Beard, Henry C.


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On January 13, 1837, on a farm near the little village of New Hope, Augusta county, Virginia, Uncle Henry Beard first saw the light of day. He is the son of James P. and Mary (May) Beard. His education was acquired at a little log school house in the neighborhood where he was born - that is, the "book learning" part of it. He possesses, however, an education absorbed from the sharp, hard seams of life, that has stood him well in hand as he has lived. It is this practical education that fitted him and made him successful in his different undertakings and ventures in a business way.

When Henry was quite small he had an older brother, Edward, who migrated west and pulled up at Arenzville and began merchandising in a part of the building now owned by Mrs. Josephine Yeck. After the death of his mother, Mr. Beard became somewhat dissatisfied with life in Virginia and concluded that he would cross the Blue Ridge mountains and try his fortune in the great valley beyond. His earthly possessions consisted, in the main, of rugged health, an iron will and a whole lot of grit. Accordingly he set out and on the 10th day of September, 1854, he pulled up at Arenzville and went to work in his brother's store.

He worked with his brother that winter and in the spring following they sold the store and the property and went up into the North Prairie country and purchased 400 acres of land, paying $15 per acre for it. The land is now owned by Lee Beard, John Kircher and others. At the time they purchased this land it was partly improved, something over 100 acres being broken out. They farmed there that season and in the fall sold the land for $22.50 per acre.

Following this sale Mr. Beard returned to the old home in Virginia, where he made a short visit. He then returned west and joined his brother, Edward, in Shelby county, Missouri. They farmed together in Missouri until about the close of the war, when Henry Beard returned to Arenzville and purchased a 100 acre tract of land now owned by W. C. Beilschmidt. He farmed this for a while, when he sold out and returned to Shelby county, Missouri, where he remained about one year and then returned to Arenzville, where he has since resided.

August 23, 1866, Henry Beard and Miss Hannah Wood were married. To them five children were born. They are Minnie Josephine (Mrs. E. B. Hierman), Lillian May (deceased), Mary Jane (Mrs. F. D. Hierman), Maude Hattie (Mrs. C. V. Long, Beardstown) and Alma Grace (Mrs. B. F. Graham).

Since their marriage Mr. and Mrs. Beard have spent the greater part of their time in Arenzville. Mr. Beard has employed his time in various ways. he has farmed a little, for some years conducted the Arenzville hotel, ran a small store for awhile and is now living a retired life.

At the time he came here the village was decidedly "scattered," and possibly contained all told about twenty houses. With the exception of the residence of F. D. Hierman (which was just about completed) there was nothing in that block. There was a one story affair owned by his brother (now the home of Mrs. J. N. Yeck), the home and wagon shop of Phillip Yeck, a small house where Geo. C. Hoagland now lives, a small house where J. L> Dyer's residence is located, and an old wagon shop that stood somewhere in the neighborhood of H. A. Bridgman's present residence. With the exception of the Roegge property there was nothing between that and the cemetery. There was a few houses down in the neighborhood of Squire Hahn's and a row of buildings on the west of the park. These, together with the Arenz properties, the building now owned by G. F. Lippert, the Walter, the Dreesbach and the Bauyan properties, about made the total of all that was here. When he came herd Mr. Beard says that the old brewery was then in operation and that there was a log house standing where John Seawall now lives.

The business of the town at that time was also very "scattering." In fact, there wasn't much here. Engelbach & Arenz kept store down where the bank now is. there was Cire's store and the postoffice upon the other corner. Heinz & Son were merchandising in the Lippert building and Edward Beard in the room (or part of it) now occupied by John Lee Dyer.

At the time Mr. Beard came here the only public building was the little old school house which stood in the corner of the park by the old Cottonwood tree. Here all meetings of a public nature were held. It was not for some time after Mr. Beard came here that the Union, what is now the Presbyterian church was built.

During the years of his residence here Mr. Beard has been honored by the people. He was a member of the village board during the stirring times when railroad agitation ran rife and when the village was bonded for $5,000 to aid in the construction of the road.

In the various walks of life, whether as farmer, merchant, landlord, or citizen, Mr. Beard has been the same under all the different and trying circumstances that came up. He has been a fair man, doing as he thought for the best and in the years of his life in Arenzville has gathered about him a host of friends.


This daughter of James and Elizabeth (Thornley) Wood was born on the farm now owned by Wm. Witte, up in the Union Grove neighborhood, May 12, 1842. When she was quite small her father bought and improved the farm now owned by Eli Wood. It was here that she made her home until her marriage. Her education was received at Union Grove (then known as the Mathes) school and embraced the course usually taught in the country schools of that day. In the neighborhood roundabout she was popular and her company was much sought after.

With her marriage came many changes. In a new home and surrounded by new conditions, even among old friends, life was quite different for her. She has been true to the trust and has reared a family that is a comfort and an honor to her.

For almost forty-one years Mr. and Mrs. Beard have journeyed together. In prosperity or in adversity, they have been confidants, companions, and now, at their advanced age, can be found almost constantly together. Their union has been blessed with quiet contentment, with satisfaction and with happiness. Surrounded by their friends, their children and their grandchildren they are enjoying a well earned and merited rest.

Submitted by Sheila Neuenfeldt