TEMECULA – As the U.S. approaches the 250th Anniversary of Independence Day on July 4th, 2026, local communities will continue to “meet” and celebrate the men and women who created America. In the past few months, the DAR has been introducing their American Revolution Patriots to the public.
In April, Susan Thomas, national vice chair of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution said, “We hope to bring those patriots and their service to life over the next few years by making them better known in the cities and towns where they lived, and where their descendants live today. It is estimated that over 375,000 soldiers (Continental Army and Militia) served during the war.”
One of the NSDAR missions is education, and by bringing their patriots’ stories to everyone, there is an opportunity to learn more about individual patriots, their service during the Revolutionary War, and the creation of this country through their lives and sacrifices.
If anyone wants to take their learning to the next level, there is an America250 Facebook group offering many posts. Additionally, the America250 website, https://www.america250.org/, features videos produced by various chapters.
This month, the Luiseño Chapter America 250 Committee is pleased to present the story of De Walt Bonebrake. He is the direct ancestor of a DAR member residing in Murrieta who just happens to be an Air Force veteran.
Bonebrake was born in York County, Pennsylvania in 1755. His parents were forced to immigrate “after the unlawful shooting of an elk in a wooded area of Germany” where they were residents. Stepping off the ship that transported them, his father signed an Oath of Allegiance to Pennsylvania in 1750. Bonebrake was the fourth child of 10 children born to his parents.
From 1779 – 1781, he served as a private under Captains Samuel Royer and Conrad Snider. According to “family letters,” he served near Philadelphia under General Washington, and he served in the Trenton campaign under Washington. He was mustered out at Germantown. Then, in 1781, Bonebrake and his brother Henry served in the First Company, Eighth Battalion, and in the Fifth Company, First Battalion. Eventually, he and four of his brothers served together in the Fourth Company, First Battalion.
At age 38, Bonebrake married Christiana Wolf in Cumberland County, Pennsylvania. They moved to Somerset County, Pennsylvania, in 1793, where they purchased 151 acres of land. He farmed this land until 1801, at which time he sold the acreage to his neighbor. On the deed of the property, Bonebrake’s occupation was listed as blacksmith.
He had decided upon moving his family to Preble County, Ohio. Using a flat boat, they made their way down the Ohio River, however “at the mouth of the Hocking River their plans …changed.” They took a diversion up the Hocking River as Indians were seen on the Ohio; they avoided a conflict, and the event has been detailed in the Bonebrake Family Bible. They landed at Athens, Athens County, and settled near a village now called Hibbardsville where they remained for about seven years.
Eventually they settled in Preble County where De Walt and Christiana built a large 2-story log cabin with an attic. They used the logs from their land which they cut and prepared themselves. So large was the log cabin that it also served as a meeting place for the United Brethren in Christ in 1808.
By 1815, the church membership had grown and the members were unable to all be accommodated. It is not known where the congregation met after that time, but in 1930 (100+ years later), lightning struck the log cabin and it burnt to the ground.
Of the 13 children born to De Walt and Christiana, 11 were boys. Bonebrake was an educated man and taught his children in the German tongue. Six of those boys went on in their adulthood to become United Brethren preachers. Several of his sons served and fought in the War of 1812; Frederick born in 1785, Jacob born in 1789, and John, his twin brother, Conrad born in 1791, and Peter born in 1793.
De Walt Bonebrake died Aug. 24, 1824. His congregation and family friends remembered him as a “true pioneer, …a farmer and teacher, …skilled in metals.” Frequently he would work all day on the farm and then work his blacksmith trade at night. He was “a sturdy, pious, intelligent and honorable man, a true father of religiously-minded and patriotic sons and daughters.” De Walt and Christiana are buried in Washington Township, Preble County, Ohio.
The National Society Daughters of the American Revolution recognize De Walt Bonebrake for his military service.
Luiseño Chapter’s America250 Committee will honor another Patriot with the publication of his/her story in October. For more information about America250 and Luiseño Chapter, contact Regent Anna Anderson at anna.anderson@luiseño.californiadar.org. Luiseño Chapter – located in Temecula – has 105 members living in Riverside and San Diego counties.