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Hildegarde Birnie Beard
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Birth: Sep. 11, 1878
Charleston County
South Carolina, USA
Death: May 3, 1945
Miller Place
Suffolk County
New York, USA

Hildegarde was the mother of James R. Beard Jr. and Charles Wainwright Beard. She was the spouse of James Randolph Beard, Sr.. She died of Uremia, and Cerebral arteriosclerosis.

Hildegarde was born in Charleston, South Carolina, to Richard Birnie , a cotton shipping agent, and Anna (Frost) Birnie. Both the Birnies and the Frosts, descendants of antebellum free black families, were members of the black social and economic elite in post–Civil War Charleston. Birnie's family taught her that her relative privilege obliged her to serve those less fortunate in her community. Richard Birnie was a trustee of the Avery Normal Institute in Charleston, SC.

Hilda and her husband, James migrated to New York from the Charleston area. During this period in the south racial prejudice was rampant. I don't know the exact discussion but they left their former lives in the south and recreated themselves in the north. In the southern census records they were listed as "black" and "mulatto". However, 10 years later, in Brooklyn, NY, they were listed as "white." Hilda went so far as to use her grandfather's name as her own surname (Henry) to "hide" her connections. It was actually "Birnie". I have validated her true identity from documentation taken at her death. Additionally, her birthday is altered on the headstone -- perhaps this was for vanity! 
Family links: 
  Richard Birnie (1845 - 1938)
  Anna M Birnie (____ - 1897)
  James Randolph Beard (1869 - 1947)*
  James Randolph Beard (1903 - 1959)*
  Charles Wainwright Beard (1906 - 2000)*
  Marion Raven Birnie Wilkinson (1870 - 1956)*
  Hildegarde Birnie Beard (1878 - 1945)
*Calculated relationship
Sea View Cemetery
Mount Sinai
Suffolk County
New York, USA
Created by: Jack Kane
Record added: Nov 15, 2004
Find A Grave Memorial# 9904959
Hildegarde <i>Birnie</i> Beard
Added by: Jack Kane
Hildegarde <i>Birnie</i> Beard
Added by: Arleen Koello
Hildegarde <i>Birnie</i> Beard
Cemetery Photo
Added by: Arleen Koello
Photos may be scaled.
Click on image for full size.

- Priscilla Gaskins
 Added: Jul. 13, 2007
Rest in peace
- Debbie Queen Lewis
 Added: Nov. 15, 2004

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