DAR Membership Through My Ancestor Benjamin Clement

by Jan 10, 20166 comments

Category: Genealogy

One day, as I was searching the web to learn more about my genealogy, I stumbled upon the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) Descendants Database. I found information about my ancestor, Stephen Butterworth and discovered I could purchase record copies (copies of membership or supplemental applications of members of The Daughters of the American Revolution) providing details about him, and the generations leading to his grandfather, Benjamin Clement.

I gathered the proof needed for my DAR application that connected me to Stephen Butterworth. My application was verified and I became a member of DAR. Making the decision to join DAR provides the six generations that connect me to Stephen Butterworth to countless other descendants of Benjamin Clement who come searching for their connection to the founding of our country.

American Revolutionary War weapons. A vintage leather satchel, flintlock gun and powder horn from the war of independence on public display at a North Carolina heritage festival. Shutterstock.

Benjamin Clement in The Revolutionary War

Benjamin Clement contributed to the Revolutionary War effort by manufacturing gunpowder in 1775. The book, The History of Pittsylvania County Virginia, by Maude Carter Clement, provides a quote from Charles Lynch that was published in an August 1775 edition of the Virginia Gazette.

“Sometime ago my having made powder was mentioned in your paper, but as I wish for no more merit (should there be any in it) than I deserve, I inform the public that Mr. Benjamin Clement is a partner with me in making the powder, and that he was the first in the colony I have heard of who attempted to make it, altho’ he did not bring it to perfection. Since our partnership we have brought it to such perfection with salt-petre of our own making that the best rifleman approve of it; and with the little mill we now have, we can make fifty pound weight a day. Salt-petre only is wanting which may very easily be made by observing the following directions; and when it is considered how much we want powder and that salt-petre is the principal ingredient, it is hoped that those who have the good of their country at heart will exert themselves in making it. Without it we can have no powder, consequently no means of defense; but with it we shall soon have both. I am sir, your very humble servant. Charles Lynch, August 5,1775″

Along with the quote from Lynch, there are directions that were used for making salt-petre. It involved digging up old dirt floors of meat packing houses, boiling it and using the strained liquor in a process similar to the one used to make lye from wood ashes. Colonel Charles Lynch was identified as a neighbor of Captain Clement and Clement is described as “an old man of some seventy-five years at the time they partnered to manufacture the gun powder”.

A simple sentence on DAR applications for descendants of Benjamin Clement describes his contribution to establishing American Independence as “Making gunpowder for the Contintental Army”. It turns out, producing gunpowder during the Revolutionary War was a significant contribution because it was often in short supply. George Washington issued orders prohibiting its wastage in 1775 and he had to repeatedly reissue similar orders throughout the war despite the French supplies of gunpowder.

Over the years of learning more about each of the people who are part of my heritage, I have gained a greater appreciation of American History. When I set out to join DAR, it was rooted in learning more about genealogy research and having access to records. I had no idea how many avenues for personal and community enrichment it provides. In May of 2019, I began serving as the Chapter Registrar for Lily of the Cahaba Chapter of DAR in Hoover, AL. This role is to help prospective members complete applications to prove their direct line to a Patriot of the American Revolution. In 2021, my professional life as a Digital Marketing Professional merged with my volunteer service to DAR. As Co-Chair of the Alabama State Society DAR Volunteer Information Specialists (VIS) Committee, I built a new website for ALSDAR. I help maintain it and provide online resources support for members. I enjoy being able to lend a hand while I’m learning new things and forming many friendships.

My West Virginia Genealogy

If you are researching West Virginia surnames, you might benefit from the information documenting my direct line to Benjamin Clement. There is a heavy concentration in Kanawha County, West Virginia. Generations 3 to 9 are presented below. Generations 1-2 are not included in order to protect the privacy of living relatives. Feel free to contact me privately if you are interested in more information:

  • Generation 3: My grandfather, Virgil Floyd Rider is the son of Honzura Rider (Ulrich Rider) and Lottie Mae Wills of Kanawha County, WV.
  • Generation 4: My great grandmother, Lottie Mae Wills, was the daughter of John Harvey Wills and Mary Elizabeth Barker of Kanawha County, WV.
  • Generation 5: John Harvey Wills b 1853 (Bedford County?) Virginia was the son of Mary Elizabeth Butterworth and her husband Edward M. Wills. Some sources have his name as Edwin Wills. They moved from Bedford Co, VA, to Kanawha County, WV.
  • Generation 6: Mary Elizabeth Butterworth b. 1836 (Bedford County?) Virginia was the daughter of Stephen Butterworth and his wife Locky Ann Wilson.
  • Generation 7: Stephen Butterworth b. abt. 1794 Virginia was the son of Isaac Butterworth and his wife Elizabeth Walker.
  • Generation 8: Isaac Butterworth b. 1767 Bedford County, Virginia was the son of Elizabeth Clement and her husband Benjamin Butterworth.
  • Generation 9: Elizabeth Clement b. abt 1745 Pittsylvania County, Virginia was the daughter of my patriot ancestor, Benjamin Clement b. abt. 1700 in King William County, Virginia.

Think you might be connected to a Revolutionary War Patriot? Explore the resources available at DAR to conduct your research.

NOTE: This article was updated July 25, 2021.

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  1. craig Butterworth

    Hi Lisa, I stumbled onto your site while browsing for information about Isaac Butterworth and the Revolutionary War. From what I read I assume we are cousins.
    I found most of my family history in the book: THE BUTTERWORTH FAMILY OF MARYLAND AND VIRGINIA written by Walter V Ball. It includes a great deal of information about the Clement family. I live in Alabama, but my line of Butterworths all came from Bedford and Lynchburg area.

    Hugh Craig Butterworth

    • Lisa Isbell

      Hi Craig, great to “meet” you. I also live in Alabama. Thanks for dropping in! Do you have your research online anywhere? Feel free to post a link to it here. Lisa

  2. Kevin Key

    Hello Lisa,
    I am a DNA match to your Patriot BENJAMIN CLEMENT as well. My 6th g grandfather , John Francis Clement b1743, was brother to your Elizabeth Clement. I show they had a brother, Adam that also was in the AR. I haven’t been able to determine if John Francis also was a Patriot. I see Capt. Ben Clement was a maker of gun powder Do you know if their was a pension application? I show he died in 1780. Was he an AR victim?
    Do you show bro. John Francis in your records? I show Capt. Ben Clement and Susannah Hill had 15-16 children. I found 2 Elizabeth’s. Both born around the same time but different death dates.

    Do you believe we are cousins?

    Thank you for your above article.

    I live in the Memphis, TN area

    • Lisa Isbell

      Hi Kevin, Thanks for reaching out. Yes, it would seem we are distant cousins if you have traced your line to John Francis Clement and can prove the relationship to Benjamin Clement (and it seems you can). I don’t know if there is a pension record for Capt. Clement but I can explore to find out. I also do not know how he died but I’ll look around in the material I have, it might be in there somewhere. Here is a link you can use to check to see if someone might be a patriot (should also check the SAR resources): http://services.dar.org/Public/DAR_Research/search/ I did a quick search for John Francis and didn’t find him as a patriot but you might have more data to use for a search. I don’t have all my documentation sitting here handy to dig into this more deeply right now but I will try to circle back to this later and see what I have on hand or can find out and according to what I find, add more information here.You might also want to check out the genealogy of the virginias page here on my website to join its group on Facebook. I haven’t done much with it as yet but over the coming months I intend to start writing comprehensive bios of ancestors and sharing it there for others to use as a resource. I just took on the role of chapter registrar for Lily of the Cahaba Chapter of the DAR so I’ll be a little busy getting used to things for a while. I expect this to slow me down on the plans I have for my website in the short term but greatly enhance my research skills for the long term. I’ll just go one step at a time and get there when I get there 🙂

  3. Beth Saxton

    Hello! I am also in Alabama. My great-grandmother, Hattie Clements Reynolds, was born in Welch, West Virginia. She is a descendant of Captain Benjamin Clement. I have a bit of information from Barbara Clement and other who live near Patrick County, VA.

  4. Brenda Merritt

    Hello, Cousins! My mother, Betty Sue Clement Joyce was a native of Patrick County, VA and double first cousin of Barbara Clement’s husband. They are descendants of Capt. Benjamin Clement. I live in Jonesborough, TN (TN’s oldest town). Barbara has done a really good job of assembling and relating her husband’s family’s genealogy.


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