Thursday, June 14, 2018

52 Ancestors #24: Barbara Ann (Mitchell) Beard (1841-1890): Widowed Early

Ancestor: Barbara Ann (Mitchell) Beard, two times great grandmother

Barbara Ann Mitchell was born in 1841, according to her headstone, in Bedford County, Virginia, to Daniel Mitchell, Jr. and Sarah "Sally" Wood. She was their youngest known child. In 1850 Barbara was enumerated as a 14-year-old girl living with her parents in Bedford County. Her father worked as a miller and indicated he could not read or write, which was a change from his grandfather, whose estate inventory included several books on religious topics. No value was assigned to real estate, so it is possible Daniel did not own land but rather rented the mill where the family lived.

In 1860 Barbara was enumerated as a 21-year-old woman living with her parents in Bedford County. Her father worked as a cooper and farmer. The value of his personal property was listed as $105. Barbara was the only person in the family who could read and write.

The Virginia and Tennessee Railroad came to Bedford County in 1852 with a depot in Liberty[1], the county seat. Across the street from the train station, a new hotel was constructed. The hotel was called Hopkins House and it was reputed to be one of the most well appointed hotels of its time. The railroad would bring the Civil War to Bedford County.

The Civil War Years

When the Civil War began, the ladies of Liberty began feeding the soldiers traveling by rail through Liberty to their duty stations. Many soldiers were invited into resident's home for a meal. A diary of Letitia McCreary Burwell[2], who wrote it through much of the war, describes the daily life of upper-class women in Liberty. When the town ran low on food to feed the traveling soldiers, a call for assistance was sent to the outlying farms in the county. Care packages of food, clothing, quilts and bandages were also prepared and sent to hospitals in Virginia. I wonder if Barbara Ann lived close enough to Liberty to assist in these efforts. Two of her brothers served in the 2nd Virginia Cavalry so I assume the family would pitch in to aid the Confederate war efforts.

On 1 May 1862 the Confederate government established a hospital unit in Liberty. The unit primarily served as a convalescence hospital for soldiers recovering from wounds or disease. As many as 800 to 1,000 soldiers were sent to Liberty to recover throughout the war. The ladies of Liberty expanded their efforts to include ministering to the patients of the new hospital.

In June 1864 Union General David Hunter, with 12,500, men burned Virginia Military Institute in Lexington and planned to attack Lynchburg, a Confederate rail hub and city of hospitals. On the way Hunter's troops march past the Peaks of Otter near Liberty where the Beard and Mitchell families had settled generations ago.

Gen. Hunter and 700 cavalry soldiers raid Liberty in a small action that became known as Hunter's Raid. They destroyed miles of railroad tracks, burned the station depot, and sacked several buildings. Hunter and his aides had lunch at a hotel in Liberty, which I am sure did not please the citizens of the county seat much at all!

As Confederate Jubal A. Early prepared to attack, Gen. Hunter began to worry he was outmanned and decided to retreat. His troops burned bridges over the Big and Little Otter rivers but Confederate sharpshooters picked off Union troops as they retreated out of Bedford County.

Marriage and Family Life

Barbara Ann Mitchell married David Fleming Beard, Sr., on 6 December 1866 in Bedford County. He was the son of James Harvey Beard and Mary McMullin and a widower who had lost his wife in 1861 and perhaps two sons during the Civil War. His daughter, by his first marriage, Martha Virginia Beard, married Barbara's older brother, Burwell David Mitchell in 1864. Barbara and David were second cousins as he was the grandson of Samuel Beard and Mary Mitchell. Barbara's new husband was nearly 30 years her senior. David died in 1878 at the age of 65. His widow, Barbara, was left with four children ranging in age from 10 years old to two.

After her husband's death, Barbara continued to live at their plantation with her children until her death on 1 May 1890. She was interred with her husband at the Key Family Cemetery.[3]

The year after her death, Barbara's brother (and stepson-in-law), Burwell David Mitchell, and his wife, Martha Virginia Beard (her stepdaughter), sued Barbara's children in order to force them to sell land on which they had lived with their mother. From this Chancery Court cause we learned David Beard owned about 210 acres at the time of his death. And that his children went to live with other relatives after their mother's death. The case was settled in 1901.

Snippet of the Chancery cause between the Beard half siblings
after Barbara Ann (Mitchell) Beard's death; courtesy of the
Library of Virginia

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

Using the Ancestral Reference Numbering System, Barbara Ann (Mitchell) Beard, is Ancestor number 19 on my family tree:

19 Barbara Ann Mitchell, born in 1841 in Bedford County, Virginia; died on 1 May 1890; married widower David Fleming Beard, Sr., son of James Harvey Beard and Mary McMullin, on 6 December 1866.

19.1 Albert Monroe Beard, born 23 February 1868 in Bedford County; died on 16 September 1937 in Roanoke, Virginia; married Emily Key, daughter of John David Key and Ella Garvin, on 31 January 1893 in Bedford County.

9 Effie Beardborn 1 October 1871 in Bedford County; died 4 May 1906 in Roanoke, Virginia; married Charles Edward Jennings in June 1895, son of Powhatan Perrow Jennings and Catherine Jewell, his second wife.

19.2 Sarah Birdelle "Berta" Beard, born 7 January 1874 in Bedford County; died 26 March 1940 in Roanoke, Virginia; married Sidney Samuel Mays, son of Elijah Fletcher Mays and Nancy Jones before 1906, his second wife.

19.3 David Fleming Beard, Jr., born 1 December 1876 in Bedford County; died 14 December 1915 in Roanoke, Virginia; married Anna Buford St. Clair, daughter of Buford William St. Clair and Virginia Ann Secrest, before 1903.

[1] Liberty is now Bedford, Virginia.

[2] Letitia McCreary Burwell was 25 years old when the Civil War began; therefore, she was of a similar age to Barbara Ann Mitchell when she began writing her diary.

[3] David Fleming Beard, Sr.'s brother, Charles Edward Beard, married Ann Elizabeth Key; and he and his wife were also interred in the Key Family Cemetery.


1850 US Census (database and images), FamilySearch, Ann Mitchell in the household of Daniel Mitchell, Bedford county, Bedford, Virginia, United States; citing p. 182B, NARA microfilm publication M432 (Washington, DC: National Archives and Records Administration, roll 935; FHL microfilm image 364 (accessed 25 July 2016).
1860 US Census (database and images), Ancestry, Barbary A Mitchell in the household of David Mitchell, Northern District, Bedford County, Virginia, United States; citing p. 393, NARA microfilm publication M653 (Washington DC: National Archives and Records Administration), roll 1335; FHL microfilm 805335 (accessed 25 July 2016).
Bedford County Marriages, The Mitchell Family Magazine, David F. Beard and Barbara Ann Mitchell, 6 Dec 1866; citing Volumes One and Two, January 1916 to April 1917 (accessed 25 Apr 2015).
David Fleming Beard, Sr. (1812-1878): A Man of His Times, Tangled Roots and Trees (accessed 30 May 2018)
Effie Beard (1871-1906): A Brief Life, Tangled Roots and Trees (accessed 30 May 2018).
Find A Grave Memorials (database and images), Find A Grave, Barbara Ann Mitchell Beard, 1841-1890; citing Memorial No. 164139770 (accessed 30 May 2018).
Goode, June B. Our War: An Account of the Civil War in Bedford, Virginia (Lynchburg, VA: Warwick House Publishing, 2003), page 30-51.
James Harvey Beard (1780-1869): A Long Life Lived, Tangled Roots and Trees (accessed 30 May 2018).
Samuel Beard (1750-1814): Revolutionary War Veteran, Tangled Roots and Trees (accessed 30 May 2018).
The Court Doth Adjudge, Order and Decree, Tangled Roots and Trees (accessed 30 May 2018).
US, Social Security Applications and Claims Index, 1936-2007 (database), Ancestry, Barbara A. Mitchell as mother of Albert Monroe Beard (accessed 17 Jun 2017).
Virginia Chancery Court Records, 1761-1969, (database and images), Library of Virginia, E M Beard, B D Mitchell and wife v. Effie Beard, etc., 1901-117 (accessed 15 Nov 2014).
Virginia Death and Burial Index, 1853-1917 (database), FamilySearch, Ann Beard, 1 May 1890; citing Bedford County, Virginia, reference p 153, line 55, FHL microfilm 30600 (accessed 11 Feb 2018).
Virginia Death Records, 1912-2014 (database and images), Ancestry, Barbara A Mitchell as mother of Albert Monroe Beard; citing Virginia Department of Health, Death Certificate No. 601 (accessed 5 Aug 2016).
Virginia Death Records, 1912-2014 (database and images), Ancestry, Ann Mitchell as mother of David F Beard; citing Virginia Department of Health, Death Certificate No. 580 (accessed 5 Aug 2016).
Virginia Death Records, 1912-2014 (database and images), Ancestry, Barbara Ann Mitchell in entry of Sarah Birdiell Mays 26 Mar 1940, Roanoke, Virginia; citing Virginia Department of Health, Death Certificate No. 219 (accessed 5 Aug 2016).
Virginia Marriages, 1785-1940 (database), FamilySearch, David F. Beard in entry for Albert M. Beard and Emily F. Key, 31 Jan 1893, Bedford, Virginia, page 224, FHL microfilm 30,597 (accessed 12 Feb 2016).
Virginia Marriages, 1785-1940 (database), FamilySearch, David F. Beard and Barbara A. Mitchell, 6 Dec 1866, Bedford, Virginia, page 6, FHL microfilm 30597 (accessed 11 Feb 2016).
Virginia Wills and Probate Records, 1652-1983 (database and images), Ancestry, David F. Beard List of Sales, 1 May 1891, Will Books 28-29, page 73 (accessed 18 Mar 2018).
Virginia Wills and Probate Records, 1652-1983 (database and images), Ancestry, Administrator's Account for David F. Beard, 26 Apr 1892, Bedford County, Virginia, Will Books 28-29, page 314 (accessed 18 Mar 2018).

Burwell David Mitchell (1828-1905); Brother and Son-in-Law

No comments:

Post a Comment