The Valley of Heart's Delight

- Santa Clara County Pioneer
 Surnames:  KNOX, MOORE

Interesting as both the descendant and successor of a pioneer who attained real eminence and distinction in the California world of finance.  William Knox Beans is a financier worthy of study for himself, both on account of his own experience and records, and because of his enviable position of influence and power as president of the Bank of San Jose.  He was born in Nevada City, Cal. , on May 7, 1857, the son of Thomas Ellard and Virginia (Knox) Beans [tow bios below], the father a native of Salem, Ohio, who first saw the light there in 1828, and was a descendant of fine old Scotch-Irish stock which had made it way from europe through Virginia to Ohio.  Thomas Ellard Beans was a pioneer of San Jose who rose to great prominence as a banker and founded the Bank of San Jose, and is elsewhere represented in this volume[see two bios below].

William K. Beans was educated principally in private schools in San Jose and then the College of the Pacific, after which he entered Mount Union College in Mount Union, Ohio.  In 1876, after two years, he returned to the Coast, and having said good-bye to student days, he entered his father's bank in 1878.  There he began at the lower rounds of the ladder and gradually worked his way up through various positions of responsibility and experience; and on July 19, 1905, he was elected president of the bank to succeed his father, who had just died after so many years of brilliant and faithful service.  To the institution he has given his undivided time and the success of his management is seen when it shown an increase of 330 per cent assets in seventeen years.

Mr. Beans was married in San Francisco in 1889 to Miss Gertrude Moore, a daughter of Judge John H. and Bettie P. Moore, who came to California in the early '50s, the father being a prominent attorney and judge in San Jose.  She is a native of San Jose and they reside at 1260 the Alameda, where Mr. Beans follows the course of political events under the banners of the Republican party, maintains his live interest in the doings of the Native Sons of the Golden West, in which great organization he is proud to claim membership, and cultivates, in his spare hours outdoors, his choice flower garden.  He is a member of the St. Claire Club and a charter member of the Commercial Club.  Mr. Beans is the oldest banker is San Jose and no man is better or more favorably known.  Like his father he is conservative and the people of the valley have the greatest confidence in the bank and they appreciate his genuine worth and integrity

Transcribed by Carolyn Feroben, from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California,  published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 762


Preeminent among the men of affairs in Santa Clara County whose exceptionally fruitful lives have made their demise a matter of wide regret and will more and more to insure to them the most enviable and lasting fame possible, Thomas Ellard Beans enjoyed to an unusual degree the esteem and goodwill of his • fellow men. He was born in Salem, Ohio, on December 5, 1828, of Irish-Scotch parentage, his father, Israel Beans, who had married Miss Jane Byrnes, having emigrated to Ohio from Virginia early in the century. Thomas was sent to the schools of his native town; and later his course of study was supplemented in a private academy. He commenced his business career as an apprentice in a newspaper office, next served as a clerk in a country store, and still later was a salesman in a wholesale house. At the age of twenty he was one of a party from Pittsburgh who determined to try their fortune in the then newly-exploited El Dorado of California; and leaving Pittsburgh in the early spring of 1849, Mr. Beans and his companions crossed the plains in a prairie schooner, in those days the only means of transport, and they arrived at Sacramento in the month of August, 1849.

Mr. Beans engaged in placer mining with some success, and then, with a number of his associates, formed a partnership and opened a general miner's supply store in Sacramento. In 1850, a great flood swept over the country along the Sacramento River and destroyed their building and its contents; and the partnership having been thus automatically dissolved, Mr. Beans went to San Francisco, intending to return to the Eastern States. While waiting in that city for a steamer to New York, he met an old acquaintance from his native town, a Dr. Patterson, then filling a Federal Government post on the Coast; and Dr. Patterson prevailed on Mr. Beans to abandon his Eastern trip and to join him and some others in a mining venture in the country near what is now Nevada City. Dr. Patterson wished to set out at once; but owing to the great flood of the year before, it was decided by the miners to remain in San Francisco for the winter. Mr. Beans not only concluded to remain with the claims, but he was instrumental in forming a miners' association of which he was elected the secretary and recorder. This organization was effected to protect the claims of the absent miners from unlawful infringement, and its officers soon. found plenty of exciting work to do in carrying out its objects. After a few years, however, of alternate success and failure as a miner, Mr. Beans again turned his attention to merchandising; and established a general merchandise store in Nevada City, which he successfully conducted for eight years. He then engaged in the general commission business in San Francisco until 1866 and in that year he embarked in banking; and having associated himself with Dr. W. J. Knox, the bank of Knox & Beans
was opened for business in San Jose. This firm was succeeded in 1868 by the corporation ever since known as the Bank of San Jose, of which Mr. Beans was elected cashier and manager. He served in that capacity until 1871, when he was elected president and manager; and, he continued in that position until his death. In addition to his connection with this bank, Mr. Beans was prominently identified with many public and private institutions. He was at various times a director of the San Jose Woolen Mills, the San Jose Fruit Canning Company, the Home Mutual Insurance Company, and other corporations; and he was for fifteen years a trustee of the San Jose State Normal. As a member of the board of fifteen freeholders, he supervised the preparation of the charter of the City of San Jose; and as a member of the California Pioneers, of which he was at different times an honored officer, he took a lively and substantial interest in the welfare of the survivors of the stirring days of '49. Quietly, too, and in a most unostentatous way, Mr. Beans gave freely and liberally to public and private charities; and deep was the sorrow of innumerable friends when it was announced that he had breathed his last at his home, 489 North First Street, San Jose, on July 12, 1905.

At Nevada City Mr. Beans was married to Miss Virginia Knox, a sister Dr. W. J. Knox, who became his associate in business. Mrs. Beans passed away in about 1862, leaving two children, a son, William Knox Beans, now president of the Bank of San Jose, and a daughter, Mary. Mr. Beans was married a second time, being united with Miss Charlotte Bray and their union was blessed with two children, Frances and Rowena Beans. Mr. Bean's widow survived him until 1910, when she, too, passed to the Great Beyond. Fraternally Mr. Beans was a Mason and an exemplary and highly esteemed man. The day of his passing, William Knox Beans was elected president of the Bank of San Jose, to succeed his father; and Mrs. Charlotte B. Beans was chosen a director. Under such able and conscientious direction, the perpetuity and the continued success and prosperity of the splendid memorial which the genius and the nobility of Mr. Beans erected to both the city of San Jose and himself was assured.

Transcribed by Carolyn Feroben, from Eugene T. Sawyers' History of Santa Clara County,California, published by Historic Record Co. , 1922. page 1362


 Bio-Pen Pictures

            The pioneer bank in the Santa Clara Valley was opened for business in March, 1866, by W. J. Knox and T. Ellard Beans, under the firm title of Knox & Beans, and was conducted as a private banking house until January 31, 1868, on which date it was incorporated as a State bank, being the first bank incorporated in interior California.  The first officers were John G. Bray, President; T. Ellard Beans, Cashier and Manager; John T. Calahan was appointed Assistant Cashier in 1880, which position he still holds; C. W. Pomeroy, Secretary.  The capital stock is $200,000.  In 1870 Mr. Bray died, and Mr. Beans became president, which position he still holds.  Henry Philip succeeded him as cashier, and acted in that capacity till 1875, when Clement T. Park, the present cashier, succeeded him. 

            In 1871 the Bank of San Jose Block, on the northeast corner of First and Santa Clara Streets, was begun, and completed the following year.  The building has a frontage of ninety feet on Santa Clara Street, and one hundred feet on First, is symmetrical in architectural design, and cost $120,000.  Besides the commodious banking rooms, there are several fine stores on the first floor.  The second floor is occupied, in part, by the San Jose Board of Trade, and the remainder and the upper story are devoted to offices.

            The bank has been under the able management of Mr. Beans throughout its entire history, and its career has been one of marked success, as the following facts and figures show:  The Bank of San Jose has paid two hundred and forty dividends up to July 1, 1888, aggregating two hundred and ninety-one per cent of the par value of the capital stock, with an additional surplus of seventy-five per cent.  It does strictly a commercial business; has correspondents in San Francisco, New York, and London, on which it draws direct.

            T. Ellard Beans was born in Salem, Ohio, sixty years ago.  His early business life was passed in mercantile pursuits; spent two years in a banking house in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Came to California in 1849; directed his attention to mining for a time, and later was engaged in merchandising in Nevada City seven years; came near losing his life by the great fire in that place in 1856.  He came to San Jose in 1866, and the same year projected and established the bank, as before stated.  Mr. Beans is one of that honored class termed self-made men, and has long been regarded as one of San Jose’s most able and reliable business men.          

Pen Pictures From The Garden of the World or Santa Clara County, California, Illustrated. - Edited by H. S. Foote.- Chicago:  The Lewis Publishing Company, 1888.
Pg. 190-191

Transcribed by Kathy Sedler