John Bean was born August 1790 and died September 1872. Although his death record, which used a friend for informant, [O. Bobbett] does not give his parents names, nor his birth date, it does list his age as 73, which is incorrect. We know by the below transcribed document, that he was actually born in 1790.
What follows is a transcript for a 13-year-old boy's indenture. We know of at least one other brother, and possibly two, that were indentured around this time. We believe that John's father was named William Bean [and may have been shortened from McBean], and his mother was named Sarah.
It is believed that William [Mc]Bean died shortly before John's indenture, and his mother, unable to care for her children, placed them for indenture. In 1805 Sarah Bean appears on the Monroe County [West] Virginia Tax Rolls as owning "only her spinning wheel and her clothes", and owing "nothing atall".
Here is the transcript of John's indenture:
Dated: "20 Feb 1804
Monroe County, VA
This Indenture made this 20th of February one thousand eight hundred and four Between James Christy Robert Johnson Henry McDaniel and Owen Neel of the one part over seers of the poor for Monroe County and John Neel of the other part witnesseth that the S'd overseers doth bind an orphan boy named John Bean aged thirteen years and six months to the S'd John Neel county aforesaid and State of Virginia to serve the S'd John Neel Until he arrives at the age of twenty-one years Dureing all which time the S'd John Bean Shall faithrully Serve his Master and all his lawful Commands obey he shall not Suffer any damage to be done to his S'd Masters goods without giving him notice thereof He shall not frequent Still houses or taverns he Shall not play at Cards Dice or any unlawful game or at any time abscond himself from his Masters business without his Masters leave he Shall not commit fornication nor contract matrimony during Said term; But as a true and faithful Servant Shall agree to have the S'd John Bean taught the art trade or mystery of a weaver and provide for him a sufficiency of everything that is requiset for an apprentice During the term of his apprenticeship likewise he is to have him taught to read the Holy Scriptures plainly to write a plain hand and arithmetic through the rule of three which Education he is to thoroughly acquainted with at the expieration of his time and also to give Such freedom dues as the law directs taking care to have Said apprentice Instructed in the principles and Duties of the Christian religion as far as Said Master is Capable In witnef whereof the partys have Interchangeable Set their hands and Seals the day and year above writen.
Signed Sealed and Delivered in the presents of
Sme JCabell John Neel (Seal)
John Neel Owen Neel (Seal)