Joseph Beaman of Pownal

Joseph Beaman
of Pownal, Bennington Co., VT
by Todd A. Farmerie

The Beaman family of Lancaster, Worcester Co., Mass. descend from Gameliel Beaman, who settled in the area in 1659. It is to this family that Joseph Beaman of Pownal belonged. Joseph Beaman is said to have been born in May 1756, presumably the son of Joseph and Hannah (Knight) Beaman of Lancaster, Worcester Co., Mass. No clear record of his birth survives, but an unnamed son of this couple was born in Leominster on 21 Apr. 1756, and on 29 May 1774, Joseph Beeman, Jr. was baptized as a young adult into the First Congregational Church of Lancaster. He appearently was too old to be brought into the church at his mother’s behest when the younger children of Joseph (Sr.) were baptized in 1771. Joseph Beaman, Sr. served in the Revolution, and died 24 Apr. 1813, aged 80, his wife living to the age of 99, dying 29 May 1835.

With the Revolution came a change for Joseph Beaman. He is said (in a tradition passed on by his son Rev. Joseph Beaman) to have participated in the Boston Tea Party. While this would seem unlikely for someone from so far inland, it has been estimated that the majority of the "Indians" of that night were brought in to Boston from the hinterlands. With the call to arms, Joseph joined the minutemen harrassing the British troops on their return from Concord to Boston. He is recorded in both Capt. Joseph White’s Co., Col. Asa Whitcomb’s Regt. serving 3 days, and Capt. Benjamin Houghton’s Co., Col. John Whitcomb’s Regt., serving 8 days. He then enlisted for 8 months in Capt. Andrew Haskell’s Co., Col. Asa Whitcomb’s Regt., continuing at the Seige of Boston. It was presumably during this period that he was involved in another incedent passed on by his son. He is said to have sailed out on Boston Harbor, disguised as a fisherman. He upset his boat near a British ship, and when taken aboard, played a fool until he had spied out specific information. He then jumped back into the Harbor and swam ashore. On 17 June 1775, he fought at the Battle of Bunker Hill. There he was wounded in both thighs, but not severely enough to require him to withdraw from the service. In Mar. 1776, he enlisted for a year in Capt. Daniel Carlisle’s Co., Col. Timothy Bedel’s Regt. of NH Rangers. This regiment was captured at The Cedars on 19 May, and Joseph Beaman was paroled on the condition that he not fight against the British for three months. Shortly after his return, on 22 Jul. 1776, he enlisted for 5 mos. in Capt. Samuel Sawyer’s Co., Col. Jonathan Smith’s Regt., and was present at the the battles of Kip’s Bay and Harlem Heights. He was sent home 12 Nov. with Amos Knight (? his uncle). On 1 Nov. 1776, he enlisted for a year as a matross in Capt. Joseph Balch’s (2nd) Co., Col. Thomas Craft’s Artillary Regt. Soon after completing this service, he signed on for 3 months on the frigate Warren in Providence, and ended up serving 5 months, having taken two ships. On 31 Mar. 1780, he enlisted for the duration of the war in Capt. Simeon Smith’s Co., Col. Seth Warner’s Regiment of the Continental Army. In Oct. of that year, he received a severe wound in the right arm at a battle at the mouth of Lake George, and was sent home by Col. Warner. (This would seem to be the skermish which took place 11 Oct. 1780, in which about twelve hundred British soldiers, Indians and Tories under the command of Maj. Christopher Carleton overcame two companies of Warner’s Regiment commanded by Capt. John Chipman, and took Fort George.) He was never again fit for military service.

On 23 Feb. 1781, he received a proprietary grant in Searsburg, Bennington Co., VT. About this time he married Sarah (Sally) Davis and settled in Wilmington, Windham Co., VT, where the births of his first 4 children are recorded, the first in Mar. 1783. In 1790, he was living in Bennington, Bennington Co., and it was probably there that his wife Sarah died 13 May 1796, aged 32 years, 3 mos. She is buried next to the First Congregational Church. On 1 Aug. 1796, Joseph married Sene Ellis, a widow (? of John) with children. They had at least ten additional children born in Bennington over the next 17 years. On __ __ ___, Joseph sold his land in Wilmington, and in 1808, he moved to Pownal, Bennington Co., buying land which he sold __ Jan. 1820. He lived in Pownal in 1818, when he applied for a pension based on his Revolutionary War service. In his application he states that he had 19 children, and that he possessed only charity belongings following the destruction of his house in a fire. In spite of his record of service, his injuries, and his obvious need, he was rejected for not having completed 9 mos. service in any single regiment (his service in Craft’s Artillary Regt. was not credited). Following lobbying by his congressman, based on his meeting the spirit, if not the letter of the Pension Act, he was finally granted a pension shortly before his death on 20 Oct. 1820. He was buried next to his first wife.

Ancestors of Joseph Beaman

Descendants of Joseph Beaman