Edward Ewing Beard

1850 - 1924

Cumberland Presbyterian Elder

Moderator of the General Assembly of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in 1891


Judge Edward Ewing Beard, Law Professor, was an able, conscientious and well-informed lawyer. He kept many a client out of the court house, and always advised justice and fair play. Many a lawyer went to Judge Beard as to a Cyclopedia of the Law. He was a constant reader of the law, and was rarely ever caught napping as to the latest Supreme Court decisions. He was for many years a legal adviser of the University.

A man of his mold would naturally be a public spirited citizen. He was major of Lebanon two or three terms, and had the confidence of all classes. The ability to see both sides of a question gave him strength with the people. He was quit and unostentatious. Following in his noted father's footsteps, he was an outstanding and influential churchman. Besides being a faithful ruling elder, he was a lifetime teacher of a Sunday-school Class; the Moderator of the General Assembly of his Church, May, 1891; a member of the Church Union Committee from 1903 to 1906; a member of the Union Committee of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America from 1906 to a short time before his death. For a long period he was a director of the American Bible Society.

Judge Beard was also a widely-read student of art, history, politics, and books of travel. He kept in touch with the things going on in the world. By means of travel he knew for himself most of the territory of the United States and most of the countries of Europe.

This valuable friend of Cumberland University was born in Princeton, Kentucky, August 27, 1850, being the son of Dr. Richard Beard, the theologian. The late W. D. Beard, Chief Justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court, and the late Richard Beard, '59 A.B., a leading lawyer of Murfreesboro, were his brothers.

One of the finest things in the life of Judge Beard was his devotion to the University. Unstintedly he gave to it his best efforts. From it he received the A.B. degree in 1870, the LL.B. degree in 1874, and the LL.D. degree in 1923. He was made a Trustee soon after his graduation, and, at about the same time, the Treasurer of the Board, both of which positions he held until near the time of his death. At his life's close, it was said: "The spirit of Lebanon and of Cumberland was nowhere better manifested than in his life and labors."

Owing to the Law School's growth, Judge Beard became a Professor in the Law School in the year, 1911-12, Dean in 1920, and continued in these positions until his death, June 18, 1924. Thus it was that Edward Ewing Beard, one of nature's nobleman, a great and lovable man in every way, patient, faithful, untiring, lofty in purpose, too big to be ungenerous, passed seventy years of a fine and unsullied life in Lebanon and in connection with Cumberland University, an institution which he loved next to this own family and his own life. He was the last of the Old Guard, Cumberland's Immortals.
[Source: Bone, Winstead Paine. A History of Cumberland University 1842-1935.Lebanon, Tennessee: Published by the Author, 1935, pages 198-200.]

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Updated 25 February 2020