Descendants of Lewis ap David of Cardiganshire, Wales

Generation #?

As I have frequently stated:
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. . . .
Because, with new information comes new updates.

 

How did we get here? I used to show:

Descendants of Richard Lewis of
Greenmeadow Manor, Monmouthshire, Wales

But, now I don't. Why?

1. Ending research on the Lewis of the Van family:

For decades, this research focused on the Lewis of the Van family who owned lands in Glamorganshire & Monmouthshire, Wales, and Wilton, England. As part of this research, I regularly correspond with other researchers, many of whom are much more qualified than I. One most qualified researcher, Robert JCK Lewis author of Lewis Patriarchs of Early VA and MD, postulates that this Lewis family descends from the Lewis Family of Abernant Bychan, Cardiganshire, Wales.

2. Changing the Crest & Shield: The Spoon of Destiny

For some time, there has been confusion as to the arms supposedly claimed by the different Lewis families of Virginia. The different families were not confused. We, the researchers were. Robert JCK Lewis, in his book, has answered this question rather well. But, some continue to perpetuate incorrect conclusions.

 From a secondary source, we receive incorrect information:

The Zachary Lewises of Wales

An old copy of Burke's Heraldry gives this Lewis family the following arms:
[No, Burke's Heraldry gives the Lewis of Abernant Bychan family the following arms.]
Shield--gules, three serpents mowed in triangle argent, with a border or
Crest--a horse's head couped bridled ppr.
Motto--Be as Wise as a Serpent, Harmless as a Dove

. . .The above crest is engraved on a very old silver spoon owned by John Overton Smith of Beaver Dam, Hanover County VA. He is a direct descendant of Zachary Lewis of Virginia.

My Note. "The above crest"; not arms or crest and shield. The author conflated the crest found on a spoon with the combined arms from Heraldic sources.

The same old Heraldry further states that the history of the ancient Lewis family is contained in the Book of the House of the Golden Grove. . .Burke's Heraldry further states that these Zachary Lewises descend from Ednowain Lord Thys [Rhys?] Bradwain near Dolgelly Co. Mersoueth [Merionethshire], founder of the 15th Noble Tribe of North Wales and Coways [Powys]. [Well, no.]

My Note. The above lineage is for the Lewis family of Abernant Bychan. The Zachary Lewis family of Brecknockshire, Wales, does not descend from the Lewis family of Cardiganshire/ Merionethshire/ Gwynedd, Wales.

    Lewis, Meriwethers and their Kin (1938) <https://books.google.com/books> 30 September 2020.

But from the primary source which celebrates the Lewis Congress of 1894, we find the truth:

a. Reportedly, a large silver spoon was placed on display during the 1894 Lewis Congress at Bel-Air Plantation, Spotsylvania Co VA. On the spoon was engraved the crest--a horse's head bridled--and shield--three snakes intertwined--of the Lewis family of Abernant Bychan. That is not true.

b. In the pamphlet celebrating the Lewis Congress, the List of Relics pp. 127-129 contains "the spoons of Sarah Travers." No others.

c. The Smith family who married into the Zachary Lewis family was in possession of a large silver spoon with an engraved crest--a horse's head bridled.

John Snelson Smith [s/o Dorothea Lewis & Charles Smith] married his first cousin, Martha Bickerton Lewis, daughter of Benjamin Lewis and Martha Bickerton. They were parents of Benjamin Lewis Smith, who married Ann Harris. Their son, John O. Smith, aged 70 years, lives at Beaver Dam, Hanover county, Virginia. There has been handed down to him a large silver spoon with a crest engraved upon it, a horse's head and neck with bridle on.

    "Another Smith Family," Tyler's Quarterly and Genealogical Magazine <https://play.google.com/books/> 28 September 2020.

d. The author of the pamphlet on the Lewis Congress inserted a crest and shield (see below). I choose to believe that he, a direct descendant of Zachary Lewis, had better information than we do nearly one hundred and thirty years later.

Additionally, Robert JCK Lewis shared his understanding of the family crest and shield for this Lewis family of Middlesex Co VA. From his description, I created the family arms by combining the bridled red horse crest and the red shield with three snakes, intertwined, and the cited Lewis Family motto, utilizing drawings he so graciously provided before I bought his book.

3. Researching the Abernant Bychan family:

I participate in the Lewis Surname DNA Project. Recently, I was notified of a perfect (37/37) match to John Lewis of Franklin Co KY. While researching this family, I came learn about the Henry Lewis family of Culpeper Co VA and Franklin Co KY. Reportedly, their genealogy is proven all the way back to Richard Lewis of Middlesex Co VA and the Lewis family of Abernant Bychan, Wales. 

After corresponding with other researchers, it is apparent that the pedigree for the Henry Lewis family is incomplete and incorrect at best. Serious investigation indicates that the Henry Lewis family descends from Henry Lewis, one of two Lewis brothers of Stratton Major Parish, New Kent Co VA. And, not the Lewises of Abernant Bychan, Wales.

Previous research indicated that my Lewis family might be related to the Zachary Lewis family of Spotsylvania Co VA. However, a recent DNA test proves no connection. But, this research continues to look at other Lewis families who potentially descend from the Abernant-Bychan family.

4. Deleting John Lewis d. 1749 Fredericksburg VA:

Going up the family tree, I searched to find a connection for Walden Lewis to the Lewis family of Spotsylvania Co VA. After decades of research, we believe Walden Lewis descends from William Lewis d. 1763 Fredericksburg, VA. There was an attempt to connect William to other Lewis families, but there was no evidence. We, my Dad and I and several others, kept looking for a John Lewis who would be the father of William Lewis d. 1763 and might have been of Fredericksburg VA. But, we kept finding no connection. Subsequently, I have come to understand that the elder, notable John Lewis of Fredericksburg was the John Lewis who married Elizabeth McGrath. Therefore, I no longer claim a John Lewis of Fredericksburg, father of William.

William Terrell Lewis' 1893 book states that John Lewis, Jr. married Elizabeth McGrath, sister to Mary (McGrath ) Hart, third wife of Maj. David Lewis. Elizabeth McGrath married secondly Col. James Taylor III of Caroline Co., and they apparently had at least one child (Bodie. vols 7 & 8). Zachary Taylor, brother of Col. James Taylor III, was the grandfather of Pres. Zachary Taylor. I am inclined to think John Lewis, Jr. was the John Lewis who died at F'burg in 1749 with adm. of the estate started by Elizabeth Lewis and completed by William Lewis.

Dr. Arnold Lewis
November 1977

5. Deleting George Lewis & Richard Lewis of Middlesex Co VA:

Continuing up the family tree, we looked at a George Lewis who might have been a descendant of Richard "the Immigrant" Lewis b. 1609. George is probably fictitious. Richard b. 1609 is probably a dead end; as he probably had no sons other than William who died early with the estate going to William's sisters. 

6. Finding the connection up from William Lewis of Fredericksburg:

With the new start at William d. 1763 Fredericksburg VA, I looked again at any and all records. From a 1756 Spotsylvania probate, there is a connection to the Long family of Caroline Co VA. And from the Longs, we connect to James Lewis of Caroline and then James Lewis of Middlesex Co VA.

12/7/1756 Spotsylvania Co VA Probate Proceeding:
100. William LEWIS, guard. to Elizabeth LONG, orph. of Samuel LONG, with Thomas HAYDON, sec. Dec. 7, 1756.

A possible connection to the Zachary Lewis family comes from the 1756 Deed of Gift from James Lewis of Caroline Co VA to Zachary Lewis of Spotsylvania Co VA.

1756 Caroline Co VA Land Transaction:
According to Caroline Co VA Court Orders of 1756, there was a " Deed of Gift from James Lewis to Zachary Lewis." This is the only reference which connects the Zachary Lewis Family of Fredericksburg with the Lewises of Caroline Co VA.

 

Where do we go from here?

I have come to understand that so many seemingly disparate Lewis families are more interrelated than I thought. Robert JCK Lewis was right to attempt to trace the many lineages back to Wales and England. But, that level of research is beyond my ability. What I can do is to look at the Lewis families who immigrated to Virginia and attempt to find the connections.

What I have learned is that the Lewis Family of Abernant Bychan arrived very early to Virginia, leaving lots of descendants. As these family members married, had children, and moved on, the predominant migration pattern was west, up the Rappahannock River, settling on the new lands of Colonial Virginia. This pattern is proven by results from the DNA project:

I. The northern branch of the Lewis family settled the lands south of the Rappahannock River.
-1645 James Lewis I immigrated to York Co VA. He settled new lands on Sunderland Creek south of the Rappahannock River.
-1662 Edmund Lewis, purported son of James I, also settled on Sunderland Creek.
-James I had a son, James Lewis II of Middlesex Co VA.
-James II had a son, James Lewis III of Middlesex Co VA, who married Joanna Kilbee.
-Their son, James Lewis IV of Caroline Co VA, married Elizabeth Long.

From Middlesex Co VA:
1. In Old Essex, now Caroline, we find John Lewis.
-In Caroline, we find four descendants of Joseph Lewis, Sr.
2. & 3. Two descendants of Joseph Lewis, Jr. who migrated to Warren Co KY.
4. & 5. And, Reuben Kennedy of Culpeper & William Young of Page Co VA.
6. & 7. From Caroline, we go west to Spotsylvania where we find the family of Walden Lewis & Taverner Lewis, both of whom migrated to Georgia and then Mississippi.
-In Spotsylvania, we also find four descendants of James "the Steward" Lewis.
8. James Lewis of Louisa Co VA who migrated to Madison Co AL.
9. & 10. Two descendants of Yelverton Lewis who migrated to Woodford Co KY.
11. And, James Lewis who migrated to Lincoln Co MO.

II. The southern branch of the Lewis family migrated south of the James, settling on lands reaching south to the Carolina border.
-James Lewis had a son, James Lewis of Middlesex Co VA, who married Joanna Kilbee.
-Their son, Joshua Lewis of Southampton Co VA, married Martha Marsden.
-Joshua's descendants migrated due south to Northampton Co NC.
12. & 13. In Person Co NC, we find Edmund Lewis who is closely related to John Lewis of Franklin Co KY.

III. The unknown match.
14. Then, there is the match for James McDonald for which we have no information.

The only potentially controversial genealogical connections contained herein are where I list:
a) Walden Lewis of Virginia & Georgia & Mississippi as the grandson of  William Lewis of Fredericksburg
b) and James Lewis of Middlesex as the son of James Lewis who is found in 1666 on Sunderland Creek, Lancaster (now Middlesex) Co VA.
Are these connections absolutely proven? No. But, this is the best understanding I have to date.

 

Back to the Beginning

The first proven ancestor of this branch of the Lewis Family is Walden Lewis of 1Fredericksburg VA, 2Morgan Co GA, and 3Jasper Co MS

Walden Lewis of Virginia was born about 1774, probably in Fredericksburg VA. Evidence of Walden's place of birth as Virginia is found with daughter Mary Parker in the 1880 Jasper Co MS Census and in the biography of great-grandson Milton Alexander Lewis (s/o Alexander Lewis s/o Willis Lewis s/o Walden Lewis). Milton Alexander Lewis served in the Mississippi Legislature in 1908, representing Jasper County. The Mississippi Legislative biographical record states, "His paternal ancestors came from Virginia to Georgia in the early part of the last century; his great-grandfather, Walden Lewis, fought in the Indian Wars."

Note the plural "ancestors." This would indicate that at least two generations. Walden and his father,  made the arduous trek to Georgia. And, that is what my research indicates.

Generation #1

Caveat

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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