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Offline Sequatchie Rifle

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« on: March 24, 2011, 10:21:41 PM »
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« Last Edit: May 22, 2017, 04:43:11 PM by Sequatchie Rifle »
"We fight not for glory, nor riches nor honors, but for freedom alone, which no good man gives up except with his life. Declaration of Arbroath, 1320

Offline WElliott

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Re: Bean Family- Tennessee Riflemakers
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2011, 03:34:15 AM »
Bill,
Thank you for posting all that information.  The Beans were a fascinating family who served this country well (and built some wonderful rifles).
Wayne
Wayne Elliott

Offline G-Man

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Re: Bean Family- Tennessee Riflemakers
« Reply #2 on: March 25, 2011, 03:38:48 PM »
William Bean is one of the most enigmatic figures of the eastern frontier - so much has been written about him and the family but so much remains clouded in mystery when you really try to pin down who/what/when/where.  There are many anecdotal references to him in books, including statements that he was a gunmaker, but when you look hard for real evidence - period references, etc. it has remained very elusive.  This is one of the big riddles in the origins of the classic east Tennessee/ "Bean" style rifle - who was the first Bean family gunmaker to work in Tennessee, where did they learn from, and what did those first Bean family guns look like?    

There is good evidence that Russell Bean was working and making rifles in the area by the late 18th century.  And to my knowledge no evidence that he went and learned gunsmithing somewhere back farther east has been found, so it looks like he learned right there in East Tennessee.    Whether or not he learned from a previous generation of Beans, is something many of us would love to know.  

A few more fun things about the Beans.  The early settlers in the area had to tread a fine line between constant threat of attack, and interaction with the Cherokees.  The Cherokees themselves were divided with regard to how to handle the encroachment of the white settlers, many being of mixed blood through decades of interaction and marriage with traders working out of the Carolinas and Georgia.  William Bean's wife Lydia was captured by the Cherokees and was saved from execution by the intervention of the influential Nancy Ward, Beloved Woman of the Cherokees.  Disagreement over her fate was one of the chain of events (along with the Sycamore Shoals Treaty and other issues regarding how to handle relations with the white settlers) that lead to Dragging Canoe's movement to the Chattanooga area forming the combative "Chickamauga"  faction of the Cherokees, which fought a more or less constant war with the settlers until the mid 1790s.  According to legends, Lydia Bean taught the Cherokees how to make butter and cheese (using dairy from two of the Bean family cows that were either taken, or given by the Beans as a gift for sparing her life), and how to weave on a loom.  

One more interesting thing about the Beans is the connection to the Bulls.  The Bull family bought their land from the Beans in the late 1780s.  After his arrival in Tennessee, John Bull married Fetna Bean (Russell's sister).  

Guy

« Last Edit: March 25, 2011, 04:20:15 PM by G-Man »

Offline Ken G

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Re: Bean Family- Tennessee Riflemakers
« Reply #3 on: September 20, 2011, 02:28:57 AM »
Bill,
Great information.  I can't believe I missed it when you posted. 
Thanks,
Ken
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Offline G-Man

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Re: Bean Family- Tennessee Riflemakers
« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2011, 07:19:52 PM »
One more thought - I have always had a hard time believing that William Bean sneaked into upper East Tennessee and squatted on Cherokee land in the late 1760s within a stone's throw of the Warrior's Path, without them being aware.  This is just pure speculation on my part, but I suspect he was there by permission of at least some of the Cherokee, perhaps involved in the hide trade or providing beneficial services to them - blacksmithing, gunsmithing, etc. like the Carters and Jacob Brown nearby. 

Many young Scots worked the back-country native trade in the Southeast out of Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia - particularly among the Cherokees and Creeks - and become very comfortable living among, and were accepted by, the local tribes - to the point that by the time of the Revolution there was a sizable population with mixed Native American/Scot heritage.  Robert Benge, James Vann, John Watts, Alexander McGillivary, MacIntosh, Mennawa - just to name a few.  Throw into this mix longhunters, land speculators, and lots of former Regulators seeking refuge in the back country after Tryon cracked down on them in 1771, and upper East Tennessee presents a really interesting picture on the eve of the Revolution.

Guy

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Re: Bean Family- Tennessee Riflemakers
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2011, 05:04:34 PM »
If anyone has any questions about the beans I would be happy to add some information. If you are a bean I can point you to resources that are detailed.  These guys are my family and I have spent a good deal of time tracking the history. There are several interesting stories that float about.

One that is fairly interesting is that Russell, Williams's son, was in an all day fight with Andrew Jackson when Jackson tried to arrest Russell for throwing his wife out for having a bastard child while he was gone for a year plus on a trading trip. He had thrown her child out after cutting its earlobes off to mark it as a bastard and threw it out the door.  They were a rough group to survive those times. 

William is my 6th great grandfather and he came here and landed in SC in 1746 from Ireland where he had lived for 7 years after being run out of Scotland.   The Beans were Highland Scots and had a castle on Loch Ness.

Lots of history.   

Judge Roy Bean of the Texas hanging fame is of the same line.  Roy's brother Joshua was also the first mayor of San Diego.

The stories of William twist and turn because there were several with William names and the stories commingle.

Robert Bean

Offline Shreckmeister

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Re: Bean Family- Tennessee Riflemakers
« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2011, 05:34:04 PM »
Bean,  This thread makes great reading.  Thanks for sharing.
Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.

Offline Hurricane ( of Virginia)

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Re: Bean Family- Tennessee Riflemakers
« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2011, 06:14:44 PM »
Thread added to the ALR Library.
Hurricane

Offline Jim B ( no, another one)

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Re: Bean Family- Tennessee Riflemakers
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2011, 06:15:38 PM »
Great info on the settlement of E Tenn.  My fathers' family is from the area and I'd heard rumors and 'stories' of wild exploits of many of our ancestors, but some of this info makes those stories seem a bit more plausible.  It was still a rough and tumble area not long ago.  
Saw a bumper sticker the other day.  "Impolite?...Bakatcha!"  I want one

Offline Shreckmeister

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Re: Bean Family- Tennessee Riflemakers
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2011, 07:21:50 PM »
Are there rifle pictures to go with this?
Rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the rights of the individual.

Offline G-Man

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Re: Bean Family- Tennessee Riflemakers
« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2011, 06:50:53 PM »
Here are a couple of links to some posts on Art and Jan's Contemporay Makers Blog Spot.  These show some of the work of Baxter Bean, perhaps the most famous of the Bean gunmakers - his work is considered to be an archetype of the style many view as the classic upper east Tennessee mountain rifle.

(Maybe Wayne, Ken or somoene can confirm for me - I believe the double lid box rifle shown on the table in photos 4-6 of the last link is attributed to or signed by Baxter Bean, but I am not positive.)  The rifle below it is by Edward Reid.  These are two of the fines East Tennessee rifles I know of. Don't miss the etra box in the toe of the double lid Bean and the cool variation of the banana box with captured lid on the Reid rifle.

http://contemporarymakers.blogspot.com/2010/04/save-date.html

http://contemporarymakers.blogspot.com/2010/05/baxter-bean-pistols.html

http://contemporarymakers.blogspot.com/2010/04/tennessee-kentucky-rifle-show-photos_27.html

Can't recall the exact dates, but I believe Baxter was born between 1790 and 1800 and was murdered in Nashville in the early 1750s(?).  Thus he would have been already the third generation of Beans in East Tennessee, being the grandson of William and son of Russell.

These pieces all probably fall into the period between the 1820s through 1840s. Makes one wonder what his father Russell's rifles made in the late 1700s looked like.


Guy
« Last Edit: November 16, 2011, 07:03:02 PM by G-Man »

Offline WElliott

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Re: Bean Family- Tennessee Riflemakers
« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2011, 07:50:33 PM »
Guy, you are correct that most folks who have examined the triple-box rifle believe it to be by the Bean family, probably Baxter.  Baxter was killed, I believe, in the 1840s. 
Wayne Elliott

Offline Dave Patterson

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Re: Bean Family- Tennessee Riflemakers
« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2017, 04:35:59 AM »
Great info on the settlement of E Tenn.  My fathers' family is from the area and I'd heard rumors and 'stories' of wild exploits of many of our ancestors, but some of this info makes those stories seem a bit more plausible.  It was still a rough and tumble area not long ago. 

Another TN descendant here:  had a ?X-great grandfather, Solomon Walters, born 1750-60 (probably in PA), died in 1833 in Hawkins Co.  He's as far back in that line as family can track so far, but he start a flock of kin, and a lot of them's still there.

Got a bunch more (Quillens) on the other side of the TN/VA line, in Scott Co, and a bunch more up in SE corner of PA; that crew (Pattersons) was pretty heavily invested in the old MD/PA border dispute and "war".  And Pop's mother's side (Bradfords and others) got here on the Mayflower.

 So threads like this one are pretty doggone fascinating to me. 

Thanks for posting.
« Last Edit: February 05, 2017, 06:58:21 AM by Dave Patterson »

Offline Cades Cove Fiddler

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Re: Bean Family- Tennessee Riflemakers
« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2017, 06:25:47 AM »
...Thanx...Great stories....I forget where I read it, but several years back, here in Tennessee, was doing genealogical research in a county library and came across a reference to Jesse Bean making & repairing guns for the Indians....Will try to find that info & post....I also have a rifle from that area...Lincoln Co. TN.  ... and have seen one more similar privately owned gun that has been in same family several generations in Franklin Co. TN, that they always called the "Bean's Creek Rifle" .....both are similar, but un-marked......