith lands and slaves for the support of stated minister of their said congregation : but not believing the Elders or church session a body sufficiently corporated by any express law of this Colony in which to vest the freehold of the land and slaves in trust for the purpose of raising a salary and the same being in obeyance they would be liable to various trespasses without redress for remedy whereof your petitioners further pray that this honorable House would pass a law empowering the Elders of said congregation to dispose of the benefactions that now are or hereafter may be given for the support of a minister of the Presbyterian profession, in the purchase of land and slaves or to place the same or any part thereof to interest as shall seem most for the benefit of the congregation, and vest in the said Elders and the successors the freehold of the said land and slaves, to the use of said minister as long as he continues in the doctrine and subject to the discipline of the Presbyterian church as held and exercised by their sessions Presbyteries and synods; with power to withhold the profits of the said land and slaves and the interest of the money whenever the minister shall deviate from the doctrines or disciplines according to the judgment of the judicatures and if the profits of the said land and slaves and money should at any time exceed the salary agreed upon with the said minister, the Elders are to dispose of the overplus as also the profit, arising from the lands, slaves and money between the death or moval of a minister and the admission of his successor, according to the rules of the Presbyterian church, as shall be directed by a majority of the congregation : that the Elders shall have the power to sell any lands or slaves that may be thought less useful, and with the money arising from such sale to purchase other lands or slaves of more value to the same uses : that the said members of the Presbyterian church according to the doctrine and discipline thereof, and that shall be annually accountable to the minister for his salary or so much thereof as shall arise from the profits of the land and slaves, and the interest of the money, that the elders keep a fair book of all their transactions in the said trusts and render a just account thereof to such persons as shall be chosen by a majority of the congregation when thereunto demanded, and on refusal or default be liable to suit of the said persons so chosen with the consent of the said majority.

This our petition, being solely intended for promoting religion and virtue amongst the Presbyterians in this part of the Colony, is humbly left to the serious consideration of this honorable House to confirm or make such suggestions and amendments as you in your great wisdom shall think expedient, and your petitioners as in duty bound, shall ever pray.

Signatures of congregant petitioners*

[Endorsed]: Bedford. Petition of the members of the Presbyterian church, praying that Elders thereof may be enabled to take and hold lands and slaves, to the use of the minister, under proper regulation.

17 May 1774,
Referred to the Committee for Religion

21 May 1774,
Reported reasonable

Appended to the end of the petition is the following note from then editor of the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography[2]:

"This was one of the oldest Presbyterian churches in Virginia. Though Foote[3] does not give the date of the organization, he states that in 1766 Rev. Rice , afterwards known as the "Patriarch of Presbyterianism in Kentucky," became its pastor and continued in charge until 1783...

...As the petition was reported on favorably on the 21st of May and Dunmore dissolved the Assembly on the 25th, it is probable that no act was ever passed in accordance with the wishes of the petitioners."

The Enslaved People

Since we know the the congregants of the church purchased four slaves and acquired or were gifted a tract of land about 100 acres in size, either the House of Burgesses passed the petition before they were dissolved or the congregation of the Peaks of Otter decided to proceed without authorization once the legislature had been dissolved.

According to Peter Viemeister, the enslaved were Jerry, Kate, Tom and Venus. "In 1783, trustees Robert and William Ewing, William and Jon Trigg, and David Rice attested that the church now had clear title not only to the initial four adult slaves, but also their ten children: Nancy, Ishmael, Sall, Moses, Herod, Cyrus, Pharez, Jinney, Milly and Charles."[4]

*Signers of the 1774 Petition (Names have been alphabetized for ease of searching. If the same name appears more than once, then there were multiple congregants with the identical name.)

Jesse Abslon
William Adams
William Adson
Alexander Armstrong
John Armstrong
William Armstrong
John Beaney
Adam Beard
David Beard
Samuel Beard
James Boyd
William Boyd
Henry Brown
James Brown
John Burk
Charles Campbell
Samuel Campbell
Thomas Campbell
Merry Carter
William Cenedey
Charles Cobbes
Robert Cowan
Alexander Davidson
George Dickson
Abrah Dooley
George Dooley
George Dooley
Jacob Dooley
John Dooley
Thomas Dooley
Thomas Dooley, Jr.
John Downing
Willia Downing
James Edger
Jonas Erwin
Andrew Evins
John Evins
Abraham Ewin
Caleb Ewing
Charles Ewing
Robert Ewing
Robert Ewing, Jr.
William Ewing
John Ewinge
Samuel Farr
Thomas Feely
Michael Gilbert
Issack Groce
Dannal Gudane
William Handy
Peter Harman
David Harvey
Robert Hill
Abel Holmes
Thomas Howard
Andrew Irwin
Robert Irwin
Jarvis Jackson
Joseph Jackson, Jr.
Joseph Jackson, Sr.
Robert Jarvis
James Kennedy
John Kennedy
Thomas Kennedy
William Kennedy
James Kerley
William Lamme
Joseph Linn
Adam Linn
Adam Linn
John Low
Frederick Mayberry
Henry Mayberry
John McFarland
Charles McGlaf, Sr.
Lawrence McGuire
Thomas McHandres
Moses McIlvain
Nicholas Mene
Andrew Mitchel
Daniel Mitchell
Daniel Mitchell
Enos Mitchell
James Mitchell
James Mitchell
John Mitchell
Robert Mitchell
Robert Mitchell, Jr.
Robert Mitchell, Sr.
Stephen Mitchell
Robert Myers
John Patterson
Francis Read
Thomas Read
Francis Reed
James Reed
Slowman Rees
Benjamin Rew
Daniel Robinson
James Robinsone
Dudley Roundtree
Michael Roxer
William Rutherford
Adam Sharp
John Sharp
Abraham Sharpe
John Slayner
Polsin Smal, Jr.
Edmund Smith
Lege Stone
Isham Talbot
W. Tathane
William Thompson
John Todd, Jr.
William Trigg, Jr.
Thomas Williams
Benjamin Witt
John Wood
Thomas Wood
Michael Yocum
James Young
James Young

_______________
[1] Rev. David Rice was of English descent and his parents were Anglican as was the law in colonial Virginia during the time they lived. David Rice converted to Presbyterianism as a young adult.
[2] Rev. James Mitchell was of Scots descent and married a daughter of Rev. David Rice, Frances Blair Rice.
[3] Rev. William Henry Foote, author of Sketches of Virginia: Historical and Biographical, published in 1856.
[4] These enslaved people have been released on the Slave Name Roll Project.

Memoirs of Rev. David Rice (1733-1816): His Comfort and Success Among the Peaks of Otter
Pray Together, Stay Together
Apostle of Kentucky

If you find names of enslaved persons in your research, I encourage you to consider contributing the information to the Slave Name Roll Project.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

52 Ancestors #15: James Harvey Beard (1780-1869): A Long Life Lived

Ancestor: James Harvey Beard, three times great grandfather
DNA Haplogroup: I-M253

James Harvey Beard was born on 7 September 1780 in Bedford County, Virginia, to Samuel Beard and his wife Mary Mitchell. He was their second son but eldest child to live to adulthood. Months before his birth, his father had been sworn in as a captain in the Virginia militia and in March 1781 was called into emergency service to fight at the battle of Guilford Courthouse. Captain Beard returned to his family shortly thereafter and he and Mary had five more children together.

James Harvey, who seemed to have gone by Harvey most often, grew up in Bedford county. His father managed a comfortable plantation and Harvey, his siblings and cousins were all members of the Peaks of Otter Presbyterian Church, which was led by Rev. James Mitchell[1] after 1783. Rev. Mitchell was Harvey's uncle -- a brother of his mother.

Harvey married Mary McMullin (or McMullen) on 21 June 1811. Her father, Matthew, paid surety for the marriage bond. Her mother's name was Margaret but her maiden name is unknown. Their first child was born on Christmas Eve 1812 and another son followed in 1813. On 7 October 1814, Harvey enlisted as a private in a Virginia militia battalion of artillery. He served for five weeks before being discharged.

Harvey's father died in October 1814 and a will has not been found. If he died intestate, there were no issues within the family for how his affairs were settled as no case was found in the Bedford County Chancery Court records.

After Harvey returned home from the War of 1812 he and Mary had two more sons, who lived to adulthood. An examination of Harvey's household in the 1820, 1830, and 1840 census records, reveals there were likely other children who did not live to adulthood.

Analysis of the 1820, 1830 and 1840 census records for the household headed
by James Harvey Beard; created using Microsoft Excel

In 1837 the Presbyterian church in the United States split into New School and Old School over the issue of slavery. My assumption is James Harvey stayed in the Old School as he continued to own slaves at least through 1840.

Chancery Court Causes

Mary (McMullin) Beard's brother, Matthew, Jr., died in 1826 after selling land he had purchased from his siblings but before he paid his siblings or conveyed title to the purchaser. Another brother, Daniel, began a case in Chancery Court against his brother's estate, but died before it could be heard.  His executor was James Harvey Beard, Mary's husband. This suit dragged on until 1845. It was a convoluted case because Daniel McMullin died unmarried and without children. His heirs were his siblings. So Matthew, Jr.'s estate was being sued for $400 plus interest, but as an heir to Daniel's estate, they would have received a portion of that amount back.

The extended Beard family had resided in Bedford County for several generations, but Harvey's uncle, Capt. David Beard and his family moved out of the county after the Revolutionary War, eventually settling in Sumner County, Tennessee. His aunt, Rachel (Beard) Dickson/Dixon, and her family migrated to Maury County, also in Tennessee. Some of his siblings also left Bedford County. His brother, Robert Mitchell Beard, and his sister, Mary "Polly" Beard, married siblings, Nancy C. Webb and Bird S. Webb, respectively, and lived in Franklin County, Virginia. Those Webb families migrated to Missouri sometime in the 1840s and lost touch with the Beard family members remaining in Virginia.

His mother Mary (Mitchell) Beard, died on 28 July 1843 and Harvey became the administrator of his parents' estate. There were four enslaved people, who Mary received as part of her portion of her husband's estate. Harvey wanted to sell them and distribute the proceeds among his mother's heirs. However, he did not know where some of the heirs lived. On 22 January 1844, Harvey filed a bill of complaint in Chancery Court. He wanted permission to sell his mother's dower property and he wanted his siblings, whose location was unknown to him, to be made defendants so that the court would advertise and perhaps his siblings would respond. The chancery court appointed a commissioner who oversaw the sale of Henry, Wallace, Dick and Rachel, and the proceeds were distributed to the known heirs. Those heirs who removed from Virginia received nothing. This case took until 1852 before the court issued a final decree.

Poor House Steward and Remarriage

Sometime before the 1850 census was enumerated, Harvey Beard's wife, Mary, died. He was the steward of the county poorhouse, which housed 19 people, all listed as paupers. His real estate was valued at $4,000.

Poor houses were traditionally a responsibility of county governments and provided social services for needy residents. The federal government did not participate in social welfare until 1934. Poor houses frequently included poor farms, which those who were able work work and contributed food to the house.

On 24 October 1850 Harvey, James F. Johnson, and Rhoda Parker executed a deed which stated Harvey and Rhoda intended to marry shortly. Rhoda owned and controlled property and an estate and the purpose of the deed was for her to retain control of the property after her marriage. In addition Harvey Beard turned over one feather bed, bedstead, chest of drawers, table, trunk, lady's saddle, and chairs, several bonds, which were promises for payment of money he had lent, and one share of stock in the Bedford Savings Bank to James Johnson. He was to sell everything and proceeds where to be for the "separate use of Rhoda Parker both before and after the intended marriage."

He and Rhoda were enumerated in the 1860 census. Harvey continued to work as the steward at the Bedford County Poor House and his personal estate was valued at $1,200. No mention was made of any real estate. The Poor House was home to 48 people in addition to Harvey and Rhoda.

Civil War

James Harvey Beard was 81 years old when the Civil War began with those first shots fired at Fort Sumter. He would lose at least one grandson to the carnage of the war. The Virginia & Tennessee Railroad came to Bedford County in 1852 with depots in Forest, Liberty and Buford's Station. During the war Liberty citizens saw thousands of soldiers come through their town on their way to war. The ladies of the town often fed them. If the soldiers were required to stay overnight before continuing their journey, they stayed with families in Liberty and the nearby environs. I like to think that some enlisted men were sent to the Poor House over which James Harvey supervised.

Death

James Harvey Beard wrote his will on 14 November 1863:

Last Will and Testament of James Harvey Beard; courtesy of Ancestry.com

I James Harvey Beard of Bedford County Virginia do make and ordain this my last will and testament hereby revoking any and all wills by me at any time heretofore made.

Item 1st: I direct my just debts to be paid.
Item 2nd: I give to my beloved wife Rhoda Beard in lieu of her dower and distributive share in my estate the sum of $1,200 to be paid her by my executor herein named from the first money that may come into his hands after the payment of my debts, to be held by her in absolute estate.
Item 3rd: All the residue of my estate I give equally to my four sons Granville L. Beard, David F. Beard, Robert Beard and Charles Beard and my executor is hereby empowered to sell any and all of my property for distribution as herein before directed in this will.
Item 4th: I nominate and appoint James F. Johnson executor of this last will and testament.

In testimony whereof I hereto subscribe my name this 14th day of November 1863.

James H. Beard

Witnesses:
Rowland D. Buford
James A. Aunspaugh

James Harvey died in October 1869 in Bedford County. He was 89 years old. When the 1870 census was enumerated, his widow, Rhoda lived in Liberty, which is now a town named Bedford, with her brother Caleb and his family.

On  26 September 1871, Rowland Buford and James Aunspaugh swore in court that the will was James Harvey Beard's last will and testament.

Rhoda (Parker) Beard died on 9 March 1875.

James Harvey Beard lived to the ripe old age of 89. When he was eight years old, Virginia became the tenth state in the new United States of America in 1788. Seventy-three years later, James Harvey saw that country torn apart and fighting a Civil War. Quite a lot of history to pack into one long life.

This is my entry for Amy Johnson Crow's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. The theme for this week was "Taxes," which I did not follow.

Using the Ancestral Reference Numbering System, John Beard is Ancestor number 36 on my family tree:

36 James Harvey Beard, born 7 September 1780 in Bedford County, Virginia, to Samuel Beard and Mary Mitchell; died October 1869 in Bedford County; signed marriage bond to marry 1) Mary McMullin, daughter of Matthew and Margaret McMullin on 21 June 1811 in Bedford County, and entered into a deed with 2) Rhoda Parker, daughter of James and Rhoda Parker, on 24 October 1850 which indicated they planned to soon marry.

18 David Fleming Beard, Sr., born 24 December 1812 in Bedford County to James Harvey Beard and Mary McMullin; died 4 July 1878 in Bedford County; married 1) Ann Dooley, daughter of Moses Dooley and Hulda Sharp, on 16 Feb 1842 in Bedford County, and 2) Barbara Ann Mitchell, daughter of Daniel Mitchell and Sarah "Sally" Wood, on 6 December 1866 in Bedford County.

36.1 Granville Lacy Beard, born in 1813 in Bedford County; died after 1873; married 1) Elizabeth Dooley, daughter of Moses Dooley and Hulda Sharp, on 17 October 1838 in Bedford County; and 2) Rachel Ellis on 31 May 1873 in Bedford County.

36.2 Robert M. Beard, born about 1818 in Bedford County; died after 1880; married Elizabeth A. Pollard on 28 June 1841 in Bedford County.

36.3 Charles Edward Beard, born 26 January 1827 in Bedford County; died 14 February 1900 in Bedford County; married Ann Elizabeth Key on 19 November 1849 in Bedford County.

_______________
Sources:

1820 US Census (database and images), FamilySearch, Harvey Beard, Northern District, Bedford, Virginia; citing p. 34, NARA microfilm publication M33, (Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration), roll 133; FHL microfilm 193692 (accessed 16 Jun 2014).
1830 US Census (database and images), FamilySearch, Harvey Beard, Bedford, Virginia; citing 124, NARA microfilm publication M19, (Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration), roll 194, FHL microfilm 29673 (accessed 16 Jun 2014).
1840 US Census (database and images), FamilySearch, Harvey Beard, Southern District, Bedford, Virginia; citing p. 271, NARA microfilm publication M704, (Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration), roll 550, FHL microfilm 29683 (accessed 16 Jun 2014).
1850 US Census (database and images), Ancestry, James H Beard, Southern Division, Bedford, Virginia; citing p. 272B, NARA microfilm publication M432, (Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration), image 543 (accessed 17 Jun 2014).
1860 US Census (database and images), Ancestry, James H Biard, Southern Revenue District, Bedford, Virginia; citing p. 660, NARA microfilm publication M653, (Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration), FHL microfilm 805335 (accessed 17 Jun 2014).
1870 US Census (database and images), Ancestry, Rhoda Beard, Liberty, Bedford, Virginia; citing p. 263A, NARA microfilm publication M593, (Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration), FHL microfilm 553134 (accessed 18 Jun 2014).
Bedford County, Virginia, Wikipedia (accessed 19 Mar 2018).
Bedford County, Virginia, Deed (member story), Ancestry, James Beard, Rhoda Parker, James F. Johnson 24 Oct 1850, Bedford, Virginia (accessed 17 Mar 2018)
Hinshaw, William Wade. Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, Vol. VI, (Ann Arbor, MI: Edwards Brothers, Inc., 1936), page 877.
Kerby, Robert L., The Militia System and the State Militias in the War of 1812, Indiana Magazine of History, Vol. 73, Issue 2, June 1977, Indiana University Department of History (accessed 20 Mar 2018).
Poor Farms, Revolvy (accessed 19 Mar 2018).
Samuel Beard (1750-1814): Revolutionary War Veteran, Tangled Roots and Trees (accessed 9 Apr 2018)
US War of 1812 Service Records, 1812-1815 (database), Ancestry, Harvey Beard, Battalion of Art'y, Vir Mil, 1813-14, citing NARA microfilm publication M602, (Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration), 234 rolls (accessed 18 Sep 2017).
Viemeister, Peter. Historical Diary of Bedford, Virginia, USA from Ancient Times to U.S. Bicentennial, (Bedford, VA: Hamilton's, 1993), page 9-11, 14-31.
Virginia Chancery Court Records, 1786-1961 (database and images), Library of Virginia, Bedford County, 1845-017, Admr of James McMullen v. Admr of Matthew McMullen etc. (accessed 3 Jan 2018).
Virginia Chancery Court Records, 1786-1961 (database and images), Library of Virginia, Bedford County, 1852-049, James H Beard, etc. v. Samuel A Beard, etc. (accessed 1 Mar 2015).
Virginia Deaths and Burials Index, 1853-1912 (database), FamilySearch, J. H. Beard, husband of Roda Beard, 9 Mar 1875, Bedford, Virginia, citing FHL microfilm 30600 (accessed 18 Jun 2014).
Virginia Deaths and Burials Index, 1853-1917 (database), Ancestry, Jas S Beard, Oct 1869, Bedford, Virginia, citing FHL microfilm 30600 (accessed 18 Jun 2014).
Virginia Marriages, 1740-1850 (database), Ancestry, Henry Beard 21 Jun 1811, Bedford, Virginia (accessed 16 Jun 2014)
Virginia Marriages, 1785-1940 (database), FamilySearch, James H. Beard, father of groom, Granville L. Beard, citing FHL microfilm 30597 (accessed 27 Jun 2014).
Virginia Marriages, 1785-1940 (database), FamilySearch, Jas. H. Beard, father of groom David F. Beard, citing FHL microfilm 30597 (accessed 21 Jun 2014).
Virginia Wills and Probate Records, 1652-1983, Ancestry, James H. Beard, 14 Nov 1863, Bedford, Virginia, citing Will Books, Vols. 22-23, 1870-1876, page 230 (accessed 17 Mar 2018)

The Elizabeth Beard First Cousins: Which Is Which?
Samuel Beard (1750-1814): Revolutionary War Veteran
The Several Elizabeth Beards
Adam Beard (c1727-1777): Constable of Bedford County
John Beard (c1705-1780): A Man of Means
Who's Your Daddy, Adam Beard?
Beard and Jennings: More Interconnected than I Thought
The Court Case Regarding the Slaves of Mary (Mitchell) Beard
Proving James Harvey Beard's Father
Slaves of John Beard (1705-1780) of Bedford County, Virginia
The Court Doth Adjudge, Order and Decree
The Mother Nobody Knew
George Washington Spoke to Him
Ancestry DNA and Finding a New Cousin

Monday, April 9, 2018

The Elizabeth Beard First Cousins: Which Is Which?

In the post, The Several Elizabeth Beards, I described the popularity of the given name Elizabeth in the Beard family. Both John Beard (c1705-1780) and his son Adam Beard, Sr., (1725-1777) married women named Elizabeth though their maiden names are unknown. Adam Sr.'s sons, David, Samuel and Adam all named daughters Elizabeth as well. Each of these Elizabeths were born between 1773 and 1786 in Virginia, most likely in Bedford County. They were first cousins to each other.

Relationship between three first cousins named Betsy Beard; created using
Microsoft PowerPoint

I've known since I discovered Samuel Beard, his father Adam, Sr., and grandfather John Beard that there were three Betsys. I wasn't sure I had each Betsy Beard associated to the correct parents. It was a nagging worry I poked at from time to time but never felt I had definitely solved it until I found a Chancery Court cause that detailed the several children of Samuel Beard (1750-1814).

Elizabeth "Betsy" Beard #1, daughter of David Beard

I felt pretty good about the parents of this Betsy Beard. Her parents, David and Isabella (Carson) Beard had removed to Sumner County, Tennessee, by late 1700s. Elizabeth married Orman Allen on 20 April 1795 in Sumner County. I believe he had been married previously. One daughter, Ann, was born to he and Betsy and he added a codicil to his will, originally written in 1803, to include this daughter. Orman's will was proved on 7 April 1805 and it is possible Betsy married King Carr afterwards. If so, they had three sons. The woman I believe to be Elizabeth "Betsy" (Beard) Allen Carr, lived with her son John Carr in Macon County, Tennessee, when the 1850 census was enumerated. My assumption is she died after that but before the 1860 census was taken.

Elizabeth "Betsy" Beard #2, daughter of Samuel Beard

This Betsy would be my four times great aunt if I had the correct Betsy associated to my four times great grandfather Samuel Beard. I believed this Betsy was born on 22 June 1782 and married Rufus Thomas on 18 May 1815 in Bedford County. Rufus died in February 1850 and Betsy #2 died sometime after the 1860 census was enumerated.

Elizabeth "Betsy" Beard #3, daughter of Adam Beard

This Betsy was born about 1780 and married John B. Witt on 12 January 1815. Like her cousin, Betsy #2, Betsy #3 lived in Bedford County her entire life and died in April 1850. After he death, her widower married Elizabeth (Goggin) Field, daughter of Samuel Goggin and widow of Samuel Field (or Fields).

Recently, I read From Slaves to Satellites: 250 Years of Changing Times on a Virginia Farm by Peter Viemeister, which disagreed with my "definitive" linkages of the three first cousins named Elizabeth Beard to the correct father. He believed the Betsy Beard who married Rufus Thomas was Adam's daughter, not Samuel's. Here's what he had to say in his book:

"As one generation died, a new one was beginning. John's grandson Adam Beard Jr., brother of Samuel, married neighbor Margaret Mitchell[1] in 1780 and started having children. They continued a family tradition: in June 1782, when a daughter was born, they named her Elizabeth. This Elizabeth Beard, who became known as Eliza[2], will be an important figure in our story...

...As the Nation was being born, Adam, Jr., died. He left two small daughters. His widow Margaret was 'with child' when he died, and daughter Eliza was barely five years old.

Young Adam, Jr., had prospered with 17 slaves and hundreds of acres of land. His will appointed brother Samuel as Executor and directed that all of his land was to be sold.

Little Eliza had lost her father. Her grandfather, Adam, and her great grandfather, John, were also gone. The most significant man remaining in her life was then Uncle Samuel. If her father's land were sold, where would she, her siblings, and her mother live? Widow Margaret and children could have remained where they were; Samuel appeared in no rush to implement the sale of brother Adam's assets...

...When Eliza Beard was 15, ten years after her father Adam, Jr., had died, her father's land was finally sold. Uncle Samuel bought some of it. Again, we can suspect that her uncle made it possible for Adam's family to stay where they had always been...

...It's unclear when Eliza'a mother died, but we do know that her special uncle, Samuel, died about 1814. His widow, Mary, would live on for twenty-five more years, receiving a pension for Samuel's contributions during the Revolution. When they put Samuel to rest, Eliza was just beginning her third decade of life but now with no uncle, no father, no grandfather, no husband. She would soon have a man of her own: Rufus Thomas, a man who began life in 1776, the same year the United States of America began its life...In May 1815 Rufus, then 38, married 32-year-old Eliza Beard. Her cousin, John Bard, posted surety bond for her."

Who's Right?

After reviewing my sources for Elizabeth "Betsy" Beard #2 and #3, I believe I am right for two reasons:

DAR Lineage Books
The Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Lineage books indicates this is not the case. It provides the following lineage:

Snippet from Lineage Book of Charter DAR Members, Vol. 43;
courtesy of Ancestry.com

Bedford County Chancery Cause 1852-049
When Samuel Beard's wife, Mary died in 1843, her eldest son and executor, James Harvey Beard, filed a bill of complaint in Chancery court.[4] He wanted to sell Mary's property so he could distribute the proceeds to his mother's heirs but had lost track of two siblings: Robert Mitchell and Mary "Polly" Beard. They had married siblings -- Nancy C. Webb and Bird S. Webb. Robert Mitchell Beard predeceased his mother and his widow and children had joined Bird and Polly's family when they migrated west to Monroe County, Missouri. The plaintiffs in the case were the heirs who James knew their locations and the defendants were those heirs whose whereabouts were unknown. All the heirs were listed.

Heirs of Mary (Mitchell) Beard; created using Microsoft Excel

I do not believe Mary's executor would consider a niece an heir rather than a living daughter. So I have determined that Peter Viemeister is incorrect.

What do you think?

_______________
[1] Margaret Mitchell was the daughter of Robert "the Elder" Mitchell and Mary Enos and was a sister to Mary Mitchell who married Adam Beard Jr.'s brother, Samuel.
[2] I have found no document in which she is referred to as Eliza but will continue to use the nickname to differentiate her from her Betsy cousins.
[3] Virginia Belle Thomas died in 1957 in the Western State Hospital in Staunton, Virginia, having never married.
[4] See The Court Case Regarding the Slaves of Mary (Mitchell) Beard.

The Several Elizabeth Beards
Who's Your Daddy, Adam Beard?
The Court Case Regarding the Slaves of Mary (Mitchell) Beard

Friday, April 6, 2018

52 Ancestors #14: Samuel Beard (1750-1814): Revolutionary War Veteran

Ancestor: Samuel Beard, four times great grandfather
DNA Haplogroup: I-M253

Samuel Beard was born in 1750 in the the portion of Lunenburg County that became Bedford County, Virginia, three years later to Adam Beard and his wife, Elizabeth. He was their third known child and second son. The new county's Board of Justices appointed Samuel's father a Constable in 1754 and I like to think as a small child, Samuel visited the tobacco fields of his neighbors with his father during his inspection tours.

Samuel had attended the Peaks of Otter Presbyterian Church since it was established in 1761 and in 1774 he signed a petition sent by the church to the House of Burgesses requesting permission to own slaves. The fruits of their labor on land donated to the church would support a full-time minister. Samuel and his brothers, David and Adam, were three of hundred and two men to sign the petition.

Continental Army

On 10 Feb 1776, Samuel enlisted in Capt. Gross Scruggs' Company, which was part of the 5th Regiment. The regiment was organized the same month at the Richmond County Courthouse with men from Chesterfield, Bedford, Hanover, Henrico, Loudoun, Lancaster, Northumberland, Richmond, Spotsylvania, and Westmoreland counties. Where the regiment was located and fought in 1776 is not known to me at this time.

The regiment was likely sent north in late 1776 or early 1777 and assigned to Peter Muhlenberg's Brigade, which was part of Lord William Alexander Stirling's Division. They participated in the Battle of Trenton on 26 December and the Battle of Princeton on 3 January 1777. These two battles were Washington's first successes in open field warfare and put new life into the American cause.

We do know from an affidavit sworn to by his widow, he participated in the Battle of Brandywine:

"...she had frequently heard her deceased husband, Samuel Beard, speak of and relate his Revolutionary service -- that he was at the Battle of Brandywine [illegible] to the north -- that he drove one of the cannon -- and Gen. Washington asked him if he could not drive out of the road so as to let the Army pass."

Nation Makers by Howard Pyle depicts a scene from the Battle of Brandywine.
The painting hangs in the Brandywine River Museum; courtesy of Wikipedia

The engagement occurred near Chadd's Ford on 11 September 1777. British General William Howe had landed his troops near Elkton, Maryland, in the upper Chesapeake Bay and marched north toward Philadelphia. Gen. Washington stationed his men on the opposite side of Brandywine Creek and offered battle. However, the main part of Howe's troops made a long sweeping march and crossed the creek undetected to the right of Washington's army. Three divisions were quickly shifted to meet the British flanking force at Birmingham Friends Meetinghouse and School. Stiff fighting occurred but the British forces prevailed on Washington's right flank and soon his left flank crumbled. Elements of Nathanael Greene's division held off the British long enough for the rest of the American army to retreat in safety.

After the battle, Philadelphia, the continental capital was vulnerable and was captured by Howe's forces on 26 September. After losing Philadelphia, Gen. Washington led his men to Valley Forge where they camped for six months from 19 December 1777 to 19 June 1778. Samuel Beard was at Valley Forge through at least February 1778, the last record I have for his militia service during this period.

Back to Bedford County

Samuel's father, Adam, died in December 1777 while he was in Valley Forge and his mother died shortly thereafter. The wills of both his parents were proved in Bedford County court on 23 March 1778. His father anticipated Samuel inheriting land from his grandfather, John Beard, on Falling River. However, if this wasn't the case, then Samuel would inherit the portion of Adam's plantation south of the land on which Adam and Elizabeth lived. His mother's will divided the personal property owned by she and Adam equally among their four children.

On 5 September Samuel Beard and Robert Mitchell entered into a marriage bond, affirming there was no moral or legal reason why Samuel and Mary Mitchell could not be married and that Samuel would not change his mind. If he did not marry Mary, he would forfeit the bond. Mary Mitchell was the daughter of Robert Mitchell and their family also worshipped at the Peaks of Otter Presbyterian Church as did the Beard families. They were married by Rev. John Holt on 8 September 1778.

On 26 September 1779 the young couple had a young son, who died the same day. He was unnamed. A year later, on 7 September 1780, they had another son they named James Harvey Beard.

Revolutionary War Redux

On 23 September 1780 Samuel and his brother, David, were sworn into office as captains of the militia. Historical Sketch of Bedford County, Virginia, 1753-1907 said the county furnished its quota of militia during the Revolutionary War and briefly described the role of captains when the militia remained in its home county:

"The militia was drilled at certain stated times by the captain; occasional musters were held at some central point...The soldierly bearing of these farmers was remarkable..."

During the spring and summer of 1781, Cornwallis had overrun South Carolina and was headed for North Carolina. As J. T. McAllister said in his book, Virginia Militia in the Revolutionary War:

"Meanwhile, Cornwallis had pushed the Southern army, under General Greene, through North Carolina to the very border of Virginia. Notwithstanding the menace of the British army on the lower James, it was necessary to meet the new danger. Through great exertion, some 1,600 Virginia militia were collected to join Greene. Many of them were from the Valley counties. With their help he gave battle to Cornwallis, at Guilford, March 5th, and crippled him so badly that he made a tumultuous retreat to Wilmington."

Battle of Guilford Courthouse; courtesy of the Sons of the American Revolution

"Col. Charles Lynch[1] of the Bedford Militia was ordered by Gov. Thomas Jefferson to raise 300 riflemen to go to the aid Gen. Nathanael Greene against Cornwallis."[2]

Samuel's widow's pension application takes up the tale:

"...that the said Samuel Beard her husband was called into service in March 1781 to go to the Battle of Guilford [Courthouse] on a six weeks' tour and this being considered a case of emergency, it was to exempt him from a full tour – and she thinks, (but is not certain) that he was under Capt. Campbell and she is also under the impression that he held an office of some kind in said tour to Guilford – She has frequently heard her deceased husband Samuel Beard in his life time speak of his being at the Battle of Guilford – and related many circumstances that took place there – one was that he saw Capts. [Jacob] Moon and Helm after they were wounded – before they died – and spoke of how much they suffered from their wounds on the field of battle. Indeed, no person has ever doubted that Samuel Beard was at the battle of Guilford – common talk in the neighborhood and in the County..."

Return Home and the Remainder of His Life

After Samuel returned home to Bedford County, he resumed life on his farm with Mary and they had four more children who lived to adulthood and one daughter who was born and died on the same day in 1789. She was unnamed when buried.

Samuel's brother David removed to Tennessee soon after the war. His brother, Adam's will was proved on 25 February 1788 and Samuel and his brother-in-law, Rev. James Mitchell, were the executors. He was sued in Bedford County Chancery court by James Wright over some of his brother Adam's land that Mr. Wright wanted to purchase, but the case was dismissed by the court in 1793.

Samuel died in October 1814. His widow lived another 28 years, dying on 28 July 1843. Their burial locations are unknown. In addition to the two infants they lost on the day they were born, they outlived another son, Robert Mitchell Beard, who died in 1837.

During Samuel's life time, his new nation fought a war for independence, ratified a Constitution, appointed its first president, and the U.S. declared war on Great Britain again in what became known as the War of 1812.

Closer to home, Campbell County was formed from a portion of Bedford County in 1782, and Bedford's county seat was deemed too close to the border. Virginia's General Assembly establishes the town of Liberty as Bedford's new county seat. Today, Liberty is known as Bedford. In 1787 the James River Kanawha Canal opened. Cargo and produce from western counties was poled past Bedford 196 miles to Richmond. Some of Samuel's brother, Adam's descendants would take that canal and settle further west in what became West Virginia during the Civil War.

A Final Word

When I first took over our family's genealogical research from my father in late 2012, we knew the maiden name of his grandmother, Effie (Beard) Jennings, but not her parents. My brothers and I took Ancestry.com's DNA tests in 2013 and one of the first matches I was able to solve without an already identified common shared ancestor was to another Beard descendant. Several public trees provided direction for my research and months later I was able to prove my descent from John Beard (1705-1780).

Along the way, I learned John's grandson, Samuel Beard, had served in the Revolutionary War on two separate occasions. He had once been accepted by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) as a patriot. Mrs. May Julia (Jopling) Hairston had joined the lineage association sometime before her death in 1957. However, her application included no documentation proving her ancestor's Revolutionary War service; it merely indicated she had seen a letter regarding his widow's pension. The DAR Genealogical Research System includes an entry for Samuel Beard but indicates new applicants must prove his service.

Samuel Beard's entry in DAR's GRS; courtesy Daughters of the American
Revolution

I felt badly for Samuel. I had 30 pages of company muster and payroll records as well as his widow's pension application, which proved his military service. Samuel deserved to be a recognized DAR Patriot! Once my husband and I were settled in upstate New York, I transferred my DAR membership to the Van Rensselaer chapter in Troy and submitted a supplemental application for Samuel. It has been approved by the chapter registrar and I am waiting for final word from the national society. It was one of the more interesting applications on which I have worked as I used two of my favorite types of records -- Virginia Chancery Court records -- to prove the links between Beard generations.

My descent from John Beard and the sources used to
prove linkages between generations; created using
Microsoft PowerPoint

This is my entry for Amy Johnson Crow's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. The theme for this week was "The Maiden Aunt," which I did not follow.

Using the Ancestral Reference Numbering System, Samuel Beard is Ancestor number 72 on my family tree:

72 Samuel Beard, born 1750 in Bedford County, Virginia, to Adam Beard and Elizabeth, maiden name unknown; died in October 1814; married Mary Mitchell, daughter of Robert "the Elder" Mitchell and Mary Enos, on 5 September 1778 in Bedford County. Veteran of the American Revolutionary War.

72.1 Unnamed son, born and died on 26 September 1779 (mentioned in his mother's pension application).

36 James Harvey Beard, born 7 September 1780 in Bedford County; died in October 1869; married 1) Mary "Polly" or "Molly" McMullen/McMullin, daughter of Matthew McMullen and Margaret, maiden name unknown, on 21 June 1811 in Bedford County, and 2) Rhoda Parker, daughter of James Parker, on 24 October 1850 in Bedford County. Veteran of the War of 1812.

72.2 Elizabeth "Betsy" Beard, born 22 Jun 1782 in Bedford County; died in 1863; married Rufus Thomas on 18 May 1815 in Bedford County.

72.3 Robert Mitchell Beard, born 17 Jul 1784 in Bedford County; died 19 January 1837 in Franklin County, Virginia; married Nancy C. Webb, daughter of Theodorick Fitzgerald Webb, Sr., and Sarah Huff.

72.4 Nancy A. Beard, born 24 Jul 1786 in Bedford County; died 4 February 1864; married Mitchell Ewing, a widower previously married to Phoebe Cox, on 25 March 1805 in Bedford County.

72.5 Frances G. Beard, born about 1788 in Bedford County; died before 1850; married William Claytor Mitchell, son of Samuel Mitchell and Margaret "Peggy" Claytor.

72.6 Unnamed daughter, born and died on 9 March 1789 (mentioned in her mother's pension application).

72.7 Mary "Polly" E. Beard, born 1795 in Virginia; died 7 November 1863 in Holliday, Missouri; married Bird S. Webb, son of Theodorick Fitzgerald Webb, Sr., and Sarah Huff. Removed to Missouri after 1837.

In her pension application, Mary (Mitchell) Beard only named six children: unnamed son, Harvey, Betsy, Robert, Nancy, and unnamed daughter. However, as proved by Bedford County Chancery court case 1852-049, Mary and Samuel had two additional daughters: Frances G. (Beard) Mitchell and Mary "Polly" E. (Beard) Webb.

_______________
[1] In 1780 Col. Charles Lynch enforces martial law and oversees the whiplashing of Tory turncoats under a tree at his Avoca estate. No noose is used, but the event leads to the term "Lynch Law," which is later distorted to mean illegal hanging, according to Historical Diary of Bedford, Virginia, USA from Ancient Times to U.S. Bicentennial.
[2] Viemeister, Peter. Historical Diary of Bedford, Virginia, USA from Ancient Times to U.S. Bicentennial, (Bedford, VA: Hamilton's, 1993), page 9.

Sources:

1810 US Census (database with images), FamilySearch, Samuel Beard, Bedford, Virginia; citing p. 3, NARA microfilm publication M252 (Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration), roll 67, FHL microfilm 181427 (accessed 16 Apr 2016).
5th Virginia Regiment, Valley Forge Legacy: The Muster Roll Project (accessed 15 Mar 2018).
Ackerly, Mary Denham and Parker, Lula Eastman Jeter. Our Kin: The genealogies of some of the early families who made history in the founding and Development of Bedford County, Virginia, (Lynchburg, VA: J. P. Bell Company, Inc., 1930), page 14.
Battle of Brandywine, Wikipedia (accessed 15 Mar 2018).
Battle of Germantown, Wikipedia (accessed 15 Mar 2018).
Battle of Guilford Courthouse, Wikipedia (accessed 15 Mar 2018).
Battle of Princeton, Wikipedia (accessed 15 Mar 2018).
Battle of Trenton, Wikipedia (accessed 15 Mar 2018).
Bedford County Court Order Books, Bedford County, Virginia, Samuel Beard, Ensign, 1780, citing Order Book 9, transcribed by Earle S. Dennis, Deputy Clerk.
Bedford County, Virginia, Wikipedia (accessed 15 Mar 2018).
Clemens, William Montgomery (editor). The Mitchell Family Magazine, (New York, NY: William M. Clemens), Vols. 1-2, January 1916 to April 1917.
Compiled Service Records of Soldiers Who Served in the American Army During the Revolutionary War, 1775-1784 (database and images), Fold3.com, Samuel Beard 5th Virginia Regiment, citing NARA microfilm publication M881 (Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration), roll 0979, 30 images (accessed 25 May 2014).
Court Case Involving the Slaves of Mary (Mitchell) Beard, The, Tangled Roots and Trees (accessed 15 Mar 2018).
Daughters of the American Revolution, Genealogical Research Service database, Ancestor A008084, Samuel Beard, 
Capt. Gross Scruggs Line, Virginia (accessed 23 May 2014).
Dennis, Earle S. and Smith, Jane E. (compilers). Marriage Bonds of Bedford County, Virginia, 1755-1800, (Bedford, VA: Earle S. Dennis and Jane E. Smith, 1932), page 3.
Ewing, Presley Kittredge and Ewing, Mary Ellen (Williams). The Ewing Genealogy and Cognate Branches: A Survey of the Ewings and their Kin in America, (Houston, TX: Presley K. Ewing, 1919), pages 8-9, 40-41.
George Washington Spoke to Him, Tangled Roots and Trees (accessed 15 Mar 2018).
Glossary of Colonial Legal Terms, Milam in Virginia (accessed 9 Mar 2018).
Johnston, Sarah Hall (editor and compiler. Lineage Book National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, (Washington, DC: NSDAR, 1916), page 44.
Mulenburg's Brigade, Valley Forge Legacy: The Muster Roll Project (accessed 15 Mar 2018).
New Loudoun County Revolutionary War Memorial, Tangled Roots and Trees (accessed 15 Mar 2018).
Philadelphia Campaign, Wikipedia (accessed 27 May 2014).
Proving James Harvey Beard's Father, Tangled Roots and Trees (access 15 Mar 2018).
Revolutionary War Timeline, USHistory.org (accessed 15 Mar 2018).
Rider, Fremont (editor). The American genealogical-biographical index American genealogical, biographical and local history materials, (Middletown, CT: The Godfrey Memorial Library, 1952), volume 11, page 300.
Southern Campaign American Revolution Pension Statements and Rosters (transcription), RevWarApps.org, Pension Application of of Samuel Beard, W4131, transcribed and annotated by Leon C. Harris (access 24 May 2014).
Stewart, Richard W. (editor). American Military History, Vol I.: The United States Army and the Forging of a Nation, 1775-1917(Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 2005), pages pages 70-86.
US Revolutionary War Rolls, 1775-1783 (database and images), Ancestry.com, citing Samuel Beard, Private, 5th Regiment, 1777, citing National Archives Microfilm Publication M246, Record Group 93 (Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration), folders 143-144 (accessed 25 May 2014).
Viemeister, Peter. From Slaves to Satellites: 250 Years of Changing Times on a Virginia Farm, (Bedford, VA: Hamilton's, 1999), pages 14-15, 20-24.
Viemeister, Peter. Historical Diary of Bedford, Virginia, USA from Ancient Times to U.S. Bicentennial, (Bedford, VA: Hamilton's, 1993), page 9.
Stirling's Division, Valley Forge Legacy: The Muster Roll Project (accessed 15 Mar 2018).
Virginia Chancery Court Records, 1789-1969, (databasae and images), Library of Virginia, James Wright v. Samuel Beard, Executor, Bedford County 1793-019 (accessed 9 Jul 2016).
Virginia Militia in the Revolutionary War (images), Archive.org, Samuel Beard, Capt. 1780, Section 254, Bedford Co., citing McAllister's Data, (Hot Springs, VA: McAllister Publishing Co., 1913), page 185 (accessed 23 Sep 2015).
Virginia Wills and Probate Records, 1652-1983 (database and images), Ancestry.com, Adam Beard, 23 March 1778, Bedford County, Virginia, citing Will Books Vol. 1 1763-1787, images 193-194 (accessed 3 Jan 2018).
Virginia Wills and Probate Records, 1652-1983 (database and images), Ancestry.com, Elizabeth Beard, 23 Mar 1778, Bedford County Virginia, citing Will Books Vol. 1 1763-1787, image 194 (accessed 3 Jan 2018).
Virginia Wills and Probate Records, 1652-1983 (database and images), Ancestry.comJohn Beard, 26 Nov 1780, Bedford County, Virginia, citing Will Books Vol. 1 1763-1787), image 246 (accessed 3 Jan 2018).
Virginia Wills and Probate Records, 1652-1983 (database and images), Ancestry.com, Mary Beard, 3 Nov 1843, Bedford County, Virginia (accessed 15 Mar 2018).
Virginia Wills and Probate Records, 1652-1983 (database and images), Ancestry.com, Samuel Beard, 3 Nov 1843, Bedford County, Virginia (accessed 15 Mar 2018).
Wright, Robert K. Jr. The Continental Army, (Washington, DC: Center of Military History, 1983), pages 91-120, 283 (accessed 17 Nov 2015)

The Several Elizabeth Beards
Adam Beard (c1727-1777): Constable of Bedford County
John Beard (c1705-1780): A Man of Means
Who's Your Daddy, Adam Beard?
Beard and Jennings: More Interconnected than I Thought
The Court Case Regarding the Slaves of Mary (Mitchell) Beard
Proving James Harvey Beard's Father
Slaves of John Beard (1705-1780) of Bedford County, Virginia
The Court Doth Adjudge, Order and Decree
The Mother Nobody Knew
George Washington Spoke to Him
Ancestry DNA and Finding a New Cousin

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

John W. Jennings, Sr. (1776-1858): Bounty Land

My three times great grandfather, John W. Jennings, Sr., served for about four months in the Virginia Militia during the War of 1812, from 29 December 1813 through 11 April 1814. When his company arrived in Norfolk, they were assigned to the 5th Regiment, which was responsible for the defense of Norfolk. The regiment was stationed at Fort Norfolk, which lies across the Elizabeth River from the modern day Portsmouth Marine Terminal. His company camped in a peach orchard outside the fort.

From 1775 to 1855 the United States government granted bounty-land warrants for military service, primarily to encourage volunteer enlistments, but also to reward veterans for service during the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Mexican War, a variety of Indian wars, Indian removals, and other military actions during the 1850s. Early warrants could only be used in military districts, principally in Ohio and several other public land states in the former Northwest Territory. Eventually, Congress expanded eligibility to include service in the Regular Army and the Navy, as well as volunteer militias. Bounty-land for military service was discontinued in 1858 and in 1863 the rights to locate and possess land ceased.

John Jennings initially applied for bounty land in 1853 and the Virginia Third Auditor's Office confirmed his service. A bounty land warrant for 40 acres was issued but was lost by an Amherst County court official and John never received it. By 1855 the bounty land laws had changed and John was entitled to 120 acres; so he applied again using a form entitled "Application of a Person Who has Had a Warrant" under the 1855 law entitled, "An act in addition to certain Acts granting Bounty Land to certain Officers and Soldiers who have been engaged in Military Service of the United States." He received his warrant certificate on 4 September 1856.

John W. Jennings, Sr.,'s bounty land warrant for 120 acres; courtesy of
the National Archives and Records Administration and retrieved by Vonnie
S. Zullo of Horse Soldier Military Research[1]

John sold and assigned his warrant to Charles W. Statham of Campbell County, Virginia, on 8 December 1856. When the 1860 census was enumerated Statham's occupation was listed as land jobber. Land jobbers were speculators who purchased bounty warrants from veterans, their widows or heirs for a fraction of their true value. On the Bureau of Land Management's General Land Office website, I have found nearly 50 patents filed by Statham's agents in land offices in Arkansas, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, and Wisconsin. Since Charles W. Statham lived and died in Lynchburg, Virginia, my assumption is he later sold the land acquired under these patents.

Paperwork which assigned the land warrant to Charles W. Statham; courtesy of the
National Archive and Records Administration and retrieved by Vonnie S. Zullo of
Horse Soldier Military Research

For value received, I, John Jennings, to whom [illegible] for this warrant, No. 84,903 was issued, do hereby sell and assign unto Charles W. Statham, Campbell County, Virginia, and to his heirs and assigns forever, the said warrant and authorize him to locate the same and receive a patent therefore. Witness my hand and seal, this 8th day of December 1856.

John Jennings (seal)

Attest,

James M. Proffitt
Daniel W. Jennings

State of Virginia
County of Amherst

On this 8th day of December in the year 1856, personally appeared John Jennings to me well known, and acknowledged the foregoing assignment to be his act and deed; and I certify that this said John Jennings is the identical person to whom the within warrant issued, and who executed the foregoing assignment.

[illegible] D. Pierce, Justice of the Peace

On 10 Jun 1857, the Stevens Point, Wisconsin Land Office issued a certificate for the 120 acres Charles W. Statham located in Portage County, Wisconsin. The land was located in Township 25 North, Range 7 East in Sections 32 and 33 -- T25N R7E S32 E1/2SE1/4 and T25N R7E S33 SW1/4SW1/4.

Certificate issued for 120 acres in Portage County, Wisconsin to Charles W. Statham;
courtesy of National Archives and Records Administration and retrieved by Vonnie S. Zullo
of Horse Soldier Research

The land is just south of Lake du Bay, which looks to be close to geographical center of Wisconsin and nearly on the same latitude as Montreal, Canada.

Sections 32 and 33 in red; courtesy of the Bureau of Land Management

Thank goodness John W. Jennings, Sr., was 80 years old when he received the bounty-land warrant and was disinclined to relocate to Wisconsin! I have been to Steven's Point in February for work many years ago and it was C-O-L-D.

_______________
I highly recommend Vonnie S. Zullo if you ever need to engage someone to research military records at the National Archives and Records Administration.

Fort Norfolk
John W. Jennings, Sr. (c1776-1858): War of 1812 Veteran

Monday, April 2, 2018

The Several Elizabeth Beards

My seven times great grandfather, John Beard,  married a woman named Elizabeth sometime about 1727 in Virginia. Her maiden name remains unknown to this day. John's son, Adam Beard (c1727-1777) also married a woman named Elizabeth. Her maiden is unknown as well. They had three sons -- David, Samuel and Adam -- and each of them had a daughter named Elizabeth Beard. Within four generations, there are five women named Elizabeth Beard and they were all living in Bedford County, most of them at the same time.

Peter Viemeister, author of From Slaves to Satellites: 250 Years of Changing Times on a Virginia Farm, wrote this about John and Elizabeth coming to the area that became Bedford County:

Among the earliest settlers of the Brunswick/Lunenburg/Bedford region were John Beard and his wife, Elizabeth (born 1710). The family would have brought tools, nails, salt, and some provisions in wagons pulled by oxen. Beard bought land which would yield his family marketable bounty. He also acquired extra land which he believed he could resell at a profit as more settlers came this way."

Adam Sr.'s wife, Elizabeth, died shortly after her husband in late 1777 or early 1778. Both their wills were proved in a Bedford County court session on 23 March 1778.

Last Will and Testament of Elizabeth (maiden name unknown) Beard; courtesy
of Ancestry.com
In the name of God Amen. I Elizabeth Beard do hereby dispose of what hath been pleased to God to bless me with in this life in the following form and manner to wit:

After Negro Martin and all our other just debts are paid, it is under my free will and pleasure that the remainder of our moveable estate of every kind left at my disposal by my late husband be equally provided between my four children to wit David Beard, Rachel Dickson,[1] Samuel Beard, Adam Beard to them and their heirs and assigns forever. I hereby constitute and appoint David Beard and my son Adam Beard executors of this my last will and testament, revoking all other wills or testaments by me heretofore made [illegible] or executed, confirming this and no other to be my last will and testament witnessed whereof I thereunto set my hand and office my seal this 6th day of December 1777. Signed and acknowledged in presence of us.

Elizabeth Beard (her mark)

Robert Ewing
William Armstrong
Alex Armstrong

At a court held for Bedford County the 23rd day of March 1778
This last will and testament of Elizabeth Beard, deceased, was proved by the oaths of Robert Ewing, William Armstrong and Alexander Armstrong, witnesses thereto. Subscribed and ordered to be recorded, and on the motion of David Beard, one of the executors therein named who made oath thereto. Certificate is granted him for obtaining probate in due form giving security whereupon he together with David Wright, James Buford, and James Patterson. His securities entered into and acknowledged their bond in penalty of one thousand pounds for the said executors due and faithful administration of the said decedent's estate and performance of his will. Liberty being reserved for Adam Beard, the other executor therein named, to join in the probate thereof when he shall think fit.

Teste,
J. Steptoe, Clerk

So we learned that Adam, Sr., and Elizabeth did not name their only daughter who lived to adulthood Elizabeth. Thank goodness!

_______________
[1] Rachel (Beard) Dickson's married surname was also spelled Dixon in documents of the time.

Adam Beard (c1727-1777): Constable of Bedford County
John Beard (c1705-1780): A Man of Means

Friday, March 30, 2018

52 Ancestors #13: Adam Beard (c1727-1777): Constable of Bedford County

Adam Beard, five times great grandfather
DNA Haplogroup: I-M253

Adam Beard was the only known son of John and Elizabeth Beard. His parents were early settlers of what became Bedford County, but it is not known if Adam was born in that county. Adam and his father were paying taxes in Lunenburg County, a portion of which became Bedford County, by 1748 so Adam was born before or in 1727.

He married a woman named Elizabeth whose maiden name is unknown sometime before 1745.

View from the Peaks of Otter, lithograph by Edward Beyer from Album of
Virginia,
1858; courtesy of Internet Archive

Appointed Constable

In 1754 he was appointed Constable of the newly formed Bedford County by the county's Board of Justices. A Constable was appointed for each precinct in the county and were generally responsible for keeping the peace. They had to be literate, knowledgeable about tobacco cultivation and have enough free time to inspect the tobacco crops in their precinct. Their term was generally for one year but the term of service could be extended by the court. After constables were appointed, they were required to appear in court to be sworn into office. The oath required after the 1730 tobacco laws were enacted was as follows:

"I __________ do swear, That I will diligently and carefully view the several fields...whereon tobacco shall be planted...within the precincts whereof I am constable; and will cut up or destroy...all stalks from which any tobacco-plant shall be cut...and all slips or suckers growing from...the same which I shall find standing...in any fields...above the height of nine inches from the ground; and that I shall make information of all persons within my precinct, whom I shall know to be guilty of any breach of any law of this colony made against the tending of slips or seconds, to the next court...So help me God."

The 1730 tobacco laws were enacted to regulate the tobacco and improve the quality of the tobacco exported from Virginia due to falling prices. In 1731 tobacco sold for about twelve shillings six pence per hundred pounds. The General Assembly ordered Constables to enforce the law forbidding planters from harvesting suckers after the end of July. Violators were to be heavily penalized. This seemed to have the desired effect -- in 1736 tobacco sold for fifteen shillings per hundred pounds.

Constables were usually paid one pound of tobacco for each tithable person living on the tobacco farm where the constable had inspected the tobacco. Tithes were a capitation tax assessed on every male age 16 and above. Free men, hired hands, indentured servants and slaves (male and female) were counted. Tithes were typically paid in pounds of tobacco.

The colony also encouraged the growth of hemp by paying a bounty to the farmers. Beginning in 1726 and constables were required to provide growers a certificate of weight. Hemp farmers were required to pay constables five shillings per ton.

Constables could also be ordered to by the sheriff to assist in arrests and guarding prisoners or even act as church wardens but these duties were more ad hoc in nature and not performed regularly.

Land and Church

In 1760 Richard Randolph was granted a 6,000-acre patent in the new county of Bedford near the Peaks of Otter. Randolph sold 100- to 300-acre or larger parcels to a number of families including Adam Beard who purchased 413 acres.

A number of Presbyterian settlers formed the Peaks Church about 1761. By 1766 the region's governing Presbytery appointed Rev. David Rice to serve as minister at the Peaks and one other church.[2] Rev. Rice served at the church until about 1784 and described its congregation as "large...covering an infinite space of territory around the Peaks mountains.

Peaks of Otter Presbyterian Church (the original church was destroyed
by fire); photograph by Rev. Ken Barnes
The congregation wanted a full-time minister and decided that could only be achieved if their church used slaves to raise and sell products, according to Peter Viemiester, author of From Slaves to Satellites: 250 Years of Changing Times on a Virginia Farm. Viemiester went on to write:

"In 1774 the Peaks congregation petitioned the Virginia House of Burgesses at Williamsburg for permission to own slaves. One hundred two men signed the petition including" Adam, Jr., David, and Samuel Beard, sons of Adam, Sr., the subject of this post. The Virginia Burgesses granted permission and members of the congregation contributed money to buy slaves named Jerry, Kate, Tom and Venus. The church had a 100-acre tract of land, likely contributed by one of the congregation's large landowners, which those slaves worked.

Last Will and Testament

Like his father, Adam died while the Revolutionary War was raging. After the colonies declared their independence, Thomas Jefferson drafted the statute that ended entail, the act of protecting land from the debts incurred by spendthrift offspring, in 1776. He also drafted the statute that ended primogeniture in 1784. These changes to British Common Law would become law throughout the United States when Congress established probate and surrogate courts and 1793 and in 1795 required wills, deeds and other important instruments be recorded. So I find it fascinating that when Adam Beard wrote his will in 1777, still before primogeniture was abolished, he divided his lands among his three sons.

Last Will and Testament of Adam Beard; courtesy of Ancestry.com

In the name of God Amen. I Adam Beard being sick in body but of perfect mind and memory, knowing it is appointed for all men once to die do hereby make and ordain this my last will and testament.

First of all I recommend my soul to God who gave it, and my body I recommend to the dust to be buried at the discretion of my executors in a Christian like manner. Nothing doubting but I shall receive the same again by the mighty power of God and as touching [?] such worldly estate as it been pleased Good to bless me with in this life. I hereby dispose of the same in the following form and manner to wit:

Item: I give and bequeath to my beloved wife, Elizabeth Beard, all the planation I now live upon with all my stock of every kind as well as all my plantation materials [?] and all my household furniture together with my four Negros, Henry, Martin, George and Fanny during her natural life.

Item: I give and bequeath to my son David Beard all my survey of land lying on the branches of Goose Creek adjoining Ewing and Reed's lines with my Negro Martin after his mother's death to him and his assigns forever.

Item: I give and bequeath to my daughter Rachel Dickson my Negro girl Fanny to her heirs and assigns forever. Only she shall not get possession of said Negro girl Fanny until her mother's death.

Item: I give and bequeath to my son Samuel Beard all my lands adjoining and south of the survey I now live upon together with my Negro George at his mother's death to him and his assigns forever.

Item: I give and bequeath immediately after my beloved wife's death to my son Adam Beard, Junior, all the survey and plantation I now live upon together with my Negro Henry with my black horse colt called Bolton to him and his assigns forever.

Also it is my further will and pleasure that provided my son Samuel Beard possess my father's lands on Falling River as a legatee that in case the lands I now give him adjoining that I now live upon shall then [illegible] unto and become the absolute property of my son Adam Beard to him and his assigns forever.

Likeways if my son Samuel should die before his return from the war also in that case I give said above mentioned land to my son Adam Beard to him and his heirs and assigns forever.

Item: I give Mary Vance now living with me her bed and furniture with one cow and yearling with three head of sheep to her and her heirs and assigns forever.

Item: It is further my will and pleasure that all the remainder of my moveable estate at my beloved wife's death be divided between my children at my said wife's discretion.

I hereby appoint my wife Elizabeth Beard executrix of this my last will and testament revoking and disannuling all wills and testaments heretofore by me made [illegible] or executed confirming this and no other to be my last will and testament. Witness whereof I hereunto set my hand and affix my seal this second day of December 1777.

Signed and acknowledged in presence of

Adam Beard (seal)

Robert Ewing
William Armstrong
Alex Armstrong
William Soarby [?]

At a court held for Bedford County the 23rd day of March 1778
This last will and testament of Adam Beard, deceased, was proved by the oaths of William Armstrong, and Alexander Armstrong witnesses thereto subscribed and ordered to be recorded and on the motion of David Beard one of the Executors therein named who made oath thereto. Certificate is granted him for obtaining probate in due form giving security whereupon together with David Wright, James Buford, and James Patterson his securities. Entered into and acknowledged their bond in the penalty of two thousand pounds for the executors due and faithful administration of the said decedent's estate and performance of his will. Adam Beard the other executor having liberty to join in the probate when he shall think fit.

Teste,
J. Steptoe, Clerk

Adam died sometime between 2 December when he wrote his will and 6 December 1778 when his wife Elizabeth wrote hers. In her will she referred to Adam as her late husband. Both of their wills were proved in Bedford County court on 23 March 1778. Elizabeth had named two of her brothers-in-law, David and Adam, Jr., executors. Their other son Samuel was away fighting in Continental Army regiment under Gen. George Washington.

This is my entry for Amy Johnson Crow's 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks. The theme for this week was "The Old Homestead," which as usual I didn't follow.

Using the Ancestral Reference Numbering System, Adam Beard is Ancestor number 144 on my family tree:

144 Adam Beard, Sr. born before 1727 in Virginia; died between 2 December 1777 and 6 December 1777; will proved in Bedford County, Virginia, on 23 March 1778; married Elizabeth maiden named unknown. She died between 6 December 1777 and 23 March 1778.

144.1 David Beard born 1745 likely in Brunswick County (now Bedford County), Virginia; died on 11 January 1815 in Sumner County, Tennessee; married Isabella Carson, daughter of John Carson and Ann Dixon/Dickson.

144.2 Rachel Beard likely born about 1747 in Lunenburg County (now Bedford County), Virginia; likely died about 1810 in Maury County, Tennessee; said to have married George Dixon/Dickson .

72. Samuel Beard born in 1750 in Lunenburg County (now Bedford County), Virginia; died in October 1814 in Bedford County; married Mary Mitchell, daughter of Robert "the Elder" Mitchell and Mary Enos, on 5 September 1778 in Bedford County.

144.3 Adam Beard, Jr., born about 1755 in Bedford County, Virginia; died between 9 October 1787 and 25 February 1788; will proved in Bedford County on 25 February 1788; married Margaret Mitchell, daughter of Robert "the Elder" Mitchell and Mary Enos, on 29 July 1780 in Bedford County.

_______________
[1] In 1746 the western portion of Brunswick County became Lunenburg County and in 1753 the northwestern portion of Lunenburg County became Bedford County.
[2] Rev. David Rice was another five times great grandfather. For more about his ministry at the Peaks Church, read Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: His Comfort and Success Among the Peaks of Otter

Sources:
An Act Declaring Tenants of Lands or Slaves in Taille to Hold the Same in Fee Simple 1776, Encylopedia Virginia (accessed 9 Mar 2018)
An Act for Regulating Conveyances 1785, Encyclopedia Virginia (accessed 9 Mar 2018)
Ancestry DNA and Finding a New Cousin, Tangled Roots and Trees (accessed 7 Mar 2018)
Beard, Irene. History of Adam Beard and His Descendants, (Salt Lake City: UT, Genealogical Society of Utah, 1982), pages 1-93.
Bedford County, Virginia, Wikipedia (accessed 9 Mar 2018).
Brunswick County, Virginia, Wikipedia (accessed 9 Mar 2018).
Glossary of Colonial Legal Terms, Milam in Virginia (accessed 9 Mar 2018).
Herndon, Melvin. Tobacco in Colonial Virginia: The Sovereign Remedy, Project Gutenberg, 2008 (accessed 9 Mar 2018)
Interactive Map of Virginia County Formation History, Map of the U.S. (accessed 7 Mar 2018).
John Beard (c1705-178): A Man of Means, Tangled Roots and Trees (accessed Mar 2018).
Lunenburg County, Virginia, Wikipedia (accessed 9 March 2018).
Memoirs of Rev. David Rice: His Comfort and Success Among the Peaks of Otter, Tangled Roots and Trees (accessed 9 Mar 2018)
Primogeniture and Succession, Bob's Genealogy File Cabinet (accessed 9 Mar 2018)
Thomas Jefferson and the Practice of Law, Encyclopedia Virginia (accessed 9 Mar 2018)
Viemeister, Peter. From Slaves to Satellites: 250 Years of Changing Times on a Virginia Farm, (Bedford, VA: Hamilton's, 1999), pages 21-36.
Virginia Wills and Probate Records, 1652-1983 (database and images), Ancestry.com, Adam Beard, 23 March 1778, Bedford County, Virginia, citing Will Books Vol. 1 1763-1787, images 193-194 (accessed 3 Jan 2018).
Virginia Wills and Probate Records, 1652-1983 (database and images), Ancestry.com, Elizabeth Beard, 23 Mar 1778, Bedford County Virginia, citing Will Books Vol. 1 1763-1787, image 194 (accessed 3 Jan 2018).

John Beard (c1705-1780): A Man of Means
Who's Your Daddy, Adam Beard?
Beard and Jennings: More Interconnected than I Thought
The Court Case Regarding the Slaves of Mary (Mitchell) Beard
Proving James Harvey Beard's Father
Slaves of John Beard (1705-1780) of Bedford County, Virginia
The Court Doth Adjudge, Order and Decree
The Mother Nobody Knew
George Washington Spoke to Him
Ancestry DNA and Finding a New Cousin