Biography of

John Beard


Born 1733, Staunton, VA
Died 1808, Greenbrier Co., WV
Married Jannet Wallace 01 Jan 1769, Staunton, VA; b 1746 Rockbridge, VA; d 1819, Greenbrier Co. VA

John Beard came to the head of Renick's Valley about 1770 and, though unmarried, built a cabin and cleared ground for cropping.  He later married Jannett Wallace.   He was a captain in the Revolutionary War.  He left his Locust Creek Plantation and Mill to Josiah Jonas Beard "when he came of age", founding the Beard family in Pocahontas County.


Children Born
Samuel Beard 24 Sep 1771
Margaret F Beard Bef. 1774
Jane Beard  06 Aug 1774
Thomas Beard III Jan 1776
Nancy Agnes Beard 28 May 1779
Sarah Sabina Beard  28 May 1779
Katherine Beard   Abt. 1780
Jesse Beard  Abt. 1780
Mary Beard Abt. 1784
William Rynech Beard 08 Jan 1788
Elizabeth Beard Abt. 1789
*Josiah Jonas Beard 23 Dec 1792

John Beard's signature, last will and testament, 1808.

John Beard Headstone - Taken by James Williams 2009

The GPS coordinates for the Wallace Williams cemetery are:

N 37° 58.136"
W 080° 22.268"
2109 ft elevation

This cemetery is now on private property.




Capt in VA Army, proven DAR

NOVEMBER 16, 1779 (144) James Bell, John Beard and Alexander Kirk made proof by Alexr. McClenachan of their services as soldiers in an Independent Corps an the expedition under Colonel Bouquet in 1764

From "Greenbrier Pioneers" and Their Homes .. by Ruth Woods Dayton, West Virginia Publishing Company, Charleston, WV, 1942 - (Early Log Houses) - Beard Cabin - The Beard Cabin, though dilapidated, is still occupied.  It is thought to have been built in 1770.  Small and only one story in height, it is all that remains of a much larger log house which was the original homestead of the well-known Beard family, the pioneer, John Beard, settling there at the time.  Located on a splendid twelve-hundred acre farm three miles north of Lewisburg on Route 219, the tiny cabin seems lost in the extensive acres surrounding it.  The property is remarkable in that it remained in the possession of descendents of its builder until sold two or three years ago to Mr. Ward Buchanan.

MARCH 24, 1780 (212) James Beard, returned no inhabitant

MARCH 29, 1780. (223) Called Court on John and William Woods for breaking John Beard's mill and stealing grain--discharged.

49 CGB H p396-398 7 June 1783 Benjamin Harrison Esq. John Beard Ass'ee o 315a Greenbrier Co. in the Valley a

From Greenbrier County Wills Book 1, 2 3. 1780-1899

Testator : John Beard

Witness: Robt. Stephen, David Parks, Adam Stumbaugh

Devisees : (Daughters) Agnes, Sabina, Betsey, (Aunt) Elizabeth (wife) Jannett (son) William (daughter) Jane, Mary (son) Josiah.

Wife to have 1/3 of land we are living on, and then to son, William. Give Josiah the Locust Creek land. Will Book no. 1, pages 239-240. Dated May 11, 1808, Probated Sept 27, 1808.

From W.VA Heritage Encyclopedia:

John Beard, the great-grandfather of Dr. Beard, was of Scotch-Irish extraction and made his first home in Pennsylvania, but later moved to Augusta County, Virginia, and from there to Greenbrier county, before the Revolutionary War. He was a man of bold adventurous sprit and frequently needed in his contest with the Indians, his success in subduing them and regaining his property when thy stole it making hi  fgfdfm fails as an Indian fighter. He married a member of the Wallace family and they reared a family, their son Samuel, being one who became a prominent man in Greenbrier County, where he was born after the family left Augusta County. He, a farmer, twice served as high sheriff of Greenbrier county making the senior magistrate occupy that office. He married Margaret Walkup, a native of Lexington, VA. She lived to a great age, and Samuel himself attained he age of 80 years, dying in 1848. They reared a family of fix children. Their son Christopher Beard was born in April 1, 1798 in Greenbrier County, and through life followed agricultural pursuits. He was of a quiet thrifty nature and took no very active interest in public matters beyond performing his duty as a citizen. He died in August 2, 1840 after a brief illness. His widow survived until 1888, dying at the age of 82 years. She was a daughter of Abraham McNeel, and his wife, who was a Bridger.

From Historical Sketches of Pocahontas County, West Virginia, by William T. Price, Marlinton, WV. Price Brothers Publishers, 1901. Reprinted 1963 by McClain Printing Company, Parsons, W.Va.

So far as we have authentic information, the Beard relationship traces their ancestry to John Beard, the pioneer of Renicks Valley, Greenbrier County. He was of Scotch-Irish antecedents; his parents have migrated from the north of Ireland. While a young man he had his parental home in Augusta County, in the bounds of John Craig’s congregation, and no doubt helped to build the old Stone Church and the forts spoken of elsewhere, and may have heard the very sermons Craig preached, opposing the people who ere thinking of going back to Pennsylvania, or over the Blue Ridge towards Williamsburg.

His valley home was in the vicinity of New Hope, and after attaining his majority he came to Greenbrier County, and commenced keeping bachelor’s hall at the head of Renicks Valley, on lands now occupied (ed. as of 1901) by Abram Beard, a grandson. This was about 1770, and though unmarried, John Beard secured land, built a cabin, and cleared ground for cropping.

While living in this isolated manner, some Indians came along and liberally helped themselves to whatever they could find in the way of something to eat; and when they went on their way took the pioneer’s gun, dog, and only horse.

It occurred that Mr. Beard was absent that day. It is thought he had gone over to Sinking Creek on a social visit to the Wallace family, old neighbors in Augusta, and whose coming to Greenbrier possible had its influence with the young bachelor.

While young Beard returned and saw what liberties his visitors had taken in his absence, he looked up the trail and started in pursuit. Upon following the sign for some miles in the direction of Spring Creek, he heard the horse’s bell. Guided by the sound he came upon two Indians in camp. They seemed to be very sick, and Mr. Beard supposed it was from over eating raw bacon and Johnny cake they had taken from his own larder. One appeared to be convulsed with paroxysms of nausea; the other was lying before the fire vigorously rubbing his belly with a piece of bacon, on homeopathic principles that like cures like.

Seeing his own gun near a tree and his own dog lying by it, he crawled over to get the gun but he dog fiercely growled and he was forced to withdraw quietly as he came, and leave the two sick Indians unmolested. He thereupon went to his horse, silenced the bell and succeeded in getting the animal away.

About this time, or soon after, Mr. Beard seemed to realize there was nothing in single blessedness for him and he and Miss Janet Wallace were married by taking a trip to Staunton and making their wishes known to the rector of the imperial parish that extended from the Blue Ridge to the Pacific Ocean. In their pioneer home in Renicks Valley they reared a numerous family of sons and daughters, one of the sons being Josiah Beard, lately of Locust Creek.  

Last Will and Testament John Beard (1808) Original Copy  In the name of God, Amen. May the 11th of 1808. John Beard being sick of body but of good and sound mind and memory, thanks be to the Almighty God, calling to remembrance this transitory life & that all flesh must yield to please God to call, do make and ordain this last will and Testament in the manner and form following my soul to Almighty God my savior and Redeemer, and my body to be buried at the discretion of my executor hereafter named. And to my temporal estate I give and dispose of it in the following manner. My funeral expenses with all my lawful debts be first discharged. And the legacy left to my daughters Agnes, Sabina, Betsy and their Aunt Elizabeth be also discharged.

Item - I give and bequeath to Beloved wife Jennet my Negro Man Jingo two working horses & two conts to be at her disposal and during her widowhood the third of the plantation she now lives on, and the farming tools and wagon for the use of the farm.

Item - To be giveath to my son William Rynack the Plantation we now live on.

Item - I Bequeath son Josiah when he comes of age the Locust Creek plantations and mills.

Item - I Bequeath the rest of the Locust Creek plantation and till Josiah come to age, and the money arising from the sale of the place at the head of the ??? and also my part of Knob place to be equally divided among all of my daughters.

I also do hereby constitute and appoint Samuel Beard and Thomas Beard ?? & Thomas Beard ??? Executers of this my last will and testament in witness thereof set my hand & seal the day and year above mentioned.

Signed, sealed, published & declared by the said John Beard to be his last will and testament in presence of us. Robt. Stephen. David Parks. ???? ??? J.Beard (Seal).

Renick community in Greenbrier County is located in the upper Greenbrier valley between the Greenbrier mountains on the east and Spring Creek mountain on the west. The noted and beautiful Greenbrier river courses through this community with its tributary, Spring Creek, on the western border. It is sixteen miles from Lewisburg, the county seat, north on the Lewisburg Marlin Bottom turnpike. Six roads lead into the center of this community.

The first settlement in the community was made by Major Wm. Renick from Augusta county, Virginia, in 1769, on an entry of 1000 acres, on which is located the stone and brick house now owned by Dr. Nash of Alderson, West Virginia. This farm was handed down from Major Wm. Renick to Wm. Renick, James H. Renick, and Harry Renick after which it finally passed out of the Renick hands.

Christopher Walkup settled on the river bottom now the site of the town of Renick in 1778, this property passing into the hands of Franklin Renick, grandfather of the present owners.

John Beard settled just over the mountain in Renick's Valley in 1770.

Other early settlers were Samuel Myles, John White, the Byrd's, Rapp's, Hanna's, Handley's, Bogges', Correll's, etc. The first settlers were Scotch-Irish.

Agriculture, chiefly the raising of livestock of all kinds is the main occupation. The soil is a rich limestone where the bluegrass has its natural growth, and is therefore naturally adapted to livestock raising though originally covered with heavy forests of hardwood.. Lumbering has been a very important industry for the last twenty-five years. There are in this community the finest stone cliffs to be found any where and a future industry based on this natural resource is assured.

The Lewisburg and Marlin Bottom turnpike, built about 1849, and now designated as an A class state road passes through this community, making it accessible to all outside points.

The Greenbrier Division of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad, built about 1900, also gives good railroad facilities. About 1901, Pitts and Colley built a large store near the depot, and the business center was moved to this point.

The first church to be erected was that of the Presbyterians, organized in 1783. The first pastors came from Lewisburg among whom were Rev. John McCue, Benjamin Griggsby, John McElheny, later the Browns, J. H. Lepps, Wm. McMiller, D. M. Laten, and others. The present church building erected in the year 1894 is the third church building.

The Pocahontas Times - Nov 1962

Among the very early pioneers of Greenbrier County was John Beard and his wife, Jennett Wallace.  John was a captain in the Revolutionary War and two of his sons served as officers in the War of 1812.  There were eleven children born to this union.  In John's will dated May 11, 1808 he left to his youngest son Josiah Beard the Locust Creek Plantation and Mills.  Josiah Beard was born in 1792, and when he became of age he located on the land left to him by his father.   He married Rachel Cameron Poage, and they, in turn were the parents of eleven children.  One of these children was Wallace Warwick Beard, the father of William Warwick Beard, who unveiled the portrait of his grandfather in the courthouse at Marlinton on November 14.  In March, 1821, the Virginia legislature passed a resolution to form a new county which was given the name of Pocahontas.  Josiah Beard was appointed as the first county clerk, with Thomas Beard, his brother, as one of the bondsmen.   The first court was held on March 5, 1822, at the residence of John Bradshaw in Huntersville, Virginia, now West Virginia.

Many years ago Mrs. Don (Wilma Beard) Harper, of Elkins, was asked if she had, or could locate, a picture of Josiah Beard to be used for the purpose it is being used.  About a year ago she obtained a daguerreotype of Josiah Beard from his grandson from which she had it copied and painted in oil by her husbands niece, Arlene Bailey Davis.  As her father, Josiah Osborne Beard, was a grand-nephew of Josiah Beard, the Clerk, and he was named for him, it was with pride and pleasure that she shred the honor seeing Josiah Beard's grandson, William Warwick Beard, unveil the painting, commemorating for Pocahontas County one of the historical events associated with the formation of the county.  Brown B. Beard, serving for a number of years as a member of this court, is also the son of Josiah Osborne Beard.  Both are direct descendents of Major Samuel Beard of Greenbrier County, mentioned above.

Virginia Land, Marriage, and Probate Records, 1639-1850

Name :  John Beard, Date: 20 May 1765, Location: Augusta CO., VA, Property:  183 acres on a branch of Cathey's River called Jenning's Branch; corner Daniel McNare.   Notes: This land record was originally published in "Chronicles of Scotch-Irish Settlement in Virgina, 1745-1800; Extracted from the Original Court Records of Augusta County" by Lyman Chalkey.   Remarks : Thomas Beard to  son, John, 40.  Delivered to John Beard, Jan 1769.  Description: Grantee.  Book Date : 12-456.

NOVEMBER 16, 1779

(143) Grand Jury presentments for retailing liquors without license, viz: Col. Sampson Mathews, Daniel Kidd, Wm. Thomas, David Griner, Patrick McDavid, George Smith, Valentine Cloninger, Thomas Colony, Edward Brookbank, Thomas Price, John Alexander, John Anderson, John Blair, William Burk, John Burk, James Hill, Robert Reed, Alex. Kilpatrick, Euphemia Hughes, Anthony Mustae, Jacob Grass, Elizabeth Hartgrove, Arthur Conoly, William Blair, John Hind, William Kyle, Abel Griffith, Enos Jones, Valentine Shirley, Peter Caphart, Andrew Scott, James Langsby, Robert Gregg, Thomas Poage, Jane Wallis, John McClenachan, John Black, Mary Tees, Thomas Smith, David Bell, Henry Swink, John Ramsey and William Foster.

(144) James Bell, John Beard and Alexander Kirk made proof by Alexr. McClenachan of their services as soldiers in an Independent Corps an the expedition under Colonel Boquet in 1764.

(144) George Moffet qualified Sheriff.

(144) Mary, wife of Sampson Mathews, and Ann, wife of George Mathews, relinquished dower in land sold to James Hill.

John BEARD - 80 acres - Greenbrier - Examined.

James Monroe Esquire Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia to all to whom these presents shall Come Greeting Know Ye, That by virtue of a land office Treasury Warrant Number Three thousand, nine hundred and eighty one, issued the seventeenth of March seventeen hundred and eighty, There is Granted by the said Commonwealth unto John BEARD A Certain tract or parcel of land Containing eighty acres by survey bearing date the eighth of April eighteen hundred, lying and being in the County of Greenbrier, on the waters of spring Creek, Joining the land of Thomas BEARD, David CUTLIP, Samuel BEARD and William BROWN and bounded as followeth to wit, beginning at a hickory and ash corner to CUTLIP and BEARD and with the latter North sixty five degrees East fifty six poles to a Spanish oak & hickory on the point of a ridge by a path, North fourteen degrees East one hundred and twenty four poles to a white oak and hickory on a ridge, North sixty eight degrees East seventy eight poles to a Spanish oak and hickory, South fifty three degrees East thirty two poles to a walnut and chestnut, corner to BEARD & BROWN and with the latter, South sixty degrees West thirty seven poles to a Spanish oak and ash on a hill, South eight degrees East one hundred and fifty four poles to a poplar corner to BROWN and leaving the same North eighty five degrees West one hundred and sixty poles to the beginning with its appurtenances to have and to hold the said tract or parcel of land with its appurtenances to the said John BEARD and his heirs for ever, In Witness whereof the said James Monroe esquire Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia hath hereunto set his hand and caused the lesser seal of the said Commonwealth to be affixed at Richmond on the seventh day of May in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and one and of the Commonwealth the twenty fifth

James Monroe


Transcribed from image: Virginia Land Grants Book 48, pages 260-261.

Library of Virginia ~~

Land Record Abstract: John Beard - 1787 - Greenbrier Co VA

Certificate in Right of Settlement given by the Commissioners for adjusting the titles to unpatented lands in the Districts of Augusta, Botetourt, and Greenbrier.

Consideration of One Pound Sterling paid by JOHN BEARD into the Treasury of the Commonwealth.

Part of VA Land Office Treasury Warrant #12615 issued 28 Jun 1782.

Survey 26 Jun 1786.

Land Grant 29 Apr 1787.

JOHN BEARD, assignee of GEORGE CLENDENEN, 320 acres in Greenbrier Co VA "... in a Valley above spring Creek adjoining the Land said BEARD now lives on & Including a survey of two hundred Acres ... Beginning at two Chestnuts in a gap of a little Mountain ... Elm & small Buckeye on the turn [?] of a Rich hill ... Lynn and Walnut on a rich hill side ... large Spanish Oak on the top of a Hill ... large Spanish Oak on a rich hill side ... Walnut, Buckeye & Ash above the head of a spring in a hollow ... two chestnuts in the gap of the Mountain ..."

VA Grants 11, p. 327-329.

Transcribed from image(s)

Library of VA Digital Collections


From "Extracts of Greenbrier County Court Orders 1780 - 1850"

Tuesday December 29 1795 Page 177-178

Christopher "Vaughob"

Ordered, James Gilliland James Hanna John Beard Christopher Vaughob Ezekial Boggs and John Handley to view the road from Joseph McClintocks to Anthonys creek at Andersons land on James Johnstons being first duly qualified and report to the court the conveniences and inconveniences thereof

John Beard's Bible Reference - Virginia Bible Records (Google Books)


Owner:  Mrs. John Bell 1622 N. Augusta St, Staunton, VA

Capt. John Beard b 1733 Augusta Co, VA d 1819 near Lewisburg W. Va. m Jenet Wallace 1/16/1769.  She was b. 1746 d near Lewisburg W.Va. 1819.

Their children:

Margaret Beard was the 2nd wife of Thomas Price

Samuel Beard (Major, War of 1812) 9/24/1771-6/5/1850 m. Margaret Walkup 5/12/1795

Jane Beard 8/6/1774-5/26/1848 m. John Armstrong 5/12/1812

Agnes Beard b 5/28/1779 m. John Walkup 11/24/1803

Jesse Beard 5/16/1782 - 9/13/1867 m. Sarah Lewis 11/8/1810

Sabina Beard b 5/28/1729? m. Christopher Walkup

Mary Beard m. Rev John Spots 1/28/1819

William Ryneck Beard 1/8/1788-1/4/1878 m. Rachel Cameron Poage

Elizabet (Betsy) Beard was 2nd wife of George W. Poage m 5/1816

Katherine Beard d. 1803 aged 23