- June 19, 2007
- Added Uncle Earl!
Earl Monroe Beard
Earl's Story - As told to me by Robert Earl Beard (06/19/07)
"Earl Monroe Beard, I suppose went with Daddy and Aunt Louise to live with Uncle Emmett Beard when their daddy died. Daddy was 5 years old at the time and the youngest. Uncle Earl was the oldest. I was named for Mama's oldest brother, Robert, and Daddy's.
Uncle Earl wrote several country songs that were sung and recorded. (Daddy said that he saw one royalty check for 5 cents.) Uncle Earl gave me a stack of records of country music from the 40s but I couldn't find any of his songs on any of them. He was quiet, didn't say much but loved to send off for the gimmicks advertised in the papers and comic books (x-ray glasses, tin chattering teeth, whoopee cushions, etc.).
Uncle Earl ran Beard's Grocery at the end of Russell Street across the River Bridge in Fayetteville for decades when traffic coming out of Fayetteville to US 301 and the Cedar Creek Road (NC 210) passed right in front of the store. There were 4-5 stores there, all selling the same thing. Uncle Earl's was the last, Uncle Frank Cain's (married Mother's sister Meta Pearl) store was the first. They all had screen doors on their last legs. Mother shopped at both stores and with two uncles running stores there it was a wonderland for me.
When I-95 was built and traffic was diverted, Uncle Earl's clientele dissipated. He kept the building and converted it into a mission of Lebanon Baptist Church which he ran for a long time, 10 years anyhow. So we never saw him at Church for that period. But we always visited him and Aunt Ruth regularly. I recall we always visited on the 4th of July (he loved fireworks) and on Christmas in the afternoon. All I recall is sitting on the front porch talking about hunting. He was an avid coon hunter.
Later he built a store right beside his house where he spent his days, mostly sitting around talking and spitting the tobacco from the snuff he kept in his lower lip. His house was almost the last one on Beard Road on the left. Everyone in Beard in those days was a Beard or a McLaurin. It worked out fine since they could marry each other and still keep their family tree branching.
His next door neighbor was Woodrow McLaurin who married Frieda Bell. Woodrow would come over often to talk about coon hunting. I think he or Daddy told me that one of his songs was about coon hunting."