From Biographical Memoirs of Huntington County, 1901, pages 659-663
The Beard family have truly done its share in the development of Huntington county, several of its members having been prominently identified with every movement tending to advance the material and moral growth of the community, and to one branch of which we desire to briefly call the attention of the reader, namely, that branch which is to-day represented by the gentleman whose name stands at the head of the present article--John W. Beard, of Warren. Joshua Beard, the father of the above named gentleman, was born at Gettysburg, Preble county, Ohio, on the 21st of June in the year 1824, and died at the home of this son, east of Warren, November 30, 1898. His parents, George M. and Rhoda (Galener), were married in Preble county, Ohio, June 19, 1815, and were both born in the state of Pennsylvania, though he was the son of a citizen of that state whose father had come from Germany, as did the greater part of the pioneers of that central state.
George M. Beard was a soldier of the war of 1812, making the removal to the western state not long after the close of that memorable struggle. Hearing of the wonderful country of the Salamonie, he decided to make his home in the new country, and in 1838 brought his little family to the banks of that stream, entering land four miles southeast of Warren, where he made a permanent home, devoting the remainder of an active and industrious life to the making of a new farm by the exercise of those qualities that have characterized the pioneer in every country. Having arrived at nearly fourscore years, he passed from among men, being survived a few years by her whose life had been his solace and comfort, her own age having surpassed that of her companion. They were the parents of seven sons, of whom Andrew was the eldest, and his life was passed almost entirely within the precincts of the township where he was reared, dying when about sixty-six years of age. Joseph died at fifty-five in Illinois, though the greater part of his life was also passed in Huntington county. George was a prosperous farmer of this community, and his life was ended when reaching about the same age as his father. He was a highly respected citizen, whose efforts tended to a better and more advanced civilization. Adam died in Salamonie when just past middle life. John, who resides in Jackson, Wells county, and Samuel, of Leavenworth, Kansas, are the only survivors. They were all well-to-do and respected men, not one of whom but added to the county's wealth and advancement, their lives displaying the truths of the home training that fidelity to purpose and persistency in one line of action which never fails in bringing its reward. None of them were consumed with that restless ambition that finds satisfaction only in the handling of other people's affairs, but were content to fill the humble niche nature had carved for them, making the most of their surroundings and doing by act and deed those many little unnoticed and unheralded transactions, the outcome of which is a more enlightened and educated civilization.
The boyhood of Joshua was not unlike that of most of the companions of his youth, the arduous duties of the clearing of a new farm in the wilds demanding a large share of the surplus energy, much of his greatest enjoyment being found in the company of other interesting young people, among others being a young girl by the name of Susan Dalrymple, whose parents, John and Judith (Williams) Dalrymple, were also among those who had come from Preble county about the same time as her own family, and to whom, at the age of eighteen and he twenty-five, she was married. Like most of the other young people who were starting for themselves, they began their career in the woods on a tract of sixty acres, upon which he had erected a round-log house, the accessories being only such as were generally found in the primitive homes of that time, the necessities only being found and the luxuries not cared or sought for. In time the efforts of years resulted in the acquiring of a valuable farm and comfortable home where contentment reigned, the desire for variety and change having been overcome by the constant demands of the growing family, so that the limits of the small farm afforded ample scope for the exercise of the functions that had become toned down by the the advancing years. Having accumulated an easy competence, they retired to Warren, where his companion was called from him at the age of sixty-three, though he later returned to the farm, the evening of life being passed as a member of his son's family, where he enjoyed seeing others reaping some benefit from the results of his own years of toil, and, when past eighty years of age, gave answer to the summons to rejoin her who had gone before, and to whom he had often expressed a desire to be reunited. He was reared in and adhered to the faith of the Democratic party, believing that adherance to its teachings carried the greatest assurance of the perpetuity of those declarations of independence which had been so dear to the hearts of his forefathers. While he evinced the deepest interest in the institutions of our country, he never aspired to public recognition, being content to devote an earnest life to the demands of home and family, worshiping God according to the dictates of his own conscience, the training of youth and the reasoning of age, seconded by the ablest arguments ever supporting any religious belief, leading him into the folds of the Christian church.
Four children were the result of the marriage: John W.; Isaac F., of Huntington, and of whom further mention is found in this volume; Sarah Jane, wife of John Stevens, of Preble county, Ohio, but who is recalled by many who knew her here as a young girl; and Alfred H., who resides on the old homestead. John William Beard was born in the old log house, already mentioned, on the 10th of September, 1849. The schools of those days, while not held in buildings so convenient as those of to-day, were in many instances not inferior in the work done and sometimes superior to their modern successors in the quality and ability of the teachers, one of those who rendered John much help being Theodore Geutillias, who instilled into the youthful brain a sense of the responsibility of life, and gave the boys and girls something of a definite conception of the duties they would soon be called upon to assume. He aroused in this particular boy a desire for further learning, and it was largely through his efforts that he was enabled to take a course in the Huntington normal and prepared himself to teach, which he did for some five or six terms during the winter season, the summers being devoted to farming. He took an active part in the work of education in the county, the teachers' institutes especially affording him a field of extending not only his acquaintance among teachers, but gave him the opportunity to bring his own education up to a higher level, so that his efficiency was greatly enhanced as a teacher, and not only more valuable work resulted but greater satisfaction was derived to himself. Several of his pupils became teachers, his efforts being constantly exercised to arouse a new ambition in the minds of those who showed some desire to achieve something more than the average. During the time of his teaching the serrenity of the minds of several of the young men of the township was somewhat disturbed by the advent into their midst of another Preble county product,--a charming young lady,--Miss Lavina Coppock. Rivalry instantly developed, and for some time not only the surface but the depths beneath were considerably agitated, the commotion being quieted only when it was known that the prize was won by the young teacher, who secured her for his own on the 16th of September, 1875.
Obtaining a run-down farm of eighty acres a mile or less distant from the homestead, he turned his attention more fully to agriculture, renovating the place by the installation of underground drainage, the adoption of a systematic and scientific method of procedure and strict attention to every detail. Getting this original farm into a desirable condition, he added more land until his farm contains two hundred and twenty-nine acres of well tilled and productive land in Jackson township, Wells county.
He has recently erected a most desirable and convenient dwelling, which is a fitting climax to the many improvements already made, and proves to the traveler who passes that here is the result of the exercise of a reasonable amount of brains in the operation of an ordinary business. For several years he has made a specialty of breeding and growing thoroughbred short-horn cattle, strains of the famous Cruikshank families predominating, and a finely-bred Scotch bull standing at the head of the herd, which has attained a wide reputation for the excellence of the animals that go from it for breeding purposes. While he has made a success of the effort and has sold at good prices, he has not aspired to a record for fancy prices, rather taking greater satisfaction from the benefits derived to the community in general by the presence of the right line of stock to grade up the animals of the entire section of the county and state. He also deals in the established Shropshire sheep, and in addition to the breeding, usually feeds a couple of car-loads of stock for the market each year. The Wells county farm lies in the oil region, and now has some ten wells in operation. Removing to the village, he has recently erected a handsome residence, where the ordinary pleasure of life is enhanced by the frequent entertainment of their many friends.
A Democrat in his affiliations, he has at times been selected to lead the local ticket, though the strength of the party is hardly such as to lead one to anticipate success at the polls, though vigor has ever been displayed in the contention and in the retention of the party organization, his own interest generally carrying him as a delegate to the various conventions of the party. Three daughters, Clara, Annie and Elise, the latter a high school student, are the product of the union above mentioned. The eldest is the wife of Lewis Colbert, an oil operator of Wells county, while Anna F. is the wife of David H. Weir, both being students of the State University and graduates of the normal school at Valparaiso; both are teachers, one teaching in Salamonie township, the other assistant principal in the Andrews high school.
While Mr. Beard has adhered closely to his business interests, he has become identified with the Masonic fraternity, and with his estimable wife is a member of the Christian church.