Biography of

Richard McNeel Beard


Born 12 Apr 1868, Pocahontas County, WV
Died 29 Aug 1932, Beard, WV
Married Bessie Eleanor Kincaid Dysard, m 18 Oct 1899, Greenbank, Pocahontas County, WV; b 28 Apr 1876, Anthony's Creek, Pocahontas, WV; d 18 May 1958.

Beard Presbyterian Chapel, present day


Children Born
Kyle Nickell Beard 15 Jul 1900
Constance Mayo Beard 28 Aug 1901

Hillsboro 8 -- June 2006

Richard McNeel Beard House Location

Richard McNeel Beard House - Historic Landmark, located near Denmar State Hospital in Hillsboro, WV



Mrs. Richard M. Beard - Mrs. Bessie E. Beard, 82, widow of the late Richard M. Beard, died at her home at Beard on Sunday, May 18, 1958, after a long illness.  She was a member of the Oak Grove Presbyterian Church of Hillsboro.  Mrs. Beard was born April 28, 1876, on Anthony's Creek, the daughter of A. K. and Elizabeth McCutchen Dysard.  Surviving her are a daughter, Mayo Beard and a son Kyle N. Beard, both at home; a brother William A. Dysard of Lewisburg, and a sister Mrs. Helen Montgomery of Cincinnati Ohio.  Funeral Services were held at the home on Tuesday by her Pastor the Rev. Collier S. Harvey, assisted by the Rev. Willis Summers.  Burial was in the Oak Grove Cemetery.

Beard, Richard, House (added 2002 - Building - #02000255)
Off Cty. Rd. 31 on Kyle Beard Rd., Hillsboro
Historic Significance: Architecture/Engineering
Architect, builder, or engineer: Littlepage, Howard, Littlepage, Dassenville
Architectural Style: Queen Anne
Area of Significance: Architecture
Period of Significance: 1875-1899, 1900-1924, 1925-1949
Owner: Private
Historic Function: Domestic
Historic Sub-function: Single Dwelling
Current Function: Work In Progress

(note per below, RIchard built the Beard Chapel)
Kyle N. Beard and Family

Miss Katherine Ruckman McClure daughter of the late Lantie G. and Madge Ruckman McClure and the granddaughter of the late Mathews Ruckman of Mill Point became the bride of Kyle Nickell Beard, son of Richard M and Bessie E. Beard of Beard, Aug 8, 1974, in the home of Mr. and Mrs. William A. Dysard in Lewisburg. Rev. William A. Dysard Jr. pastor of Mulberry Presbyterian Church, Charlotte, NC, a first cousin of the groom, officiated.

Katherine Beard is a great granddaughter of Col. John Wade Ruckman who came to Pocahontas Co. with his father David Little Ruckman from Highland Co. Va in 1832. He was commissioned Captain in the 127th Regiment of the 20th Brigade and 3rd Division of the VA Militia May 29, 1858. He was commissioned Lt. Col. Sept 17, 1858. Later he became Col and was commander of the Pocahontas Co. Militia. He married Margaret Moore, granddaughter of pioneer Moses Moore, and settled in the cove near Marvin Chapel. Their son Mathews married Mary Lille Hogsett, great granddaughter of John Bradhhow, John Slaven, and Lanty Lockridge. Mathews attended Randolph Macon College. In the period of four month school terms he was one of the interested citizens proving “home schools” for their own and their neighbors children. He and his father were livestock farmers. He served as elder in Oak Grove Presbyterian Church. As a young girl Mary Lille was sent from Huntersville to Green Bank to take advantage of classes being taught by Miss Carrie Stulting. Mathews and Mary Lillie had a son Frederick (see Fred W. Ruckman Sketch) and a daughter Madge (Ruckman) McClure. Madge was taught at Ruckman School by Miss Anna Wallace, attended Hillsboro Academy, Fredericksburg College and also studied music from Miss Anna Wallace. Miss Ena Stulting and Miss Virgie Sydenstricker. She became a member of the Oak Grove Presbyterian Church at an early age.

Kyle is a great grandson of Josiah Beard, the first clerk of Pocahontas County. His maternal great grandfather was Robert McCutchan. His grandmother being Elizabeth E. McCutchan who married A.K. Dysard of Greenbrier Co and later moved to Stony Bottom. Richard and Bessie Beard had a daughter Constance Mayo. She attended Marshall College and Davis and Elkins College. She was a teacher in Pocahontas Co schools for many years. She became a member of Oak Grove Presbyterian Church early in life and taught Sunday school, in Beard Presbyterian Chapel.

Kyle and Katherine live at Beard on the homestead where his grandparents Moffett and Nannie Crouch Beard lived. They are members of Oak Grove Presbyterian Church. Katherine has been an active member of Pocahontas Co. Historical Society for many years serving as director and in various offices. As a member of the National Speleological Society she served on the Committee for the Preservation of Caves. Kyle has been a long time member and supporter of Farm Bureau and a board director of Southern States Marlinton Corporation. He is a livestock farmer. His father was active in promoting the building of the Beard Presbyterian Chapel.
Bear Stories --  Last week a very exciting bear hunt took place near Mr. Moffet Beard's five miles south of Hillsboro.  The 24th being Mr. Beard's birthday he concluded to celebrate it by taking a hunt, and in company with his son Jake and Mr. William Parkins, went to the woods with guns and dogs.  They had been out a short time when the deep baying of "Trailer", a favorite hound, was heard.  Mr. Perkins went to the dog while Mr. Beard and his son remained behind looking for a chain they had lost.   After reaching the dog, Mr. Parkin's attention was directed to a great heap of leaves and snow that seemed to be agitated by something, while cautiously approaching it saw a cub bear raise its head through the leaves.  He took deliberate aim and shot it through the head.  Its death struggles aroused three more that were in the bed -- a large female and two cubs -- which scampered off in different directions while Mr. Parkins re-charged his gun.   Mr. Beard and his son now came up, but as it was getting dark they had to abandon pursuit for that day. The next morning Messrs. Thos. Callison, Henry Perry, and Dick Beard joined in the chase.  After an exciting all-day hunt, the men and dogs run the three bears down late in the evening on "Spice Run", four miles from where they had previously routed. Mr. Jake Beard, who was in advance, shot and killed one of the cubs, while the mother and the other cub quickly disappeared in the gathering darkness without giving and of the chasers a chance for a shot.  The next morning (and the third day) Mr. Charles Beard also joined the chase with his well trained bear dogs, and the party, now numbering seven men and ten dogs, hotly pursued the remaining bears.  The dogs soon struck the trail f the old one, and after a lively chase brought her to bay in a thicket of laurel.   Mr. Jake Beard was the first to get there, and venturing into the laurel was attacked by the angry bear, and would have fared badly if it had not been for Mr. Charles Beard's dogs.  They held her in check until he fired eight shots with a Winchester rifle, four of which struck vital parts and she toppled over dead.  All their efforts to trail the cub proved fruitless, and thus ended one of the biggest and most exciting bear hunts that has ever come under our notice in the county.   The three killed were very large and very fat.
Greenbrier Independent - (29 Sep 1892) - Mr. R. M. Beard of Pocahontas County was in Lewisburg last Monday and called to see us.   He informed us that Mrs. Belle Dorr, wife of Hon C. P. Door, died at her home in Addison, Webster County, last Friday, the 23rd inst, agend about 35 years.  She was a daughter of Dr. John Ligon of Clover Lick, Pocahontas County, where her remains were laid to rest last Sunday -- The announcement of her death was a great shock to her many friends in Pocahontas, where she was very popular.  She left an infant child of a day old.
Richard Beard House - Historic Landmark - The Richard Beard House is located in Hillsboro, a small community southwest of Marlinton, Pocahontas County, the county seat. It is located adjacent to Kyle Beard Road, off of County Route 3 1 which runs parallel to the Greenbrier River. The house is located on 1.6 acres adjoining wide flat valleys, at the end of a long gravel driveway, atop a hill in the center of a well-mowed lawn. There are several large perimeter trees and one outbuilding, a spring house.

The buildings on this site include: the Beard House (contributing), and a spring house (contributing)
located at the bottom of the hill on the south side of the house, close to the gravel driveway. In total, there are two contributing buildings located on this site.

The Beard House is a two-story, frame, Queen Anne style house with a side facing T-plan and a one-story
front porch running one half the width of the house. There is a three-sided, hipped roof bay on the first
floor adjacent to the front porch. There is a matching three-sided bay on the first floor, south elevation.
The roof is finished with asphalt shingles and the exterior walls have clapboard siding with cornerboards.
There are two interior corbeled brick chimneys. Most of the windows in the house are two over two
double-hung wood sash, and both of the three-sided projecting bays have central two over two windows
flanked by narrow one over one windows. Above these bays, the second floor windows are paired one
over one windows that are the same size as the ones in the bays. These second floor windows are flanked
by shutters. There is no evidence of shutters being used on the first floor. The attic windows are fixed
pane two over two. The house has some of the original ashlar cut sandstone block foundation extant and
there is a concrete block foundation under the north elevation and under the enclosed side porch. The front porch has a shed roof with square posts supporting a hidden beam and exposed rafter tails. There are scrolled brackets from the posts to the beam. These are decorative original elements. The posts are a
combination of original and new plain wood studs. There are also some posts found in a barn on the
property which are from the original porch that are being used to replace the plain wood stud supports.
These original posts will be used as templates for new posts where originals do not exist. They are square
at the top with two horizontally routed lines spaced approximately three inches apart forming a square box around a centrally routed circle. This bullseye decorative element is repeated in other locations on the house as well. The center of the porch post is slightly chamfered, returning to the square configuration at the bottom where it meets the porch floor. The porch floor is tongue and groove wood, and there is a vertical wood skirt covering some sections beneath the porch.

There is a partially enclosed porch on the south side elevation. This enclosure encompasses approximately
one-third of the porch leaving the remaining portion open. There is a fully enclosed porch on the
northwest corner of the house in a corner formed by the kitchen and the main block of the house. The
sides are enclosed with horizontal clapboard siding in a narrower pattern than the main house. The porch
shed roof has an asphalt shingle roof. The windows are vertical one over one fixed pane with one window on the west elevation and five on the north elevation. The north elevation has a central projecting end gable with paired two over two windows on the first floor and one centrally located two over two window on the second floor and in the attic area.

This large, compound plan, side facing T is approximately 43 feet wide and 49 feet long, consisting of
three bays on the front elevation and three bays on the side elevation. A compound plan house combines
the squares and rectangles of simple plans into the most common shapes of the letters L, T, or U. The front room with the three-sided bay, and the original kitchen area in the rear of the house, make up the top section of this side facing T. The entrance hall and the room to the right of the entrance, having the three sided bay on the side elevation, form the perpendicular foot of the "T".

The central entrance door on the first floor has a simple surround and bullseye blocks in the upper corners.
The entrance door is flanked by horizontally divided sidelights with panels below and a transom with
divided lights above. The house contains many decorative wood elements on the exterior. These include
scrolled brackets on the porch, porch posts, window trim and hoods, brackets and wood panels on the bays, door surrounds, exposed rafter tails and brackets on the gables and roof fascias. The front porch also has exposed rafter tails. The bullseye pattern found in the upper corner of the entrance surround is repeated in several other locations on the exterior as well as on the interior. This pattern consists of a central routed circle with routed vertical lines defining a square block around the circle. This can be found in the corners of the door surrounds, in the porch posts, and in the rake boards on the gable ends, both in the main roof area and the porch roof of the original sections. The bullseye patterns in the rake boards of the gable ends are paired with a plain panel in between, a variation of triglyphs and metopes.

The finishes in the two front rooms of the house are similar. The ceilings in both rooms are plaster and the walls are covered with wallpaper. The windows in both rooms are original with original Victorian sash
locks, and the muntins are thick, representative of the 1890 time period. The entrance door into these
rooms as well as the closet doors have excellent examples of "graining." This practice was used during
this time period to replicate the grain of expensive wood by painting the grain onto less expensive wood
such as Poplar. This graining occurs in many areas of the house and forms different patterns in different
areas. All interior doors are wood four panel doors with transoms above. The floors in both of these front
rooms are wide tongue and groove boards and they also have the graining described above. There are
fireplaces in both front rooms with the original wooden mantels.

The hallway from the entrance to the rear section of the T has plaster walls and ceilings with the same
wide tongue and groove floor boards. In this central entrance hall is the staircase to the second floor. The
balusters on the staircase are hand made from alternating black walnut and chestnut wood with a carved,
black walnut newel post. Both the balusters and the newel post are constructed with wooden pegs. The
wide treads are constructed from black walnut as are the risers. A distinctive feature of the balustrade is
the curve at the top on the second floor. The rail and balusters curve at the top of the staircase and
continue into the second floor hallway, forming a rail around the stair opening.

In the rear section of the first floor of the house is the original kitchen area. The original stone fireplace is extant on the rear east wall and the floor is the same wide board tongue and groove original to the rest of the first floor. Originally in this area, there was an open porch on the north elevation off of the kitchen and an open porch on the south elevation. Over time, these porches have been enclosed.

The second floor plan is the same as the first floor in the two front rooms on the west elevation. They also have the graining applied to the original four panel wood doors as well as to the paneled closet doors and the wide wood tongue and groove floors. Originally, the rooms in the rear of the second floor were divided into three small rooms with a private staircase leading directly to the outside. These rooms were for the hired help that many families kept to help run the immense farms in this fertile river valley. The small room at the top of the staircase previously described contained a door to the attic of the house. The attic area consists of a large room with high ceilings similar to the rooms in the main house, though less decorative.

Springhouse ca. 1890 Contributing Building
The contributing, one-story, spring house, ca. 1890, dates to the time period of the house. The spring
house is built over the reservoir created by the spring and is accessed through a hole in the concrete floor. This building has a metal shingle roof, and is constructed from large sandstone blocks. On the south
elevation, there is a vertical board entrance door and on the west elevation is a small window.

The Richard Beard House and the accompanying cellar house are in excellent condition. Both buildings retain their original character defining elements, and the house is the only original extant example of the work of the local builders Dassenville and Littlepage.

The Richard Beard House is significant under Criterion C, Architecture, for its late nineteenth century,
Queen Anne style of architecture, an excellent example of the style in the area and in Pocahontas County.
It is also the only remaining intact example of the builders Howard Littlepage and Dassenville, two local
contractors with a distinctive building style. The period of significance, 1890 - 1932, refers to the
construction date of the house and the period of time that Richard Beard lived in the house. The house
remained in the Beard family until November of 2000, when it was purchased by Shannon and Susan
Hanley. In May of 2001, the Hanley's sold the property to their daughter and her husband, Marcie and
Richard Spreen, the present owners.

The Richard Beard House was built in 1890 by Mr. Dassenville and Howard Littlepage, two local builders
from the area. Richard, or Dick, Beard was the son of James Henry Moffett Beard and grandson of Josiah
Beard, the pioneer to first settle in Pocahontas County. Richard Beard contracted to have the house built
on this portion of his father's homestead left to him in his father's will.

The Beard legacy began with Scotch-Irish pioneer John Beard who first settled in Pennsylvania with his
parents after coming to the United States from the north of Ireland. After another move to Augusta
County, Virginia, John Beard came to Greenbrier County as a bachelor and purchased land in 1770. He
married Janet Wallace while living there, and they made their home in Renicks Valley. John and Janet
Beard had many children during their marriage including one son, Josiah Beard. The Beards were a
prominent farming family in the area, and when Josiah became an adult, he moved to Pocahontas County
and purchased land of his own. Josiah Beard married Rachel Cameron Poage, after moving to Pocahontas
County, and they had eleven children. Josiah and his family were prosperous farmers and acquired land
throughout the years. Although farming was the main source of income for the Beard family, Josiah
became the first Clerk of the County and served in that capacity during the formative period of the
county's history.

Rachel Beard lived to be sixty-seven but Josiah Beard lived an additional nineteen years, passing away at
the age of eighty-six. After his death, the family farm was divided among the living children. James
Henry Moffett Beard
inherited his portion of the farm as well as his father's passion for farming. James
Henry Moffett Beard
, known as Moffett Beard, began his adult life farming and acquiring land as had his
father before him. Moffett Beard married and had children of his own. In 1874, he acquired a 289 acre
estate from Rob Rhea on the east side of Locust Creek, thus adding the acreage surrounding the Richard
house to his growing farm.

Moffett Beard died in 1889, leaving each of his children a portion of his estate. One of his sons, Richard
M. Beard
inherited the 289 acre parcel mentioned above and contracted to have a distinctive two-story
Queen Anne style house built on the property. This is the house addressed in this report and it stands today virtually as it was built in 1890.

Although the Beard legacy has ended on this piece of farmland in Pocahontas County, the house remains
as the only original one of its kind in this section of Pocahontas County. The distinctive elements of the
house can be found in at least one other house in the county, the Jacob Moffett McNeel House located off of U.S. 219, south of Hillsboro. This house was built by the same builders that built the Richard Beard
house, during the same time period, and is owned by the great grandson of Moffett Beard. The two houses are identical in plan with the same roofline. The distinctive double bullseye decorative variations of the metopes and triglyphs present on the rake boards of the gable ends are evident in the McNeel house as well as the exposed rafter tails at the roofline of the house and the front porch. The three-sided bay on the first floor of the side elevation is extant, however, the bay on the front elevation has been removed and a picture window installed. The original clapboard siding has been covered with vinyl siding on the McNeel house, but the stone foundation is extant. There have been two large additions added, one on the east side elevation and one on the rear north elevation. The interior treatments are different in the two houses. The graining mentioned in the Dick Beard house is not present in the McNeel house. The interior woodwork has been painted in most cases and the ceilings have been lowered covering the original plaster ceilings.  The interior doors are the same four panel doors with transoms above, as in the Richard Beard House, and the entrance door is the exact duplicate also, with the divided sidelights with panels below and divided transom above. The floorboards are the wide wood tongue and groove but have no evidence of the graining that occurs in the Richard Beard House. The central staircase, a focal point in the Richard Beard house, appears to be almost identical in the McNeel house including the placement of the pegs in the balusters and in the newel post. The newel post itself is larger and more elaborate in the McNeel house, however the distinctive curve in the balustrade at the top of the stairs is also evident here.

In 1986, a Reconnaissance Level Survey was conducted in this area of Pocahontas County. One hundred
and fifty-six sites were identified including the Richard Beard House and the Moffett McNeel House. It
was noted at that time that both Queen Anne style houses were built in the same year by Howard Littlepage and Dassenville.

In summary, the Richard Beard House is significant under Criterion C, architecture, as an excellent
example of the Queen Anne style represented in the county. It is the only remaining original extant
example of the style built during the same time period by builders Dassenville and Littlepage.

Cole, J.R., History of Greenbrier County 19 17, Lewisburg, WV. 1917.

Deed Research at Pocahontas County Courthouse, Marlinton, WV. 10/23/01

Interview with Katherine Beard by Ruth Morgan, October 2 1,200 1.

Interview with Moffett McNeal by Barbara Brimer and Jean Boger, 1011 8/O 1.

Pocahontas County Historic Landmark Commission & Pocahontas County Commission, "Reconnaissance Survey of Pocahontas County, WV. Summer 1986.

Pocahontas County Historical Society, Inc., Marlinton, WV, History of Pocahontas County. West Virginia 198 1, Taylor Publishing Company, Dallas, Texas. 1997.

Pages 223 - 225.
"Pocahontas Times," 0913 1/05; 711 8/29' 7/25/29; 06/04/3 1.
Price, William T., Historical Sketches Pocahontas County. WV, Price Brothers Publishers. 190 1.