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DAR remembers ancestors' lives

TEMECULA – America250 is 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," said America250 Foundation CEO Joe Daniels. Part of commemorating America250 is connecting to the past to inspire the future, and the local DAR chapter – Luiseño Chapter – is embracing American History and sharing it with the public. Just as the people and communities that make up America are many and varied, so are their histories.

At the local chapter level, DAR members have been asked to share their 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). Many American citizens know George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, however very few Americans know the individual men and women who left their farms, their businesses and their families to fight in the Revolutionary War.

This month, Luiseño NSDAR is proud to present the story of Patriot Silas Alden, direct ancestor of a Luiseño member residing in Temecula.

Born Oct. 23, 1736, Silas Alden was the fifth child of the 11 children born to John Alden and Thankful Parker of Needham, Province of Massachusetts. Silas' grandfather, Henry Alden, was one of the signers of the 1710 petition to incorporate Needham as a new town. Silas published his intent to marry Margaret Capron on April 10, 1760, at Attleboro, which today is about 30 miles from Needham via freeway, but in 1760 it was quite a long journey.

Silas and Margaret made their new home in Needham and lived there for over 60 years. They had 12 children: Moses, Elizabeth, Amasa, Silas, Paul, Lydia, Amasa (#2), Rebecca, Mercy or Marcy, Simeon, Samuel, and George. There are two sons named Amasa because a common naming tradition of the 17th and 18th centuries occurred when a child died early in his/her life, and the next child born of the same gender was named the same name. Amasa #1 died very young, so the next son born to Margaret and Silas was named Amasa.

Silas was nearly 40 years old when he first served in the Revolutionary War. He served 14 days as an ensign in Captain Robert Smith's company, Colonel William Heath's regiment on the alarm of April 19, 1775. He served four days at the taking of Dorchester Heights in March 1776 as a lieutenant in Captain Robert Smith's company. He served 20 days at Hull and Castle Island in Captain Thomas Mayo Jr.'s company, Colonel Eleazer Weld's regiment during December 1776.

During March and April of 1778, he served 15 days on the march to Roxbury, Massachusetts, in Captain Ebenezer Battle's company, Colonel McIntosh's regiment. At one point during his service, he was a 2nd Lieutenant. His service during the war is detailed in "Massachusetts Soldiers and Sailors of the Revolutionary Way."

In Old Needham, nicknames were a form of social commentary, and Silas was known as "Old Growl." We will never know for certain if he was a crotchety old man, but Silas was described as being stout, of medium height and, as was the custom of the day, wore side whiskers.

Silas also served his town of Needham including Surveyor of Highways, Fence Viewer, and Committee Person to Investigate Town Finances. He was an active member of the First Parish Church in Needham where he held different offices – treasurer, collector, and deacon until his death on Feb. 22, 1826.

Next month, Luiseño Chapter's America250 Committee will honor another patriot with the publication of his/her story. For more information about the Luiseño Chapter, contact Regent Anna Anderson at anna.anderson@luiseñ The Luiseño Chapter – located in Temecula – has 105 members living in Riverside and San Diego counties.

Submitted by Daughters of the American Revolution, Luiseño Chapter.


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