By her Granddaughter, Flora Bean Horn
Elizabeth Lewis was a noble, progressive, intelligent type of woman. It was said of her that her spirituality and understanding were her dominant gifts. It was not my joy to know Grandma Bean, but my parents have made me acquainted, as she passed away before I was born.
Grandmaís parents were James Lewis of Georgia, and Sarah McCoy, born in Pendleton County, Kentucky in 1770. They moved to Missouri, and it was there that Elizabeth was born, 22 September 1803.
It was in Lincoln County, Missouri that Elizabeth married James Bean, on 27 July 1824. They were blessed with seven children:
- William: born in Missouri on 29 July 1825; died in Adams County, Illinois on 17 February 1842
Nancy: born in Troy, Missouri on 14 December 1826. Her first marriage was to Thomas J. Williams about 1842. They had one child born 10 August 1843 in Adams County, Illinois. Little Nancy Williams was born as a joy to the whole family, but when the mother joined the Latter-day Saints Church, Thomas took his child and deserted his wife. He went to Warsaw. When the child grew up, she married George F. Walker and raised two children: Warren W and Lillian. Nancy Bean Williams later married Zachariah B. Decker, who was born in Ulster County, New York on 22 June 1817. They had a family of twelve fine children.
- Sarah Ann: born 31 October 1828 in Adams County, Illinois. She married William Wallace Casper on 29 August 1844 in Adams County, Illinois.
- George W. Bean, my father, was born in a small place called Mendon, Adams, Illinois on 1 April 1831. He married Elizabeth Baum on 6 January 1853. He later married Emily Haws and Mary J. Wall in Provo, Utah, Utah.
- James Addison: born 11 March 1834, married Harriet C. Fausett on 10 February 1853 in Provo, Utah, Utah.
- Mary Elizabeth: born 17 May 1837 in Adams County, Illinois. She married Amos Whitcomb Haws of Wayne County, Illinois on 27 December 1855 in Provo, Utah, Utah.
- Cornelia: born in 1839 in Adams County, Illinois and died on route west with the pioneers, at Council Bluffs, Iowa in 1846, when all the families in that locality were severely afflicted with ague, black canker, scurvy and cholera.
James Bean and his sons, George W and James A worked on the Nauvoo Temple in Nauvoo, Hancock, Illinois. James and his wife Elizabeth Lewis Bean received their endowments there on 6 January 1846, and were sealed on 27 January, 27 days later.
Their son, George Washington, my father, received his endowments on 22 January 1846, in the Nauvoo Temple, where he labored for months to complete that great building before the Saints were driven from the State of Illinois by mobs and wicked apostates.
Before my grandparents joined the LDS Church Ministers were our friends, and sought after them, frequently coming to their home. Grandma was thoroughly acquainted with the Bible, as well as good literature. The ministers challenged Alexander Williams, the uneducated Mormon Elder to a debate. They met at Grandma Beanís home, and the whole neighborhood came. They heard the real gospel expounded by a humble, unschooled Elder of God, who overshadowed the prepared, eloquent speeches of Reverends Pyper and Stockton. James Bean and wife Elizabeth, and daughter Nancy were baptized soon after, in May of 1841, and George and Sarah Ann in July. Many in the neighborhood also joined that year, and the Ministers became persecutors, forgetting old friendships.
The terrible spirit of Missouri mobs had reached Illinois, and the Temple building was retarded, and the people were driven from their farms into Nauvoo for safety. Grandfather sacrificed his farms in Adams County and moved near Nauvoo, placing his cattle on the farm range and moving his family into the city of Nauvoo, Illinois about 1 April 1845. They rented rooms at the Chandler Holbrook home on Mulholland Street until their house just two blocks south of Nauvoo Temple was completed. The persecutions seemed to become worse and, although the Beans were ill, they were fired by a determination to rid the country of the mobs. Although George was but 14 years old, he asked to join the guards, or Nauvoo Legion. He was six feet or more in height, and had strength to match it, even a loving, sympathetic mother said: "George, Iím proud of you, and your sick father is not able. Go, my son, and God be with you." He was placed in Stephen H. Markhamís Company and was gone five days and nights, driving mobs from Green Plains, Warsaw, and elsewhere. George, my father, was also fitted up to go with the first Pioneers to cross the Mississippi River in February, 1846. Again, Grandma Beanís heart strings were tested, but her undaunted faith gave assurance of her sonís safety. He took a manís work everywhere because of his size, and his seasoning in pioneer life tests were severe, fortunately unknown to his mother until later.