Additional records of Bishop Warren Bean donated

Written by Joel Alderfer on January 12, 2024

By Joel D. Alderfer

Several months ago, additional records of Mennonite farmer and Bishop Warren G. Bean, of the Upper Skippack congregation, were donated by a great-grandson Brian Moyer. These records, including several early volumes of his diary and ministerial travel records, were added to the papers of Warren G. & Anna Bean already in the MHC collection, donated by several family members over the last 45 years.  In this article, I’ll highlight and transcribe examples of records selected from the Bean collection.

Warren G. Bean (1866-1949), son of William J. and Mary Gottshall Bean, was born on the Bean homestead along what is now Green Hill Road, in Skippack Township, Montgomery County. After grammar school in Skippack and Worcester townships, Warren attended a couple of terms at Ursinus College at Freeland (now Collegeville, PA) in 1884-85. Based on the evidence in his copy books, he must have been preparing to teach public school, but apparently never did.

By late 1886, he became a day-laborer on the farm of Isaac K. and Sarah Gottshall, near the Lower Skippack Mennonite meetinghouse, and kept an interesting record in 1887-88 of the labor he performed for Gottshall, its value, and payments received. Work done included threshing with flail, other threshing (probably by machine), cutting wood, digging garden, loading and spreading manure, making fence, boring fence posts, planting corn, mowing meadow, “succored” corn (pulled “suckers” off corn plants), and more. Bean’s highest wage in these years was for cradling oats and rye, at $2.00 per day. Other work that paid relatively well was loading and spreading manure, mowing hay, and binding and hauling grain. Of course, in that era, this was all heavy hand and back labor.

While working at the Gottshall’s, Warren met Anna (Annie) W. Kulp (1865-1944), who had been raised by them – her own mother had died when she was six years old. They were married in June 1887, and first lived on the Gottshall farm, then moved to a small farm near the village of Creamery for about six years. They moved to the Bean homestead of his birth early in 1895 and took over operation of the farm. From 1892 to about 1897, he operated a poultry yard, raising and selling various breeds of fancy poultry as well as their eggs. A couple of small, illustrated catalogs for Bean’s “Green Hill Poultry Yards” survive from the mid-1890s. Bean was a diligent farmer and careful record keeper as shown in the account books which survive from his young adult years as a day-laborer and later as he ran the poultry yards and farmed on his own. A big change for Bean and his young family came when he was ordained “by lot” a minister in Upper Skippack Mennonite congregation in 1897, and later a bishop in the Franconia Mennonite Conference in 1909.

His careful record keeping continued after his ordinations, as shown in his ministerial records. Surviving ministerial and personal papers in his collection include:

Page from diary of Warren Bean, June 1887, with the entry recording his marriage

-Diaries, 1886-1949 (mostly complete; several volumes missing).

-Record of baptisms, deaths, ordinations, 1906-1946.

-Ministerial record booklets, 1901, 1931-1949.

-Ministerial travel diaries, 1898, 1911-13, 1928, 1935,

-Record of ministerial visits and visitors, 1911-1925, 1929.

-Many sermon notes and outlines, early 20th century.

-Anna Kulp Bean’s diaries, 1930-1943.

-Bean’s school papers from Ursinus College, 1884-85.

-Poultry yard record and catalogs, 1892-1896.

-Numerous records from previous generations of the Bean, Gottshall and Kulp families.

Anna Kulp Bean (left), 1892, with first two children, Elizabeth and William. On the right is Mary G. Bean, Warren’s sister

Green Hill Poultry Yards

C. C. Shoemaker’s Almanac and Directory of Fancy Poultry Breeders of America, 1897. Found in Bean’s papers, “W. G. Bean, Creamery, PA” is listed in this directory. Clinton C. Shoemaker was a Mennonite poultry farmer and entrepreneur in Freeport, Ill.

Warren Bean’s diaries

Here are some excerpts from Warren Bean’s diary of September 1898, the year after he was ordained a preacher. Bean’s diary of 1897 (the year he was ordained) has not been located.

Sun. Sept. 4, 1898 – Clear and warm. During night at John Ehst, then went to Hereford Meeting. I made a short address before Sunday School. Henry Wismer made Introductory. I selected from John 5:39 and spoke a short time, then Josiah Clemmer continued it. At Andrew Mack for dinner. Started for home at about 3:30 o’clock and arrived home at about 7:30 o’clock.

Sun. Sept. 11, 1898 – At Meeting in Skippack. Luke 17 was read by B. C. Wismer. Intro. By Chris Hunsberger, Text by Henry Wismer from Matt. 13:24, 25. I then spoke a little on the same subject. Evening – Meeting at Providence by Eli Hallman who spoke from Ps. 40:2. “He brought me up out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings.”

Poultry farmer & preacher – piece of Warren Bean’s letterhead with an undated preaching note in his hand, from around 1900. “Watch – Are you as sinners watching the blessed opportunities the Lord is granting to us. Are We as Children of our heavenly Father watching to grasp…

Mon. Sept. 12, 1898 – Clear and pleasant. Finished plowing. We were at Towamencing Meeting. Jacob Woolner made introductory, Elias Weber then spoke from Cor. 13:13. Eli Hallman spoke from 1 Peter 2:9.

Tues. Sept. 13, 1898 – Partly cloudy. Cleared potato patch. P.M.- Took potatoes out.

Wed. Sept. 14, 1898 – I went to fetch wheat from Collegeville 12-1/2 bush. Plowed potato patch. P.M.- Thrashed 250 sheaves of oats.

Thurs. Sept. 15, 1898 – Partly cloudy with slight rain at times. Cleaned up 4 bushels of Oats. Went to mill. P.M.- Thrashed 95 sheaves of Rye.

Fri. Sept. 16, 1898 – Prepared for Market. P.M.- Cut some corn.

Sat. Sept. 17, 1898 – Clear and warm. Cut corn. Abram Clemmer Deacon and [Preacher] Michael Moyer were here over night.

From travel diary, written by Anna Kulp Bean:

[Monday] Sept. 19, 1898 – Came to Phenoxville [sic] 10 o’clock. Left there at 11:35 minute [by train]. Came to Frazer at noon. Left Frazer at 1:55. Came to Bird-in-hand at 3:20 [by train]. Then went to Rev. Sanford Landis for supper and overnight. They live a mile from the station. Met John Landis and Adam Landis and wife there. (First day)

[Tuesday] September 20, 1898 – With Sanford Landis’ to Meeting [at] Stumptown; then Landis took us to Rev. David Buckwalter’s for dinner. The preachers are David Buckwalter, Sanford Landis, John Landis, the Deacon Henry Heller.  For supper at Rev. John Landis. We met there Henry Heller, Reuben Landis, David Lafever. After supper, David Buckwalter took us to Rev. Noah Landes overnight. He stayed there also. This Noah Landis is only three months at ministry and is a young man yet. (Second day)

[Wed.] September 21, 1898 – David Buckwalter took us to Landis Valley Meeting. The ministers are John Lafever, Noah Landis; the deacon John Leaman. For dinner we was with Bro. Lafever. From there they took us to David Leaman, Deacon, for supper. Took supper at 4 o’clock, then went to Mrs. Rev[?] Brenneman. Had a little meeting there – it was quite a lot there. From there to Lancaster City Church and that was just crowded full. From there to Bro. Rev. Hersler overnight. (Third day)

[Thurs.] September 22, 1898 – Rev. Hersler took us to Lancaster City, in big stores – it is a lovely town. From there to Andrew Brewbaker [Brubaker] for dinner, then made a stop at old Mrs. Williams. Had a little meeting [worship service] there. She is 90 years old. From there to Tobias Denlinger, then to Frank Hackery[?], then to Rev. John K. Brewbaker, who died. His daughter is sick. We had a prayer for her; then to Ben Brewbaker for supper. Then to Rohrerstown Meeting. From there to Deacon Eshbach overnight. (Fourth day)

Record of hymns sung, by congregation visited

A few pages after her record of ministerial travels in Lancaster County, Anna Kulp Bean recorded the hymns that were sung in the Mennonite congregations visited, all from the fairly new English-language hymnbook, Hymns and Tunes (Mennonite Publishing Co., 1890). This list seems to indicate that these Lancaster Mennonite congregations, at least, had already transitioned to English-language hymn singing.

Songs that we sang [September 1898]:

Landis Valley Meeting:

-No. 199 Father I stretch my hands to Thee

-No. 15 Follow the path of Jesus

Lancaster City Meeting:

-No. 213 With thankful hearts we meet, O Lord.

-No. 231 I have a Saviour, He’s pleading in glory

-No. 201 Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire

-No. 213 With thankful hearts we meet, O Lord

-No. 261 Majestic sweetness sits enthroned

-No. 97 Abide with me fast falls the even tide

Rohrersville Meeting:

-No. 15 Follow the path of Jesus

-No. 201 Prayer is the soul’s sincere desire.

-No. 367 Sweet was the time when first I felt

Masonville Church:

-No. 15 Follow the path of Jesus

-No. 199 Father I stretch my hands to thee

-No. 255 All hail the power of Jesus’ name

-No. 132 Come hither, all ye weary souls

Byerland Meeting:

-No. 15 Follow the path of Jesus

-No. 17 Must Jesus bear the cross alone

-No. 324 My hope is built on nothing less

-No. 304 Jesus lover of my soul

Strasburg Meeting:

-No. 42 God is love, His mercy brightens

-No. 116 My latest sun is sinking fast

-No. 117 High in yonder realms of light

-No. 231 I have a Saviour, He’s pleading in glory

-No. 432 How sweet, how heavenly is the sight.

Warren Bean ordained a bishop, 1909

On Tuesday November 16, 1909, an ordination for a bishop was held at the Upper Skippack meetinghouse, and Warren Bean was in the “lot”. Although he didn’t note it in his diary, the lot fell on Bean. Here’s what he did write about the event:

Tues. Nov. 16, 1909 – Ordination of Bishop, Skippack. Read 1 Tim. 3. [Bishop] Jonas Mininger, Intro. [Bishop] A S. Mack spoke from Titus 1. [Bishop] Henry Rosenberger spoke in English. Candidates were: [preachers] Jacob Hunsberger, Warren G. Bean, Jesse Mack, Amos Kulp [Kolb].

Bean’s record of ordinations in the Franconia Mennonite Conference, 1897-1922

Although he doesn’t indicate who was actually ordained, he does record who came to their house for dinner afterward: Pre. Henry Clemmer’s, Jesse Mack’s, Dea. Christ Weaver from Lancaster, Pre Abram Clemmer’s, Dea. David Cassel’s, Abram Jones, Wm. Hunsberger and Mother were here for dinner. Why didn’t Bean record that he was the one chosen? We have to wonder what the conversation was like at that dinner! And why were the Beans expected to provide dinner for the visiting preachers and wives on the day he was ordained a bishop?

One week earlier, there had been another ordination at the Upper Skippack meetinghouse, and Bean recorded it. This time he says who was chosen:

[Tues. Nov. 9, 1909] – Ordination for Minister in [Upper] Skippack. Bishop Sam Detweiler, Intro., Bishop Jonas Mininger spoke from 1 Peter 5:2. Those in the Lot were: Benj Wismer, John T. Landes and Irwin Landes. Lot fell on Irwin Landes. At Daniel Landes’ for dinner.

Bean’s records of ordinations in the Franconia Conference, 1922-1935. On the left side, for each ordination, he attached a small slip of paper with the names of nominees, and a mark, indicating who the lot “fell” on

P.M. Meeting at [Upper] Skippack, where Pre. Esias Witmer and Pre John Souder spoke. Deacon Jos. Horning, Deacon Christ Weaver, John Weaver, Daniel Weaver [also present, from Lancaster County].

Another transition for Warren and Anna Bean came in 1909 when he inherited and took ownership of the Bean farm from the estate of his father, who died that year. By that time, they had six children – five of them still at home. They farmed the Bean homestead until 1930, when they moved to the village of Creamery.

A Ministerial Visit to Lancaster County, 1911 – two records made.

It happened that Warren and Anna Kulp Bean each kept their own record of their ministerial trips in 1911 and 1912, and both of those record books survive. It’s interesting to note the differences in their accounts. Here are several days’ worth of entries from their records of a trip in August 1911:

[Warren Bean] August 16th, 1911 – On Wednesday morning we took the 10 minutes of 8 [7:50am] car for Pottstown, arriving at Pottstown at 10 of 9. At 9:37 train for Reading, arriving at Reading at 10 o’clock. At 10:20 o’clock we took the Adamstown Trolley, reaching Adamstown at about 11:20. Waited awhile then Dea. Joseph Horning took us and [Benjamin] Wismers to his home about 3 miles from Adamstown. Arrived there a short time before one o’clock where we took dinner. He[?] Brother took us to Pre. Abram Gehman’s where we took supper. After supper Young Abram Gehman took us to Brother John Good who is in bed, being paralyzed on one side for 4 years. He is living with Henry Musser his son-in-law.

            From here we went to Bowmansville Church. After Church we went to Pre. Henry Good’s where we stayed overnight. John 3:16 [apparently the text used by Bean].

[Warren] Saturday Aug. 19 – This morning Pre. I. B. Good drove us to Blue Ball and there we took the Trolley to New Holland to Noah Mack, where we took dinner. After dinner Chris Weaver took us from New Holland to Groffdale Church 4 miles west. Here we walked ¼ miles to Brother Daniel Ellsworth where we took supper. After supper John B. Burkhard took us to Ephrata Church (7 miles, automobile). Attendance pretty fair. After meeting Pre. Esaias Witmer [took us] to his home 5 miles south, near Brownsville, for the night.

[Warren] Sunday Aug. 20 – This morning Pre Witmer took us to Hammer Creek Sunday School, before Church. House was about full. Here Peter Hess took us to his home for dinner. His father John Hess is in bed for 6 years. He has a good memory and mind. Held services. His son took us to Lititz 1½ miles away. Attendance rather poor. After services we called on Sister J. H. Hershey who is an invalid for 2 years. Then to Deacon Ephraim Eby for supper. After supper we went to see Lititz Springs, which is a wonder. There is in short space one limestone spring and one soft water [spring?], in short space. From here we walked to Pre Jonas Hess – his wife is nervous, cannot attend services regularly. From here we were taken in an automobile to Landis Valley by Eliam Lehman. House nearly full. From here we were taken to Bish. Noah Landis for the night.

[Anna Bean] Wednesday August 16, 1911 – Arrived at Pottstown at 9 a.m.; at Reading at 10 a.m. and at Adamstown 11:30. Then Joseph Horning took us and Ben Wismer’s to his home for dinner – we had dinner at 2 o’clock. We had mashed potatoes and sausage. Then Joseph Horning and wife took us to Abram Gehman’s for supper – has supper at 4 o’clock. For supper we had mashed potatoes, corn and ham. Wismer’s were with us till after supper. They took us to visit an old man by the name Samuel Good – he had a stroke 4 years ago. He lives with his son Henry Good.

Henry Ruth’s and Henry Musser were there for supper too. Then we went to Bowmansville Church – a full house. Then we went to Henry G. Good overnight. We and Ben Wismer’s were there, they live at the end of Bowmansville.

[Anna] Thursday August 17th – Henry Good’s for breakfast, We had crackers, beefsteak and noodles. At 9 o’clock we went 4 miles to Rev. John Weaver for dinner. Ben Wismer’s, Clayton Kolb and Mary & Susan Kulp, Henry Good’s, Jacob Weber and Noah Good’s were all there for dinner. We had beef-roast, gravy, filling, corn and potatoes. The name of the village is Unionville. In the afternoon we went to Lichty’s Meetinghouse. After meeting Bishop Ben Weaver’s took us to Daniel Weaver for supper. We had white potatoes browned, sweet potatoes browned, cold ham and cold slaw. After supper we went to Churchtown Meeting. After service we and Clayton Kolb’s went to Bishop Ben Weaver’s overnight. It was 11 o’clock [and] was showery. John Weaver’s took us there.

[Anna] Saturday August 19th – I. B. Good and wife and we took the trolley at Blue Ball to Noah Mack’s for dinner. We were all here for dinner and Christian Weaver & sister Minnie High. We had beefsteak, gravy, corn, and mashed potatoes. Noah Mack’s live in New Holland. [From] there we went to Groffdale Church harvest meeting. From there we went to Daniel Ellsworth for supper – we and Wismer’s and Henry Ruth’s, Abram Martin and Reuben Horst. For supper we had potatoes with milk, beef, noodles. After supper John Burkhart took us and Ben Wismer’s in his automobile to Ephrata Meeting. He took us in the town of Ephrata and showed us the town. The trip was about 10 miles. After church, Esaias Witmer’s took us along home, about 5 miles.

[Anna] Sunday August 20th – We had for breakfast noodles, potatoes with milk over, and beefsteak. They took us to Hammer Creek Meeting, about 7 miles – a full house. From there Peter Hess took us to his home where we took dinner. We had chicken, beef, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes. Also [there] was Joseph Boll and wife and daughter, Ella Moyer and little girl, John Hess and family, and old John Hess lays in bed for 5 years already. Also sister Oberholtzer was there. From there took us to Warwick or Lititz Meeting. From there we visited Rev. Hershey – his wife was sick. Then to Ephraim Eby’s for supper. Also [there] was Henry Ruth, Joseph Boll, Ella Moyer and daughter, Rev. John Buchert, Deacon Ben Hess. For supper we had dry beef, tongue, fried potatoes with eggs over. After supper took us to _____________ – made a call there.

Bean’s record of visitors:

From 1911 to at least 1924, Warren and Anna Bean kept a record of people they visited, as well as visitors to their home. Sundays they often had numerous visitors. Two examples:

Sunday October 11, 1914 – Preacher Howard Pennypacker’s, Andrew Mack, Elmer Mack’s, William Swartley, Mahlon Alderfer’s, Abram Moyer, Noah Moyer (& two girls), Moses Moyer, John G. Detweiler’s. John Gotwals, Mrs. James Detwiler, Adam Mensch, Jacob R. Landes, Carrie Kulp, Susie T. Bean [some of these names must represent a married couple].

Program brochure for the Evangelistic Meetings held at the Mennonite Gospel Mission, Norristown, March 1922. Warren Bean was one of the preachers, speaking on the topic of baptism. Found in the Bean papers.

Sunday November 12, 1916 – David Freed, Wm. Freed, Morris Landis [noted as of Souderton], John Longacre’s, Beidler’s [both of Bally], Joseph Diller, Benj. Krupp, Benj. Undercoffler, Susan T. Bean, Mary T. Landes, Martha Landes, Blanche Kulp, Essie Kratz, Malinda Kratz, Pearl Landes, [?] Beidler [young people].

Church discipline

A loose note found in one of Bean’s ministerial record books shows how at least one situation of church discipline was handled. The note, from the 1930’s, was likely read from the pulpit in one of Bishop Bean’s congregations:

As it is commonly reported and testified that Bro. Arnold Poper has indulged in an immoral life, and according to the Word of God in 1 Cor. 5:13, We are “to put away from among you that wicked person.” We therefore excommunicate him from the church.

Sara K. Bean’s gardening and canning record

Warren and Anna Bean’s daughter, Sara K. Bean (1896-1975), never married but lived with and cared for her parents as they aged and supported herself in various ways. She not only preserved the older family records and books of her parents and grandparents but created some of her own.  One of these is a record of her garden produce and egg sales, from 1915 to 1918, and canning orders from 1919 to 1925. Here’s just a sampling of her produce sales:

Sara K. Bean and her younger sisters Mary and Martha, 1916 (the original photo is damaged)

Sold in 1915:

Apr 29 15 bunches rhubarb @4cents – .60

May 6   9 bunches rhubarb @4c – .36

            46 bunches radishes @2½ – 1.15

            79 bunches radishes @2c – 1.58

            36 boxes cherries @7.5c – 2.70

            21 boxes cherries @7c – 1.47

            15 bunches Red beets @3c – .45

            2 basket apples @ 65c – 1.30

            1 basket peas @ 60c – .60

            1 peck beets     .35

¾ basket pickles          .50

            1 basket pears @65c   .65

Her sales in 1915 totaled $52.94; in 1916 – $82.24; 1917 – $38.04. The 1918 sales are not totaled.

From 1915 to 1918 (at least), Sara was also tending chickens and selling eggs. She generally sold eggs once a week, probably to market men and perhaps neighbors, in quantities ranging anywhere from three dozen to forty-five dozen per week. Typical quantities range from 20 to 30 dozen per week. In these four years, egg prices range from 18 cents to 60 cents per dozen. Prices realized seem to relate to quantities available. In the cold months egg production drops. In 1915, her egg sales totaled $250.79; in 1916 – $251.67; 1917 – $175.84; 1918 – sales recorded but not totaled. For two years (1916-17), Sara recorded poultry sales of chickens, roosters, geese and ducks. In 1917, she also sold several calves, cows and at least one hog, recording each one’s weight and the price per pound. She sold the calves at 13 cents a pound, cows at 16 cents, and the hog at 17 cents. But was this live or dressed weight?

In the back of this account book, from 1919 to 1925, Sara records the canning orders she filled, and generally, the payments received. A number of her costumers were in Norristown, and several of them, based on the quantities ordered, must have had neighborhood grocery stores. She canned and sold a variety of fruits and vegetables, including pints and quarts of peas, string beans, lima beans, tomatoes, corn, applesauce, sour cherries, black cherries, peaches, chow-chow, red beets, pickles, and sweet pickles. She also made and sold numerous kinds of jellies, jams and preserves by the cup, including cherry, currant, raspberry, strawberry, blackberry, grape, quince, crabapple, pear, peach and elderberry. There’s also an occasional sale of crocks of sauerkraut, apple butter and even grape butter.

When their parents retired from farming in 1930 and moved to the village of Creamery, in Skippack Township, Sara and her younger sister Mary Bean moved with them. Here they lived with and cared for their aging parents until both died. In 1951, two years after their father’s death, the two sisters moved into an apartment in the newly remodeled barn on the Creamery property.

We recognize and thank the members of the Bean-Moyer-Guntz family who donated the Bean family papers and books to the Mennonite Heritage Center over the last 45 years: Mary K. Bean, dec’d; Willoughby Moyer Jr, dec’d; Jacquelyn Moyer-Hunsberger, dec’d; Brian Moyer, and Allen H. Guntz.


-Willoughby W. Moyer, Jr., Bean: Ancestors and Descendants of Anna W. Kulp & Warren G. Bean of Skippack Township, Pa. (Creamery, PA, 1975).

-John C. Wenger, History of the Mennonites of the Franconia Conference. (Telford, PA, 1937), p. 250.

-Warren G. & Anna Kulp Bean Papers (Hist. Mss. 69), Mennonite Heritage Center Archives, Harleysville, PA.

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2 replies to “Additional records of Bishop Warren Bean donated

  1. Karen McCarthy -

    Hello. I wonder if there are any records from 1733-1750 that include mention of the Rothrock family in the Upper or Lower Skippack congregations. My ancestors, Johannes Rothrock, and his children, Phillip, Johannes, Anna Margartha, Johann Georg, Ludwig, and Andreas. Another child, Charitas, either died in Germany or on the voyage over. The two older boys, Philip and Johannes, arrived in Philadelphia in 1733. The father and the rest of the children arrived in 1736. There are records that the family moved to “The Skippack” and by 1737 were in Bucks (Northumberland) County. Around 1740, the children began to disperse to York, Conewago, and Maryland. The father died at some point in an unknown place. So if you have any records of the family that would indicate when the elder Johannes died and where, I would be very grateful to receive that information.
    Thank you,
    Karen McCarthy


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