TEMECULA – In January 2022, a National Partnership between the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution and America250 was agreed upon in Washington D.C. America250 is a multiyear effort to commemorate the semiquincentennial – the 250th anniversary – of the United States. The commemoration period began in 2020, culminates on July 4, 2026, and officially concludes in 2027.
Created by Congress, the U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission and the corresponding America250 Foundation is planning, designing and leading “the most comprehensive and inclusive celebration in our country’s history.”
America250 represents a coalition of public and private partners all working to create initiatives and programs that honor the country's first 250 years and inspire Americans to imagine the next 250. The largest patriotic women’s service organization in the nation, the DAR has now become the first heritage society to formally partner with America250 and has been a leader in the national effort to coordinate the 250th commemoration.
“We are proud to partner with the Daughters of the American Revolution, its chapters and members in support of the largest 1776 commemoration in U.S. history," America250 Foundation CEO and President Joe Daniels said. "DAR's leadership and its members have been at the forefront of promoting historic preservation and education to honor the legacy of all patriots who fought for America's independence.”
At the local chapter level, DAR members have been asked to share Patriots’ stories with the public. “Patriots” is a term which DAR members use to identify the men and women who achieved American Independence during the Revolutionary War (April 19, 1775 – Sept. 3, 1783).
As a lineage society, each member has provided documentation which establishes a direct ancestral line between a Patriot and herself. Although many Americans know George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin, most Americans probably know very little about those who left their farms and their families to support and fight with General Washington and his officers.
Local DAR Luiseño Chapter – located in Temecula – has 105 members living in Riverside and San Diego counties, and each member has researched the story about her Patriot. Each month, these treasured stories will be published for the community to read, to learn about, and to appreciate the efforts of their 18th century ancestors.
This outreach to the public is just one activity planned to commemorate the nation’s history and the upcoming anniversary. The E Pluribus Unum Educational Initiative is focused on educational programs and research to better tell the story of underrepresented and diverse patriots who helped to win American Independence, and a Patriots of the American Revolution High School Essay Contest for 9-12th grade students focusing on individuals who figured in the events of the American Revolution will be launched in the near future.
This month, Luiseño NSDAR is proud to present the story of Patriot Christopher Beam, ancestor of a Luiseño member residing in Menifee. Beam was born in York County, Pennsylvania, on Sept. 1, 1761. It is noted that he was descended from an English family. The first information available on Beam is in 1779 when he served in the Revolutionary War in the 5th Company, 6th Battalion, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.
He also served as a private in the 7th class, 2nd Company, Captain Patrick Hay, Commanding, and 9th Battalion, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania Militia, Col. John Rodgers Commanding, in 1781. A record of his military service appears in Volume 7, 5th Series, Pennsylvania Archives, pages 553, 562, and 932.
In 1783, Beam was listed in Quemahoning Township, Bedford County, Pennsylvania. He was a “single freeman taxable” with 1 horse, £1, 7 shillings, 1 pence (tax). By 1788, he was listed with 65 acres of land with a value of £63, 13 shillings, four pence, and two horses.
Quemahoning Township was organized in 1775. Coal mining for local purposes occurred there. The people were mainly of German descent, and were thrifty, moral, and intelligent.
In 1776, there were several families of settlers then living there with woods and wild beasts all about them and constant danger from the threatening Indians. Pack horse trails were the principal routes of travel. There were few stores or mills in any part of the then vast territory of Bedford County, and frequently long journeys over the mountains to the eastern settlements had to be made when the pioneers desired to procure supplies.
Salt and sugar were luxuries and were used sparingly. Tea and coffee appeared on the table only on rare occasions. Simple food, well-cooked, and good home-made garments fed and clothed the early settlers.
Beam married Elizabeth Crise (1763-1850) about 1790. About 1793, Christopher and Elizabeth moved to the northwest part of the township of Somerset (Quemahoning at that time), when land was offered, usually 200 acres, to Revolutionary War soldiers in return for services, in order that the country might be settled.
Their children were Jacob, Christopher, Abraham, Crise, John, Hiram, Margaret, Elizabeth, and Lydia. It is said that Elizabeth rode on horseback with a copper kettle on one pack horse and an old stove on another which was put together again when they reached their new home.
Somerset Township was formed in the early part of 1796 from Quemahoning and Milford, and in 1800, Christopher Beam was listed as one of the taxable. A farmer and a miller, he operated a mill about two miles from Bakersville. Later, this mill was operated by a family named Shaffer and a man named Lohr.
Christopher died on June 15, 1828, in Somerset Township (now Jefferson Township), and is buried in Weller Cemetery, Somerset, Pennsylvania. Christopher’s will was probated June 28, 1828, with executors Elizabeth Beam, his wife, and Abraham Beam, his son.
Next month, Luiseño Chapter’s America250 Committee will honor another Patriot with the publication of his/her story. For more information about Luiseño Chapter, contact Regent Anna Anderson at anna.anderson@luiseño.californiadar.org.
Submitted by DAR Luiseño Chapter.