Sunday, June 1, 2014

52 Ancestors #22: George Washington Spoke to Him

Ancestor Name: Samuel Beard

Samuel Beard, born in Bedford County, Virginia, to Adam and Elizabeth (Rutherford) Beard, was one of three brothers to serve in the Revolutionary War. According to Samuel's widow's pension file, he enlisted as a private in Captain Gross Scrugg's company, which was assigned to the 5th Virginia Regiment commanded by Colonel Josiah Parker, in February 1776. During his two years of service, he fought in the Battle of Brandywine, which was part of the Continental Army's Defense of Philadelphia.

Hessian map of Howe's Philadelphia campaign; image
courtesy of Wikipedia

Mary (Mitchell) Beard stated in her deposition made at the Bedford County courthouse in 1839 and included in her pension application, that Gen. George Washington spoke to Samuel during this time:

"...she has 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."

Portion of Mary Beard's pension application that describes her husband's
conversation with Gen. George Washington

Samuel left the Continental Army when his two-year enlistment had expired and married Mary Mitchell on 8 September 1778. On 23 September 1780, Samuel Beard and his older brother, David, were recalled by the Virginia Militia and sworn in as captains. Mary (Mitchell) Beard described this service in her pension application as well.

Virginia Militia in the Revolution, by James McAllister, page 185

"...that the said Samuel Beard her husband was called into service in March 1781 to go to the Battle of Guildford 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 on said tour to Guildford – she has frequently heard her deceased husband Samuel Beard in his lifetime speak of his being at the Battle of Guilford – and related many circumstances that took place there.  One was that he saw Capt. Moore and [illegible] after they were wounded – before they died – and spoke of heaven as they suffered from their wounds on the field of battle."

The Battle of Guildford Courthouse was fought on 15 March 1781 in North Carolina and was considered a pivotal battle in the war. Though Cornwallis won the battle, his forces sustained such heavy casualties, it was considered a strategic victory for the American rebels.

1893 Battleground Company map of the Battle of
Guildford; image courtesy of Wikipedia

The pension application goes on to say:

"Indeed, no person has ever doubted that Samuel Beard her deceased husband was at the Battle of Guildford – common talk in the neighborhood and in the county where he was known especially among the old people – go to establish the fact that her deceased husband Samuel Beard was at the Battle of Guildford in March 1781 which was several years after they were married."

Mary (Mitchell) Beard's pension application was successful, and she began receiving her pension on 27 January 1840.

This is my entry for Amy Johnson Crow's 52 ancestors in 52 weeks challenge.

Samuel Beard was my 4 times great grandfather and was born in 1750 in Bedford County, Colony of Virginia, to Adam and Elizabeth (Rutherford) Beard. He served in the 5th Virginia Regiment of the Continental Army from 1776 to sometime in 1778. That same year, on 5 August 1778 he married Mary Mitchell in Bedford County, daughter of Londonderry, Ireland, immigrant Robert Mitchell and Mary Ennis (or Enos). They had two children, one living, before Samuel was recalled to service in the Virginia Militia where he served as a Captain. After the war, he and Mary had four more children, three of which lived to adulthood. Samuel died in October 1814 and Mary died on 28 Jul 1843. They lived their entire lives in Bedford County.

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