Lake County Ohio GenWeb

Mrs. Harriet Beard

This biography is taken from History of Geauga and Lake counties; Williams Brothers, 1878.

Transcribed and submitted by Becky Falin, 1996.

Harriet Wolcott, afterwards Mrs. Harriet Beard, was born in the year 1788, at Hartford, Connecticut. In the year 1810 she was married to James Beard, a native of Derby, Connecticut, who was about twenty years her senior. Mr. Beard had been a captain on the Atlantic, but came to Ohio in 1796, with the first surveying party of the Western Reserve, and landed at Conneaut. Captain Beard and his bride made a tour to Chicago by lake, and it was the first bridal trip to that place, - now famous as a stopping point for all newly-married western tourists, - ever made. In fact, Mrs. Beard was the second white woman who visited Chicago, the wife of the commander of the fort being the first. At the time there was but one house where the populous city of to-day stands, and the population was limited to the garrison of the frontier military post, numbering about ninety or a hundred men. Black River and Burton were the abiding places of Captain Beard and his wife for a short term of years, and they came to reside in Painesville in 1823. The husband died in the following year, and Mrs. Beard was left with a family of five children to care for and educate. This she did well, as she was fully qualified by nature and by her superior culture.

It is a notable fact that Mrs. Beard lived for over fifty years upon the same lot where her first home in Painesville was, the present residence of her son-in-law, William C Chambers, Esq. Her death occurred here on the morning of the 9th of February, 1876, and had she lived until the 19th of the following month she would have reached the age of eighty-eight years. Mrs. Beard was a woman of fine education, wide information, and carefully discriminating literary tastes, as well as a close observer of the public men and events of her time. Her fine qualities of mind and graces of person and address fitted her for society of the highest classes, and she enjoyed the friendship and esteem of many eminent men and women. She was in every sense of the word a lady of the old school. Mrs. Beard was reverently religious, and her life was practically conformed to her theory of piety. She was for sixty-nine years a member of the Episcopal church, and the first Episcopal service held in Painesville was at her house. Of her five children, - two sons and three daughters, - all are now living. They are James H., Harriet W., Julia E. (now Mrs. William Blair, of Perry), Ann B. (Mrs. William C Chambers, of Painesville), and William H. Beard. James H. Beard is eminent as a painter of animals, and his brother William, who is perhaps even better known in the immediate vicinity, is also an artist, his special line being the caricatures of the vanities and foibles of men through the portrayal of their prototypes in the animal kingdom.

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