Alanson Beers Article

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Alanson Beers
Executive Committee of the Provisional Government of Oregon
In office
Preceded byposition created
Succeeded by Second Executive Committee
Constituency Oregon Country
Personal details
BornAugust 19, 1808
DiedFebruary 20, 1853(1853-02-20) (aged 44)
Salem, Oregon
Spouse(s)Rachel Beers

Alanson Beers (August 19, 1808 – February 20, 1853) was an American pioneer and politician in the early days of the settlement of the Oregon Country. A blacksmith by trade, he was a reinforcement for the Methodist Mission in what would become the state of Oregon. The Connecticut native helped found the Oregon Institute and participated in the Champoeg Meetings where he was elected to serve on the Executive Committee in 1843.

Early life

Beers was born August 19, 1808, in Weston, Fairfield County, Connecticut, the son of Isaac Beers, an American Revolutionary War soldier and wife Jemima Rowell. [1] [2] There he was trained as a blacksmith. Prior to immigrating to Oregon, Alanson married Rachel, with whom he had six children; [3] Elenor, Benjamian, William, Oliver, Abigail, and Jonathan. [4]


Alanson Beers moved to Oregon in 1837, arriving on the ship Diana in May. [3] He was part of the reinforcements for the Methodist Mission that Jason Lee had traveled back east to gather. After arriving with his wife, he brought the supplies for the mission from the ship by small boat on the Willamette River. [5] Beers then built a home and blacksmith's shop at the Mission. Later, he worked for the Mission Manual Labor School for Indians and at the Oregon Institute, now Willamette University as a blacksmith making building products for the construction of homes and mills. [1]

In 1843 at the Champoeg Meetings he was chosen for the legislative committee to draft the original laws of the provisional government, and then chosen by the members to be the chairperson of the judiciary committee. Then on July 5, he was elected as one of the three members of the First Executive Committee along with David Hill and Joseph Gale. He was chosen to represent the interests of the Methodist Mission in the government. [1]

During his service on the executive committee Beers lead the organization of a militia. [3] This occurred in 1844 in response to an incident with the native populations in the Willamette Valley. [3]

Later life

Beers' grave at Lee Mission Cemetery (note the birth date is incorrect on gravestone)

In July 1844 Beers opted to receive a farm, equipment, a blacksmith shop, and $1,000 from the Methodist Mission in lieu of passage back to Connecticut. [1] At this time the mission was re-organizing under the Reverend George Gary. [1] In 1846 Alanson formed a partnership with George Abernethy to buy grist mills at the island mills near Oregon City, Oregon, calling the enterprise the Oregon Milling Company. [1] The company milled lumber and ground flour. [5] Then prior to his death in 1853 he built a house to be used as a dormitory by the Oregon Institute, which the school then bought for $300 after his death and named Beers House. [1] The school also offered each of his children a scholarship. [1] Alanson Beers is buried at the Lee Mission Cemetery in Salem, Oregon. [3]

Preceded by
None (Government established)
Executive Committee of the Provisional Government of Oregon
with David Hill
Joseph Gale
Replaced by Second Executive Committee
with Osborne Russell
Peter G. Stewart
William J. Bailey


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Dobbs, Caroline C. (1932). Men of Champoeg: A Record of the Lives of the Pioneers Who Founded the Oregon Government. Metropolitan Press. p. 77.
  2. ^ Regan, Mary Louise (1982). The descendants of Anthony Beers of Fairfield, Connecticut through his son Barnabas. 4. Regan Genealogical Pub. Co. p. 84.
  3. ^ a b c d e Flora, Stephenie. "Inhabitants Prior To 1839". The Oregon Territory. Archived from the original on 10 December 2006. Retrieved 2007-01-11.
  4. ^ Guardianship Case 0093, (1855). Oregon State Archives.
  5. ^ a b Corning, Howard M. Dictionary of Oregon History. Binfords & Mort Publishing, 1956.