Bro. Daniel Carter Beard was born on June 21, 1850 in Cincinnati, Ohio. In his youth, his family moved to 322 E. 3rd Street in Covington, Kentucky where Beard loved exploring the banks of the nearby Ohio River and the Banklick Creek region south of Covington. It was during these explorations, that Beard developed his great love for nature and outdoors living.
In 1882, Bro. Beard wrote The American Boy’s Handy Book, a book which gives instructions and advice on animals, outdoors, knots, tents, fishing and more (and is still in print today).
Bro. Beard was raised a Master Mason in Mariners’ Lodge #67 New York City and later became a member of Cornucopia Lodge #563 Flushing, NY.
In 1905, Beard founded the “Sons of Daniel Boone,” an outdoor education and exploration program for young men. Boys were organized into “forts,” uniforms were based on the outfits of frontiersmen and in place of ranks or advancement, boys earned notches and top notches for achievements in a variety of interest areas. This group grew to become the largest boy’s club in America.
The “Sons of Daniel Boone” developed into “The Boy Pioneers” in 1905. In 1910, Bro. Beard merged his organization into the fledgling Boy Scouts of America and became one of the first National Commissioners, serving Scouting for 30 years. He later became the editor of Boys' Life magazine, the BSA official magazine, and wrote a monthly column for youth. He received the only gold Eagle badge ever awarded.
Bro. Beard founded Boy Scouts Troop 1 in Flushing, New York, which is believed to be one of the oldest continuously chartered Boy Scout Troop in the United States.
To the scouts that knew him, he was “Uncle Dan”. But Bro. Beardfirst created a name for himself as an author and illustrator and was chosen to illustrate Mark Twain’s (Bro. Samuel Clemans, Polarar Star Lodge No. 79, Missouri) A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court in 1889.
Bro. Beard died on June 11, 1941, shortly before his 91st birthday at his home (named "Brooklands") in Suffern, New York. He was buried near his home at the Brick Church Cemetery in Spring Valley, New York. The National Program Director of the Boy Scouts of America, and founder of the Order of the Arrow (1915), Bro. Dr. E. Urner Goodman (Lamberton Masonic Lodge 487 of Philadelphia), was selected to be in charge of the beloved youth leader's funeral in Suffern. An estimated 2,000 people lined the funeral route to the cemetery in Monsey, New York, where 127 Boy Scouts formed an honor guard and assisted with traffic control.
The Daniel Carter Beard Bridge spanning the Ohio River and connecting I-471 in northern Kentucky to I-71 in Ohio was named in his honor and dedicated in 1981.
Freemasons in the U.S. offer the Daniel Carter Beard Masonic Scouter Award for Masons who are involved with Scouting.
Mount Dan Beard, a 10,082-foot (3,073 m) peak in the Alaska Range near Mount McKinley in Denali National Park and Preserve, is named after Bro. Beard.