Thursday, May 24, 2018

52 Ancestors #21: Mary (Mitchell) Beard: Another Chancery Court Success

Ancestor: Mary (Beard) Mitchell, four times great grandfather
Haplogroup: N/A

Mary Mitchell was born about 1755 in Bedford County, Virginia, to Robert "the Immigrant" Mitchell and Mary Enos. Her parents had moved from Pequea, Pennsylvania, with a group of fellow Presbyterians sometime before 1748, which was the year her father first appeared in a deed book for the area that became Bedford County.

Her father was a ruling elder of the Peaks of Otter Church, which had been established in 1761. He and her future husband, Samuel Beard, signed a marriage bond on 5 September 1778.

Samuel Beard and Mary Mitchell Marriage Bond; courtesy of Alison Woodard

The Beards were one of the founding families of the church, and Samuel was one of 102 men who signed a petition asking the House of Burgesses for permission to buy slaves to support the maintenance of a full-time minister. Mary's father and John Erwine purchased over 100 acres of land for the church.

Samuel Beard had recently returned from serving as a private for two years in the company led by Captain George (or Gross) Scrugg's company. His military service included wintering at Valley Forge between 1777 and 1778.

Mary and Samuel had their first child on 26 September 1779 but that baby died the same date. Their next child, James Harvey Beard, was born on 7 September 1780.

Two weeks after the birth of their second child, Samuel was sworn in as a captain in the Bedford County Militia.  He was called into emergency service in 1781 and fought at the Battle of Guildford Courthouse. When he returned home, six more children were born, though the one born in 1789 died shortly after birth.

Mary's husband died in October 1814 and she continued to live on his plantation. She was enumerated as the head of the household in 1830, living with a free white male between 30 and 39 years of age and five enslaved people. The free white male would not have been one of her children.

On 27 January 1840, Mary applied for a Revolutionary War pension due to her husband's military service. Her application was approved later that year, granting her a widow's pension for her husband's two years of service as a private with the Continental Army. When the 1840 census was taken, Mary was listed as a Revolutionary War pensioner and was blind.

She died on 28 July 1843. At the time of her death, the estate owned four slaves held in dower. Mary's eldest son, James Harvey Beard, wanted to sell them and distribute the proceeds among the heirs. However, he had lost track of two of his mother's heirs due to their move to Missouri. Harvey filed a bill of complaint with the Bedford County Chancery Court in an effort of locate the missing heirs.

A sale was held on 23 December 1843 of the personal property included in the estate of Mary (Mitchell) Beard.

Record of the estate sale of Mary (Mitchell) Beard in the Bedford County
Will Books; courtesy of

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

Using the Ancestral Reference Numbering System, Mary (Mitchell) Beard is Ancestor numbers 73 on my family tree:

73 Mary Mitchell born about 1755 in Bedford County, Virginia, to Robert "the Elder" Mitchell and Mary Enos; died 28 July 1843 in Bedford County; married Samuel Beard, son of Adam and Elizabeth Beard and Revolutionary War veteran, on 5 September 1778 in Bedford County.

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

36 James Harvey Beardborn 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.


1810 US Census (database with images), FamilySearchSamuel Beard, Bedford, Virginiaciting p. 3, NARA microfilm publication M252 (Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration), roll 67, FHL microfilm 181427 (accessed 16 Apr 2016).
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.
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),, 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).
James Harvey Beard (1780-1869): A Long Life Lived, Tangled Roots and Trees (accessed 7 May 2018).
Johnston, Sarah Hall (editor and compiler. Lineage Book National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, (Washington, DC: NSDAR, 1916), page 44.
Proving James Harvey Beard's Father, Tangled Roots and Trees (access 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.
Samuel Beard (1750-1814): Revolutionary War Veteran, Tangled Roots and Trees (accessed 7 May 2018).
Southern Campaign American Revolution Pension Statements and Rosters (transcription),, Pension Application of of Samuel Beard, W4131, transcribed and annotated by Leon C. Harris (access 24 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.
Virginia Wills and Probate Records, 1652-1983 (database and images),, Mary Beard, 3 Nov 1843, Bedford County, Virginia (accessed 15 Mar 2018).
Virginia Wills and Probate Records, 1652-1983 (database and images),, Samuel Beard, 3 Nov 1843, Bedford County, Virginia (accessed 15 Mar 2018).

Robert "the Elder" Mitchell (c1714-1799): A Devoted Presbyterian

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