Descendants of Lewis ap David of Cardiganshire, Wales

Generation #4

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.

Col. James (3Sir John, 2James ap Lewis, 1Lewis ap David) Lewis of Cardiganshire, Wales

From the Parliamentary Records of Cardiganshire, we learn:

1624. Jan. 28. James Lewis of Abernant-bychan. Son of above Sir John I,, (see 1604,) b. 1601, matric. at Jes. Coll. Oxford 14 March 1617, aged 15, was M.P. co. Card. 1624, April to Aug. 1625, Feb. to June 1626, 1628-9, April to May 1640, and Nov. 1656-8 Jan., was a Royalist at the beginning of the Civil War, but was app. one of the Sequestration Committee for cos. Cardigan, Pembroke, and Carmarthen 14 Jan. 1645, and Col. of a regiment, and captured Newcastle Emlyn for Pari. Dec. 1645 ; his regiment was ordered to be disbanded i March 1648, on the reduction of the army, though, owing to Col. Poyer's rising it was retained for some time afterwards. Information was laid before the Committee for the Advance of Money against him 12 Feb. 1649, (then styled of Kilkiffe, co. Pemb.) "that he was High Sheriff co. Pemb., fought first for the King until taken prisoner by Gen. I,augharne and kept in Pembroke 6 or 7 months, that he then accepted a commission from Laugharne, but still favoured the King's party and protected them, and though he had only 60 men and 30 horse, he cost the State ;^50,ooo,'and being made a Sequestration Commr. used his power to shield the royalists." An order was however made for his discharge 15 March 1649, under the general act of pardon for S. Wales 26 Feb. 1649. He was High Sheriff of co, Cardigan 1664, and described as a person of inoffensive, facile constitution, forced from a Royalist, to act as a Col. for King and Parliament; seldom out of publique offices, tho' averse to undertake any; loved more for doing no wrong, then for doing of any good. Sola socordia innocens" (M.S. 1661, printed in Cambrian Register.) Probably the same as James Lewis nominated a Knight of the Royal Oak 1660, having then an estate of ^700 a year.


James Lewis was born 1601 in Cardiganshire, Wales. And in about 1630, James married Elsbeth Lloyd b. c. 1610. James is truly an interesting person in history. The descendants of this Abernant-Bychan family espouse the motto "Be as Wise as Serpents; as Harmless as Doves." And, where would that motto come from?

By 1645 James was a Royalist Colonel of the local regiment during the English Civil War. In December 1645, James was captured and imprisoned for about eight months. Upon release, James was enticed to serve on the Parliamentary side where his commission was to rid the countryside of Royalists. And, that he did. But, he was most unconventional. Instead of rooting out the insurgents--mainly his family and friends--and killing them, he persuaded them to ex-migrate to America. And, now we know why the Lewis family of Abernant-Bychan immigrated to Virginia. Our Cavalier ancestors decided to purchase a birth on a ship to Virginia rather than being hanged or imprisoned for fighting on the wrong side of the English Civil War.

So, our James Lewis, acting in his office for the victorious Cromwell, was responsible for the initial wave of Lewis immigration from Wales to Virginia. And by his non-violent, persuasive methods, this family attained their motto. And to him, we give our thanks.

    Other Research

Note: Lewis ap David, James ap Lewis, Sir John Lewis, and Col. James Lewis are real people who are well documented. Current research indicates that our Lewis family of early Virginia descends from someone in the Abernant-Bychan lineage. The question is, "Who?" The following persons do not necessarily descend from Col. James Lewis but are included in this generation for research purposes.

Family#1: Edmund and James are believed to be brothers who lived on the south bank of the Rappahannock on lands which would become Middlesex Co VA.

    1. Edmund "the Immigrant" Lewis b. c. 1635 Cardiganshire, Wales

    2. James Lewis

Lancaster Co. Order Book (1656-1666), p 96:
Lancaster Court 11 Apr 1666. It appearing to this Court that Edward Boswell stands indebted unto James Lewis in the just quantity of 1654 lbs of Tobo and cask to be for goods sold him. It is ordered that the same be forthwith paid with costs.

Family #2: Zachary and Christopher are believed to be brothers who lived on land of the Middle Peninsula at the confluence of Axol and Dargon Swamp which would become King & Queen Co VA.

    3. Zachary Lewis b. c. 1640 Breconshire, Wales

    4. Christopher "the Immigrant" Lewis

Research Note: Christopher Lewis is probably the uncle of Zachary Lewis I who patented land adjacent to Christopher in King and Queen Co VA.

New Kent Co VA Record:
4/21/1684. Christopher Lewis. . .770 acres in New Kent Co VA in St. Stephens Parish in a great fork of Pyanketank Swamp by Axells Swamp, being 500 acres purchased of Lt. Col. Thomas Clayborne.
Land Books of Virginia Book 8, p. 318:
On 20 Apr 1694, Mr. Zachary LEWIS patented 500 acres in King & Queen Co VA "Beg. near the Draggon Swamp; along land granted to Thomas CLAYBORNE, now belonging to Mr. Christopher LEWIS, &c. Granted to Domingo MADERES & James JOHNSON, 8 Apr 1668, deserted, & now granted by order, &c." Dorcas Lewis and Sarah Lewis were entered as headrights.



This site is provided for reference only. Except where specifically cited, information contained is conjecture and should not be considered as fact.
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