- June 19, 2007
- Added Uncle Earl!
Neill Beard ca. 1720 - February 1772
Where Neill Beard came from is a mystery at the moment. He first shows up in the records of North Carolina in 1746 with the purchase of 250 acres of land from the Rev. Stephen Hollingsworth "on NE side of the NW river adj. to sd. Stephen Hollingsworth"1. This I believe indicates that the land was on the North West branch of the Cape Fear river. The land was part of a land grant to Rev. Stephen Hollingsworth in 1735.
The association between the Beard and Hollingsworth families was a long lasting and close one. In fact Neill's son Daniel acted as executor for Rev. Hollingsworth's estate, as he apparently died without a will in 1778.
In the same year that the land from Stephen Hollingsworth was purchased, Neill also purchased another 125 acres from Robert Edwards that also adjoined the Hollingsworth property1. Edwards was the second husband of Rev. Hollingsworth's mother, Catherine (Tyler Hollingsworth Edwards).
And perhaps more pertinent to learning the origins of Neill is the history and migration patterns of the Welsh Baptists that led to North Carolina. Though currently lacking any evidence, the sense is that because shared of the Baptist faith, it's newness to the New World, the migration pattern of other Welsh Baptist and the closeness of the families, there is a more revealing connection waiting to be found.
Evidence of Neill's family structure can be gleaned from an abstract of his will dated February 17, 1772 2. His wife was named Catherine and he had sons John, James, and Daniel as well as a daughter named Catherine.
But as can be found with any family history, this one has presented a number of interesting puzzles and mysteries.
There is the will of Benjamin Lock 1, for instance. In this will, Neill Beard is noted as 'father' and Daniel as 'brother'. Perfectly understandable when you know that the phrase 'in-law' sometimes was not used. But Benjamin's wife is named as Miriam and the will is dated April 25, 1756 which, if one assumes that Miriam was a contemporary of Benjamin's, would make Miriam about the same age as Neill, whose birth date has been guessed to be about 1720.
Of course, without evidence of Neill's birthday, it's difficult to assume that this is a sister rather than a daughter because even though folks died early at this time, Neill very well could have been born much earlier and lived to a ripe old age. And Miriam could have wed early and to an older man.
But interesting nonetheless because Miriam is not mentioned in Neill's will and also when one considers an entry from the early Presbyterian minister Rev. Hugh McAden's journal.