John Beard, one of the three brothers who were born in Virginia and went to Eastern Tennessee and then Adair and Green Counties, Kentucky, seems to have been born about 1750. He and his wife were having children by 1770-1780. He may have been the eldest brother; he certainly was the first to pass away, about 1818 in Adair County, Kentucky. His wife's name appears to be Margaret, as she is on deeds with him in Adair County, Kentucky. He served as a lieutenant of the Virginia Line in the Revolutionary War, according to his brother Samuel's Revolutionary War pension application in 1832. After the War, we find John listed on several grants and land records in Eastern Tennessee, where he joined his brother Hugh Beard. There was another John Beard/Beaird/Baird in the exact same area at the same time who was definitely not related to our Beards, so it is difficult to know which John was on which record, but several of the grants were on the same land described on grants to Hugh, Samuel, and James Beard so we feel reasonably confident that these were the John Beard of our family. We have noted which records we are very confidant concern our ancestor; any other records may or may not concern our family. The complete list is:
1787 North Carolina grant in Tennessee: John Beard, Greene County, two listed
1787 100 acres on the Flat Creek, north side of the Holston River
1787 400 acres, north side of the French Broad River and Deep Creek
1787 640 acres, on Horse Creek, which flows into the Nolichuckey River. ***Probably
1787 600 acres, French Broad River, south side of the Nolichuckey River on Horse Creek ***Probably
1790 1 February Mathias Broyles bought 150 acres on Horse Creek from John Beard ***Probably
1791 North Carolina grant in Tennessee: Greene Co, Tennessee (with Hugh Beard listed same time and place) ***Probably
1792 May Mathias Broyles bought 272 acres on Horse Creek from George Baker, which land "joined John Beard on the south side of Nolichuckey". ***Probably
A good picture of life during this time in this place can be found on the Timeline on this website.
About 1798 John moved up to Green and Adair Counties, Kentucky, with his brothers Hugh and Samuel and he was one of the founders of the town of Columbia, Kentucky. John owned land on the square and apparently lived in the town.
In 1799, a legal document was filed in old Augusta County, Virginia in which It was stated that a notice was given to take depositions of some citizens of Kentucky at Barnet's Town on the Green River. The commissioners assigned to this proceeding were "Joseph Barnet and John Beard". From the location, this could very well be our John. From Chalkley's Chronicles.
On the 1800 Tax List for Green County, Kentucky appeared John Beard Sr. He was also listed on the 1802 list for Adair County, which was formed in that year mostly from Green County.
On 27 September 1802, John Beard Sr was granted 300 acres on Russell Creek. His brother Hugh Beard also held lands on Russell Creek. He seems to have owned a home on a lot in the town of Columbia, as referenced in the following paragraph.
John was paid a fee for building and maintaining a stray pound in these years. On 1 December 1806, the Adair County Court met at the home of John Beard Sr and heard a report that the new brick courthouse was ready for occupancy. Probably with a sense of the importance of the occasion, the court adjourned, walked to the public square and reconvened in the new quarters. [From Westward into Kentucky: The Narrative of Daniel Trabue.)
In 1808, John Beard Sr, the Constable of Adair County, sold property to Samuel Baker, Book B, page 110, Adair County records. In the same year, John Beard and wife Margaret sold property to Thomas Pile, located on the Columbia Public Square, Book B, page 85. In 1809, John Beard Sr was granted a license to keep a tavern in his home for one year in town of Columbia. James Beard and John Beard, the son of Samuel, is security. In July of the same, John and Hugh Beard served together on a jury. On 4 July, John Beard Sr was appointed the Jailor of Adair County because William Worley was found guilty of neglect. He is on records as receiving several payments for jail duties. At the end of the year, on 4 December 1809, John Beard Sr. renewed bond as Constable and Hugh Beard and Nathan Coffey were security.
On the 1810 Adair County census, we find two Johns listed. One is older than 45, with wife the same, in home was one female 16-26 and one female under ten. In March of that year he and wife Margaret sold property to William Caldwell and in June he purchased property from Benjamin Browning. In October we find a record for John Beard Sr and wife Mary? (could it be written Marg?) selling property to James Mathew McDowell. In August 1810, John Sr filed an ear mark record on behalf of Hugh Beard Jr. In October, John Sr renewed his bond as Constable, and a record appears for his pay for guarding a prisoner and "refiring irons".
In 1812, John Sr bought land from John Thomas Staton and on same date he sold land to Benjamin Selby. He then sold Lot 43 in town of Columbia to Lewis Lampton. In the next few years, he appears to have exchanged property deeds several times with his brother Hugh Beard.
In 1818, John executed a document which gave a slave to his son James, who was living in Maury County, Tennessee at that time. He also sold some property to Benjamin McDowell. We find no further records for John after 1818, and he does not appear on the 1820 census of Adair County. No burial place is known.
In researching the children of John, we had to use the process of elimination to narrow down the possibilities. The only Beards in the Adair County records are our line, so if a candidate did not belong to Samuel (easy to discern because of an 1850 court document listing his heirs) or to Hugh (a little harder but still possible), we attribute them to John.
Our research has given us the following probable sons of John Beard Sr. and his wife Margaret:
There were no doubt others, but their names are unknown, especially daughters who married and disappeared from Beard records.