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The Beards of Spencer County

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Family has ties in both Spencer and Nelson counties

By Tom Watson

The Beard family and related lines have been around Spencer and Nelson counties for a mighty long time. In The Terre Haute (Indiana) Morning Star, Oct. 17, 1904, there appeared a tribute to John L. Beard, 80, and his wife Judith Frances Wells, 75, who had been married for 56 years.
In a copy of the newspaper appears a picture of the couple, but because of the age of the paper, the photograph is not very sharp. The couple lived in Vigo County, Ind.
Both John and Judith were listed as natives of Spencer County. They were married in the Nelson County hamlet of Fairfield by the Rev. William Stout. The couple moved to Indiana two weeks after reciting their vows.
John L. Beard was the son of William Beard and Elizabeth Carrithers. John L. Beard was born July 14, 1824, the year Spencer County was formed, and Elizabeth was born June 12, 1829. She was his second cousin, once removed, which would no doubt have been a “kissin’ cousin.” John L. and Elizabeth were married May 6, 1849.
Elizabeth was the daughter of Newman Wells and Elizabeth Ann (Beard) Wells. Elizabeth died April 4, 1918, in Vigo County, Ind. and John L. Beard died Sept. 19, 1907, in the same Indiana county.
The Beards had five children: Mary E. Beard, born Feb. 6, 1850, married David Newman; Edward R. Beard, born May 25, 1851, died Sept. 7, 1851; Alexander A. Beard born Sept. 30, 1854, married Sept. 26, 1880, Julie E. Weeks, born Aug. 17, 1853, the daughter of Louis L. Weeks and Sarah Ann Kelly. Alexander died Aug. 31, 1927, Julie died Jan. 6, 1918, without children; Nancy B. Beard, born Jan. 25, 1857, married John Yaw and Martha J. Beard, married Oct. 30, 1889, to Wesley D. Moore.
Here’s an additional Beard sketch. It’s word-for-word from:
“History of Kentucky and Kentuckians,” E. Polk Johnson, three volumes,
Lewis Publishing Co., New York & Chicago, 1912. Common version, Vol. III, pp. 1180-81. [Shelby County] ELLIOTT B. BEARD--With many of the leading measures resulting in the permanent development of the city of Shelbyville, Elliott B. Beard has been identified, and his efforts have been such that they have not only won him a place among the prominent people of the city, but have also contributed in a large measure to the general improvement and development of the city along lines of substantial advancement.  At the bar and in the handling of business interests, Mr. Beard has become a factor in the life of Shelbyville, which is his native town and has been his continued place of residence, and of business.
Elliott B. Beard is a native of Shelby county, Kentucky, born January 15, 1868, the son of Dr. William F. and Matilda (Roberts) Beard. The father was born near Lexington, Kentucky, in 1835, the son of Joseph M. Beard, who was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1803, the son of Henry Beard, who was a native of Ireland, and settled first at Philadelphia and then in Fayette county, Kentucky, in 1805.
 Joseph M. Beard, grandfather of Mr. Beard, removed from Fayette county, to Oldham county, from where Dr. Beard, our subject's father, removed to Christiansburg, Shelby county, where he practiced medicine until 1890, when he removed to Shelbyville, where he has since practiced and is now the leading physician of Shelby county. Dr. Beard was graduated from the Medical Department of the University of Louisville in the class of 1859. His wife, Matilda Roberts Beard, was born in Shelby county, and was the daughter of William Roberts, also a native of Shelby county.
Their son Elliott B. attended the public schools and was graduated from Georgetown (Ky.) College in 1890 with the degree of A.M.  He taught for one year, then read law in the office of Pryor J. Foree, Shelbyville, and as admitted to the bar in 1893.
Practical industry, wisely and vigorously applied, never fails in securing a due measure of success, and the well known and able business man of whom this sketch is written has given in his career an exemplification of the truth of the statement.
Soon after entering the practice of law, Mr. Beard formed a partnership with Judge Charles C. Marshall, which partnership was terminated in 1907 when Judge Marshall went on the circuit bench.
Mr. Beard has served with credit in several positions and has in every instance received the commendation of his supporters and fellow-citizens.
He served as judge of the city police court from 1896 to 1900, as city attorney from 1900 to 1902 and as master commissioner of Shelby county courts from 1903 to 1906 and as a member of the Kentucky Legislature in the session of 1908.
He is an interested member of the Masonic Order, and has advanced to a high position in its lodges, being a member of Solomon Lodge No. 5, F. & A. M., Shelbyville Chapter No. 2, R.A.M. and Shelby Commandery No. 32.  
He was one of a committee selected to prepare a book on Masonic laws of Kentucky. Mr. Beard married Miss Willie May Rives, the daughter of H. P. Rives, of Christian county, Kentucky.