Ancestors of Lesa Gibson Pfrommer

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  • ID: I27591
  • Name: Nicholas Beard
  • Sex: M
  • Birth: 1730 in Germany
  • Death: 1804 in Chewsville, Washington County, Maryland
  • Note:
    (List 148 C at the Court House at Philadelphia, 13 August 1750)

    Present: Thomas Lawrence, Esquire, Mayor. The foreigners whose names are underwritten imported in the Ship Edinburg, Capt. James Russel, Master, from Rotterdam, but last from Portsmouth in England, did this day take and subscribe the usual qualifications. By list 151. 314 Whole Freights. 2 dead. George Adam Zobel Niggalus Bord Henry Coller Philliebs Balbirer are a few of the names signed near the name of Nicholas Beard.
    Nicolas Beard (Nigglaus Bord) arrived at Port of Philadelphia on the ship Edinburg, August 1, 1750.

    He was born in Germany, one of more than 30,000 Germans who migrated to America during the 1700's who were trying to escape religious and political persecution, and to seek a land of greater opportunity. Nicholas Beard according to Fredrick County Court records show him in the present Hagerstown area as early as 1753. His name appears later in 1757 in the Chewsville area. Possibly the first appearance of Nicholas Bard was about 1753 at the time the Colonial Governor Horatio Sharp, of the Colony of Maryland advertised in the Pennsylvania colony for stone masons to construct a Fort on the Frontier of Maryland as a refuge against the Indians, after the disastrous defeat of General Braddock. Nicholas helped and supervised the construction of one of the Bastions of Fort Frederick. Apparently he was pleased with the Maryland Country and decided to settle here and make this his home. We see him purchasing and selling various tracts in what is now the Chewsville Election District of Washington County. On 15 November Nicholas Beard bought 164 acres of land from George French. This land was about 1 1\2 miles east of the Old Forge and Colonel Daniel Hughes' home. (Adam Lyday worked for Colonel Hughes.

    A beautiful Southern mansion was built in 1791 on the land by Phillip Beard, one of Nicholas' sons. The land headquarters for the Province of Maryland for the Hagerstown Valley was located at Conococheague Manor, from which the Province's Surveyor operated. On August 1759, there was completed a survey of a tract for Nicholas Beard, which consisted of the original 164 acres, which was found to contain only 148 acres, to which was added 1225 acres, or a total of 1373 acres, which was one of the largest of the early land grants in the Chewsville District. Other early land grants in the Chewsville District, adjoining Beard's tract "Scared from Home" or very near it. These grants included a tract called "Wolfe's Spring 50 acres granted to Nicholas Beard March 15, 1762, tract called "Dutch Lass" granted to Frances Deakins, August 8, 1771 for 80 1\4 acres: tract called "Gleanings" consisting of 1357 acres granted to Samuel Chase, and Thomas Johnson, February 17, 1764. In the grant to Beard of "Wolfe's Spring", the name is spelled both "Beard" and "Bard" in the same document. This tract "Wolfe's Spring" was located about 50 perches east of Nicholas Beard's house, " which would be in the rear of the present "Old Forge" Elementary School. On October 20, 1763 Nicholas Beard sold to James Dison ( a big land holder in the area) 213 acres from tracts "Bard's Good Will" and "Resurvey of Scared from Home", and adjoined tract "Whiskey Alley" located along the present road leading from Cavetown to Beaver Creek, south of Pondsville. The largest land grant in the present Chewsville District was "Resurvey on George's Mistake," George's Venture, and the Barrens" totaling 1476 acres, and present village of Chewsville was approximately in the center of this tract, but slightly more to the south and west of the village. This tract was granted to George French March 1, 1775. On November 15, 1757 Nicholas Beard bought 164 acres of this tract from George French, which Beard called "Scared from Home."

    Nicholas Beard, a shrewd German who came in by way of Pennsylvania took up two tracts of land named "Dutch Lass" and "Scared from Home". It was while surveying the former that he went ahead of the surveyors and marked off which lands he wanted, and then, when coming to an undesirable strip he would alter his course and pass it by, thus making a very irregular boundary for other claimants and surveyors to follow. The Surveyor called it the "Dutch Lass". Good "Nich" had considerable difficulty with his neighbors over these lines because they claimed they were most unreasonable. He was too shrewd a German to permit this affair to get into the Colonial courts, so they compromised by trading certain lands that would straighten the lines thus making it satisfactory to all. As a result of this and the criticism from his neighbors we find the following land transfers by Nicholas Beard
    on October 28, 1765 to help keep the neighbors happy:

    To George French 50 acres
    To Leonard Stephen (probably Stephy) 202 acres
    To George Wink 101 acres
    To Andrew Stephen (probably Stephy} 207 acres
    To Andrew Stephen (probably Stephy} 25 acres part of Wolfe's Spring.

    On October 24, 1763 Nicholas Beard sold to John Roher 383 acres, a tract called "John's Adventure" and part of "Scared from Home." John Rohrer, Frederick Rohrer, and Jacob Rohrer, were among the heavy land holders in the early days of the present Chewsville District. The Rohrers built the old Trovinger Mill along the Antietam Creek, across the creek from the old Antietam Church in the early 1790's. A photostat copy of the land grant "Scared from Home" has been obtained from the Hall of Records in Annapolis. The original grant containing "the great seal of the Province of Maryland and bearing a signature of Governor Horatio Sharpe is on file at the Washington County Historical Society. The surveyor's plot of the tract is also on file.

    The photostat copy of Nicholas Beard's signature in Philadelphia when he landed August 13, 1750 is practically identical to his signature in the land records of Frederick County when he transferred land to his neighbors October 28, 1765. In all records of sale of land by Nicholas Beard in Washington County Court House, at place for signature there is a statement "Signed in Dutch". On June 22, 1803 there is the last public record of Nicholas Beard. He was an old man by that time. If he were age 25 when he arrived in America in 1750 he would have been about 78 in 1803. On the above date in 1803 he disposed of all his remaining lands to his four sons as follows: Nicholas Beard, Jr. 100 acres: Andrew Beard 75 acres plus 38 acres which was the old Beard home across the road from Beard's Church and to the south east, on which the new "Old Forge Elementary School" was built this past year. Nicholas Beard sold to his son George 100 acres; and to son Philip 100 acres. The tract sold to Nicholas Jr. was probably the Barry Hartle farm east of Chewsville, now owned by Robert Hartle. The tracts sold to sons Philip and George have not yet been identified. One of them could have been the old Danny Oswald farm south of Chewsville, as Nicholas Beard is supposed to have built the beautiful colonial mansion on the Oswald place some time during the 1790's.

    Nicholas Beard was a private in Captain Heyser's Company of riflemen who hurried to Philadelphia to aid General George Washington. His name is listed as Nicholas Baird, May 22, 1777. He enlisted July 24, 1776 as Nichols Baird. German Battalion of Continental Troops. There is a tradition that Nicholas Beard trained the men of the community in military tactics in the level field across the road from his farm, which is between the barn of the old Hoover farm and the present Beard's Church. This was training the men in dealing with the Indians which were quite threatening in this valley during the 1750's and 1760's.

    In searching the Court records in Washington County and Fredrick Co., Maryland, a Nicholas Baird was found as early as 1757. In 1803 Nicholas divided his land between his three sons: Nicholas Jr., George and Andrew. William's History of Washington County and Schraf's History of Western Maryland mention a Peter Beard and speaks of Nicholas, Peter's father living 'hard by'. Major John Beard is buried in the Graveyard.

    In the 1790 Census there are 10 Beards listed in Washington County, all spelling their names "Beard" except Nicholas who spells his name "Bard". During the 1700's and 1800's Nicholas Beard and his descendants for the most part lived in the eastern part of the county, in the area of Chewsville, Cavetown, Leitersburg, and Smithsburg. Washington Co Historical Library:

    Frances Thompson surmises that Major John Beard was a brother of Nichols (but which Nicholas)? Some of the information about the land holdings was published in the Hagerstown Mail Newspaper on April 4, 1873.


    Taken from the HISTORY OF WESTERN MARYLAND, Volume II.
    "Among the early settlers of this district, which derived its title from the town of Chewsville, was George Beard, who died on the 28th of February, 1873. He was the only son of Andrew Beard, and was a descendant of one of the earliest families that settled in the valley of Maryland. Before the red man was fairly ousted from his hunting grounds in Hagerstown Valley, Nicholas Beard, the father of Andrew, emigrated hither. He was a native of Germany, and first settled in Pennsylvania, but afterwards removed to this locality, the then backwoods of America. This place, by common consent, received the name of "Beard's Church" and Beard's Church Settlement," from the fact that at an early day the settlers made provision for some sort of a house of worship, and pitched upon this locality as a site for their church.
    George Beard was born and lived and died at or near the old homestead of the Beard family. He was the last and only survivor of the name in whose possession remained any portion of the patrimony obtained by inheritance.
    The first church building, known as "Beard's," was merely a block-house, which has long been demolished. A house was subsequently built of the logs of the old church on a high bluff along the Antietam. It was in this old church that Zuliphen and Schrader and others held forth immediately succeeding the war of the Revolution. Some of them, it is said, practiced exorcism. Nicholas Beard, the grandfather of George, took up and patented a large tract of land, on which he and his posterity for generations lived. The patent name for his land was "The Dutch Lass." The old surveyors, who usually named these lands, were very fruitful in the choice of names, generally selecting on from some circumstance or cause connected with the peculiar parcel in question, and doubtless "The Dutch Lass," was suggested in this case because Beard was a German.
    Nicholas Beard selected a very oddly-shaped piece of land for his possessions. He employed a surveyor to run it out for him, as was the custom at that day. They started out, Beard in advance, and the surveyor following after, and whenever they came to a place that did not suit him he would run it out of his parcel and whenever a place suited he would run it in. It is said that when they were running lines in the vicinity where the Western Maryland Railroad now cuts through the ridge at Waltz's he thought they were approaching the mountain (at that time the country was a wilderness), so he turned off short and made a very sharp point of land at that place, which he afterwards corrected by trading with the owners of the adjoining lands."


    Name also seen as Bard

    Fled from Germany, spoke German.

    When Nicholas came to this area it was then Fredrick County, Maryland, and in 1776 became Washington County, Maryland.

    Washington Co. Tax list 1783: Nichs. Beard, pt. "Leased from Home", 284a wds., 60a cleared., 3 horses, 31 black cows.

    1790 Census, Washington County, Maryland, Page 122 (same page as Andrew Beard)
    Nicholas Bard 01-00-01-00-00 : 1 male older than 45, 1 female

    Nicholas Bard is listed in "30,000 Immigrants" on page 228 Nicholas Bord is listed in "Pennsylvania German Pioneers" on page 431

    NICHOLAS BEARD (taken from appendix of "THE LYDAY FAMILY HISTORY From 1744 to 1980, Nine Generations of Lydays, descendants of ADAM and ROSINA LYDAY" by L. Graham Lyday. p170)

    Lyday descendants of Samuel Lyday and Elizabeth Beard (#417) may be interested in Elizabeth's grandfather, Nicholas Beard. The first Nicholas Beard arrived at the Port of Philadelphia on the ship, Edinburgh, on 13 August 1750, Captain Russell, Master from Rotterdam and last from Portsmouth, England. Scharf's History of Western Maryland states that Nicholas was a native of Germany. Court records of Frederick County show him in Frederick County in the present Hagerstown area, as early as 1753.
    Nicholas Beard superintended the masonry work on old Fort Frederick. Governor Horatio Sharp built Fort Frederick in 1756 as a defense against the Indians. It was the only pre-Revolutionary British Colonial stone fort built in North America. It later served in the War against England. Nicholas Beard did much of the masonry on the southwest corner of the fort himself.
    On 15 November 1757 Nicholas Beard bought 164 acres of land from George French. This land was about 1 "miles east of the Old Forge and Colonel Daniel Hughes" home. (Adam Lyday worked for Colonel Hughes) Nicholas expanded his acreage as a result of a survey of adjoining lands. On 29 September 1761 the Governor of the Province of Maryland approved a Patent for 1373 acres, called "Scared from Home", for him. On 15 March 1762 another tract of 50 acres called, "Wolfe's Spring" was granted to Nicholas. By this time his holdings extended southward several miles.
    Phillip Beard, one of Nicholas' sons, built a beautiful Southern mansion in 1791 on the land.
    On 22 June 1803 Nicholas Beard disposed of all his remaining lands (about 400 acres) to his four sons: Nicholas Beard Jr., 100 acres; Andrew Beard. 75 acres, plus 38 acres which was the old Beard home, across from Beard's Church; George Beard, 100 acres; and to Philip Beard, 100 acres. This was his last public record.
    Lyday girls who married Beards were: Mary M. Lyday (#301) and Polly Lyday (#418).


    Article: Beard Family Left Europe To Enjoy Religious Freedom: By E. Russell Hicks

    As one stands on the threshold of the Beard's Church burying ground, at the entrance, a feeling of solemn impressiveness steals into his inward sensibilities. Before him stand two commanding tombstones, chiseled with the inscriptions: "Major John Beard, born June 11, 1758, died November 26, 1817," and beside this stone is a gray stone of the same size with these words: "Anna Christina, born March 6, 1761, in the Providence of Pennsylvania, in Lancaster County, married John Beard, 1781 died, 1809." At once the past rises before us like a dream. We face not only graves and gravestones but stand in the midst of a titanic struggle for a continent: a conflict to save an infant civilization from being swallowed up by a vicious frontier and at the same time from being crushed by the old foes of liberty from across the sea. The antagonist of freedom caused the forefathers to flee from Europe to America to enjoy religious privileges. Major Beard who was also born in Lancaster County, Pa., had fought both Indians and British in the Revolutionary War, although he was not quite 20 years of age.

    Nicholas Beard, the first of the Beard family to come to the banks of the Antietam, took up and patented a large tract of land there before the red man was finally ousted from his hunting grounds in the Hagerstown Valley. He was born in Germany and his land grant in this county was named "The Dutch Lass" for his wife. In 1787, John Beard and William Shannafield purchased for the Lutheran congregation a tract of land for a church and graveyard where an old blockhouse stood and had been used as a place of worship. It was named ......... Both the Lutheran and Reformed people had worshipped here as early as 1756 and perhaps before. Rev. J. G. Young, pastor of St. John's Lutheran Hagerstown, preached here before 1786. He tells of 13 families worshipping in the Beard's community in those days nearly every family consisted of 13 members, "A Dutchman's dozen.." He speaks of his predecessors at Beard's congregation, both Lutheran and Reformed ministers, riding all the way from Frederick, following miles and miles of trails through the woodland on horseback, often in rain, snow and sleet, to preach to these people. Rev. Mr. Young was followed by Rev. Daniel Schroeter of Hanover, Pa. as pastor. We read that he came to America, a Hessian soldier with the British in the Revolution. Many young Hessians in King George's army were college students. The Continental Congress offered them free land in America, if they would desert the British. Herr Schroeter was brave enough to do so. When he became the minister at Beard's, called the old fort building was in a state of dilapidation, in fact, the congregation was worshipping in a log building, perhaps a barn, near Trovinger's Mill (the Rohrer's Mill), but the graveyard of the old blockhouse remained the place of burial for many pioneers, some who had rendered loyal services in both the French and Indian War and the Revolution. Later their gravestones were used to construct a culvert and a barn wall nearby. While Rev. Mr. Schrocter was serving this Antietam congregation, the church was moved to its present site into a log building. It was voted to give it a new name. Peter Beard and Michael Stephey drew cuts to decide its name and location Peter won, so the church took the name of St. Peter's and was located on land belonging to the Beard family. Had Michael won it would have been called St. Michael's and would have been built on Stephey land. The public, however would have no other name than Beard's Church. All the services were conducted in German until 1828.


    Article Hagerstown's Beard's Church big influence upon Settlers By E. Russell Hicks.

    The historic impact Beard's Church made on the earliest settlers in the upper Antietam Valley of Washington County reveals what a vigorous band of moral excellence it was among them. This congregation was operating there before 1754. It breathed its first breath of life in a crude austere blockhouse, or fort; in 1758 it existed in a log building near Trovingser's Mill. In 1790, it was moved to its present site. Today it exists in a second structure at this place which was erected in 1860 at a cost of $16,000. Its powerful influence among pioneer people and their descendants can be determined by the following laudation a son of the congregation gave it 60 years ago. He said "More than 150 years of history have passed in the life of this quiet country church, in this beautiful and peaceful valley. In those years, the earth has been repeopled six or eight times; its empires and kingdoms changed often times; its pomp and pageantry have passed; our ancestors have slept in their graves; we see their wisdom; they came here from afar; denied themselves many conveniences, lived frugally, ran many risks and dangers. "When our national constitution was being formed, our church fathers were erecting their church building on a section site. Rude though the building was, it was a place to worship God whom they loved; hither they brought their children and encouraged them to honor God; perhaps also their trusty guns, as a protection against wily Indian foes; what an influence for good Beard's little congregation has thus been for 150 years; how much it has moulded character and destiny; on yon mountain top and far over this valley, yea, on Western prairies the young couple planting their home have felt the tear fall, and their hearts melt into tenderness and noble aspirations rise, as they remember this sanctuary the silent power of God's truth emanating from this church, like refreshing dew, has rested on hundreds, on thousands, of homes, has entered as a silent but potent factor into thousands of lives always for good, never for evil, giving a heavenly bias to young lives, cheered the despondent, comforted the sorrowing; strengthened the tempted, lighted up dark chambers of affliction and shed a halo of peace and glory around dying beds... "Nor should we ever despise the day of small things. Our fathers, a few feeble folk, began their work for God here in the forest and a worldly man might sneeringly ask, like Sanballet, "What do these feeble Christians?' But the years follow on; the feeble few increase they send out flourishing colonies on all sides. Ministers grow up from among them and are sent out to break the bread of life and hold up the light of life to others, as have done the Oswald brothers, John, Solomon and Samuel: W. B. Bachtell; Christian and Syrus Hoover: C. Liddy; Lewis J. and E. K. Beck; A. Buhrman; J. F. F. Kayhoc; S. J. and L. F. Miller and many others. "May this vine of the Lord's planting long remain and be increasingly fruitful; All honor to our forefathers of the past, who bore the burden for their faith in and love and devotion to God and fidelity to his cause."


    BEARD; Nicholas. Adm. Christian Artz, n.d.; 9 heirs, interest from 5/3/1807 T1576.4.61/2
    BEARD: Nicholas P. Adm. Joseph Kessinger 12/2/1815; widow, 2 children T397.9.6; n.d.; widow, 5 heirs T159.0.7
    NEWSPAPER: 6/13/1806 Christian Artz Adm of Nicholas Beard, to sell at late residence of deceased.
    WERE EARLY SETTLERS; A bit of History concerning the Beard family: EMIGRATED FROM GERMANY:
    The Original Nicholas Beard and Maj. John Beard--Historic Beard's Church, Once a Block House--Famous Stone House--Military Muster on Beard's Meadows in 1811. The old stone farm house owned by Daniel Oswald, brother of George B. Oswald Clerk of the court, about a mile southeast of Chewsville, adjoining the old Nicholas Beard farm, now owned by John H. Harp, is one of the oldest and most historic in that section. It was built by Philip Beard in 1791. Philip Beard was the father of John Beard who was the father of Mrs. Henry Rinehart, now dead. The original Beard house, now owned by Frank Barkdoll, at Beard's Church was built by Maj. John Beard in 1770 and is yet in good state of preservation. Its massive walls are intact, though the storms of years have beat against them The old Phlip Beck house was built by the Major in 1814. The mustering of the troops was held in 1816 on the meadow of the Beck place.

    Marriage 1 Margaret Lyday b: 1740 in Germany
      1. Has No Children Elizabeth Beard b: in Washington County, Maryland
      2. Has No Children Margaret Beard b: in Washington County, Maryland
      3. Has No Children John Beard b: 11 JUN 1758 in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
      4. Has Children Andrew Beard b: ABT. 1763 in Chewsville, Washington County, Maryland
      5. Has Children Phillip Beard b: 4 OCT 1765 in Chewsville, Washington County, Maryland
      6. Has Children George Beard b: 1770 in Chewsville area, Frederick County, Maryland
      7. Has Children Mary Magdaline Beard b: ABT. 1772 in Leitersburg, Washington County, Maryland
      8. Has Children Nicholas Beard , Jr. b: 1782 in Chewsville, Washington County, Maryland
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