The Lewis Family

Albert Gallington Lewis was the son of one Samuel Lewis and his wife Sarah Floro.  These two are interesting in their own right, but I wish to digress a moment to the possible roots of this old American family.

My most educated guess would be that our Samuel above was the son of John Lewis, son of Andrew Lewis below.  I say this because our Samuel had two sons who named their first born male children -- John -- I am thinking after their grandfather.  However, as you will read, this is speculation, but “fun” speculation.

Early Lewis Men

In Western Virginia

"Previous to 1749, Western Virginia was untrodden by the foot of white man, if we except an occasional trader, who may have ventured upon the heads of some of the tributary streams which take their rise in the Alleghany Mountains." (History of the Early Settlement and Indian Wars of Western Virginia by Wills de Hass, Wheeling: H. Hoblitzwell, 1851.  Special Collections Edition 1989, McClain Printing Company, Parsons, W. Va.) 

Chapter III, First Settlers West of the Alleghanies

A supposed "lunatic"(whose name is not given) ventured from Frederick County, Maryland, into the wilderness of the Greenbriar country sometime about 1749.  Upon his return, his description of the country induced some to visit it, among them being Jacob Martin and Stephen Sewell.  These two men settled on the Greenbriar River.  One built a cabin, but the other soon left this abode and took up residence in a hollow tree.

In 1751, the two men were discovered by one Andrew Lewis, an agent for the Greenbriar Company.  Lewis attempted to resolve the dispute between the two pioneers and was successful for a time.  However, eventually, the men parted company yet again.

Further attempts to colonize the Greenbriar country were not made for many years.  John Lewis, and his son Andrew, proceeded with their explorations, until interrupted by the breaking out of the French War.

Chapter V:  Dunmore's Campaign (1774)

(Including Battle of Point Pleasant,

referred to as "First Battle of the Revolutionary War")

General Andrew Lewis is placed in command of one of two forces organized to fight the Indians in Western Virginia.  General Lewis had three sons in his division, one of whom, John, commanded a company; Samuel and Thomas were privates. 

"By the first of September, General Lewis only awaited the arrival of Col. Christian, and orders from Lord Dunmore, to march.  In a few days a messenger reached him with orders from Dunmore to meet him on the second of October, at the mouth of the Kanawha.  On the 11th, he struck his tents and commenced the line of march through an unknown and trackless wilderness."

The book gives an extensive account of the battles involved.  Col. Charles Lewis was killed.

Chapter XI: The Scotch-Irish Element in Western Virginia

In 1736 Governor Gooch issued a patent for 118,491 acres of land "in the county of Orange, between the great mountains on the river Sherando."  That is, near the present town of Staunton on the Shenandoah River.  The grantees were John Beveley, John Robinson, and Richard Randolph.  The next day Robinson and Randolph conveyed their interests to Beverley, and the vast tract became known as the Beverley Manor.  This land soon became the home of many Scotch-Irish.  The first to locate there was John Lewis.  His son was Andrew Lewis, who commanded the Virginia army at the battle of Point Pleasant and who fought in the American army in the Revolution.  He was Washington's choice for commander-in-chief of the American armies, but the Continental Congress appointed Washington instead.

John Lewis, the first settler, was a fugitive from justice.  He had killed his landlord in Ireland, being provoked by abuse to do it, and he fled to Portugal, and in 1731 was in Pennsylvania, where he was joined by his family.  They first located on Opequon creek - on the Hite land - in 1732, and soon afterwards removed to a point near Staunton. He raised a family which afterwards took a prominent part in Virginia affairs.  His son Charles was killed in the battle of Point Pleasant in 1774.

Chapter XXV:  The Great Kanawha Valley

In 1764, Captain William Arbuckle, doubtless the first white man to explore the Kanawha valley region, visited Point Pleasant.  Washington, with a number of his army comrades, made his camp here in October 1770, and began the surveying of 10,000 acres of land awarded him for services in the French and Indian war.  This tract was on the south side of the Kanawha river, while his comrade, Andrew Lewis, claimed a tract almost as large, including the present site of Point Pleasant city.  In the battle fought there in 1774, with General Lewis in Command, there were 1,100 soldiers.  The Indians were led by the famous warrior, Cornstalk. 

Kanawha county was organized in October, 1789.  Of the military company were Colonel Samuel Lewis, with Daniel Boone as lieutenant colonel. 

Chapter XXIX:  Big Sandy River Region

Lewis county - this county was formed from Harrison by act of assembly, December 18, 1816, which act directed that the first court should be held at Westfield.  The county was named in honor of Colonel Charles Lewis, who was killed at the battle of Point Pleasant.  He was the youngest son of John Lewis, the pioneer settler of Augusta county, and a brother of General Andrew Lewis, who commanded the Virginians at Point Pleasant.

The first term of circuit superior court was convened at the Sweet Springs, May 19, 1800.  The first school was taught in 1795. The first land located was a 140 acre tract, including Sweet Springs, by John Lewis, in 1760.  In about 1775, John Alderson and brother-in-law, William Morris, visited the Greenbriar region, each bringing a patent for 1,200 acres.  They decided to locate there, and did in the vicinity of present town of Alderson, but upon investigation found that Samuel Lewis had located a large tract just below where the town now stands.  Alderson could not find the northern boundary of the Lewis lands, and made his survey so as to include the bottom lands just below the town. 

Family Note:

Our Samuel Lewis married Sarah Floro in 1799 and lived along the Kanawha River.  Our Samuel Lewis, we are told, was born in Bucks Co., PA, 16 FEB 1767 - making him very young to be a private in his father's military company in 1774.  However, we are told that the above John Lewis family did make a stop in Pennsylvania before moving on to Western Virginia. So the "Pennsylvania birth" is not a problem.   It seems highly unlikely that our Samuel Lewis is NOT related to this family.  Perhaps, we will be able to confirm the connection with later research.

Our Samuel Lewis 1767-1867

Samuel Lewis was born in Bucks Co., PA, 16 FEB 1767, about 16 miles above Philadelphia, along the Delaware River.  Samuel's mother lived to be 114 years of age, but we know neither her name nor the name of her husband.  One family researcher, Roger Handke of Colesburg, IA, believes that Samuel's family were of Scotch-Irish descent.  Our branch of the family chooses to believe that they were of Scotch-Welsh descent.

Lewis is a particularly common Welsh name; is among the 25 most common surnames in England; and was also brought to Ireland by settlers.

Our Samuel -- be he of Welsh, Scotch or Irish lineage – reportedly crossed the Allegheny Mountains of Virginia five times on horseback.  He met his future wife in the backwoods of western Virginia, the area which later became the state of West Virginia.

Samuel married Sarah Floro in 1799.  She lived along the Kanawha River in western Virginia.  While Samuel was already past 30, Sarah was a young girl of 17.  Some thirty to forty years after her death, one of her sons reported that she had been born in Pennsylvania in 1785.  Another son reported her birth in Virginia in 1782.  The 1782/Virginia report is most likely.

Sarah's mother, like Samuel's, lived more than a century, dying at the age of 106 years.  She was reportedly living in the vicinity of Strawberry, TX, at the time of her daughter's death in 1847.

Samuel and his wife made their home along the Kanawha River and the first of their 15 children was born there.

In 1814, Samuel took his family to the Territory of Missouri and settled in what later became St. Francois Co., just below St. Louis.  Their son Albert Gallatin Lewis was born here on 6 MAR 1826.  Indians were a constant threat to the family.

In May of 1830, now 63 years of age, Samuel moved his family across the Mississippi River to Sangamon Co., IL.  They farmed in Illinois for fourteen years, most if not all, of which were spent in Cotton Hill twp., southeast of Springfield, in the vicinity of the town of Breckenridge.

Samuel arrived in the area just in time to be considered one of the pioneers of the county.  Abraham Lincoln also lived in the county during this period.

In June of 1844, Samuel crossed back over the Mississippi River to stake out a land claim in northwest Iowa, probably settling in Colony twp., Delaware Co., or just east of there across the line in Dubuque Co.

Both Samuel and Sarah died in Delaware Co.  Sarah died in 1847 at the age of 65.  Samuel died on 9 AUG  1867, at the age of 100 years, five months, and 22 days.

Of the 15 children born to this couple, only six were still alive by the year 1876, four living in Iowa, one in Illinois, and the whereabouts of the other unknown.   From this source, we know the names and some information about only three of them:  Maria, Alfred, and Albert Gallatin.

In the 1850 census for Dubuque Co., IA, Samuel, now a widower and 77 years old, is listed as living with four children.  Whether or not they are children, grandchildren, or other kinfolk is in question, but the best figuring allows for them to be children, even though their mother would have been still bearing children well into her 50s.

Children included in the census were Allen, 22; Samuel, 18; Narsicca, 16; and Alvin, 12 -- born when Samuel was 65 and Sarah, 57!

This information comes from an article on son A.G. Lewis printed in the "History of Clayton Co., IA,"  published by the Historical Department of Iowa in 1882, as well as the federal censuses for the time.  It is also substantiated by the younger Samuel's own obituary.

By 1860, father Samuel, now in his nineties, is living with the Joseph Sotorp family in Colony twp.  He died seven years later on 9 AUG 1867, at the age of 100, years, five months, and 21 days.

Samuel’s  and Sarah’s children:

1.         Maria, (See Notes page 17) b. 6 APR 1815, St. Francois Co., MO;  m. first William Cooper, b. 1836, Sagamon County, IL; m. second Hamilton McCoy, b. 22 MAR 1815, Mason Co., WV; d. 14 SEP 1872, Breckenridge, Sangamon Co., IL;

2.         Alfred, b. 26 MAR 1823, St. Francois Co., MO; m. Eliza J. Abell on 14 MAR 1850 at Loami; last known place of residence, Taylorville, IL; children, Sarah S., Maria A.; John S., Louisa F., and Cornelia Lewis;

3.         Albert Gallington, b. 6 MAR 1826, St. Francois Co., MO; m. Mary Ann Walter on 3 SEP 1846 At Clayton Co., IA; Mary Ann b. 20 FEB 1830 in Ohio, d. 7 MAR 1911 Columbia Falls, Flathead Co., MT; Albert Gallington d. 5 AUG 1901, Columbia Falls, Flathead Co., MT; buried Mt. Harmony Cemetery, Clayton Co., IA;

4.         Allen, b. abt 1828;

5.         Samuel, b. abt 1832;

6.         Narcissa, b. abt 1834; and

7.         Alvin, b. abt 1838.

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