Clan MacBean Arrives on The Moon

Al Bean with flag, chest-mounted camera, and cuff checklist

Painting Completed 1996
22 1/2 x 30 3/4 inches, Acrylic on Aircraft Plywood

The official records show that when Apollo 12 flew to the Moon, the crew was Pete Conrad, Dick Gordon, and Alan Bean. That's true...as far as it goes.

We also represented the hopes and dreams of the scientists and engineers who designed the rockets, spacecraft, and experiments. Our skilled instructors and flight controllers were there, too, as were our families and friends and all the American taxpayers who paid the bill. I found out later that as I stepped on the Moon on the morning of November 19, 1969, I represented my forefathers of the Clan MacBean.

The first mention of the Clan MacBean in Scottish history occurred about A.D. 1300. The word "Bean", at that time, meant "the lively one", and the "Mac" signified "the son of Bean". I think my mother would have agreed, when I was in my twos and threes, that she had a lively one.

The clan flourished in the Scottish highlands. John MacBean brought the clan to the new world, but not by choice. He was in the ranks, fighting for the Scottish King Charles II against Cromwell, the British dictator, at the Battle of Worcester. The Scots lost the battle and John MacBean was deported to Boston as a prisoner, arriving there on February 24, 1652.

John Bean (the ship's clerk had anglicized his name) was sold as an indentured servant to a sawmill operator in Exeter, New Hampshire. The boss's daughter quickly fell in love with him and, a short while later, they were married. Pete and Dick have laughed at this story and said, "The gift of great good luck was in the Bean genes even way back then."

Editor's note: A widely circulated story claims that Alan placed a piece of MacBean tartan on the Moon. We have the following from Alan, written on 30 April 2005: "As I remember it, I took Clan McBean Tartan to the moon and returned it to Earth. I did not leave any Clan McBean Tartan on the surface. I did, in fact, give a piece of the Tartan to the Clan McBean and also to the St. Bean Chapel in Scotland. And I've still got some of it in my possession. I did not, however leave any of it on the moon."

Back