Sunday, December 5, 2010

Meet Samuel Lewis, youngest son of John Lewis of Westerly, R.I.

 We now venture into the life of Samuel Lewis.  He is born in 1672 and is the youngest son of John Lewis, who you have met previously.  Samuel grows into manhood in Westerly, Rhode Island where in the year of 1689 he marries Joanna Crandall.  He is building his wealth largely by purchasing and selling land. In 1692, Samuel deeds one-hundred acres to Jane Babcock, wife of Job Babcock, who declares that he gives his wife full power to purchase land and disowning any right for himself. On June, 28, 1709, we witness Samuel acquire even more land; this purchase will be known as the "Shannock Purchase". This is the second largest land grant of the Rhode Island colony during the division of the vacated Indian lands in 1709.  The Naragansett (we have met them already through John Lewis and the negotiation of Misquamicut, today known as Westerly) and Niantic Indians agree to sell the land in exchange for permanent possession of land in the town of Charlestown.  The Shannock Purchase encompasses a large part of what is now known as Richmond.  A committee is put in place to organize and oversee the "Shannock Purchase":

"Know all men by these presents that we Weston Clark, Randall Holden, Richard Greene, Philip Tillinghast being a committee appointed and fully empowered by the Government and Company of the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations to dispose and make sale of the vacant lands in ye Narragansett County for and in consideration of the sum of 486 pound 2 shillings currant money of New England well and truely paid unto us who receive ye same in behalf and for the use of ye Governor and Company afore sd of and at the hand of William Gibson, Nicholas Utter, Samuell Tift, fransis Colgrene, George Babcock, George Foster, William Knowles, Samuell Clark, John Eanos, William Clark, Thomas Parker, James Deny, Daniel Wilcocks, Daniel Tenant, Samuell Lewis, William Utter, John Witter, Peter Tift, Jeremiah Crandall, Eber Crandall, Samuell Perry, Joseph Brown, Weston Clark, John Tift and Nicholas Utter, Junior, all inhabitants of Westerly Kingstown and Newport."
Map of the Shannuck Purchase

Samuel and Joanna are not only very prosperous land owners, but also the proud parents of two sons and two daughters. Samuel, born 1689; Jonathan, born 1690; Joanna, born 1692, who marries Benjamin Tanner; and Sarah born 1694, who marries James Fordice. Unfortunately, some time before August of 1734, Sarah passed away, a sad day indeed. Overall though, life has treated the Samuel Lewis household very well.

It is the fifth day of August 1734 and we watch Samuel take a seat at his old heavy bureau, lay out a sheet of paper, dip the pen in the ink pot and begin to put forth his last will.  We know it is rude to look over his shoulder and read what he has to say, but we can't help ourselves to at least catch a glimpse of his written word. And we read:

"To wife Joanna 5 pounds yearly for life which I promised to give her for signing a deed to land sold Henry Knowles, and 400 pounds to be laid out of estate for her to have the interest of for comfortable maintainance.  To son Samuel 5 shillings he having had.  To son Jonathan 5 shillings.  To daughter Joanna Tanner 5 shillings. To dauther Sarah's son John Fordice 100 pounds to lay out in lands by executor.  To son Samuel's children, son Jonathan's children and daughter Joanna Tanner's children the rest of estate at the ages of twenty-one and eighteen and at deceaseof wife they to have what is left of household goods and 400 pounds."  

We watch him sign his name, date the document and place his seal on it.

The unfortunate day of Samuel Lewis' demise is upon us, this first day of February, 1739.  Joanna, due to age, is forced to give the position of executor to her son Jonathan. In a letter she writes:" To the Honorable Town Council of Westerly these lines are to desire you that your honors would be pleased to give my son Jonathan Lewis ye letter of Administration upon his fathers estate for I myself are not capable of riding and doing of business by reason of age, and in doing of which you will oblige yours to serve." (Witness: John Maxson and Benjamin Burdick).  Samuel's inventory is worth more than 2800 pounds.  He is laid to rest at the Lewis Cemetery in Westerly [the one mentioned in my previous post], where his parents were buried before him.

We will now follow the mentioned son of Samuel and Joanna, Jonathan Lewis, born in 1690.  What say you, are you ready?

 And just for fun and an interesting read, i am including the publication of Keith G. Lewis for your reading pleasure:  (you can even use the scroll bar and search feature !!!)

Source of Information:
-- The genealogical dictionary of Rhode Island; by John Osborne Austin;
-- Family History of Ladd J. Lewis, by Ladd J. Lewis;
-- The Ancestry of Nathan Lewis Harrison revisited nineteen years later, by Keith G. Lewis;
-- The descendants of Robert Burdick of Rhode Island; by Nellie Willard Johnson;
-- Isaih Babcock, Sr. and his descendants, by A. Emerson Babcock
-- New England Marriages prior to 1700, by Clarence Almon Torry, Elizabeth Petty Bentley
-- The early history of the Narragansett, by  Elisha Reynolds Potter
-- New England Families, genealogical and memorial, by William Richard Cutter 
-- Lewisiana or Lewis Letters
Web site source:

** Many publications state the marriage year of Samuel and Joanna as 1695.  However, in Keith G. Lewis' book The Ancestry of Nathan Lewis Harrison revisited nineteen years later, page 240, the author gives the year 1689, which, to me, makes more sense, given the birth years of their children;
** Many list Joanna's death year as 1734, which cannot be so, as she, in 1739 gives the position of executor to his son due to age.  This shows that she died after Samuel, not before.


  1. And on goes the story... people who lived "normal" hard-working lives, unremarkable, yet fascinating... and one who is not only remarkable, but resourceful and unremitting in her task, brings these formerly lost and quiet souls back to life for us. As the song and the saying goes, we are lifted by their efforts, we owe what we are to what they fought to accomplish. Much of what we have become would not have been possible without their persistence, courage and resilience... Thank you for telling us the Lewis' - we can all relate to their story... You are just the most bestest...

  2. Good morning, Tom... well, i try my best :-) I have to tell you though, learning of this family truly puts things into perspective. Such as the importance or unimportance of "stuff" (a word you may substitute for any which word you like). Wait until i get to tell about the soldier(s) of the Revolutionary War.. The Lewis' had a few of those... Thanks for being a reader of their story ;-) Hugs and stuff ;-)

  3. OMG Liane, I love this. And I can tell you put so much into it....I need to go back and read from the start!!!

    And... just fyi, I'd walk with you anywhere.. :x


  4. You did your utmost best my sweet kitten.....well...very well written with all of this vast information. I could go on-line and look for info, but I was very fortunate to have had a book...that goes way back...on my late mum's's huge too...and tells of all the many things that went on Please keep doing what you are doing Liane..It is wonderful to dig deep into family history...My great great great uncle called for a doctor when Abraham Lincoln was shot!!! Can you believe that?! I luv history...specially family and you have done well...extremely well....

  5. Mary... I'm thrilled that you came by and liked it... keep walking with me? One day, i will be in Yuma for my research and perhaps.. well, you know.. ;-)

    Carol... You know, i started all this with just a picture and a name: C.L.Lewis... it's crazy how far I've come.. one day i will write a blog about just that. finding out what C.L. stands for and how I then could put together the piece to finally get to "where it all began"... sure is quite the ride ;-) glad you're here reading it... You mention that your gr gr gr uncle called for a doctor when Abraham Lincoln was shot... isn't it neat when History gets the feel of real? Thanks for walking with me, my Vixen!!

  6. I will always walk with you Liane....I want to learn more...I may not seem like the type to be into this...but I am very much so. I was amazed at that story about my gr gr gr uncle.....and I am amazed at the history your family has...Lewis' family I should say. You have a fascinating way with words and capture one's attention....Thank you Liane...;-)

  7. Amazing how much you have uncovered. I am curious as the the numerous hours you have spent, all of which are so worth the time and effort. I am waiting for the next episode with baited breath or is that bad breath, any way, excellent job, I am sure the Lewis's are pleased with yoru hard work.

  8. My my my, Liane. This is wonderful. I love the way you have incorporated the ancestral chart as one of the photos. It came out great. Now I am curious as to what you used to make this particular photo! Thanks for your vivid imagination, which can take the truth and put it into a fascinating journal of generations.

  9. Curt... I have started this not quite a year ago... concentrating just on the "Lewis"-side (meaning the family with the Lewis surname) didn't start until a few months ago. I've spent hours upon hours reading books, publications, going to museums etc., all to get the story right.. or at least as close to the real story. I will integrate some "Intermissions" and tell the How-to's that i followed and/or created for myself.. better pay attention, there will be a

  10. Lindy... the chart I created in microsoft powerpoint and saved the presentation slide as a jpg, that's all... I thought, looking at the chart might be interesting, as I included tons of people not mentioned in the actual stories, i.e. children's children and/or spouses. i will continue doing so with each following post; the thought being that someone who researches this family as well might learn something they didn't find yet. What do you think of it? ;-)

  11. Liane you have done a very detailed drawing here for us. I can help but think though for as much as you have put into it, yet again that much might be missing of the real truth, the real nuts and bolt so to speak. But what you have done says a lot about you, your attention to detail is wondrous. The civil war is one of my most favorite times and I have down huge amounts of study in this area and cannot wait to see where you go with this.

  12. WoW

    I had to go back and will again there is still much i got to read.
    This is a lot of work and you did a fantastic job.
    I enjoy this kind of reading.
    History is one of my favorite subjects and there is lots of it here

  13. Sir Thomas... good morning... always sooo nice to see you. Of course, it is quite the challenge to put together a story filled with life facts when one has little. I wish i could find a diary from each and everyone of them, but i am not that lucky. I rely on lots of reading material and what was put down into books to create somewhat a feel for the person I am writing about. Just be assured that I never make up anything and present it as a fact.. I only write what I read in publications and only if it is repeated. A time capsule would be nice.. i'd go back and have a chat with them... :-) I am soooooo glad you are reading my silly research results ;-) kisses, as always ;-)

  14. Walker... Thank you so much ;-) lots of work, indeed... a lot of hair-loss too... Rogain might have to be on a grocery list Glad you enjoy this kind of reading... perhaps i can keep you entertained for a little while longer ;-) Next post will be up soon ;-)

  15. Love your lttle santa outfit!!!

  16. Hello new second cousin! What a wonderful, exciting read to a side of my family that I have very little knowledge of. My immediate family thanks you for all of your hard work. Cant wait to see this unfold!

    -Edd Lewis

  17. Edd... thanks for joining me here... I will continue adding posts soon ;-)


What say you?