Bring 6 cups water to a boil in a large heavy saucepan and add all ingredients.
Bring to a boil and cover.
Turn heat low and simmer until beans are tender, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Stir 3 or 4 times and add boiling water as needed.
If you prefer, bake the bean mixture in a covered casserole at 300F for 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until beans are tender, stirring and moistening occasionally.