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Bean family celebrates 165 years of family history

April 14, 2010
Five generations of the Bean family came together on April 8 to celebrate what would have been their grandfather Harry Daniel Bean's 100th birthday by his gravestone in Pine Grove Cemetery.

Harry Herbert Bean, the son of Harry A. Bean, still lives in the house his grandfather's grandfather built in 1850 on Saltmarsh Pond Road in Gilford, overlooking 40 acres of the pond water below and the family's 127 acres of land.

Harry A. Bean sold the development rights to the town on Saltmarsh pond for $1 million a few years ago, instead of selling the rights to a local developer for $5 million, to avoid any more development on the scenic, peaceful road.

Harry H. Bean is not only surrounded by family members on his street, but by family history that dates back 160 plus years, before Gilford even existed.

"Gilford was still Gilmanton at the time, and my grandfather's grandfather (Harry) Daniel Bean, built the house. His brother's property, the Colb house, abuttered this," said Bean. "People should know how long we have been here. There are not many left; we have been here longer than most people (except for families such as the Weeks). My family was up here before cars, before the civil war, and they were working on this house before Lincoln was elected as president."

Bean and four out of five other Harry Beans, including his son Harry Armand and his grandson Harry Stanley, celebrated the significance of their grandfather's birthday last week, along with Bean's grandmother, Ethel Dalton Bean, almost 97 years old, and his daughter Tricia Bean Roy, who just happened to be born on her grandfather's birthday, and turned 38 last Thursday.

Bean added that he was also born on his father's birthday, Harry A. Bean, who helped renovate the house he lives in, and is well into his 70's. He said he still remembers his grandfather and his uncle talking about the hurricane of 1938, and trying to keep a wall of the house from caving in. He said that his grandfather also sold the road down by the pond to the state for a mere $1, so that people can still fish by the pond to this day.

Bean said his family started out as farmers, and that most everything was done by hand, including the original wooden beams still present in the house on Saltmarsh Pond. The house still has an original fireplace with a pot for cooking, a vent to bake bread, and a wood stove, which used to be the houses main source of heat and hot water.

"I remember we used to heat up a rock on this stove and bring it to bed to keep us warm," said Bean, who plans to continue the Bean tradition and pass on the home to his family.

Bean said his father put the house into an estate and hopes that this will keep the younger generations in Gilford, close together, and in ownership of the house some day. He said he still enjoys the company of his surrounding family on Saltmarsh Pond, including his brothers and his grandson. He recently added a stone patio to the home in the hopes of continuing on with the tradition of family gatherings.

Martin Lord Osman
Varney Smith
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