Waterloo Region Generations
A record of the people of Waterloo Region, Ontario.

John Biehn[1, 2]

Male 1813 - 1898  (85 years)


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  • Name John Biehn 
    Born 12 May 1813  Waterloo Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9
    Gender Male 
    Name Johannes Biehn  [10
    Name John Bean 
    Residence 1835  Waterloo Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [10
    Residence 1852  Wilmot Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [6
    Mennonite 
    Occupation 1861  Wilmot Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [8
    Farmer 
    Residence 1861  Wilmot Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [8
    Methodist 
    Occupation 1871  Wilmot Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [5
    Farmer 
    Residence 1871  Wilmot Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [5
    Mennonite 
    Occupation 1881  Wilmot Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [3
    farmer 
    Occupation 1881  Wilmot Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [4
    Farmer 
    Occupation 1891  Wilmot Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [7
    Farmer 
    Residence 1891  Wilmot Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [7
    Mennonite 
    Eby ID Number 00008-1014 
    Died 17 Aug 1898  Haysville, Wilmot Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [9
    Buried Stauffer Abandoned Cemetery, Wilmot Township, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [9
    Person ID I15574  Generations
    Last Modified 26 Jun 2024 

    Father Johannes "John" Biehn,   b. 1776, , Montgomery Co., Pennsylvania Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 19 Dec 1823, Near Doon, Waterloo Township, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 47 years) 
    Mother Anna "Nancy" Bechtel,   b. CA 1777, , Montgomery Co., Pennsylvania Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Doon (Kitchener), Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married 1799  [11
    Family ID F4128  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

    Family Anna Scheirich,   b. 25 Oct 1818, Waterloo Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 31 Mar 1881, Wilmot Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 62 years) 
    Married 3 Nov 1835  Waterloo Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  [10
    Children 
     1. Barbara Bean,   b. 28 Dec 1835, Haysville, Wilmot Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 10 Oct 1906, Fargo, Greenwood Twp. St. Clair, Michigan, USA Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 70 years)
     2. Nancy Bean,   b. 1837, Wilmot Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown
     3. Levi S. Bean,   b. 1839, Wilmot Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 26 Feb 1863  (Age 24 years)
     4. John S. Bean,   b. 31 Dec 1841, Wilmot Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 3 Oct 1903, Galt (Cambridge), Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 61 years)
     5. Noah S. Bean,   b. 1 Apr 1843, Wilmot Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 13 May 1908, Wilmot Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 65 years)
     6. George S. Bean,   b. 4 Jul 1845, Wilmot Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Oct 1931, Waterloo City, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 86 years)
     7. Henry S. Bean,   b. 14 Mar 1847, Wilmot Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 18 Feb 1903, South Easthope Twp., Perth Co., Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 55 years)
     8. Mayor David S. Bean,   b. 29 Dec 1850, Wilmot Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 29 Nov 1921, Waterloo City, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 70 years)
     9. Isaac S. Bean,   b. 3 Dec 1855, Wilmot Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 18 Dec 1937, Wilmot Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location  (Age 82 years)
     10. Simon Bean,   b. 1859, , Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown
     11. Elizabeth B. Bean,   b. 8 Jan 1859, Wilmot Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. Yes, date unknown
     12. Simon S. Bean,   b. 20 Dec 1859, Wilmot Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Find all individuals with events at this location,   d. 26 Feb 1863  (Age 3 years)
    Last Modified 26 Jun 2024 
    Family ID F3014  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Notes 
    • John Bean, "the fifth member in the family, was born about the year 1812. He was married to Annie, daughter of John and Barbara (Groh) Sheirich. She was born October 25th, 1818. After their marriage they moved to Wilmot Township, near Haysville, Ontario, where she died March 31st, 1881. To them was born a family of eleven children."

      Eby, Ezra E. (1895). A biographical history of Waterloo township and other townships of the county: being a history of the early settlers and their descendants, mostly all of Pennsylvania Dutch origin: as also much other unpublished historical information chiefly of a local character. Berlin [Kitchener, Ont.]: [s.n.].

      _________


      WATERLOO COUNTY PIONEER'S INTERESTING HISTORY

      Story of Life of Late John Bean who Settled in Wilmot Township in 1835. - Thrilling Adventure on the High Seas.


      It is to be regretted that in the rush of modern life there is a tendency to forget those who, in the days long since gone by, through hardship and sacrifice made possible the advantages and privileges we now enjoy.

      We become so occupied with the affairs of the moment that we frequently fail to appreciate the fact that there are certain benefits to be derived from a study of our ancestors. "Nature," says Emerson in his essay on History, "is an endless combination and repetition of a very few laws. Generation after generation she hums the same old air with innumerable variations." To gain a clear insight into the Present it is imperative that we study the Past.

      The study of family history is frequently made difficult by the fact that no person has assumed the re- sponsibility of recording it. The duties of the family historian are invariably arduous, too often unremunerated, and the result is that this task is avoided. Fortunate, indeed, is the community where some public-spirited citizen or organization sponsors the task of compiling and preserving the records of the splendid men and women who, in days gone by, laid the foundations. of our present society.

      In the old Stauffer Cemetery, one mile south of Haysville, sleep some two score persons, among them four or five of Wilmot's early pioneers. Their names are for the most part unfamiliar to the younger generation and their descendants have scattered far afield. But there is one outstanding exception, one whose descendants remain to take a part in the affairs of Waterloo County, one who by his activities a half a century ago left his impress on the community. It is with his and his ancestral history that the writer of this article wishes to deal.

      Grave of John Bean.

      Two plain stones mark the spot where lies the last mortal remains of John Bean (formerly spelled Biehn) and his wife Anna (Shiery) Bean. Born near the village of Doon in 1815, John Bean, accompanied by his young wife, came to South-West Wilmot in the year 1835, where he bought 200 acres of land from the Canada Company, the north half of which is now known as the Bean homestead. There he spent the remainder of his life, dying in 1898, his wife predeceasing him by 17 years. His younger son, Isaac, now the only surviving member of his family, lives retired on the homestead and now in his 79th year enjoys the distinction of having spent nearly four-score years on the farm where he was born. Fred Bean, second son of Isaac, now owns and operates the old homestead.

      History of "John Biehns"

      John Bean, the subject of this sketch, came of a long line of progenitors of the same name, the Christian name "John" evidently being a favorite in the Bean family since we know his father, grandfather and great grandfather bore that name. The curtain rises on the Bean history in the year 1700, when in a canton in Switzerland between Zurich and Berne, the first John Bean, of whom we have record, was born. As is the way of the world he grew up, married, and begot children and in the year 1742 when his son John was five years old, decided to seek his fortune and freedom in America. Accompanied by friends and relatives he engaged passage on a vessel that sailed from a French port. This voyage to the new world was so eventful that the adventures encountered therein might well have been taken from the stirring tales of Robert Louis Stevenson. A voyage with a climax 80 dramatic and savouring 90 strongly of barratry and piracy on the high seas that it could well be classed with the truth that is stranger than fiction. This adventure was given little publicity in the early days for the simple reason that the tenets of the religious beliefs of the earlier Beans frowned on the use of force even in a just cause. In order to avoid the semblance of an anti-climax in this sketch the telling of this tale will be deferred until the close of the narrative.

      Reaching America, the Beans settled in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, where they followed the occupation of farming for many years. The five-year-old lad of the eventful voyage grew up and married a maiden named Barbara Fried. Of the six children of this union the one born in 1776 was named John, who was the father of the Wilmot pioneer.

      Trek to Canada.

      After spending half a century in Pennsylvania, the Beans decided to seek their fortunes further afield and in the year 1800 the John Bean, branch of the family began a long "trek" to Canada, while another section, the Paul Bean branch, moved to Texas and from that time. to this the two branches have never been in touch with each other. A few years ago the Saturday Evening Post in an article descriptive of early days in the "Pan-Handle State mentioned particularly a Judge. Bean who was an outstanding exponent of law and order when that state was rife with banditry and outlawry. The Canadian Beans have often wondered if he were one of the Paul Bean branch.

      Settle in Waterloo County.

      Just 134 years ago the John Bean family came to Waterloo County, bringing with them 9 covered wagons, 22 horses and a number of cattle. The major difficulties encountered were on the trip through the Alleghany Mountains, the crossing of the Niagara River and the penetration of the great Beverley swamp. They took up 3600 acres of land near Tow-town (now Doon) purchased from Robert Beasley, and John Baptist James Wilson and John Roseneau, the contract being signed July 18th, 1800. This land, known as the Bean tract, extended from the bend of the river at Doon to just west of Blair. The John Bean born in 1776 (father of the Wilmot pioneer) was married to Nancy Ann Bechtel in 1799 and their oldest child, Mary, born in 1800, was the first white child born in Waterloo County. She married John P. Saltzberger in 1819 and died December 29, 1888. There is a rival claimant for this honour but the Beans assert that the honour rightfully belongs to them. This John Bean had a combination grist and sawmill at Tow-town, which he sold to a man named Ferry. The name of the village was then changed to Ferry's Mills and later to Doon.

      Had Fine Character.

      John Bean, the Wilmot pioneer, had certain qualities that were characteristic of of the Beans history knew them. Quiet of speech, as refraining from interfering in the affairs of others, loving truth and fair play, he won the respect and esteem of his neighbours and associates. A faithful member of the Mennonite Church, he donated the land where now stands Bean's Mennonite Church.

      A medium-sized man, inclined to be slight in build, he possessed the ability to perform his work on the farm with a facility that his appearance belied. Many a man working with him for the first time and anticipating an easy time in keeping pace with Mr. Bean found to his surprise and chagrin that his task was no sinecure. Measured and steady were the blows of his axe,

      no hurry, no waste-motion, but with a rythm of stroke that was the same at the close of the day as in the morning. Of a quiet and peaceful, disposition, he was, like many quiet men, fearless when aroused. He resented injustice in any form and an incident is told that illustrates this characteristic. An agitation to build the first school in this pioneer settlement was being opposed by a certain ratepayer for obviously selfish reasons. At a public meeting, where this man was airing his views, Mr. Bean arose and denounced his attitude so scathingly that listeners for years afterward referred to his reply as a "classic". Perhaps he inherited this faculty of rising to the occasion from his great grandfather who, as referred to earlier in the narrative, participated in an unusual adventure which was as follows:

      Colorful Ocean Voyage.

      In the year 1712 the Beans, with a number of compatriots, set sail for America. They secured passage on a vessel that was leaving from a port in the Bay of Biscay. Who owned the vessel, of what nationality were the captain and crew, the compiler of this narrative could not ascertain. In the light of what happened envoyage cannot conceivably imagine that they were British. When they were at sea two months (a crack liner now makes the trip in less than a week) things began to go wrong. The passengers were informed by the captain that the food supply was running low and it was imperative that they be put on short rations. Shortly after this, disease broke out and many passengers sickened and died. Still, there was nothing unusual in this, just the fortune of the sea and what one might expect. But there were certain other things that were out of the ordinary. No sooner were the unfortunate victims of disease consigned to the ocean than any possessions they had aboard were confiscated by the ship's officials. Suspicion grew among the passengers that they were the victims of a nefarious plot that the issuing of short rations was not because of low supplies but just a diabolical method of undermining the vitality of these peace-loving emigrants in order to secure their possessions when they ultimately succumbed to starvation and disease, that the captain could land them in a short time if he so desired, but was deliberately keeping the vessel at sea. Then, on the 82nd day at sea, the drama opened in earnest. By one bold stroke the passengers seized the captain and crew and took possession of the ship. They made an investigation and their worst suspicions were confirmed, there was plenty of food on board ship. An ultimatum was then issued to the captain-forty-eight hours to land the passengers or pay the penalty of death. The captain, while scoundrel, was no fool. He read in the faces of the aroused people an inexorable purpose. Their lives and the lives of their children jeopardized by his villainy, they had reached a point where they would do exactly as they had stated. Had this captain been hundreds of miles at sea he certainly would have been in a tough "spot". But fortunately for himself, he was not. Under his direction the helm was turned and in one-half the time stipulated the passengers were landed on a point on the eastern coast of America. Overjoyed at their deliverance, they knelt and offered up a prayer of thanksgiving, and reverting to their former habit of thought, forgave the captain and crew, permitting them to sail away without inflicting well- deserved punishment.

      Waterloo Chronicle, 25 Oct 1934, p. 4

      _____________________

      John Biehn.

      Here is an individual who can be aptly called the "Grand Old Man" of this section. He was born May 12, 1813 He was married to Barbara (Groh) Sherich in 1834. She was born Oct. 25, 1818, and died March 31, 1881. They had eleven children. They came to Wilmot on June 16, 1834, and settled in the wilderness, and cleared up the farm upon which he now lives a retired life. When they arrived they erected a log cabin, cut a hole in the side for a door, put down some loose boards and started house- keeping. Their first child, Barbara, was born in this humble pioneer home, and was the first child born in the neighborhood. For some time Mr, Biehn's brother Jacob, lived with them. At that time the old four in hand stage coach then travelled between Niagara and Goderich, and often it would require seven hours to reach Stratford, a distance of seventeen miles. Deer were in abundance, and if other delicacies happened to be conspicuously scarce in the cabin larder, venison would often form a savory morsel for the festal board. Despite the drawbacks and privations incident to a pioneer life, Mr. Biehn succeeded in clearing up a 200 acre farm and provided for his children.

      On May 12th next he will have attained the advanced age of eighty- five years. Yet he has a mind as perfect as one in the vigor of youth, and is an agreeable conversationalist. In the latter particular be does not exhibit the least sign of old age. What surprised me most was to see this octogenarian read with ease small newspaper print without the aid of glasses. He uses neither tobacco or intoxicating liquor. He informed the writer that on one occasion he smoked tobacco to cure the toothache, but it made him dizzy without having any permanent beneficial effect upon the offensive molar, and he has not used the weed since. He has also had some narrow escapes in his time. Once when he was down in a well, the man at the top accidentally let a stone drop on his head. He was drawn up in a dazed condition, but soon after recovered without serious results. About thirteen years ago he fell from a load of hay with a pitchfork in his hands. In this mishap be injured his neck, and broke the crystal of his watch. He will converse for hours without a sign of fatigue, and his memory is remarkably keen. His present robust physical condition would indicate that he will easily reach the century mark.

      In my next letter I will endeavor to give some very interesting sketches of Haysville and vicinity.

      H. N.

      Waterloo County Chronicle, 21 Apr 1898, p. 8

  • Sources 
    1. [S3] Book - Vol I A Biographical History of Waterloo Township and other townships of the county : being a history of the early settlers and their descendants, mostly all of Pennsylvania Dutch origin..., 260.

    2. [S10] Book - Vol II A Biographical History of Waterloo Township and other townships of the county : being a history of the early settlers and their descendants, mostly all of Pennsylvania Dutch origin..., 226.

    3. [S140] Census - ON, Waterloo, Wilmot - 1881, Division 4 Page Number 16 Household Number 63.

    4. [S140] Census - ON, Waterloo, Wilmot - 1881, Div. 4 Page 16.

    5. [S190] Census - ON, Waterloo, Wilmot - 1871, Div. 1 Page 36.

    6. [S134] Census - ON, Waterloo, Wilmot - 1851, Div. 1 Pg. 17.

    7. [S939] Census - ON, Waterloo, Wilmot - 1891, Div. 1 Page 14.

    8. [S844] Census - ON, Waterloo, Wilmot - 1861, Sect. 3 Page 17.

    9. [S3231] Find A Grave, https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/31170484/john-bean.

    10. [S9] News - ON, Waterloo, Kitchener - Canada Museum und Allgemeine Zeitung (1835-1840), 5 Nov 1835:11.
      last Tuesday By Wm. Ellis, Johann Biehn m Anna Scheirich, both are of Waterloo.

    11. [S3] Book - Vol I A Biographical History of Waterloo Township and other townships of the county : being a history of the early settlers and their descendants, mostly all of Pennsylvania Dutch origin..., 253.

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 12 May 1813 - Waterloo Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - 1835 - Waterloo Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsMarried - 3 Nov 1835 - Waterloo Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - Mennonite - 1852 - Wilmot Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - Farmer - 1861 - Wilmot Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - Methodist - 1861 - Wilmot Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - Farmer - 1871 - Wilmot Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - Mennonite - 1871 - Wilmot Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - farmer - 1881 - Wilmot Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - Farmer - 1881 - Wilmot Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOccupation - Farmer - 1891 - Wilmot Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsResidence - Mennonite - 1891 - Wilmot Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 17 Aug 1898 - Haysville, Wilmot Twp., Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsBuried - - Stauffer Abandoned Cemetery, Wilmot Township, Waterloo Region, Ontario, Canada Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth