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William George Beard (1847-1915)
Native of England, and prominent business man in Bay City, MI.

1903: Biography. (Added Apr., 2009)

A History of the Puget Sound Country, by Col. Wm. F. Prosser, 1903


William George Beard, who is now serving as mayor of Anacortes, has been so active in political life and business interests here that no mention of the city would be complete without reference to him. He was born June 24, 1847, in Exeter, Devonshire, England, the eldest son of George and Mary (Palmer) Beard. The father was also born in Exeter and belonged to a family whose history can be traced back through several hundred years. He was an architect, contractor and builder, and in the year 1850, accompanied by his family, he crossed the Atlantic to the new world, settling first in Toronto, Canada. In 1867 he removed to Bay City, Michigan and was actively identified with its building interests for some years. He there died in February, 1903, at the ripe old age of eight-four years, and his wife, who was also a native of Exeter, England, passed away in Bay City, Michigan, in 1883, at the age of fifty-nine years. In their family were the following named: William G.; John, who died at Bay City, Michigan, in 1873; Eliza, the wife of Captain Henry Bennett, of that place; Edward; Harry, who is an alderman and contractor at Bay City; and Frederick, who is living in the same place.

William G. Beard was only three years old when brought by his parents to America, and at the age of five years he entered the public schools of Markham, Canada, at the age of eighteen years,and when his school life was ended he began assisting his father, who was engaged in contracting and building. The son thus gained a broad, practical knowledge of the builder's art, laying the foundation for successful work in that line in later life. For a time he operated in the oil fields of Petrolia, Canada, and in 1871 he went to Bay City, Michigan, where he organized the firm of George Beard & Son, contractors and builders. They erected the principal public and private buildings of that city, having a very large patronage, and our subject continued in the business until 1879, when he was nominated for the office of register of deeds of Bay county. He was elected and served so acceptably that he was renominated in 1881, but that year his part met uniform defeat. In 1883, however, he was again elected for a term of two years, and in 1885 he was chosen by popular vote to the office of city treasurer of Bay City. The following year he was placed in nomination by the Democratic party for the position of state treasurer of Michigan, but, though he ran ahead of his ticket, he was defeated. His elections were never because of an overwhelming party strength, but because of his personal popularity and the confidence reposed in him by his fellow-townsmen.

In 1889, on account of failing health, Mr. Beard removed to Seattle, where he was engaged in contracting and building until December of that year, during which time he built at Shelton the office and banking building for the Satsop Railroad & Logging Company, also the Korn Block in Seattle, and the warehouse buildings of the Standard Oil Company. In December, 1889, Mr. Beard came to Fidalgo Island, which is now the site of Anacortes, with a view to establishing an abstract office. After spending a year at Mount Vernon in completing a set of abstract books, he returned to Anacortes in 1891, and has since engaged in the abstract, real estate and insurance business, having a large clientage in these times, and meeting with gratifying prosperity in his undertakings. He also designed and superintended the construction of the Odd Fellows' hall and opera house of Anacortes, and has been an active factor in the improvement of the city.

Mr. Beard has held a number of official positions, and has ever been found prompt and reliable in the discharge of the duties thus devolving upon him. In 1890 he was appointed, by William Dale, deputy county assessor, serving until 1892, and in 1891 he was elected the first city assessor for the city of Anacortes. Two years later he was re-elected and served up to the time the office was abolished by the legislature. During this time he was also justice of the peace for six years and police judge for three years, and in 1895 he was appointed by President Cleveland to the position of postmaster service for four years. In 1901 and 1902 he was elected alderman at large, and in the latter year was nominated as representative to the state legislature, but was defeated. In November, 1902, however, he was elected by popular vote to the office of mayor of Anacortes and is now serving. This shows that where he is best known he has the confidence and support of the people and no higher testimonial of his worth could be given than the fact of the loyal adherence of his fellow-townsmen. He has always voted with the Democracy, but even those upholding opposing political views entertain for him the highest respect because of his fidelity and loyalty in office.

In Bay City, Michigan, in April, 1874, Mr. Beard wedded Miss Mary Bennett, a native of Canada and daughter of Edward G. and Mary Bennett, both of whom were of English descent. Our subject and his wife now have four sons and five daughters: William; Clara, the wife of Peter Anderson, of Michael, British Columbia; Leila, Mabel, Edwin, Mamie, Mattie, Sidney and Graham, all yet at home. The parents hold membership in the Episcopal church, and Mr. Beard belongs to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Royal Arcanum and the Ancient Order of United Workmen. He is also a member of the Anacortes Commercial Club and takes an active interest in his city, being desirous of its welfare and growth along lines that will prove of permanent benefit. Mr. Beard was one of the committee to escort President Roosevelt on his Puget Sound trip. In public office he has been most capable, and over the record of his official career and private life there falls no shadow of wrong or suspicion of evil. As mayor of the city his administration is business-like, practical and beneficial, and Anacortes accounts him of its most valued citizens.

Additional notes:

  • Death Certificate:
    -- William died April 20, 1915, at Anacortes, Sakgit, Washington.
  • 1879 Bay City Polk Directory:
    -- Beard, George (George Beard & Sons), res. n.w. Cor. Jefferson and 12th. Others residing at this address were his sons -- Frederick, Henry J., and Robert; all working as carpenters in father's business.
    -- Beard, George R., res. n.s. Center bet. Van Buren and Grant. (May not be related to George.)
    -- Beard George & Sons (George Beard --), Carpenters, Contractors and Builders, 12th nr. Jefferson. (See Adv.)
    -- Beard, William G. Register of Deeds Court House, res. n.e. Cor. 12th and Adams.
  • History of Saginaw and Bay Counties, of Michigan:
    -- Daughter, Eliza, married Capt. Henry Bennett, in 1872, residence at 212 Adams Street. Eliza was born in Toronto, and gave birth to four children William P., Alva J., Neil P., and Bessie E.
Related Pages/Notes

William G. Beard

Related pages:
Bennett, Henry
People Referenced
Anderson, Peter
Beard, Clara (dau.)
Beard, Edward (bro.)
Beard, Eliza (sister)
Beard, Edwin (son)
Beard, Frederick (bro.)
Beard, Geo. (father)
Beard, Graham (son)
Beard, John (bro.)
Beard, Henry J. (bro.)
Beard, Leila (dau.)
Beard, Mabel (dau.)
Beard, Mamie (dau.)
Beard, Mattie (dau.)
Beard, Sidney (son)
Beard, Wm. G. (subject)
Beard, Wm. Jr.
Bennett, Henry
Bennett, Mary (wife)
Cleveland, Pres.
Dale, William
Palmer, Mary (mother)
Roosevelt, Pres.
Subjects Referenced
Anacortes, WA
Bay City, MI
Bay Co., MI
Episcopal Church
Exter, Devenshire, Eng.
Fidalgo Island, WA
Geo. Beard & Sons Co.
Markham, Canada
Michael, Brit. Columbia
Mount Vernan, WA
Petrolia, Canada
Puget Sound, WA
Seattle, WA
-- Korn block
-- Standard Oil Co.
Shelton, WA
-- Satsop R.R & Logging
Toronto, Canada
WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.