Lydia Bean (born Russell)

Born:Sep 29 1726 In:  VA
Died:June 17 1788 (at age 61)In:  Washington Co., TN

Immediate family

CPT William Bean
Her husband
Lt John Bean
Her son
James Russell
Her father
Martha Russell (born Henley)
Her mother

Source citations

Matched to: Lydia Russell
Date: Oct 29 2008
Citation text:
Added by confirming a Smart Match


Brothers: John and George Russell. "She was captured by the Indians

as she rode horseback toward Fort Lee at Watauga and was taken to the

Cherokee Camp on Nolichucky River. She was told that she would be

killed. She was questioned . . . [and] taken to a little town along

the Little Tennessee River. Mrs. Bean was taken to Toquo and tied to

a stake at the top of a large mound. The fire had been lighted around

her when the Beloved woman, Nancy Ward, arrived on the scene. Revolted

at the thought that a Cherokee should torture a squaw she hastened to

the rescue, scattered the burning brands and cut the bonds which

fastened the prisoner. She took Mrs. Bean to her own house where she

was treated kindly. Lydia Bean in her gratitude instructed Nancy Ward

and the other Cherokee women in the art of making butter and cheese.

Due to Mrs. Bean's training Nancy Ward became the first owner of a

herd of cattle." (Taken from John P. Brown's "Old Frontiers.")

The Lydia Russell Bean, Knoxville Chapter of the DAR, was organized 18

Apr 1959 . . . When captured in 1776 by the Indians, she led her

captors to believe the garrison was well defended, thus preventing an

attack. The following members of the chapter are direct descendants

of Lydia Russell Bean and William Bean, Sr.: Miss Anna Lucille Evans,

now deceased; Annabel King Agee; Gladys King Alexander; Margaret King

She was captured by the Cherokees when they attacked Ft. Watauga on July 1, 1776(History of Wash Co., TN, p 234) She is listed as a heroine of the Revolutionary War because when questioned by the Indians about the strength of the forces at the fort, she deceived them into believing the fort was strongly protected. The Indians tied her to a stake to burn her, but an Indian woman, Nancy Ward,(Looney p 20). intervened and saved her life. She was then taken to the Indian villages to teach the women how to make butter. Eventually she was ransomed. Her husband and all her sons fought against the Indians. Looney ("The Bean 'Beene' and Wynne "Wynn' History and Genealogy" p 15-E) theorizes this might have been motivated by Lydia's capture by the Indians. She was held by the Cherokee Chief Old Abraham and was forced to watch a neighbor tortured and suffered other indignities. (History of Wash Co., TN p 234)


In tax list of 1787, Washington Co., TN she had 400 acres. (ibid. p. 18)


Varley reports she was born 29 Sep 1726 North Farnham County, VA and died bef 18 Jun 1788, Grainger Co., TN. However, other sources report died about 1788 in Washington Co, which I believe is more credible. Varley is the only source that states she was born in North Farnham Co., VA. others indicating Northumberland Co., VA. I believe these latter are more accurate. (DAR applications #0770071 (Mar, 2000), 777842 (Apr 1997), 781530 (Dec 1999), 780935 (Aug 1997), 780936(Aug 1997), 780937(Aug 1997)


John and William Russell, relatives of Lydia Russell Bean joined the Watauga settlement. (Crabb, 102)


There is confusion as to who her father was: History of Wash Co., TN on p 234 says James Russell of TN. I have seen this elsewhere as I have seen William.


In Lists of the Colonial Soldiers of Virginia by H.J. Eckenrode, p.75 the following Russells are listed:

James, information from French and Indian Bounty Warrents 1, 145; Samuel from Hening's Statues at Large 7, 212; George Washington Manuscripts, 1460; John A Crozier's Virginia Colonial Militia, 97 and VA Magazien 7, 306; William (Lt Col. from Withers's Chronicles, 66; and William (Capt) in Journal of the Convention of May 1776, 28 and A Crozier's Virginia Colonial Militia, 89; William from French and Indian Bounty Warrats 2, 453; Henings Statues at Large 7, 226; A Crozier's Virginia Colonial Militia, 97; VA Magazine 7, 306)
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