Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Sam’s Siblings

In order to explain more about the story of Sam and Maud, it will help to first take a step back a generation and introduce you to Samuel Bean’s brother and sister.

Today, I’ll take the opportunity for those first introductions to be made via photographs—albeit photos that include a few unidentified companions. In the following few days, I’ll include some more details to round out these introductions, then jump back into Sam’s own story.

Sam was born to Leon S. Bean and his wife, the former Ella May Shields. You’ve already seen a couple photos of Ella Bean from her grandmotherly years. Sam’s arrival in the Bean family—most likely in or near Redwood City in San Mateo County, California, though I don’t yet have that confirmed—occurred on March 5, 1896.

When Sam joined the family, there was already another child there to welcome him: his older sister, Leona. By now four years of age, herself, Leona was probably beyond the Green-Eyed-Monster stage of new big-sisterhood. Which was a good thing, because Sam did not arrive at this household alone.

He came with his brother. His mother surely would soon be needing an extra set of helping hands.

I’m not sure whether this is owing to a parental form of humor, or some other twinliness of the times, but Samuel William Bean’s brother was given a name which was exactly the reverse: William Samuel Bean.

Sharing the same names (though in reverse order) and the same birthday, these two active boys most likely engaged in all the escapades twins of that time period may have devised. It wasn’t until the two brothers arrived in their teens that differences became more marked for anyone just getting to know them.

Sam Bean Leona Grant possible cousins or friends
Both Sam and his older sister Leona can be seen in a casual snapshot taken just in front of their home in Alameda when they were most likely in—or nearing—their twenties.

Sam, with his thick dark glasses, stands on the right, next to a young man I am not yet equipped to identify, and in front of a seated young woman I also don’t know. Diagonally across from him, seated, is his sister Leona. I’m presuming that his brother Bill is taking the photograph.

Bill Bean
Because of Sam’s stern and rigid appearance, it’s hard to determine the closeness of the resemblance between these twins by comparing that photograph with one I found of his brother.

Bill, too, is standing in front of their house, but is assuming a much more casual stance in this snapshot.

Once again, I am not able to identify the companion in the photo. This time, though, there is a note on the back of the picture which helps me pin a name to this unknown woman.

The inscription reads:
In front of the house. Love to Leona. Bill + Ginny.
“Ginny” is news to me. Her name does not show up in any Bean family history. All I can do is presume she was a good friend and companion—they made a great couple in the pictures at least, don’t you think?—but not the one to whom Bill eventually promised, “I do.”

There is a lot I don’t know about the family pictures, such as these, which have been passed down to me. There is one thing I do know about this second photo, though: I’m pretty sure it wasn’t Sam who reciprocated to take his brother’s picture.


  1. Quoting Sheldon on "Big Bang Theory" regarding that last line: Is that sarcasm?

    1. Oh, Wendy, as with Sheldon, you know you can always count on me for some sarcasm ;)

  2. Probably not Sam:) Both are great old photos..that Ginny was a beautiful gal..and he has his arm around her very protectively..perhaps a love story there that we will never know about..I wonder if he had a classmate named Virginia?:)

    1. Yes, I thought they did make a sweet couple. Who knows? I certainly don't recall hearing anything about a Ginny or Virginia. But good idea--I'll have to check out availability of high school year books from that area. I'd love to know the back story on Ginny.


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