Recognition: We, the Lewis Family Book Committee, representing all three branches of the family whose ancestors are William Perry, James (Jim), and "Doc" Joshua Lewis, wish to give recognition: To Wilma Lewis Henry, who compiled and did research on the history of the Lewis family for the period prior to the migration to Missouri in 1828; To one hundred or more members of the family who have helped to compile the family tree for the years 1828 to 1958, by writing letters from all points of the United States and by attending meetings, if they resided in Franklin Co., Mo., to discuss and provide information to the best of their ability; To Dorothy O. Moore, publisher of the St. Clair Chronicle, who helped to correlate the names, wrote the folklore, and otherwise helped beyond the normal duties of the editor and printer. (Signed) Arthur A. Lewis, of Jim Lewis descendancy; Vergil Lewis, Paul Parks, Wilma Lewis Henry, representing the William Perry Lewis descendancy; Velma Hemker Cheatham, of the "Doc" Joshua Lewis descendancy.
Dedication: We, the living descendants of William Perry Lewis, Jim Lewis, and "Doc" Joshua Lewis, dedicate this Lewis Family Book to the ancestors who gave us the heritage of spiritual strength and physical stamina-----and to the generations to come, to whom we pass the heritage. The Lewis Family of 1958
Preface: The work here presented has been undertaken to preserve the history of the Lewis family. Much information has been gathered from records found in the St. Louis Public library which has been recorded and preserved by members of the family since the early sixteen hundreds. Earlier records are in existence but not included in this work. We do not claim there are no discrepancies. It is presented as found in geneological records by those undertaking the work. Names have been spelled correctly so far as it was in our power to do so.
Coat of Arms: The Lewis Coat of Arms has a horse's head at the top and the Lewis family motto: OMNE SOLUM FORTI PATRIA EST. "Every sail to a brave man in his country first."
Origin of the Lewis Name: The name Lewis derived from the Norwegian LJODHHUS, the sounding house. The sounding house means a building which housed the men who took the depth of the sea.
The Lewis family were originally French Huguenots and left France after the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685. Three brothers, William, Samuel and John, fled to England. While crossing the English Channel they changed the original name of Louis to Lewis. Shortly afterward William removed to the north of Ireland, where he married a Miss McClelland. Samuel fixed his residence in Wales, while John continued in England. General Robert Lewis and Colonel John Lewis were sons of Samuel and came to America in 1635.
Francis Lewis, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence, was born in Llandoff, Wales, March, 1713, and came to America in 1734. Family tradition tells us we are related to Francis Lewis.
Nathan Lewis was born in Wales about the year of 1724 and arrived at the Port of Baltimore about 1760 or 1765. After a short time they moved to Sullivan Co., North Carolina. Nathan Lewis was the father of 5 children, all or most of them being born in Wales. Their names were: David, born in 1758; George and Washington, sons, and two daughters of which only one name, Rachel, is given. After the death of Nathan Lewis and his wife the estate was sold and his children all left that part of the country.
Washington Lewis went to Alabama and one of his descendants, David Peter Lewis, born July 3, 1834, son of Peter C. Lewis, was Governor of the State of Alabama from 1872 to 1874.
General Robert Lewis, native of Wales and son of Samuel Lewis, with his wife and small son William L. Lewis, born in 1632, sailed from England for America April, 1635. John, the second son of General Robert Lewis, born in 1640, was the second member of the Lewis family born in America. William became Major William L. Lewis and died in Virginia in 1667 leaving no heirs. General Robert Lewis died in 1645. His standing in England may be gauged by the fact that he brought to America with him a grant from the Crown of 33, 333 1/3 acres of land. This land was located in what is now Gloucester County, Virginia.
John, son of the General, later became known as John I. He married Isabella Warner and built Warner Hall on the Severn River in Virginia, a spacious mansion which was handed down through the generations. John I had only 1 son John II. He is usually designated as "Councilor," born in 1669 and died in 1725. He married his first cousin, Elizabeth Warner, daughter of "Speaker" Augustine Warner, who served as Speaker of the Burgess of the Virginia Assembly in 1676. Councilor John was known as the richest man in Virginia. It is said they had fourteen children but history has been preserved of only three, John Lewis III, born in 1692, Charles Lewis "Of the Byrd" born in 1696 and Robert Lewis "of Belvoir," born in 1704. Other children mentioned in the history books are Catherine, Elizabeth, Mary Elizabeth 2nd, Isabella and Annie. It is believed the others may have died in infancy. One of the sons married a sister of George Washington, their sons being nephews of George Washington.
Robert, the youngest son of "Councilor" John Lewis, who was also a Colonel, was born at Warner Hall, Gloucester County, Virginia. He married Jane Meriwether, daughter of Nicholas Meriwether, in 1725. Sometime prior to 1742 he moved to Albemarle Co., Virginia, and established "Belvoir." They had eleven children. Of the five sons, two became colonels and one a major in the Revolutionary War. One son Robert, who moved to Grantville Co., North Carolina, was a member of the Convention that framed the Constitution of that State. Of the six daughters four married men who bore the name Lewis. History has been preserved of nine f the children: John, born in 1726, married Catherine Fauntleroy; Nicholar, born in 1728, married Mary Walker; Charles, born in 1730, married his cousin, Mary Lewis; William, born in 1735, married his cousin, Lucy Meriwether; Robert, born in 1738, married his cousin Frances Lewis and moved to North Carolina; Jane, born in 1727-29, married her cousin John Lewis, son of Charles of the "Byrd;" Ann, married John Lewis, son of Zachary Lewis; Mildred married Major John Lewis and Sarah married Dr. Walter Lewis.
Meriwether Lewis, son of William and Lucy Meriwether Lewis, was private secretary to Thomas Jefferson when he was president of the United States and Mr. Jefferson appointed him leader of the Lewis and Clark Expedition in 1804 to explore the Northwestern Territory which the United States had bought from France in 1803. Meriwether was a close neighbor to Mr. Jefferson near Charlottesville, Virginia, and when he was wanted at Monticello Mr. Jefferson would signal him with a mirror reflected in the sun.
Meriwether Lewis was murdered and robbed of his money, watch and valuable papers in 1809 as he was crossing through Tennessee on a trip to Virginia from St. Louis. He is buried in what is now Lewis Co., Tn., where a monument was erected in his memory in 1848. He was govenor of the Territory of Louisiana from 1806 until his death. The watch that was stolen was later found in a pawn shop in New Orleans. This watch, his revolver, diary, compass and many other articles that he used on the Western expedition are now in Jefferson Memorial in St. Louis, given the Memorial by Dr. Anderson of Virginia, who is a great-great-grandson of Jane Lewis Anderson, a sister of Meriwether Lewis.
Dr. Charles Lilburn Lewis, a grandson of Colonel Robert Lewis, married Lucy Jefferson, the only sister of Thomas Jefferson. She died in 1811 and is buried near Kentucky Lake, a few miles East out of Paducah, on U.S. Highway 60. There the Lucy Jefferson Lewis Memorial Bridge spans the Cumberland River and on the road side is a granite shaft marking the grave of the only sister of President Jefferson.
James Lewis was a grandson of Colonel Robert Lewis of "Belvoir," and an own cousin of Meriwether Lewis. He went to Kentucky with Daniel Boone, whose niece he married. They had twelve children. He was born September 6, 1767, and was probably the son of Robert Lewis of Granville Co., North Carolina. Records are not complete on three of the daughters of Robert of Belvoir, Ann, Mildred and Sarah, all of whom married men by the name of Lewis, and James may have been a son of one of these.
Somewhere in the Northwest part of North Carolina James met and married Ann Elizabeth Stewart, who was born February 25, 1770. They sometimes spelled the name Stuart. They lived in Wilkes County. Ann was the youngest daughter of John Stewart and his wife Hannah Boone, youngest daughter of Squire Boone and a sister of Daniel Boone. At least one of his children, the oldest, William, born a year after the marriage of James, while they were still in North Carolina, died on a farm he had settled on in California in 1853. Thus it seems that this child crossed the entire continent before the days of transcontinental railroads. Another member of the Lewis family also performed this feat, Meriwether Lewis of the Lewis and Clark expedition. James and his family lived on land Southeast of Rocheport (Boone County), Missouri, known as Terrapius Neck from 1817 to 1820. Their children were: William, born September 27, 1787; Jessie born April 09, 1790; Ann, born February 27, 1792; Gideon, born September 27, 1795; Joshua, born November 26, 1797; Stewart, born May 29, 1800; Daniel, born January 02, 1802; Byrum, born August 15, 1804; Polly, born November 16, 1806; James, born November 12, 1808; Isaac, born January 29, 1811; and Elizabeth, born October 10, 1813.
James moved from North Carolina to Barren County, Kentucky, where his younger children were born. Between 1816 and 1825 they lived in Crawford Co., Indiana, St. Charles, Boone and Jackson Counties, Missouri. They had only a short stay in St. Charles County for the purpose of visiting Daniel Boone and family. James died early in the forties and both he and wife Elizabeth are buried in an old burying ground on the farm of Mr. Elliott near Platte City, Missouri.
Daniel Lewis, son of James, went to Alabama. Records do not give his wife's name, however, in 1828 Daniel accompanied by his wife and three small sons came traveling up from Alabama to Missouri, looking for a place to settle. On their way up they stopped briefly to visit with Daniel Boone and his family. Daniel's maternal grandfather, John Stewart, was with Daniel Boone on his first expedition to Kentucky and was killed by Indians. Daniel and his family ferried the Mississippi river and landed at the foot of Locust Street in St. Louis, Missouri. Not finding a suitable place for a crop in St. Louis, they went on to Herculaneum, Missouri, stayed for a while and then moved on West. They came to the Little Meramec River in Franklin County and followed it upstream until they arrived at a tiny community called Lonedell, not far from St. Clair, Missouri. It looked like the hills of Tennessee, where they had lived originally before they tried Alabama, so they stopped there.
Lewis's sole fortune in money consisted of one dollar. He bought seed with that. He built a log cabin and borrowed a team of oxen and made a crop. And that's how the Lewis family came to be established in Franklin County. Daniel homesteaded a lot of land at 12 1/2c an acre. Not for long was the family in need. Besides the three sons, William Perry, James B., and Joshua West (Doc) there were four daughters, Thankful, Jenny, Abbie and the name of the other one has been lost in time. Thankful married into the Emmons family, Jennie into the Cole family, Abbie into the Short family and the other daughter into the Nappier family. The years went by, and by the time his sever children were grown the family status had much improved. His sons and sons-in-law had homesteaded a lot of land, too, and as people say around St. Clair that just about did it, as far as that part of Franlkin County was concerned. Between the Lewises and their in-laws, they owned just about everything for miles around. They were rich in spirit, too. Through the early influence, the family has produced many Protestant ministers, most of them Baptist. Daniel and his wife and their son Joshua (Doc) are buried in the old Hamilton cemetery about a quarter of a mile from the mouth of the Little Meramec. William Perry and his wife, Miranda Short Lewis, are buried in the Oak Grove cemetery near Lonedell and James (Jim) is buried in the Johnson cemetery. They left their mark on Lonedell history, one that is apparently there to stay.
William Perry Lewis, son of Daniel Lewis, was born in Alabama, April 08, 1821, and died near Lonedell at the home of his youngest son on his old homestead where he had resided for almost 62 years, on April 20, 1908, at the age of 87 years and 12 days. He married Miranda Short. There were nine children, Dan Lewis, Dave Lewis, Perry Lewis, Jr., Simon Lewis, Lydia Lewis, Mahala Lewis Arnold, Mary Lewis Wagoner, Miranda Lewis Todd, Julia Lewis Pritchett. William Perry gave the ground for the Oak Grove cemetery where he and his wife and many of his descendants are buried.
James B. Lewis, son of Daniel Lewis was married to.......... They had ........children. Dan Lewis, William Lewis, Woodson Lewis, Edward Lewis, John Lewis, Abbie Lewis Harrington, Sally Lewis McKay, Mary Ann Lewis Pierce, Ellen Lewis Pierce.
Joshua West Lewis (Doc) was married to Margaret Dianne......... There were six children, Abigail Lewis Wagoner, Amanda Lewis Williams, Mary Lewis Rodgers, Daniel Joshua Lewis, Robert Henry Lewis, Mahala Adelina Lewis Hemker.
The first family reunion was held June 16, Father's Day, 1957, just 129 years after Daniel Lewis and his family came to Franklin Co., Missouri. It was held at the Oak Grove church, which sits away off by itself about ten miles from St. Clair. It is reached by a dirt road, and it sits on a hilltop and all you can see for miles around are wooded hills and shaded valley with now and then a farmhouse. The church was originally built in 1885, mostly by Lewises. Across the dirt road from the church is the burying ground and theire are a lot of Lewis names on the tombstones. Some are the old slab-type stones, crudely carved, now covered with the gray and black of time. Huge trees grow thick in the cemetery, casting a cool shade, and here the descendants of Daniel Lewis gathered June 16, 1957. It was a fitting place for the reunion, because William Perry Lewis, one of Daniel's sons, gave the ground for the church and the cemetery. The event was attended by some five hundred relatives.
Lewis Family Records Include Land Grants:
Yellowed legal documents and a handwritten textbook by William Perry Lewis bear an especial significance today.
Among the documents are original land grants dated 1838, 1848, and 1849. Let's go back a bit in the Lewis history. Daniel Lewis and his wife, with their children, moved from North Carolina to Alabama, on to Herculaneum, Mo., for a year, and finally settled at what is now Lonedell about 1828.
The earliest deed in the family collection is to Jesse Short, signed by President Martin Van Buren. It covered 146 acres in the southwest quarter of the southeast quarter of section 27, and the northeast quarter of section 34 (south of Meramec River) in Township 42, Range 1 East, in the District of Lands subject to sale at St. Louis. The deed reads "Whereas Jesse Short of Franklin Co., Mo., has deposited in the General Land Office of the United States, a Certificate of the Register of the Land Office." Signed by the President Sept. 07, 1838.
The stuffiness of legal jargon fades if one considers the Lewis annals as a story. It is in fact a story...one which people lived right here in Franklin Co., in a not too distant past. It would be interesting to learn who owns today the land granted to Jesse Short in 1838.
The next grant is William P. Lewis in 1848. Signed by President James Knox Polk, February 01, 1848, it is Certificate No. 15488 and conveys to William P. Lewis of Franklin Co., Missouri, the southeast quarter of the southeast quarter of Section One in Township 41 of Range One East in the District of Land, subject to sale at St. Louis, 40 acres. William Perry Lewis was apparently the brother-in-law of Jesse Short. Who owns the 40 acres today which were granted to William Perry Lewis in 1848?
Another 40 acres were added to William Perry Lewis' holdings a year later. By Certificate No. 16864 he was granted 40 acres of the northeast quarter of the southeast quarter of Section One in Township 41 of the Range One East, in the District of Lands, subject to sale at St. Louis. President Zachary Taylor signed the grant June 20, 1849. Does anyone know who owns the land now?
Candlelight and Quill:
William Perry Lewis was a learned man though it is doubtful whether he could attend school in the Lonedell wilderness. Browsing through a textbook which must have taken years to compile and noting the complicated problems in inverse proportion, Simple Proportion or The Single Rule of Three; Compound Reduction; Compound Division, Multiplication; Subtraction; Addition; Apothecary, Troy, and other weights; Land, Cloth, Long, Liquid and Dry Measure; writing original promissory notes and other lessons, one wonders whether the children of today would not be more benefited if they were taught more of the Three R's.
He worked by candlelight, after his farm work was to use. He probably made his own ink. It is brown today but might have been blue or purple (poke berry ink?) when he applied it to the paper.
He worked out mathematical equations, practiced penmanship with a shaded flourish, and on October 4, 1840 addressed Mr. N.P. Hibbard as follows:
"You will pay my old friend John Not five dollars six days after date, and you will much oblige yur old friend William P. Lewis."
On September 24, 1840, William Perry Lewis wrote to his brother James (the Plez Lewis line descends from Jim Lewis)...."Dear Brother, I imbrace the opitunity of addressing you a few lines to inform you that I am well, hoping when these few lines arrive to hand, they may reach you enjoying the same blessing. The health of the people are generally good this season in this neighborhood. Crops are very fine this season. There have been several weddings since you left here. Andy Walls would have maryed, but his lover was not in the same notion or he was too bashful to ask her the question and for the same reason I am single and a good many others I have no dout, but there is time enough for me by and by. I must conclude my nonsense. Father and Family is all well. I want you to rite me how it is with you, whether you are in Andrew's fix and mine or not, or what progress you are making. Remain your Effectionate Brother William P. Lewis."
The book is bound in a skin, probably sheep or calf, that was tanned at home. At first glance it appears to have been scorched. Dan'l Arnold, grandson of William P. Lewis, states that the lye from wood ashes was used to "cure" the hides before scraping. The burns in the hide probably resulted from lye.
Used English Money:
The lesson book refers repeatedly to methods for the compound reduction of "Federal" money. And what was federal money? Today we know and use only one kind of currency and we take for granted that it is United States money. Not so in the early 1840's. Here in Franklin Co., the Lewis family had to know how many pounds and pence they had with which to buy salt or Irish Linen, and how those pounds or pence could be converted, if necessary, to "Federal" money.
English money was apparently used in all of the Eastern United States.
Here is a notation by William Perry Lewis in his lesson book: "To change pounds Pennsylvania currency to federal money, annex two cyphers to their numbers then multiply by 8, and divide the product by 3; the quotient will be cents which reduce to dollars."
And again: "A genderal rule to change the currency of each of the States to Federal money, reduce the given sum to shillings or to sixpences or to pence, and to these annex two cyphers, then divide by the number of shillings, sixpences, or pence in a Dollar. As it happens, in each State, the quotient will be cents. For the value of a Dollar, see the Table at page 65." (How many pounds Pennsylvania currency in $560? Answer: 210 pounds.)
He gave the formula to reduce the New England or Virginia currency, and that of South Carolina, Georgia, and "Pencilvany," to Federal money.
The lesson book is the property of Dan'l Arnold, who lent it to the newspaper for this report. It has been carefully protected and the pages are as legible as they must have been in 1840, 1841 and 1842 when they were written, seven years before he received a grant to his first 40 acres.
Dan'l Arnold remembers acutely the time he was sent to plow for some Indian neighbors. His team dragged a single shovel wooden mouldboard plow (and himself) four miles to the home of Indians. He worked hard all morning. There was a great fuss in the Indians' kitchen. They were preparing a treat for their dinner guest. When he sat down to the meal he learned they had caught grasshoppers and had mixed them into the cornbread dough as a delicacy. The meal was cooked in open coals and ordinarily cornbread was his favorite, but he couldn't go grasshoppers. He went home hungry that night, having worked extra hard in order not to have to stay another day. There's an old Indian cemetery back in the woods near Mt. Hope, he says. They thrived on their delicacies, but eventually time took its toll.
David Lewis and family and George Lewis and family, who had left Sullivan Co., North Carolina, after the death of their parents, Nathan Lewis and wife, had settled in Tennessee. In 1808 or 1809 they started to Missouri. They came a days trail and stayed all night at Uncle John Crockett's. Uncle John was the father of Davey Crockett. The next day, John, Davey's brother, came with them a days trail, stayed one night and went back the next day. That was very common in those days for some one to go a day or so trail with persons starting to a new country. Little Davey had run away from the school master and his father. Davey's mother thought his father was too hard on him and they both cried while talking about it.
The Family of Perry Lewis, Sr....... OBITUARY of Wm. Perry Lewis
The angel of death entered our community and taken from us Mr. Wm. P. Lewis Sr., who after a few weeks of suffering yielded to the summons of his creator on April 20, 1908, at the age of 87 years and 12 days. He died at the home of his youngest son on his old homestead where he had resided for almost 62 years.
Mr. Lewis was born in Alabama April 08, 1821. He came to Missouri with his parents when but a small boy and settled near Herculaneum, Mo., where he resided for a short time. He then came to Franklin county, near Lonedell, Mo., where he spent his remaining days. In 1857 he joined the Baptist church and a short time later was chosen deacon and filled the office until death.
He was a true Christian man, of genial disposition. Was always willing and ready to lend a helping hand to the needy and was widely known as "Old Uncle Perry." He leaves eight children, 44 grandchildren, 45 great-grandchildren, Dave, Perry and Simon Lewis, Mrs. Maranda Todd, Mrs. Julie Pritchett, Miss Lydia Lewis. His wife and two children preceded him in death.
Eld. J. B. Emmons conducted the funeral services and his remains were laid to rest by the side of his wife at Oak Grove Cemetery Tuesday, April 21, 1908. Father, Grandfather, we miss thee so much, thy chair by the fireside is vacant, thy voice is still in death, but we would not wish thee back. Farewell we know thou are sweetly resting with loved ones gone before and will soon meet thee in Heaven where parting will be no more.
©1998 Roxann Gess Smith
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