Isaac Haight Beardsley.

Genealogical history of the Beardsley-lee family in America online

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Beardsley-lee Family






Author of "The True Sabbath," "Kchoes from
Peak axd Plain," etc.





f ■





Frontispiece — Author at 52 years of age.


Title Page.



Origin of the Name.


Spelling- of the Name.

The Beard.sle)' FainiU- in America,

The Family' of William Beardsley.


The Olden Time.

The Founding of Stratford.


The Beginning of StratHeld.


The Descendants of William Beard8le^^ Alphahi-ticallj-



1. The Ancestry of William Beardsley.

2. Thomas, a probable brother of William.

3. Other Beardsleys not descendants of William.
I. Final Word.


K lOT wliat wc ask, O Lord,

' ^ But what we need, give us^ to-da)- :

Not what we seek in oui" blind erring- wa}-,

But that which Thy great heart of love
Sees l)est to grant, bestow t)n us, we pra}-.

We would not choose that onl}' J03'

Should fill onr heart;
If deeper Hfe, through trials keen,

Thon wouldat impart ;
Master, fulfill Thy life in us

Whose life Thou art.

And if the heart should restless grow

In waiting long for answers
To the prayers that Thou dost own,

Teach ixs, our Father, to be still and
Trust thee implicitely, and know Thy way
is best.


Nil. P;ige

1. Tlu' Antlior Frontispiece

2. Residence of Miiiolt L. Heardsley 11

:i John \Y. Beardslee lo

4. The Author's Denver Home 2(i

."). Arthur Beardsle}' 6(5

('). Arthur E. Bearclsley f)7

7. Mrs. M. A. Beardsley Small 76

8. Summer Residence of Benajah M. Beardsley 80

9. Kbenezer K. Beardsley- 128

10. Edwin B. Beardsley 135

11. Edwin W. Beardsley 137

12. Edwin H. Beardsley 138

lii. Frederick T. Beardsley 169

14. Georce L. Beardslej' 178

l.l. Hosea L. Beardsley 201

16. J*)-iiah Beardsley 266

17. Lester A. Beardslee 275

18. Minott L. Beardsley 294

I'.l. Robert Lee Roy Beardsley 29a

20. John O., Lydia, Moss W., and Two Younoer Beardsleys .. 297

21. Nelson Beardsley 306

22. Oscar R. Beardsley 317

23. Ralph 1). Beardsley 328

24. Roswcll Beardsley 333

2."). Sidney B. Beardsley 352

'h\. William A. Beardsley 388


b. stands for horn.
d. " " died.

111. " " married,

nnin. " " unmarried.

])apt. " " baptised,

dan. '• " dauo-liter.

d y. " •* (bed jonng-.

res. " " residence.

-)- indicates that more will follosv relating' to this person.
A superior figure attached to a name numbers the generation
down from William, as 1st, 2nd, .Srd, etc.



In April, 1882, the author waa visiting- his lather's youngest
brother (since deceased), then living near Harpersville, Broome
Count}-, N. Y. When at the barn, one morning, he happened to
ask the name of his grandfather. This was given. He then
asked the name of his great-grandfather. "I do not know; I
never heard it," was the repl3\ Jokingly he said, "Did he have a
father?" "Why of course he did." To this the repl}^ was: "I am
going to know his name."

How little he tlien knew what that conversation meant for
him I What 3-ears of anxious solicitude, toil and extensive travel.
At that time he did not know there were half-a-dozen families of
Beardsleys in America outside his own famil3\

Uncle and I soon returned to the house, where I noted down


all that he knew and copied such records as he possessed.

After returning to my home in Colorado, I adopted the plan,
which has been followed ever since, of asking each person met,
"Did j'^ou ever know an}"^ one of my name?" Frequentl}'^ the an-
swer was: "Whj", 3'es ; I knew so and so," naming them. I then
wrote to each one of these asking for the name of the father of
Gideon Beardslej', 1113' great-grandfather, after whom ni}^ father
was named.

The invariable repl3' was, "I never heard of such a man."

Karly in 188.3 I decided to print some inquires on 100 postal
cards for distribution, to save so much writing-, never dreaming
that T would find enough Beardsleys to require that number;
but to m3- surprise these lasted but a short time. Then followed
another hundred of postal cards; 3'et I had not found the name
of m3' great-great-grandfather.

The New Fairfield, Connecticut, town records, whence my
grandparents came, had been burned, with the town-house, sotne
3-ears before m3' inquiries began.


Fortunatel)', "Belah Rogers," of that town, had copied the
Beardsle}' items for one J. B. Newcoaib, of Elgin, III., whose
grandmother was a Beardsle}^

The unused portion had been thrown into a private drawer.
A search therein revealed the secret ; but I had gone so far and
gathered so much it was thought best to continue \\\y researches.

A short circular, three or four hundred in number, was then
issued. These lasted but a short time. Others followed from
time to time, and still I kept hearing of Beardsleys here and
there all over this country and in Canada.

Then 500 circulars were issued with blanks to fill out by those
of the family name. M3' last circular of 1,500 said :

"Towns and parks have been named in their honor.
As builders and merchants the}^ have illuined the marts
of trade. In the fields of science and medicine thej' have
obtained great prominence. In the arena of statesman-
ship they have produced men of thought and men of ac-
tion. At the bar and in the administration of justice they
have shown erudition and wisdom. As clergymen, edu-
cators and lecturers they have occupied high places. As
authors they are worthy to be crowned with a laurel
wreath of fame. As heroes of Colonial, Revolutionar}^
and recent wars thej' have rendered patriotic service."

There have been not a few difficulties attending the prosecu-
tion of this work. The main one has been the indifference, or re-
luctance to communicate what was known. Of course each one
had a good excuse, having never heard of me and knew not m}^

One took it to be "an advertising scheme." Another was so
busy that he deferred his repl}^ to "a more convenient season,"
which, as a rule, never came. Often after the father's death my
appeal was found and answered \)y some j'ounger member of the

Many thought the}' knew so little of the family history it was
not worth communicating-. One maiden lad}' wrote: "I do not
think the Beardsle3'8 are worth looking after, or writing up."


Others thought, "A man living- so far out in the 'wool}^ west' was
not in position to gather information for such a work."

It is no fault of the author if some families are treated briefly,
for such furnished but little information.

In a few cases the penmanship was difficult to decipher,
which may account for occasional errors, though constant effort
was made to verify, from other sources, all information given.

Ofttimes persons would answer, signing initials onl}', which
caused delaj' and unnecessar3^ correspondence. These are but
few of the many discouragements met with as the history has
been developed.

Upon the whole the family has responded nobl3% and it has
afforded the author great pleasure to have the acquaintance of
so inany superior men and women of his own family name.

Then, whenever and wherever he has met an3' of the name
the}^ have treated him so kindl}' and cordially that he could not
but feel it an honor to belong to such a famil}'.

My partially self-imposed task is complete, so far as the data
at hand will permit.

My only regret is that some abler hand had not undertaken
this, and not onl3' saved me from man3^ years of hard work, but
have furnished a more readable }iistor3' of what has proven to be
a large and influential family.

However, I have this satisfaction : I have done m3- best, spar-
ing- neither time, strength, or expense to gather all possible in-
formation from all sources and in any localit3' where one of the
name has been found, or has lived. Twice have I gone over
much of the State of Connecticut (formeri3'^ the famil3' home)
searching and cop3'ing Probate lecords, Church records, Bible
records, the inscriptions of the cemeteries, confirming these with
statements of the aged who were able to recall man3^ facts re-
garding the deceased. I have also visited other States, and Eng-
land, whence our ancestor came.

In addition, I have enjplo3'ed others to search records that I
could not reach.


During the time these researches have been in progress, for
several 3'ears I had in addition the duties and responsibilities of
my profession upon me, which absorbed much of my time and
attention. This added to the difficulties connected with the pro-
secution of such a study and work.

It may not be out of place to add, several times since these
gatherings began the author has been near the eternal crossing,
but through the kind Providence of God he has been spared to
complete this work.

Added to all this, I have written within that period, and pub-
lished, two other books, one of 188 and the other of 605 pages, of
which I had not the slightest conception when I began this in-

Finall}^ the long study of the genealogical histor}' of the
family has begotten in me a love and respect for the naine of
"Beardsle} '■ unknown before.

The result of twenty years research, as heretofore outlined, is
before j'ou.

A thorough perusal of this work will reveal that thej' have
been activelj' and intimately associated with the civil, ecclesias-
tical, industrial and commercial affairs of America; and to be-
come conversant with their history w^ill naturall}' create in 5'our
children a source of pride in the name heretofore unappreciated.

I hope all who read this book will take to heart its teachings ;
will strive earnestly to emulate the virtues of the fathers and to
shun their vices.

God bless 30U each ! God bless each and all in whose veins
Beardsley blood flows ! God bless those who thoughtfull}^ per-
use these pages, is the earnest pra3'er of the compiler. Fare-




Edwin Salter, of Washington, 1). C, published an article in
the Daily Sun, of St. John, N. B., in 1884, on the •'Beardsleys," in
which he gave the origin of the name :

"In a work on Kngliah surnames by Charles Wareing
Bardslej', published in London, 1875, Robert de Bardesle
on Hundred Rolls, and Wm. de Bardesley, rolls of Parlia-
ment are mentioned. In Burke's arms and crests of famil-
ies of Great Britain mention is made of the Lancashire
famil}' whose name is given as Bardesle}', Bardesj' or
Bardse}-, and the crest given is : 'Ar. two bars gu. on a
canton of the second a maunch of the first.'

"The same work sa5's that the last heir of the Bardseys
of Furness in Lancashire, was Nicholas Bardsey who died
tempo Charles the First, leaving two daughters, Doroth}',
who married Anderton of Claj'ton, and Elizabeth, who
married Lancelot Salkfield of Whitehall. Crest : 'Ar. two
bars gu. on a canton a maunch of the first.* A maunch, in
heraldrj', signifies a ]ad3''s sleeve, and is found in the arms
or crests of several noble families, and seems to indicate
the best trait of chivalr}- — that he to whom it belonged
was a 'defender of the defenceless.'

"In Wests' Histor}' of Furness it is said that in the bar-
on}' of Kendal (Lancashire and Westmoreland) a descend-
ant of Ivo De Tailbor's assumed the surname of Bardsea.
As Bardsea is a noted island on the coast of Wales, said
to have been a refuge of the Welsh bards, it is probable
that Baron De Tailbor's son or decendant was owner or
lord of the island. The ancient name of Robert de Bard-
esle, above mentioned, suggests the possibilit}' of its
meaning Robert of Bards Isle. According to West's His-
tor}' of Furness in Lancashire, Bardsea was adopted as a
surname about the jear 1211, and from that date coming
on down, we find the orthograph}' changing to Bardsej',
Bardes}', Bardesle}', Bardsley and Berdsley. The last
mentioned, with a long sound on the first 'e' (as in mete)


gives the American pronounciation of Beardsley or

'■The origin of the name can thus be traced through
slight variations in orthography, away back to a descend-
ant of one of William the First's chiefs, who was owner or
lord of Bardsea, the island of the Welsh bards."

"Bardsey {i e. Bards' Island) stands at the northern extremity
of Cardigan Ba^', and is two and one-half miles long and one
mile broad. It includes about 370 acres in its area, one-third of
which is hill3\ There is a good harbor on the south-east side,
where vessels of forty tons nia}^ enter."

Edmondson's "Heraldrj''' carries the name back past the
Middle Ages, showing that the same name existed in two differ-
ent counties, but evidently of one family, as the coat of arms was
nearly the same.

The village of Bardsley, near Manchester, England, is very
old, and according to Rev. C. W. Bardsley, of Manchester, "was a
grant for some sort of service, for which a rental was paid of a
penny and a rose 3'earl3^" Edwin Salter further saj's, "ley," "lee,"
"leigh," are ancient terminations of English names. The}' all
have the same meaning, in fact they are only different methods
of spelling the same word. They inean pasture land, field, com-
mons, cultivated lands. The Welsh "Lie"' means "place."

Not far from Stratford-on-Avon was an ancient monastry of
which it is said, "Guy Beauchamp bestowed benefactions upon
the monks of Bardsle3^"

One member of the family wrote me from Brookl3'n, N. Y.,
that there was a man somewhere, waj^ back, whose name was
"Beard," who had a son by the name of "Lee."' His descendants
were called Beardslees to distinguish them from the other mem-
bers of the famil}'. Thus, he thought, the name originated (?)

Edwin Salter, of Washington, D. C, from whom important
quotations have already been made, writes: "You have in the
Beardsley family many honorable names, and as a family it is
above the average in ability and respectability."


Hinman, a historian of Connecticut, also says :

"This has been a respected family from the first settle-
ment of Stratford. Cyrus Hall Beardsley, former!}^ Judge
of the Count}' Court, Speaker of the Connecticut House of
Representatives, etc., was a descendant. Twelve of the
family had graduated at 'Yale' prior to 1845.''


Residence of Minott L. Beardsley, Los Angeles, Calif.


Spelling in those early times was not reduced to a science. It
was largely phonetic; hence one or more different letters were
used in a given word in the same document and by the same

In the old Probate records in Connecticut I found the name
spelled quite differently in the same paper; for instance, Beards-
le3', Beardslee, Bardsl}', Berslej^, etc.

There are those who insist that the name should end with
"i?^" instead of 'Vj." Tradition in one familj' has the origin of the
"ee" ending this wa}'. "The spelling of the 'ee' instead of 'ey'
came from the fact that in 1760 one Thomas Beardsley was com-
missioned, by the British Crown, as a Colonel, or Justice of the
Peace. When that commission arrived the name was spelled
Beardslee ; so he was obliged to spell his name that way, or lose
his commission." I cannot vouch for the truthfulness of this

The records of the ship "Planter," in which the first of the
name came to this country, so far as we have any record, have
the names of the parents spelled "Beardsley" and of the children
"Beardslie," which is the French way of spelling "ley " Mary,
the mother's name, was spelled Marie, which meant Mary. Har-
vy was spelled Harvie in the same record.

In the list of "Loyalists," to whom lots were granted in St.
John, New Brunswick, 1783, are found the names of John Beards-
ley (the chaplain), who was granted lot 151, and Paul Beardsle}',
granted lot 374.

Notice the following spelling of the name as given by one
authority :

"The spelling of the name is various in historical and
genealogical works. In Savage's Genealogical Dictionary'
and other American works it is given as Beardsley, Beards-
lee, Bearsley, Bersley, and Berdsley."


In England the name is now spelled in one of two ways,
Beardsle}^ or Bardsley, dropping the first "e" in the last case.

In March, 1873, when in Damascus, Syria, the author met three
clergymen of the Church of England, wlio bore the name of
Bardslej', — two brothers and the son of another brother. They
said their father was a clergyman in Yorkshire. He had seven
sons, all of whom were clerg3'men, and four grandsons were also
clergjMiien, which made twelve of that family who were clergy-
men in the Church of England.

On March 30, 1873, at 3 P. M., one of thetn preached a dedicatory
sermon (text, Acts xiii. 38, 39) in Dainastus. The next Sabbath,
April 6, the other brother. Rev. J. W. Bardsle}', preached in Bey-
rout (text, I. Peter iv. 8). Thej^ certainly were "workmen that
needeth not to be ashamed.'' Both sermons were on the revival
line. They were earnest Christian ministers, an honor to the
name. The last-tnentioned has since become Bishop of Carlisle,
one of the most important positions in the Church of England,

When introduced to them, after a little conversation with the
writer, one said : "You are not a Beardslej', j^ou are a genuine
Bardsley. Your look and your voice is like ours." Their compli-
mentary^ words were greatly appreciated.

In my personal searching (1891) in the "Heraldry" Office in
London, England, I found the name always ended with "ly" or
"lej^," and never with "ee."

The coat of arms, consisting of a shield with a brass head in
the center thereof and a bear proper at the top, was not adopted
until 1749, b}^ one Peter Beardsley.

Then there was a family of Bardsleys in Lancaster with a
coat of arms consisting of a lady's flowing sleeve at the upper
left hand corner, as 3'ou face it, without the bear's head.

There was another fainil3^ of Bardsle3S in Surrey County, who
had a coat of arms with three bears heads in the form of a tri-
angle, two ot the top and one below.

These three designs are all the College of Arms, London,


shows. This information cost me $2.50. The clerk made a copy
of each for me.

Rev. W. O. Raymond, an Episcopal clerjrj'man of St. John,
N. B., a grandson of Chaplain John Beardsley, writes me : "The
niuster-rolls of the regiment are in iny possession, and I find the
chaplain's name spelled very variously, — Beardsle}', Basley,
Baesley, Baisley, Bardsley and Bardly."

1 have in my possession a letter written by the Chaplain, and
he signs his name "Beardsiey."

William, the first emigrant (1635) signs his name "Beardsley"
to his will, and in other documents of his time I find the same
methods used. From all this evidence, I can arrive at no other
conclusion than that the naixie should always be spelled

In Rev. John Wesley's Works (Vol. vii. p. 128-131) we find three
letters, dated 1772, 1775, 1779. to one Rev. Samuel Beardsley, copies
of which ma3' be found under the name of Philander E. Beards-
ley, where is also the record of an old Bible. In it is the name
of Beardslej' plainly written. Note how the name was then

Once more. In my searchings at St. Alban's, England, from
which " Williajn" brought letters of recommendation, I found the
marriage of one "Thomas Berdslej' and Jane Upton, Jul}' 16,
1581." (See Appendix.) Their names and those of their eight
children were all spelled Berdsley, leaving out the "a." It may
be of iftterest also to know that one "H. W. Beardsley," of West
Brompton, Eng., wishes the championship of the world as a
pigeon shootist. This great matter (to him) can be decided in
either Chicago, New York or Boston.

All have seen notices of one Aubry Beardsley, of England,
who was a celebrated sketch painter. Alas ! his career ended too
soon. He was considered by many artists a man of great prom-
ise to the world.

By these references all can see how the name is spelled in the
mother country.



There is a town in Minnesota, near the line of Dakota, by the
name of "Beardsley ;" another in northwest Kansas has the same
name. A laroe park in Brido^eport, Conn., also has the name of

Rev. John W. Beardsley, D. D., Holland, Mich.




As to the origin of the Beardsley-"/i?^" family in America,
there are many dififerent tradjtions extant. Some contend that it
had a Welsh origin. One old lady wrote me : "I am no relation
of 5'ours. My famil}^ came from the west coast of Wales." Other
families have the same tradition.

Others say : "There were three brothers who came from Eng-
land, before the Revolutionary War, about 1700, and settled in
New Jersey, since which their descendants have scattered through
the United States."

Another writes : "We have a tradition that our ancestors were
descendants of a French Huguenot who fled from France to Eng-
land, about eighty 3^ears before the settlement in Stratford" (1558-

I have inet and also heard froin others who affirm that "My

ancestors came direct from England some time in the past, but

we do not know when."

In all these "traditions" I discover several evident facts,
namely :

(1) That the family has an English origin.

(2) That the Welsh tradition (found in man}' families) comes
from the family history in the Island of Bardsey.

(3) The French Huguenot theory comes from family associa-
tions had with the Chief — General — of William the Conqueror.

(4) Lastl}', the /'/^r<?i? ^r(7/>^^r.y were the three sons of "William,"
from whom the Ainerican family has descended.

I have acted upon the theorj^ that unless a family was able to
show some other time and date of their ancestor's coming-, that
they were the descendants of one of William's sons, no matter
what the "traditions" might be (see Appendix) ; hence what fol-
lows :


William Beakdsley, the progenitor of the family in Ameri-
ca, was born in England in 1605. (Hatton's List of Emigrants to
America 1600-1700.)

Most careful and persistent searchings in Stratford-on-Avon,
a traditional home of William, made by the author, failed to re-
veal one particle of evidence that a Beardsley had ever resided
in that town. The old church records were thoroughl3' examined,
for the privilege of which he had to pay two shillings. The
gravej'ard was also most carefully searched with no better re-

I had hoped the "tradition" to that effect might be substanti-
ated b}' some record of his birtli, his marriage, or the baptism of
his children ; but nothing of the kind could be found.

The probabilities are that his last residence, or that of his
ancestors, was St. Alban's, Hertfordshire, for he took "A certifi-
cate from the minister there and attestations from the Justice of
the Peace to I^ondon, according to the Lord's order," from which
place the}' sailed in the ship "Planter," Captain Travice com-
manding (note the queer spelling), "2 Aprilis 1635. Theis under
written names to be transported to New England." (Ship's

There were thirty-seven emigrants in all. Nineteen were over
21 years of age and eighteen under 21. Two were 20 and one 6

The name, age and occupation of each is given. There were
six Tuttells, three Lawrences, one Antrobus, age 65, one Green,
one Weast, one Heford, ohe Chittwood, four 01ne3's, one Giddins,
one Savage, two Harris, one Peabody, three Wilcoxsons, five
Beardslej'S, one Perle}, one Felloe, one Baker, one Carter, one
Williamson, and one Morrison.

Their occupations were quite varied. There was one "mer-
cer,'' three "shoemakers,'' three "tailors,"' three "husbandmen,"
one "weaver," and one "7nason."

It is with the latter that we have to do. The following is a


verbatim copy of the ship's record of our faniilj^ (Hatton's List of
Emigrants) :

"A Mason, William Beardsle3% j'ears 30.
Marie Beardsley, " 26.

Marie Beardslie, " 4.

John Beardslie, " 2.

Joseph Beardslie, " 6 mo.''

The ending- of the words "z>" is the Anglo-French way of
spelling "ej^'' or "}' ;" instance, Marie meant "Mary," Beardslie
meant Beardsl}^ or "ley."

These emigrants landed in Massachusetts, probably, about

Online LibraryIsaac Haight BeardsleyGenealogical history of the Beardsley-lee family in America → online text (page 1 of 27)