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John Terrell Lewis
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Birth: Nov. 20, 1728
Hanover County
Virginia, USA
Death: Jan. 23, 1784
Albemarle County
Virginia, USA

John was the son of David Lewis and his wife Ann Elizabeth Betty Terrell. He was born and spent his young life in Hanover, Virginia. Years later his sister Anna wrote a letter and stated she was born next to the Hanover Court House. By 1734, John's father, David had acquired the 1st patent west of the Rivanna River along with his brother-in-law Joel Terrell. Both the Lewis and Terrell families moved to what became Charlottesville, Virginia some time after 1734. John married Sarah Taliaferro on the 3rd of March 1750 in Hanover and they had nine children, four of his sons served in the War of the American Revolution. Sarah died in 1769 and John married second Susan Clarkson who gave him three children. John moved with his family to Rutherford, North Carolina. But on his father's death in 1779 he returned to Charlottesville and lived out his days there. From the records of Benard Peyton Chamberlain, John is said to have built Midmont house that Chamberlain later owned, that is now on the property of the University of Virginia. John is likely buried in a home graveyard at Midmont or possibly in the Jesse Pittman Lewis graveyard also in Charlottesville. Both locations are near Ivy Road in Charlottesville. John and Sarah's son Jesse Pitman Lewis also has a memorial 29355211 on findagrave, Link requested.

Wonderful to see family wanting the dates exactly correct for grandpa John. My first request came through a findagrave message - thank you - Adriana!

"...Please correct death date to 1784 (I've sent a new format edit tab request) in that research indicates that "when his father David died in 1779, in Rutherford
County NC, John handled the estate and when he finished returned to Albermarle County where he lived the rest of his life and died in 1784". Source: Genealogy
of the Lewis Family in America...."

Then of course I wrote to cousin Mike and cousin Buddy. I add their thoughts...


I have Jan. 23, 1784. Wm. T. Lewis in "Gen. of Lewis Family", just said 1784. From memory the Jan. 23, supposedly was in Family Bible, but I have not seen it. So I'm no longer sure of "Jan. 23". So far I have not found it in any of the papers I copied in Alabama. Unless Mike comes through, I would now say, 1784.


more... Then an answer came from cousin Mike who is also a direct descendant of John Lewis and I really believe that I must go with the path his research took him on, and I believe the conclusions that he was led to is more likely correct:

"...Hello Cherie, I don't have a solid answer for you, but I'll share what I know...

On page 213 of the William Terrell Lewis book, paragraph one, it ends with "John returned to Albemarle county to attend to the division of said estate and died there in 1784."

I believe that 1784 is an approximation, and not exact.

John Lewis' will is available at the Rutherford County, N.C., Court House, of Will Book "A", pages 2 and 3.

Rutherford County was formed from Tryon (?) County (I think) about that time, and John's Will essentially became the first to be entered for the newly formed county.

John's will was created on 20 October 1779... shortly after his father passed away in Albemarle presumably in August 1779, and his father's will was presented to the September 1779 court in Albemarle.

The key point is that John's will was presented to the Rutherford Court in the April term of 1782.

John's will names his second wife Susana (sic), daughter Mildred Rowland (oldest daughter), daughter Francis Roads Lewis (sic), and son Julius C. Lewis, among others, so it is definitely him.

This would indicate to *me* that John would have been dead in April 1782 for his will to be entered into the Rutherford County Will Book during that term.

That would conflict with William Terrell Lewis's page 213... if you were taking WTL literally instead of as an approximation.

If you accept that John had passed by the April 1782 term, then you've narrowed the gap between 20 October 1779 and April 30th 1782.

I'm inclined to think that in the 1700's they basically held court once-per-month for these sorts of things, and given time to get word from Albemarle where John presumably died down to Rutherford County... maybe a week to get word.

I'm inclined to think this narrows it down to January 1782 to March 1782, or the first week of April 1782 at the latest.

I understand this probably goes against 99% of what is on the internet or in print for John... but I think that 99% stems from WTL's error being repeatedly copied, and not that the will book is wrong.

I've seen dates claiming to have a source of something like January 23rd, 1784, and I'm already rejecting the year as invalid, but maybe January holds up.

I know it isn't directly related to John himself, but if you poke around in the official courthouse records a little further, you'll see that John's youngest daughter from his first marriage was turned over to foster care in Rutherford County in the household of a (trusted?) non-family member, while John's second wife lived in Albemarle with "her" children.

Then, after a period of time, Frances was taken out of that non-family member's foster care and reassigned to live with her older sister.

Not too long after, Frances got married.

I remember seeing a letter that indicated that John's children from the first marriage were not particularly fond of John's second wife... and seeing Frances put into foster care rather than remaining with Susannah in Albemarle... seems to support that idea... must have been some pretty strong feelings there to pick foster care over the step-mother.

WTL glossed right over that... as he glossed over some other things that didn't cast the kindest light on the family history.

Sorry that I don't have a more concrete answer, but this is as close as I can get today.

-- Mike..."

From the continued research of Mike Lewis M our wonderful guide and inspiration to the family Lewis.

I have scans of pages 2 and 3 of the will book on dvd, but the following is partial transcription and discussion

If I remember correctly, due to the size of the will book and my scanner limitations, it took two scans per page, and I scanned at high-resolution, so the scans are large... maybe 20 meg per image.

I'm sure I looked rather silly sitting on the floor of the courthouse next to an outlet trying to figure out how to scan pages from the will book in full color rather than putting them in a black and white copier.

I'm now wondering if the "beail and saddle" was "beast and saddle"... i.e. a horse or pony.

John Lewis’s will is available at the Rutherford County, N.C., Court House, on pages 2 and 3 of Will Book “A”.

The text is difficult to read due to the handwritting and the fading ink.

This Will was apparently written in October 1779 shortly after John's father died in August 1779. John had been married to Susannah Clarkson (his second wife) since 1769 and they had three children (Susan, Julius, and David) although his daughter, Susan, had died young and would not be mentioned in John's Will. Julius was born in September 1773 and would have been six years old when this will was written. Julius apparently died relatively young, probably between the ages of six and sixteen, but Julius was obviously alive in October 1779. David Jackson Lewis was born in December 1774 and would have been four years old when this will was written.

Names are not spelled consistently or accurately in this document. John's second wife, Susannah Clarkson, is spelled both "Susana" and "Susanna". Frances Rhoades Lewis was probably named after "Frances Rodes" and in this document her name is spelled "Frances Roads Lewis". The witness "Tho Rowland" is Thomas Rowland, John's son-in-law who married Mildred McCoy Lewis in 1777, about two years before this will was written, and Thomas would have been 29 years old in 1779. John Willis may have been a relative of Stephen Willis Sr who was John's brother-in-law, but I'm not sure. Stephen Willis Sr was a witness on John Lewis's father's will. Alexander McFadden was a neighbor who is listed on the 1790 Rutherford County Census as a slaveowner.

John's executors were his son Taliaferro Lewis (whose name is spelled incorrectly in this document) who would have been 25 years old in 1779 and probably still living in Albemarle County. Alexander Mackey was probably Alexander Mackey Jr, John's brother-in-law, that moved to Rutherford County around 1770 - 1776. The third executor, Jonathan Hampton, was probably a neighbor and may have been the son of Andrew Hampton.

John had twelve children - three daughters and nine sons, and eleven of the children were still living when he wrote his will in 1779. Both daughters were mentioned by name, and only one daughter was married. Frances got married at the age of 17 just a few months after John died in 1784.

It appears that John made a provision that if his second wife remarried and she chose to release her claims on John's Estate for herself and her two sons, Julius and David, then their portion of the Estate would be divided among John's sons from the first marriage. We do not have any indication at this time that Susannah remarried, nor when she died, although she was obviously still living in October 1779.

It appears that John decided to distribute his Estate by a lottery system whereby the executors would lump his remaining belongings in seven equal groups, identify each group by a letter, put them "in a hat" so to speak, and then draw at random.

An attempt at a transcription follows:

State of North Carolina (2) (Page 2)

Rutherford County { April term (-?-) 1782

The last Will & Testament of John Lewis

Deceased, proved in open Court & ordered to be

recorded – to Witt, –

In the name of God amen. This 20 October

1779 – I John Lewis of the State of No Carolina ( North Carolina )

& County of Rutherford. I being of proper mind & memory

I do make & ordain this to be my last Will & Testament

& after paying my lawful Debts, do Give & bequeath the within. The form following –

First I give to my wife Susana one bed & furniture & ( 2nd wife, Susannah Clarkson)

one Hundred acres of land & one Negroe Woman Hester during

her life, the land being that I now live on –

Item. I give to my, Daughter Mildred Rowland - ( oldest daughter )

one Negroe Girl named Nanne & one beail (-?-) & saddle, ( beail and saddle are unclear)

one bed & furniture, & one Hundred acres of land

to her & her heirs forever. Item. I give to my

Daughter Francis Roads Lewis one Negro Girl ( Frances Rhodes Lewis) named Lidia & one beail (-?-) & saddle, & one bed ( same as before, beail ?)

and furniture & to be made equal to my Daughter

Mildred in land or money – in lue thereof to her

& her heirs forever. Item. I give to my Son

Julius C. Lewis one bed & furniture. Item. ( age 6 in October 1779)

I give to my Son David J. Lewis one bed & furniture. ( age 4 in October 1779)

Item my wish is that the rest of my Estate be divided

among all my Sons & thereas I have Given -?- -?-

-?- somewhat -?- considerable & -?- to my two

(3) ( Page 3)

Youngest Sons Each a bed & furniture, my Will is

that my Executors may properly a Just the ( properly adjust?)

Same making an Allowance for what is Given.

I Willed & so Compleat Matters that those of my

Sons that have had nothing Given nor Willed - ( 7 unnamed sons )

may be made Equal with them that have and

my Will is that my Lands & Negroes & Stocks of

all kinds Together with all my Household furniture

& tools of all kinds be put in letter according to ( a lottery idea ?)

the Number of my sons & the to draw Tickets ( the to draw? )

for the Same & Enjoy the Same forever & my

Will is further that the Negroe Given to my wife

During life & increased if any j and land to be sold ( j ?)

at Auction among my Sons the Business thereof

Equally Dividing and paying the rest as may give -?-

Satisfaction. My will is further that if my wife Susanna ( different spelling from above)

who -?- disallow of this my last will & do derogate King to son Ind

ing to arrogate to herself any of my Estate, any other way

Excepting the Dower I aforded her as before that my will

in all things respecting and relating to Julius C Lewis and David

J Lewis be entirely Void and that their alloted Legacy

Equally divided among the rest of my sons and my will is further

that if my Daughter Frances R Lewis Die before marriage that ( Frances was age 12 in 1779)

her alloted Legacy be Equally divided among my Sons and I do

also constitute & appoint my Son Taliaffero Lewis, Alexander ( sic - Taliaferro )

Mackey, & Jonathan Hampton, Esq Executors of this my last Will

and Testament Ratifying this, & no other & in wishes fo I have set

hand & seal the date afore mentioned

Tho Rowland

John Willis John Lewis ( seal )

Alexander McFaden


I didn't think of this earlier, and again, it isn't direct, substantial "proof" as such, but there is a copy of a copy of a copy of the John Lewis and Sarah Taliaferro Bible Records that was in WTL's possession, probably written in the 1850's.

A man by the name of Ezekiel Graham of Cass County, Georgia, married Thomasin Farrar Lewis (born circa 1791), daughter of John Lewis and Ann Berry Earle.

Thomasin Farrar Lewis Graham reportedly had a copy of some of the information from the John Lewis & Sarah Taliaferro Bible.

Thomasin Farrar Lewis married Ezekiel Graham around 1811 (WTL, page 233?, page 235?) and had ten children.

Thomasin died circa 1863.

A letter from William Madison Graham to WTL dated 2 Nov 1856 said that Thomasin Farrar Lewis and Ezekiel Graham were married in Rutherford County, NC, on 22 October 1811.

William Madison Graham was born 24 March 1814, according to himself in the letter of 2 Nov 1856.

I think Ezekiel Graham died circa 1863, and since the evidence indicates that Ezekiel wrote to WTL with notes from Thomasin's copy from John's Bible, and WTL was getting mail from one of Ezekiel's sons in Nov 1856, then I'm inclined to think Ezekiel wrote to WTL in the late 1850's or at the very latest around 1860 just prior to the Civil War.

WTL didn't tend to do much family genealogy between October 1860 and January 1862 that I can find.... so I'm leaning toward Ezekiel's undated information as being "late 1850's".

Unfortunately, this does not solve your problem.

The indication is that John Lewis died January 20th (year undeclared), but then it was struck out and the next line indicates that John's first wife, Sarah Taliaferro died January 20th, 1769.

This leaves the impression that the first line that was struck through, was an error that should be ignored.

The question is whether or not Ezekiel struck through the line prior to mailing the information to WTL, or did WTL strike through the information as untrustworthy upon receiving it and seeing the same month-and-day for both John and Sarah?

Keep in mind that this is my transcription of a document from the WTL archives of a document that Thomasin copied from a source that was either John's Bible or a copy from John's Bible, etc, etc, etc.

Thank you again Mike

Much thanks to cousin Mike for all the work above and the will of our grandfather John

## See also the DNA project where our cousins have participated and prove conclusively that we are not related to the Lewis family of Warner Hall. We are our OWN Lewis family of Hanover and Ablemarle

Family links: 
  David Lewis (1695 - 1779)
  Ann Elizabeth Terrell Lewis (1695 - 1734)
  Sarah Taliaferro Lewis (1728 - 1769)
  Susan Clarkson Lewis (1735 - ____)*
  Robert Lewis (1752 - 1799)*
  Taliaferro Lewis (1754 - 1810)*
  John Lewis (1757 - 1840)*
  Mildred McCoy Lewis Rowland (1759 - 1847)*
  Charles Crawford Lewis (1761 - 1833)*
  Jesse Pitman Lewis (1763 - 1849)*
  Richard Lewis (1764 - 1831)*
  Frances Rhodes Lewis Twitty (1767 - 1838)*
  Henry Graves Lewis (1767 - 1815)*
  David Lewis (____ - 1787)*
  William Terrell Lewis (1718 - 1802)*
  Susannah Lewis Mackey (1720 - 1784)*
  Hannah Lewis Hickman (1722 - 1822)*
  Sarah Lewis Musick (1724 - 1800)*
  John Terrell Lewis (1728 - 1784)
  Joel Lewis (1730 - 1813)*
  Elizabeth McGrath Lewis Martin (1754 - 1838)**
  James Martin Lewis (1756 - 1849)**
*Calculated relationship
Created by: Cherie Lynn
Record added: Aug 02, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 74303164
John Terrell Lewis
Added by: Cherie Lynn
John Terrell Lewis
Added by: Cherie Lynn
John Terrell Lewis
Added by: Cherie Lynn
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Gone but not forgotten
- Shadow Walker
 Added: Jul. 6, 2016

 Added: Jul. 3, 2016

- Tom Atkinson
 Added: Jun. 28, 2016
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