Thursday, December 28, 2017

Who's Your Daddy, Adam Beard?

In 1952 Jessie Irene Beard (Brand) wrote a small book entitled, History of Adam Beard and His Descendants. There isn't much doubt Adam Beard was born on 11 November 1787 in Bedford County, Virginia. He married Margaret Ennis Crouch on 8 March 1814 in the county of his birth. Six months later he enlisted as a private in Captain John Hewitt's Company, which was part of the Second Regiment of the Virginia Militia and served his country until 30 November 1814. As a result of his military service he received two parcels of land, which I have yet to track down.

Adam and Margaret had ten known children in Virginia before they migrated to what was then Mason County, Virginia, in 1845. It is now part of West Virginia. They built a log cabin on Shady Fork of the Little Sixteen Creek, about 20 miles from Point Pleasant, where the Kanawha river joins the Ohio river.

Adam Beard's Cabin on Shady Fork; image courtesy of History of
Adam Beard and His Descendants

They lost at least one son during the Civil War. Margaret (Crouch) Beard died in 1870 and Adam Beard died in 1872. They are both buried in Viers Chapel Cemetery in Mason County, West Virginia.

Jessie believed her Adam Beard descended from Capt. David Beard. She wrote in her book:

"The earliest record of the Beard family that can be traced here in the United States is of -- David Beard -- the first one of our family to settle here. Legend tells us that his family were natives of Ayrshire, Scotland, but left there because of religious persecution and went to North Ireland. No actual facts are known by the writer about his early life here, except, that he lived in Virginia and was a soldier in the American Revolution. He was in the army of General Greene, serving with him through the Southern Campaign, rising to the rank of Captain. He was badly wounded at the battle of Cowpens, January 17, 1781, having been shot through the abdomen while leading a charge near the close of the conflict. After his recovery, he again entered the service and was at the surrender of Yorktown. After the war was over, he returned to Virginia and settled in Bedford County."

This paragraph is incorrect on a number of fronts. Capt. David Beard's grandfather was John Beard (1705-1780) and he was born in Bedford County. So there have been Beards in that county since at least the late 1600s.

Most public trees I have found on several genealogy websites list Capt. David Beard as the father of  the Adam Beard who married Margaret Crouch. And David Beard did have a son named Adam Beard, who was born about 1770 in Virginia and died in 1825 in Henry County, Tennessee. I think there is a lot of confusion about the various Adam Beards running about the countryside all around the same time. This is what I believe the correct tree to be:

How I believe the Beard family tree should organized;
created using Microsoft PowerPoint

My reasons are as follows:
  • David Beard's wife, Isabella (Carson) Beard would have been 41 years old when she gave birth to the Adam Beard, who was born in 1787 and settled in what became West Virginia. Certainly possible I'll grant you, but perhaps not likely.
  • David Beard and his family migrated to Sumner County, Tennessee, by 1787 when his eldest son was killed by Indians, according to Irene Beard's book. This means that Isabella remained behind in Virginia and gave birth to son Adam in 1787 or that David's son John was sent ahead to scout the route to Tennessee. That scenario is possible, but not likely.
  • David and Isabella Beard had an older son named Adam, who was still alive in 1787. Why name another son Adam? Again this is not likely.
  • John Beard's son, Adam Beard (c1755-1787) lived and died in Bedford County, Virginia. His family was obviously closely affiliated with the Crouch family as his daughter Polly married a Crouch, likely an older brother of Margaret Ennis Crouch, wife of Adam Beard (1787-1872). This would make it likely that this branch of the Beard family and the Crouch family were close and perhaps migrated westward in Virginia to a county that became part of West Virginia.
None of these suppositions are definitive, yet having the Adam Beard, who died in 1872 in West Virginia, be the son of Adam Beard makes a lot more sense on all fronts.

What do you think?


  1. It's always hard to when people of the same name are "running about the countryside all around the same time."
    I think you are on to something with the 4th reason for your supposition that Adam Beard who died in 1872 in WV was the son of Adam.
    Have you checked all mentions of Crouch and Beard in Bedford in the Virginia Chancery Records? The elder Adam seems to have died soon after the birth of the younger Adam. Did his widow remarry? Did her family leave chancery records? I have seen cases where several generations are mentioned or all children when a parent was deceased. Even years after one or the other party or witness left the area there may be mention of them or their heirs depending on the circumstances of the case.

    1. I have searched the Chancery records for Beard and several other surnames affiliated with the family. So far I haven't found anything that clears up this mystery definitively. That record set has been a huge help for other families, though.

  2. Check this site out

  3. Schalene--Your Tangled Roots And Trees sparked my interest since some of it deals with the Beard family in Bedford County, Virginia. My last name is Beard and I descend from Jabez (1790-1854) and Sally (1798-1885)(Wilkes) Beard, both born in Bedford County. I have had a stone wall at Jabez since I began this Ancestry quest in 2000. Sally's family is much more extensive along the Wilkes line. One of their sons (Abner [1814-1872]) married Syrena or Cyrena Howell-daughter of Levi Howell. The Howell family appears many times where the Beard members have intermarried. My Howell and Beard migrated from Virginia to the vicinity of Florence/Cloverdale, Alabama and eventually wound up in Gill, Arkansas. I have come across information (true or untrue) that Jabez Beard was lived on a plantation in Bedford County, Virginia adjacent to a plantation owned by Confederate President Jefferson Davis's grandfather and that his father's name might also have been Abner, who may have been born in the 1770's. Please, can your followers help me with this stone wall. Edward Crismon Beard

    1. Edward, hopefully another blog reader who researches the Beard family of Bedford County can help you. I have several men named Jabez and Abner Beard in my tree, but not "yours." Have you contacted the Bedford County and Genealogical Library in Bedford? I have researched there a couple times and had great luck. They will do phone requests for a small fee.