History of the Beard-Bedichek-Craven and Allied Families

Including Trundle, McDowell, SInclair, Veache, Crispin, Holme, Rush, Van Horn, Minge, Savage, Yoder, Jones, Cooney, Javiden, Skeen, Brown, Dorn, and Clem

by Pauline Beard Cooney - 1979

This book, and the accompanied "A Supplement to the history of the Beard-Bedichk-Craven" families dated 1981, was researched and compiled by Pauline Beard Cooney.  It traces the ancestry of the Beards from Strabane, now Northern Ireland, to the migration of John Beard (Baird)/Rebecca Sterrett with their children Robert, John, Williams, James, Hannah and Thomas to Delaware, and Thomas's subsequent migration to Staunton, VA.

Pauline makes a connection to the Beards discussed in the book "Beard and Baird Families" a Genealogical, Biographical, and Historical collection of data written by Fermine Baird Catchings.  In that book, Fermine documents the three generations of Bairds who settled and lived in Strabane, Northern Ireland (John Baird about 1650, then his son James Beard/Baird d 1719, and his son John Baird/Beard who married Rebecca Sterrett, came to the new world about 1720, and settled in the Christinia Hundred, New Castle County, Delaware area.

Pauline's ancestors came from William Beard, son of Thomas Beard; whereas the Beard line in West Virginia all came from John Beard, son of Thomas Beard (William's brother).   William's children migrated briefly to Tennessee, and then to Kentucky.   They spread southward to Arkansas, and Pauline's immediate ancestors migrated to Texas, near Waco.

Because Pauline's line and the West Virginia line all derived from Thomas Beard / Jean McNutt near Staunton, VA; this makes her line very interesting for this site.   Pauline's book is also very well researched, and the information contained in does not seem to be published in very many other places (especially online sources).


The Beard-Baird Family History as related by Pauline follows:

Considerable confusion has occurred among historians and family genealogists as to the origin of the Beard-Baird families in America.  It is believed that the first of the name Bard came down from Norway to France with Rollo and later in 1066 a Biard came from France to England with William the Conqueror.  Some members o the family in France signed their name de Bard.  most of those remaining in England spelled their name Beard, however, several by that name went to Scotland in 1230 and changed the spelling of the name to Biard or Bayard.  About 1600 several families of Bairds migrated to Northern Ireland where they became known as "Scotch-Irish."  Many descendents of the Scotch-Irish in search of religious freedom, came to America as early as 1650 settling mainly in Pennsylvania and Virginia.  They were almost without exception of the Presbyterian faith.

Two brothers, Thomas and John Baird, are recorded as coming to Pennsylvania direct from Scotland.  Thomas, born about 1724 in Scotland married Mary Douglas, daughter of Archibald Douglas about 1744 and settled on 292 acres of land near Failing Springs, Guilford township, Cumberland County, Pa.  They raised a family of ten children, all born at Failing Spring, namely:  James (b 1748), Elizabeth (d. 1778) Mary (m. 1771 to Hugh Emison), Thomas (b. 1749), John (b. ca 1756), Samuel (b 1758), William (b. ca 1760), Robert (b ca 1762), Joseph (b. ca 1764) and Martha (b 176).

Before 1772, James and Thomas Baird had moved westward to Westmoreland County, Pa, where they had been assessed 900 acres of land.  In 1775, Hugh Emison, his wife Mary (Baird) Emison, and his brother Ash Emison, accompanied by Mary (Baird) Emison's widowed mother, Mary (Douglas) Baird and her brothers William and Samuel joined James and Thomas Baird in Westmoreland County.  About 1779 or 1780 the entire Baird-Emison group, accompanied by the Holmes and McClure families migrated to central Kentucky.  Some, if not all, members of the Baird family had changed the spelling of their name to Beard by this time.

Samuel Beard married Rebecca Potts about 1781 and had children, Thomas, William, John, Samuel, Mary, Deborah, Harriett, Rebecca, and Martha.  The continued use of the traditional family name of John, Thomas, William and even Samuel, adds further to the difficulty of the family genealogist.

It is believed that the William Beard and Joseph Beard, brothers of Mary (Baird) Emison are the two brothers, William and Joseph Beard who were in Wayne county, Kentucky, when it was formed in 1800 and donated 13 acres of land on which the town of Monticello was built.  William Beard built the court House in Monticello, the county seat.  On that first Tax list of Cumberland County in 1799 [1] both William and Joseph Beard had extensive land holdings on Elk Spring Creek, in what is known as Salt Lick Bottom, a section which was taken into Wayne County.  Several members of the Emison family were on the early census rolls of Cumberland and later Clinton Counties.

The progenitor of our family is believed to be John Beard (Baird) of Strabane, County Tyrone, Ireland, who died between 1661 and 1665. He had two sons, Andrew and James.  "They settled near Strabanetown with James Hamilton, Earl of Abercorn, at the Plantation of Ulster.". [2]  (Ref Beard-Baird Families by Fermine Baird Catchings.).  James inherited most of his father's property and when he died in 1719 (will dated 1719) he left considerable property to his children, John, William, James Sydney, Rebecca, and Jane.  The eldest son John had married Rebecca Sterrett and they had six children, Robert, John, William, Thomas, James and Hannah, all or most of whom were born in Ireland before their parents immigrated to America in 1720, shortly after his father's death.  The family settled in Christina Hundred, Newcastle, Delaware, and about 1729 moved to Chester County, PA.  In 1729, Rebecca (Sterrett) Baird and her eldest son Robert returned to Ireland to settled the estate of James Baird.  Robert was evidently of legal age to be give a Power of Attorney from his father to sell property and settle his grandfather's estate.

Thomas Beard married Jean McNutt, daughter of Elder James McNutt who died in 1753 and his son-in-law was named executor of his estate.  Thomas Beard was "very aged" in 1764 and exempt from taxes, according to Lyman Chalkey in his "Records of Augusta County, Va." [3].   His Will, dated 15 May 1769 and proven 18 October 1769 has his son-in-law James Mitchell as executor.

Esther Beard, eldest daughter of Thomas and Jean Beard married Robert Alexander in 1739 and they lived in Beverly Manor, Augusta County.  Robert Alexander was a graduate of the University of Dublin and Edinburgh.  "While coming to America, a great storm arose at sea and he was obliged to throw his library overboard.  This necessitated some shift to replace the classics.  It is aid he wrote many of these out in long hand from memory and taught from these until he could obtain others.  he started a private school of higher education in 1749 which was called Liberty Hall and is now Washington and Lee University [4].  (Ref. Family History by Georgina Dunlap Arnold.).

William Beard, second son of Thomas and Jean McNutt Beard, born about 1731 married Mary (Polly) Steele, daughter of Samuel Steele, formerly of Hanover township in Penn.  They migrated to Augusta County, Virginia, settling near Staunton.  They were members of the congregation of "Old Stone Church" near Staunton of which the Rev. John Craig was pastor. 

William and Mary (Polly Steele) Beard were the parents of twelve children all named in the settlement of his estate.  Mary Beard was deceased at he time that William made his will the 26th of June 1813 [3] (Ref. Chalkley's Vol. III, p246).  His son Joseph Beard and son-in-law William Sproul were executors of his estate with the Will proven 26 May 1817, and final settlement made the 28 of June 1824 [5].  In the Will he specified that his estate be "divided among all my children" and then gave special mention to his Grandson, Thomas Beard, in all probability  the son and heir of James, Beard, deceased son of William, to whom he left a "house and land" to another Grandson Thomas Beard, a sorrel mare, and to the third Grandson William Beard, a colt.  he was the son of Samuel, deceased, who left a widow Polly.  children mentioned included John Beard, born between 1760 and 1770 who married Barbara Lovingood, daughter of Herman Lovingood 14 Nov 1787,; Mary Beard born 1777 and married James Trotter Jr. 29 July 1994.  Jean Beard who married Alexander Sproul 15 May 17981; William Beard Jr. who married Margaret McNutt, 10 June 1793; Hugh Beard who it is beloved migrated to Tennessee and later to Kentucky with his brother John Beard; Robert Beard who married Sara Mitchell 20 May 1785; Samuel Beard who married Polly Somerville, 19 January 1810, deceased before his father, leaving one child William, mentioned in his grandfather's will; James Beard deceased before 1813; Joseph Beard who married Sidney Sproul, 21 January 1799; and Esther Beard who married William Sproul (Sprowl) Jr. 10 May 1806.

John Beard, his wife Barbara, her parents the Herman Lovingood's, and John's brother and probably others migrated to Tennessee shortly after the marriage of John and Barbara in 1787.  According to a suit filed in Augusta County in 1814 by the heirs of the late Peter Hanger vs. the Lovingood heirs it shows that Barbara was still living [6].  Herman Lovingood had sold all of his land near Staunton, Va. to Peter Hanger before migrating to Tennessee and later to Georgia where he died before 1790.

Our ancestor John Beard arrived in Green County, Kentucky from Tennessee before 1799 as he received two grants of land 200 acres each, one on Smith Creek, May 30, 1799 and the other on spring Creek June 30, 1799, both being South of Green River.  He also received another grant of 50 acres on the South side of Popular Mountain, joining his other grant, February 20, 1707.  After the division of Green County these grants were in Cumberland County and when Clinton County was formed from Cumberland and Wayne Counties in 1836 the property of John Beard was located in Clinton County.  A part of this land is still owned by Beard heirs, and the old home where several generations of Beards lived is still in excellent condition and is located near Albany, the county seat of Clinton county.

In the 1800 Census of Kentucky [6], based on the Tax List, there were three John Beards, two James Beards, and a Samuel Beard all in Green County.   Two of the John Beards (Sr. and Jr.) are believed to be descendents of Josiah Baird who inherited the Beard Family plantation, called "Locust Plantation" in Greenbrier County, West Virginia from his father John Beard who married Janett (Wallace) Beard 16 January 1769 in Augusta County, Va., a brother of William Beard of Augusta County.

On May 15, 1819, a Power of Attorney was recorded at Burkesville, county seat of Cumberland County, Ky. by John Beard and his two sisters, Jean (Jane) Sproul, wife of Alexander Sproul, deceased, and Mary Trotter, wife of James Trotter Jr. appointing their brother William Beard Jr. of Washington County, Va. as their Attorney in settling the estate of their father [8], William Beard, whose will was proved in Augusta County, Va 26 May 117 and final settlement made June 28, 1924.

One of the Jonn Beards of Green County married Elinor Fisher in Pulaski county (formed in 1798 from Green County) August 20, 1799.  The Fisher family migrated to Clinton County sometime later.  The early records of Clinton County, (before 1865) were destroyed by two fires in the Court House.  It is entirely possible that our ancestor, John Beard, is the one that married Elinor Fisher and that his first wife, Barbara Lovingood either died or did not choose to accompany him to Kentucky but went with her family to Georgia.  This possibility was arrived at due to the lapse of time between the date of the marriage of John Beard and Barbara Lovingood 14 Nov 1877 and the date of the first child born to John Beard and his wife In Clinton County in 1803.  The name of the John Beard's wife has not appeared in any of the records examined in the extensive research.

The family of four sons and two daughters lived in the little community of Paoli, Cumberland County, near what is now Albany, the county seat of Clinton County.  The eldest son, William D. Beard born in 1803 married Mary Harvey Johns, daughter of Harvey Johns of Tennessee.  He practiced medicine in Cumberland and Clinton counties until his death in 1858. The second son, Christopher Greenup born May 7, 18905 married sisters.  After his first wife died he married her sister Esther Stockton (or Anderson ?).  he had twelve children by his two wives and died 27 Nov 1884.

Allen Wakefield Beard, born 4 April 1807 was the grandfather of "Willie" Beard, County Clerk of Clinton County for a number of years.  The other son was Sherrod (known as Samuel) Beard and the two daughters were Mary (Polly) Beard who married James Johnson, and Angelina, born in 1816 who married Judge William David Davis April 4, 1855.

Two sons of William D. Beard and Mary (Johns) Beard died during the Civil War.  James W. was  unmarried and died after 8 Nov 1865, and John Harvey Beard, born in 1836 died before 8 Nov 1865.  He was married to Emaline Savage, daughter of Ewing Savage and his wife Martha (Minge) Savage of Wayne County, Ky.  She was the daughter of Joseph Minge and Margaret (Knatzer) Minge formerly of North Carolina.  John Harvey and Emaline Beard had two daughters.  After his death the younger brother, Alexander Campbell Beard dropped out of Medical school to help support the family.  He was born 9 Sept. 1842 and married his sister-in-law Emaline (Savagae) Beard March 22 1866 in Albany.  His father had died in 1858.  Another son William Henry Beard, born November 22, 1839, had married Mattie Warringer of Creelsborough, Russell County, Ky.

In 1882 the families of William Henry Beard and Alexander Campbell Beard, accompanied by their mother Mary (Johns) Beard left Clinton County, migrating to McLennan County, TX.  William Henry Beard purchased several hundred acres of land in Bell County on a previous trip to Texas and Alexander C. Beard purchased 425 acres near Eddy in McLennan County where he raised his family.  At least a part of this land was owned by some of the heirs of Alexander and Emaline Beard as late as 1973.

(For further information, on the Beard and related families, please refer to the following family group sheets.).


Reference notes on Early Beard Ancestors in Ireland and America:

John Beard - Died Between 1661 and 1665

"Beard and Baird Families" a Genealogical, Biographical, and Historical Collection of Data by Fermine Baird Catchings. [2]

Settled near StrabanesTown with James Hamilton, Earl of Abercorn, at the plantation of Ulster.  Both John, the father, and James, the son, were "smiths".

James Beard (Baird) - Will Dated 1719

"Beard and Baird Families" a Genealogical, Biographical, and Historical Collection of Data by Fermine Baird Catchings. [2]

James Baird, second son of John Baird, smith of Strabane, acquired a number of his father's houses and outlets at Strabane, including the smithy.  Like his father, he was a smith. His deeds were lost during hte occupation of the country by the army of King James II, 1688-89, and his claim for the ouse3s and lands filed 1703 was allowed.  "From Registry of Deeds Office, Dublins - his forge & dwelling in Strabane, two parcels of land above Holy Well near Kirriduffe were sold to George Machey (McGhee). [9]


John Beard (Baird) The immigrant - Married to Rebecca Sterrett

Ref. Baird and Beard Families by Fermine Baird Catchings [2]  : "John Baird, son of James, Smith of Strabane, emigrated to America soon after his father's death and settled in Christinia Hundred, Newcastle County, Delaware, and possibly moved to Chester County, PA ca 1729."

John's wife Rebecca and oldest son, Robert, returned to Ireland to settle James Baird's estate and executed deeds under a letter of attorney dated 1728.   Robert returned with his mother to America.


Thomas Beard Will dated 15 May 1769, m Jean McNutt

"Records of Augusta County, VA. Vol III p III by Lyman Chalkey" [3].  Article by Georgina Dunlap Arnold in the Pocahontas Times, Marlin, W. Va. June 4, 1931 [10].   "History of Rockbridge Co. Va." by Oran F. Morton [11].   "Kogley's Virginia Frontier" & Vol. I Historical and Genealogical Notes & Queries by Eagles [12].  

Ref: Virginia Frontier by Kegley, p 482 states : "Thomas Beard - son of Thomas and Jean Beard married Martha Wilson in 1794".  This Thomas Beard is probably Thomas, son of William, and grandson of Thomas Senior mentioned in his will   No son Thomas is mentioned.

One reference mentions "Elizabeth Beard married James Mitchell".  In Thomas Beard's Will he speaks of Martha Mitchell, his daughter.


Sources Cited by Pauline Beard Cooney:

[1] Tax list of Cumberland County in 1799

[2] Beard-Baird Families by Fermine Baird Catchings

[3] Lyman Chalkey in his "Records of Augusta County, Va.

[4] Family History by Georgina Dunlap Arnold

[5] Will of William Beard, proven 26 May 1817, and final settlement made the 28 of June 1824, lived near Staunton, VA

[6] Suit filed in Augusta County in 1814 by the heirs of the late Peter Hanger vs. the Lovingood heirs

[7] 1800 Census of Kentucky

[8] May 15, 1819, a Power of Attorney was recorded at Burkesville, county seat of Cumberland County, Ky. by John Beard and his two sisters, Jean (Jane) Sproul, wife of Alexander Sproul, deceased, and Mary Trotter, wife of James Trotter Jr. appointing their brother William Beard Jr. of Washington County, Va. as their Attorney in settling the estate of their father

[9]  From Registry of Deeds Office, Dublins - his forge & dwelling in Strabane, two parcels of land above Holy Well near Kirriduffe were sold to George Machey (McGhee).

[10] Article by Georginia Dunlap Arnold in the Pocahontas Times, Marlin, W. Va. June 4, 1931.

[11] "History of Rockbridge Co. Va." by Oran F. Morton

[12] & Vol. I Historical and Genealogical Notes & Queries by Eagles


Several Scanned Pages from Pauline Beard Cooney's book:


Beard History 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Biographical Chart

John Beard - Died between 1661 & 1665

James Beard - (Will Dated) 1719

John Baird (Beard) - m Rebecca Sterrett (the Immigrant)

Thomas Beard - Will 15 May 1769 - Augusta County, VA


Some useful analysis of the Pauline Beard Cooney and Thomas Beard/ John Beard (Strabane) Connection, by Bruce Baird, 12-17-2007:

It appears that Pauline's source for this part of her book was Fermine Baird Catchings 1918 book, "Baird and Beard Families," Baird-Ward Publishers, Nashville, Tennessee.  Catchings tells the story of John and Rebecca Baird who came to this country from Strabane, County Tyrone, Ireland and settled in Christiana Hundred, New Castle County, Delaware on pp 50-52 of her book.  On page 51 of her book she writes, "JOHN BAIRD, presumed to be a son of JOHN and REBECCA BAIRD, of Christiana Hundred, removed to Chester County, Pennsylvania, with his brother, THOMAS, about 1747, and settled in the Cumberland Valley, taking up lands in Guilford township, Franklin County."  Further on the same page, she writes, "THOMAS of Falling Spring was probably a son of JOHN and REBECCA of Christiana. He was born about 1724."  This Thomas Baird, who married Mary Douglass, was a long term resident of Falling Spring, Guilford Twp., Lancaster/Cumberland/Franklin Co., PA and died about 1775.  Catchings shows his line on pp 129 - 134 of her book.
Catchings got most of her data for her story, copying some of it verbatim, from an earlier 1908 book by G. O. Seilhamer, Esq. titled, "The Bard Family."  It is my understanding that Seilhamer was a professional genealogist. His book is much better arranged than Catchings and he treats the ancestral uncertainty of the Pennsylvania Bairds, Beards, and Bards.  He discusses the Strabane Bairds and their possible American descendants on pp 61 - 77.
It appears that Pauline Beard Cooney included the story about Thomas Baird m. Mary Douglass and his brother John settling in Falling Springs on page 1 of her book in paragraphs 2 - 5.  However, instead of crediting this Thomas Baird with being a descendant of the Strabane Bairds, she replaced him with your ancestor Thomas Beard m. Jean McNutt starting in paragraph 6, thus making your Thomas Beard the descendant of the Strabane Bairds instead of Thomas Baird of Falling Springs.
Now, having said that, we really don't know who the descendants of the Strabane Bairds were.  Seilhamer made that clear in his book in 1908 and that is the way it is today.  All we know for sure is that they had a son named Robert.  We do know from Irish Exchequer records that the wife of the immigrant, John Baird, was not Rebecca Sterret, but Rebecca Knox, daughter of John Knox.  We have evidence that John Baird and Rebecca Knox Baird did not remove from Christiana Hundred to New London Twp., Chester Co., PA but there may be a conflict in the records.  I think the John Beard m. Rebecca in Chester Co. is a different couple and her name may be Rebecca Sterret.  So far, there is no proof for the names of their children or even if they had any children, much less where they removed to.
Seilhamer's book is online at Google Books at: