This week’s 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks prompt is “Bearded,” and I immediately thought of the Bond family from Wayne County, Indiana. I’ve shared the family’s story on the blog before: Sally (Hawkins) Bond, Betsy (Hawkins) Harold and Rebekah (Roberts) Hawkins were the matriarchs of the Bond and Hawkins families, each of them trekking thousands of miles to escape their war-torn hometowns and provide their children with security and opportunity in the west. This prompt, though, let’s me focus on the bearded patriarchs of the family, each of whom has their own interesting story to tell.
Pleasant Bond was born on March 4, 1817 in Wayne County to Thomas and Mary (Nation) Bond. He married Sally Rebekah Hawkins, the daughter of Nathan and Rebekah (Roberts) Hawkins, on July 26, 1837, and the couple had eight children together: Phebe (b. 1838); Eli (b. 1840); Exum (b. 1842); Hiram (b. 1844); Thomas (b. 1846); Elam (b. 1848); Anna (b. 1853); and Alpheus (b. 1855). Both Pleasant and Sally descended from strong Quaker roots, and they raised their children to be involved in their local meeting house. This is reflected in Pleasant’s beard: he maintained the so-called “Quaker beard”–an uncut and untrimmed beard with only the upper lip shaved–that would have been popular in his circle.
Each of Pleasant and Sally’s sons–excluding Alpheus–maintained a “Quaker beard,” but the style evolved over the years to include a mustache and, sometimes, a slight trim. Thomas Bond, my 4th great-grandfather, had an unkempt and scraggly beard that was the closest to his father’s style; however, he was the only one of his siblings to leave the Quaker faith. He married Mary Ford in 1868 and had two daughters–Annettie (b. 1870) and Rosetta (b. 1872)–before leaving his wife and children a few years later. After a formal separation, he settled down with my 4th great-grandmother, Florence Helen Bower, and raised seven children with her, traveling with his family across the country until his death at 87 years old.
Of all of the siblings, though, Exum and his family probably did the most traveling, living in Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska and even North Carolina for a short period of time. Exum married Margaret Barnett, the daughter of prominent Quakers Jesse and Maria (Ballard) Barnett, on October 28, 1864 in Warren County, Iowa, and the couple had five children: Eva (b. 1865); Luella (b. 1868); Jesse (b. 1872); Lizzie (b. 1876); and Everett (b. 1880). Although Exum did not serve in the American Civil War–citing religious reasons–his descendants have served in World War I, World War II and the Korean War, according to my research so far.
Hiram’s beard was not nearly as trimmed and well-kept as Exum’s, but it wasn’t quite in as much of a disarray as Thomas’ in their family photo, either. Like his beard, Hiram falls somewhere in the middle of the family. He married Mary Ellen Lloyd, the daughter of Jefferson and Rebecca (Moon) Lloyd, in 1873, but unlike his siblings, he only had one child: a daughter, Flora May, born on August 31, 1873. Flora, though, married three times, and she has dozens of descendants throughout the country–many of who have converted to Methodism over the years.
After Exum, Elam’s beard is the most well-trimmed, a potential indicator of his success. Elam was a farmer, like his brothers, but he was arguably the most successful of the five. On April 23, 1884, the Homestead Office in Bloomington, Nebraska alotted Elam 160 acres of land on the “south half north east quarter and north half south east quarter”–a tract of land that cost Elam $400 to acquire. He and his wife, Sarah Williams, built their home on the land, and the annual crops allowed them to provide for their children–Edith May (b. 1883), Morick Elam (b. 1885) and Isaac Newton (b. 1888)–and see them prosper in adulthood.
Alpheus was the youngest of the brothers, and the only one to maintain a mustache without a beard. He married Julia Elizabeth Maxwell, the daughter of Dillon and Elizabeth (Vermillion) Maxwell, on August 25, 1878 in Warren County, Iowa. The couple had six children–Otho Cecil (b. 1879); Ira (b. 1882); Desford (b. 1884); Lester Maxwell (b. 1886); Clair Alpheus (b. 1892); and Pearl Marie (b. 1896)–and they lived in Indiana, Iowa, Idaho and Montana. Alpheus was a farmer for a number of years before starting a job as a mail carrier in Montana. He lived to be 79 years old, and he has dozens of descendants in the United States and Canada.
And that’s the story of the bearded Bonds: a family led by strong and fearless women who had a group of hardworking husbands, brothers, fathers amd sons to back them up. While many of the brothers’ descendants converted to Methodism in the decades that followed–and I do not know of any descendants today who are members of the Quaker faith–their faith (and beards) were an integral part of their identities. This is the most random post I’ve written by far, but I love the unique take this week’s prompt has allowed me. I never thought I’d write about beards on the blog; thanks, as always, for stopping by.