Lewis Family History

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Here are two accounts of the history of the Lewis family of Franklin County.  D.L. Morgan, the author of the first, was the grandson ofJohn Lewis and Susannah Barber.  His mother Huldah was born in 1818 in Andersonville and was first married in 1841 to Rufus R. Wilson.  After Rufus’s death in1842 and with a daughter to raise, Huldah married the Reverend John Morgan in1847.  They had four children, David L. (the writer,) Thomas G., George W. andMary Angeline.
The second account was handwritten by Eugene Lewis inresponse to a request by attendees at the “Descendents of John Lewis and Susannah Barber” reunion in 1945.  Mr. Lewis was the great grandson of John and Susannah. (If you know who Eugene's parents were, please Email us!
Transcription was done from handwritten and typeddocuments belonging to the Lewis Family Reunion and now in the possession ofBarbara Matney Smith in Connersville, Indiana.  Barbara is a 3rdgreat granddaughter of John and Susannah through their son, Clark.  Transcriptionby Karen Creamer, 4th great granddaughter of John and Susannahthrough Huldah’s marriage to Rufus Wilson (above.)

Clarksburg, Indiana
February 28, 1912
Dear Cousin & Family:-

            Just received your letter and was glad to hearyou were all well.  We are in usual health.  Well, about our ancestry.  TheLewis family came originally from Wales.  Some of our ancestry, I think ourgreat grand father whose name was Davis Lewis, came from near Philadelphia.  Hewas there during the War of the Revolution and was a friend of Washington.  He ground flour for the army of Washington while at Valley Forge and around Philadelphia and loaned money to Washington, so your father told me.  I think this Lewiswas in the Revolutionary War.  His mill was burned and he lost all in the war,and this is still unpaid for by the United States.  So tradition says, afterthe Revolution he went to Sullivan County, Tennessee.  There Grandfather Lewiswas born in 1793, and about 1805 or later they came to Indiana through the Cumberland Gap and stayed all night in a haunted house where chains rattled, footsteps wereheard and the sound of a storm outside, but when they went to the door the skywas clear.  They landed in Franklin County at the mouth of Bull Fork on thefarm now occupied by the John Martin heirs, where great grandfather David Lewisdied and is buried in the Barnes Graveyard.  A forest has now grown up where hesleeps his last slumber.
           Grandfather Lewis was in the War of 1812 againstthe Indians.  He told me about it when I was a boy, and about losing his newbuckles when he jumped over the logs in pursuit of the Indians.  He was livingon Salt Creek when the Indians shot and killed two boys at the foot of StippsHill on the Hawkins farm.  All rushed to the block house for protection.  Nextday he and a Mr. Brison followed the trail to near the present site of Centerville, but he stated to me they did not find the Indians, while others claim theykilled both Indians.
           Grandfather John Lewis and David (Davy) Crockettwere cousins.  Their mothers were named Hawkins, relatives of Reuben Hawkinswho lived on Salt Creek and on whose farm the old block house was built. Crockett was of a wild roving nature, uneducated but a man of splendid mind. He was a Congressman twice and was defeated later by reason of his quarrel withAndrew Jackson, got mad and went to Texas where he fought at the Alamo, wascaptured and murdered by Santa Ana the Mexican general.  It is said he killed132 Mexicans with his knife before he fell.  You can find a full history ofCrockett in most book stores.
            Grandfather Lewis was related to Washington, it is said.  When the great Lewis and Clark expedition was organized theywanted him to go with them, but he was too young.  Merriweather Lewis the explorerwas a relative of the Lewis’.  They opened up all the west to Oregon, paved theway for millions who have since found homes within its borders.  David LewisPayne, the Oklahoma Boomer, who succeeded in having that country opened, was acousin.  He was born on Salt Creek and his father is buried there where the murmuringstream flows on and sings its last requiem, near where he sleeps in silence,awaiting the dawn of the eternal morning.
    D.L. Morgan

Historical Sketch of Lewis Family

by Eugene S.Lewis, 1946

            At our annual reunion in 1945 I was asked toprepare a sketch of our family and some of its traditions.  The followingsketch may not be altogether accurate as to dates and historical connectionsbut portrays these matters as I have learned them.  I used to boast to myschoolmates that my name was in U.S. History, but little did I then know of thereal facts.
             The name Lewis is from the Norwegian meaning TheSounding House, from the building which housed the men who took the depth ofthe sea by sounding.
             The family were originally French Huguenots andleft France about 1685.   Samuel Lewis settled in Wales.  Nathan Lewis was bornhere in 1724, coming to Baltimore about 1760 or 1765.
             In a letter to Charles Lewis of Connersville, Indiana, David L. Morgan says they lived for a time near Philadelphia and ran a gristmill.  David Lewis was a friend of George Washington and furnished flour andmeal to the army at Valley Forge.  He also loaned the government $50,000 whichhas never been repaid.  His mill was burned by the British and all his propertywas destroyed.  After this, he went to Sullivan County, Tennessee on the Holstein River, where John Lewis was born on 17 October 1793.  After the death of NathanLewis two of the brothers, David and George, came through Cumberland Gap intothe Indiana Territory.  They stayed one night at the home of John Crockett.  Itwas noted that Davy had run away from school.  This was in 1805 or 1808/1809. They lived for a short time in Dearborn County, then settled on Salt Creek in Franklin County, later entering land from the U.S. near Andersonville on property now known asthe Simonson Place.  A log cabin still stands on Salt Creek which was built byDavid Lewis.
             As I have learned the traditions, GreatGrandfather John Lewis (in whose honor this reunion is held) was about 16 yearsold when his uncle Merriweather Lewis was planning the expedition into theunknown Louisiana Territory and wished to go with him.  Merriweather feared hewas too young and refused to let him go.  Anyone wishing to do some interestingand profitable reading should look up the Lewis & Clark Expedition at thelibrary.  This expedition really opened up the West and great Northwest forsettlement.  One of the outstanding persons was an Indian woman by the name of Sacagaweawho left her tribe and kept urging the men on westward when they werediscouraged and wanted to turn back.  At last she found her own people fromwhom she had been stolen as a small child.
            I here wish to record some of the prominent menof the family and some who married into it:

*     Francis Lewis signed the Declaration of Independence.

*     Fielding Lewis married the sister of George Washington.

*     Some claim that John Lewis was related to Washington, but it was probably through the above marriage which is authenticated by documents.

*     It is said that John Lewis’s mother and Davy Crockett’s motherwere sisters.  So we can claim to be related to the great scout Davy Crockett. He loved freedom and right living.  His motto was, “Be sure you are right, thengo ahead.”  He espoused the cause of Texas in its struggle for freedom from Mexico and was killed in the Alamo.  Santa Anna attacked a force of 700 with more than 4,000 and massacred all of them.   It is said that Davy was backed into a corner where hefought with his knife and used his gun Betsy as a club after running out ofpowder.  When the U.S. soldiers arrived two days later, he was found with 127dead Mexicans piled all around him, apparently slain by him.

*     David Peter Lewis born July 1834 in Virginia.  Grandson of Washington Lewis.  Elected Governor of Alabama in 1872.

*     David Lewis Payne was one of the leaders in opening up the Oklahoma Territory for settlement by whites.


A peculiar coincidence is thatDavy Crocket was born in August (the 17th) and so were MerriweatherLewis (August 18th) and William Clark (August 1st.)



Eugene S. Lewis, 1946