Major John Lewis was born 1678 in County Donegal, Ulster, Ireland. He died 1762 in Augusta Co, VA.
The Lewises leased land in County Donegal from a man named Sir Mungo Campbell. Upon his death, Sir Mungo's estate descended to his son who preferred a Catholic tenant for the property. Disregarding the lease made by his father to John Lewis, an ardent Presbyterian, he attempted to evict the Lewises. John refused to vacate the property, so the young Lord, known for his profligate & wayward manner, took his bailiff and a mob of drunken companions and attempted to force the surrender of John Lewis' lease. John barricaded himself inside his house & refused the landlord admittance, whereupon the Lord fired a shot through the window, killing Charles Lewis, a younger brother of John, who was lying ill in bed. A second shot injured John's wife Margaret in the arm. Outraged, John attached the Lord with his shillelagh, "cracked open his head" and "scattered his brains". He also killed the bailiff and drove the rest of the drunken posse off in panic.
Leaving Margaret to settle up his affairs in Ireland, John escaped to Portugal to the home of his brother-in-law. He arrived in Oporto in 1729. Shortly afterwards, he fled to America, landing in Philadelphia, PA. His family joined him a year later. He removed to Lancaster Co, PA where he spent the winter of 1730-1731, moving to Williamsburg, VA the following summer where he lived with the family of Governor Gooch, a friend of the Lynn family. There he met Peter Salling who had recently explored the Shenandoah Valley and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Intrigued with the glowing accounts of the beauties of this country, John Lewis obtained a grant of land from Governor Gooch and crossed the mountains.
John Lewis and Joist Hite, a German immigrant from PA were the first white settlers west of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Hite settled the lower part of the valley near present Winchester, then called Mecklenburg. John made his home near the present town of Staunton. He built a substantial stone house on a small stream which he named Lewis' Creek. This community was called Fort Lewis. He prospered and accumulated a large estate, reared a family of four sons, all of whom are noted in their country's service both civil & military. He lived on his estate until his death in 1762. His gravestone reads: "Here lies the remains of JOHN LEWIS, who slew the Irish Lord, settled Augusta County, located the town of Staunton and furnished five sons to fight the battles of The American Revolution. He was the son of Andrew Lewis Esq. and Mary Calhoun and was born in Donegal County, Ireland 1678 and died in Virginia, February 1, 1762. He was a brave man, a true patriot and a firm friend of Liberty throughout the World."
John was pardoned by the King for the killing of the Irish Lord, after a year of exile, but he never returned to Ulster. He is described as more than 6 feet tall, very powerful and active.
He married Margaret Lynn. She was born 3 July 1693 in Ulster, Ireland and died 1773 in Augusta Co, VA. She was the daughter of William Lynn and Margaret Patton. Go to the Lynn line here.
Their children were:
Samuel Lewis (born about 1716, County Donegal, Ulster, Ireland)
Thomas Lewis (born 27 April 1718 in County Donegal, Ulster, Ireland); married Jane Strother
General Andrew Lewis (born 9 October 1720 in County Donegal, Ulster, Ireland)
Alice Lewis (born 1772 in County Donegal, Ulster, Ireland); married an unknown Madison
William Lynn Lewis (born 17 November 1724 in County Donegal, Ulster, Ireland); married Anne Montgomery
Margaret Lynn Lewis (born 1726 in County Donegal, Ulster, Ireland); married William Long, William Crow
Anne Lewis (born 1728 in County Donegal, Ulster, Ireland); married Michael Finley, Jr.
Charles Lewis (born 11 March 1736); married Sarah Murray
Other notes taken from internet sources
For further reading and verification of family link:
- The Family of John Lewis, Pioneer ; Frazier, Irvin
- Some Prominent Virginia Families ; Pecquet du Bellet, Louise
- Kinfolks of William Parke and Synah Perry & Josiah Wilson and Margaret Crow Including the Related Families of Hammonds, Lewis, Stephens, Wheeler, Estes, Lynn, Hopper, Ficklin, Ellis and Others; ; Howell, Margie Ellis (Mrs. Roy); 1967