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' ' Elizabeth Beard, called "Betsey", was born 19 August 1783, either in Virginia or in the Southwest Territory which would become the State of Tennessee. On censuses in later years, Betsey would give her birthplace as Virginia, then North Carolina, then Tennessee on the next two consecutive censuses. Since the Territory was at various times considered a part of all these states, we believe that she was born in Washington County, North Carolina, which then became Washington and Greene Counties, Tennessee. Her parents had just come to the wilds of the Territory from the Cowpasture River area of Virginia, and her father claimed land grants and appeared on the 1783 Tax List in Tennessee. Her childhood in Tennessee would have been spent in log cabins and along the Nolichuckey River, and she grew up amid real danger and terror during the frequent Indian attacks on this frontier. Her father Hugh was a major in the service of the Territory, charged with protecting the settlers, and he was often called out on expeditions or in the middle of the night when attacks were imminent.
When a teenager, Betsey Beard moved with her parents and siblings to a more peaceful area. They arrived in Green County, very soon to be Adair County, Kentucky between 1798 and 1800. Hugh had lands near his brothers John and Samuel and no doubt Betsey saw all of her aunts, uncles, and cousins on a daily basis. It was here in Kentucky that Betsey met and married her husband, William Hurst. He was born in the 1770s in Virginia, the son of William and Lucy Hurst. William seems to have been the eldest son; we know of brothers named John and Jonathan. The Hurst family was on the 1800 tax records of Green County, Kentucky and the 1810 census of Adair County, which was formed from Green in 1802. The wedding celebration took place just after Christmas season, on 9 January 1806, as recorded on the Adair records and on her gravestone.
The young couple lived in Adair County until 1811, when they moved, apparently with a large group of relatives, to the part of middle Tennessee which would be Bedford County. The elder William Hurst is said to have died in Bedford in 1825, and we know that Betsey's parents also made the move. William and Betsey had a child born in Adair County, Kentucky in March of 1811; he was probably a few months old when they packed up and moved. The Nashville Christian Advocate 1890 obituary of Lucy Hurst Hudlow, Betsey and William's eldest child, states that Lucy was born in November 1807 and moved to Bedford County when she was about four years old. On the 1830 census in Bedford County, we find William, William C., John, and "Johnathan" Hurst families.
They lived near and around an area of Bedford County called Flat Creek. By 1840 on the census, we find William Hurst, a man of 60-70, with his wife and several children, two girls 15-20, three young men of 20-30, and a boy of 10-15. Listed as head of his own household was Hugh Cecil Hurst, their son, listed as "H. C.", with a wife and two small children.William Hurst died in Bedford County on Christmas Eve of 1843. Chancery Court documents filed in Bedford County, Tennessee dated 23 February 1847 list his children as John J., William W., Sarah who married Allen Tribble, Nancy who married Moses Neely, Hugh C., Lucy who married George Hudlow, America, and James L. Then, on 3 April 1847, there is a deed from some of these children to Edmund V. Word of Bedford County. The lands belonging to the late William Hurst, deceased, were sold by the clerk of the county and Word was the purchaser. The lands were sold subject to the widow's dower. This document was signed by Moses Neeley, Nancy Neeley, America Hurst, H. C. Hurst, and John Hurst. (The transcription lists John C. Hurst, but his middle initial was J. and this may be a transcription error.) Witnesses were listed as Samuel Doak and William Word, and "Nancy, wife of Moses Neeley". On 24 June 1847, William W. Hurst gave Edmund Word a deed. "By decree of the Circuit Court of Bedford County, Tennessee at August Term 1844, the lands belonging to the late William Hurst, deceased, were sold on the petition of the heirs of William Hurst, deceased. The lands are in Bedford County, Tennessee and Edmund Word was the purchaser. Sold subject to the widow's dower. "
On the 1850 census, Elizabeth Hurst, age 66, was a widow, listed as born in Virginia. Her sons John, 31, and James, 22, were living with her. Hugh Cecil Hurst lived nearby with his wife and seven children. Johnathan/Jonathan Hurst, William's brother, had apparently moved to Morgan County, Illinois by 1840 and he was on the 1850 census there.By 1860, Betsey was 75, living in the Shelbyville area of Bedford County, Flat Creek District. Her two single sons John and James were still in the home. In 1870, aged 88, Elizabeth Hurst was listed in the home of her unmarried son John J. Hurst, 52, in Bedford County. There is a housekeeper listed in the home as well. In 1870, the younger son, James, was not at home and we find no sign of him; it is of course possible that he was a casualty of the Civil War.
Elizabeth Beard Hurst died on 27 December 1877 and she was laid to rest in Old Flat Creek Cemetery in Bedford County, Tennessee. She was 94 when she passed away, and she left behind many descendents to remember her name and her life. The children of William and Elizabeth Beard Hurst: