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Below is a family biography included in Book of Biographies: Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens, Cortland County, New York published by Biographical Publishing Company in 1898.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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WILLIAM A. BEAN, of Homer, Cortland County, N. Y., who is engaged in the manufacture of oil cloth, is a son of Samuel and Anna (Austin) Bean. His portrait is shown on the opposite page. Samuel Bean was a son of Josiah Bean, who was born in the State of New Hampshire, March 6, 1774. In 1809 Josiah came to the town of Solon, Cortland County, and established the home place, where his after life transpired, and where he died in 1855 the age of eighty-one. He was one of the pioneer farmers of this region, and met and overcame with dauntless energy all the hardships encountered in those early days. His wife, Dolly Dearborn, born October 19, 1776, was of the noted Dearborn family, which gave General Dearborn of Revolutionary fame to the pages of history. It was from the general that Fort Dearborn, the first name applied to the site of the present city of Chicago, was taken, and the name is still preserved in one of Chicago’s principal streets. Josiah and Dolly Bean reared a family of twelve children, who grew to maturity and raised families of their own.

Samuel Bean, the father of our subject, was the fifth of this large family, and he was born in Candia, N. H., July 18, 1803; he was one of the six little ones his parents brought to this county. Samuel was reared a farmer and spent thirty years on the farm, where our subject was born. The last forty years of his life were spent in Homer village, where he died in 1893 After coming to Homer, he did little active work, but looked after his property interests, being the owner of a farm of two hundred acres, and having other holdings of a valuable nature. He was a pronounced Whig and later was a Republican. He never sought office, but for eight years he served as street commissioner of the town of Homer. He was very public-spirited and believed in all legitimate improvements. To the support of public enterprises, he was always a contributor, giving liberally. He was a regular attendant of the Congregational Church. Mr. Bean’s first wife was Anna Austin, daughter of Asa Austin, who was a son of Joab Austin. Asa Austin was of English descent, and was born in Monson, Mass., in 1775. In 1801 he became a resident of New York State. He was a man of marked ability and was intensely original in his ideas. His profession was that of a surveyor, and he had the honor of running the lines on the old Holland Patent, which embraced the counties of Western and Central New York, from Genesee County on the west to Onondaga on the east. It is a noteworthy fact, and in itself highly commendatory of his skill and carefulness to detail, that his figures have stood the test of time and modern methods and instruments, and are to-day standard.

He finally bought a tract of land in Cortland County and resided on it for a time. He built one of the first grist mills in the county, which he managed from 1802 to 1838. At McGrawville he also purchased a stone mill, which he owned and conducted up to the time of his death there in 1853. Asa Austin was a strict churchman, and was one of the founders of the Homer Episcopal Church. He was likewise active in educational matters, and gave all of his children the best advantages obtainable. In politics, he became a Whig, and a strongly grounded one, too, at that. He never cared for public place, but did serve as justice of the peace for a time. To Anna (Austin) Bean, the mother of our subject, four children came, of whom he was the second; the record is: Cyrus, who is farming in Homer; William A.; Albert L., who was a farmer and retired grocer, died in 1885; and S. Augusta, who died in 1889. Mrs. Bean was summoned to her reward in 1856. Two years later, Mr. Bean married again, this time to Sophia Austin, his deceased wife’s sister, but to them no children were born. Albert L. Bean, brother of our subject, enlisted at the commencement of the War of the Rebellion, and served his term of three years in a Wisconsin regiment. After completing his first service he re-enlisted, and continued in the army until he was honorably discharged at the cessation of hostilities by general orders.

William A. Bean, our subject, first saw the light of day in the town of Homer, February 6, 1834. He was reared a farmer, and fifty-three years of his life have been spent on the farm. He had received a good education at the Cortlandville Academy in his youth, a training which has stood him in good stead all these years of toil and made him ever a man of more than the ordinary culture and refinement. In 1887, Mr. Bean took up his residence in Homer, and began the manufacture of oil carpeting. He has in this line done a fine business, making a carpeting that is especially adapted from its construction to use in carriages and sleighs. He employs from four to six hands constantly. Mr. Bean has retained his farm interests, but he entrusts much of the immediate care and supervision to his son, William J. Mr. Bean is a Republican in politics, but he has always refrained from accepting official position. He has been a consistent and steadfast member of the Congregational Church for forty-five years, and is a liberal giver in its support.

Mr. Bean’s wife was born at Sempronius, Cayuga County, N. Y., and was a Miss Emma McConnell; they were married April 21, 1857. Their children number six, and are named as follows: William J., born April 22, 1860; Arthur R., born July 7, 1861, died March 28, 1895; Henry P., born February 13, 1864; Jennie A., born April 10, 1868, died June 10, 1873; Mariam L., born January 22, 1870, died February 15, 1871; and an infant, deceased. William J. now resides on his father’s farm, and cultivates it. He married Annie Harmon of Cortland village. Arthur R. was for twelve years a salesman for a wholesale house in Binghamton, N. Y. His wife was Augusta Bates of Binghamton, who died October 21, 1892. Henry P. is the superintendent of his father’s factory; he married Lenna Wheeler of Homer. The product of Mr. Bean’s factory is sold to the largest wholesale carriage manufacturers in the United States.

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This family biography is one of numerous biographies included in Book of Biographies: Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens, Cortland County, New York published in 1898. 

View additional Cortland County, New York family biographies here: Cortland County, New York Biographies

View a map of 1897 Cortland County, New York here: Cortland County, New York Map

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