|Note: Information on the Lewis Family before Walden Lewis b. c. 1774 in Virginia comes from assumptions based on multiple sources. Therefore, the information on this page is not reliable for genealogical purposes. A detailed discussion of the many connections can be found at Lewis Family Research.|
John (3James, 2James, 1Edmund) Lewis of Essex Co VA
John Lewis was born in about 1721 in Essex Co VA. John is the descendant of James Lewis and Elizabeth Long as proven by James' probate record from 8/1762.
On 2/20/1721, John's parents were gifted 100 acres at the head of Taliaferro's Branch in what is now Caroline Co VA by Grandfather Richard Long. And, locating this grant is important for future generations of the Lewis family. Taliaferro's Branch is located on the Rappahannock River in northern Caroline county just across from Dogue VA. The land was part of an original patent by Richard Long adjacent to Elizabeth's Uncle Gabriel Long. In 1734, this would become the location of the ferry operated by the Taliaferros and the Tankersleys.
In 1728, Caroline Co was split from Essex Co VA. But, John and his parents are seldom found in records. Why? The Lewis family attended St. Mary's Parish in Caroline county. And, those parish registers, including deeds and wills, no longer exist.
Again, a continuing theme is allied families. John's mother, Elizabeth Long Lewis, was the cousin (1C1R) of Mary Long who married George Tankersley [#1] and was the mother of George Tankersley, Sr. [#2]. That means that John would have been intimately acquainted with the Tankersleys.
In 1734, the Virginia House of Burgesses authorized construction of a ferry from the Roy's warehouse on the Caroline side to the Gibson's warehouse on the Prince George side of the river. William Taliaferro was the first operator of the ferry. Taliaferro Mount, a prominent geographic feature on the Rappahannock River, was named for him.
George Tankersley, Sr. was born in about 1726 and was effectively the contemporary of this John Lewis. George Tankersley [#1], father of George, Sr. [#2], was the first Tankersley to operate the ferry to Dogue Creek on the Prince George side of the river. In 1767 at Port Royal, Caroline Co VA, George, Sr. [#2] married Dorothy Roy b. 1743 in Caroline Co VA.
Research Note: The Roys are important because the function of the original ferry at Taliaferro's Mound was to service the Roy's tobacco warehouse. From Colonial Caroline (p. 175), we learn that the Roy family actually owned the tobacco warehouse, wharf and ferry across the Rappahannock. Their ownership and control of these utilities was described as "the Roy family's stranglehold on public services and utilities in the vicinity of Port Royal."
The best record for this John is the 1746 debt for John Lewis, Boatwright. The term boatwright is important for understanding John and his place in society. First, he was a skilled craftsman; and, he would have traveled in the upper levels of society. Additionally, he would have lived along the Rappahannock River which is navigable as far as Fredericksburg, the head of navigation. A possible descendant, John Lewis b. c. 1775, married Caroline Tankersley whose father operated the ferry at Roy's warehouse and wharf to Dogue Creek across the river. Was this Lewis family both employed by and closely related to George Tankersley, Sr.? As a boatwright, John would have worked for Cousin George, the headman on the river. And, it would have been under the Tankersleys or the Roys that John would have learned his craft.
From the other Lewis records in Caroline, we learn that John was a drunkard and neglected his children. Sounds about normal. Anyway, this John was still important; as he was the father of the next generation of Lewises.
Born c. 1721 Essex Co VA
1728 Caroline Co split from Essex Co VA
8/1734 Authorization for Tankersley's ferry
OF VIRGINIA, AUGUST 1734: GEORGE II.
An Act for appointing several new Ferries: And lessening the former rates settled for the Ferriage of Wheel-Carriages: And altering several Court days.
I. WHEREAS the ferries already appointed by law are not sufficient, Be it enacted, by the Lieutenant-Governor, Council and Burgesses, of this present General Assembly, and it is hereby enacted, by the authority of the same, That public ferries be constantly kept at the places herein after named; and that the rates for passing the said ferries, be as follows: that is to say,
New ferries established. . .
And from Roy's warehouse landing, in the county of Caroline, over the river, to Gibson's warehouse, in the said county of King George, the price for a man, four pence, and for an horse, four pence.
Married c. 1740 in Caroline Co VA to an unknown spouse
1746-1757 Caroline Co VA Records
Lewis Records in Caroline Co VA:
8/1762 Caroline Co VA Probate
| Caroline Co VA Court Order Book, p. 342:
13 Aug 1762. Petition: Judith, John and James Lewis, Executors of the last will and testament of James Lewis, Ag. James Parish. Judgement for 2 lbs current money.
Died after 2/1765 Caroline Co VA
Co VA Probate:
1765, Feb 14 Last Will & Testament: John Lewis.
Witness: Mary Atchison. Caroline Co., VA
1766 Caroline Co VA Probate
Caroline, p. 479:
1766. John Lewis, decedent; John Lewis, Jr. executor
1. Joseph Lewis b. c. 1740 Caroline Co VA
2. John Lewis b. c. 1743 Caroline Co VA