1. John LEWIS1
was born in 1631 in East Greenwich, England. He died in 1690 in Westerly,
Washington Co., RI. He was one of the original settlers of Westerly,
RI. According to tradition the first settlers were John Babcock and his lover,
Mary Lawton, who eloped from Newport. They landed on the east side of the Pawcatuck
river and built themselves a wigwam. Their first child, James Babcock, was the
the first male white child born in the Narragansett territory. The place of
their retreat having been ascertained by the people of Newport, they deputized
five men, via., William Vaughn, Robert Stanton, John Fairchild, Hugh Mosher and
James Longbottom, to purchase a title of land from the Indians. They purchased
of one Sosa his title to the land an dthe deed was dated Jun 29, 1660. It ws
not long before the settlers began to arrive, and among them were John Lewis
and his family. It is supposed that he came from Newport, but nothing definite
can be ascertained as the records of Newport were captured by the British during
the Revolutionary War and carried to New York. When they were returned they
were in such condition (having been in the water) that they were incomplete.
The RECORDS OF THE RHODE ISLAND COLONY, Vol. II, p. 238, state that "John
Lewis, of Misquamocott, was admitted a freeman Oct 28, 1668. The records of
Westerly were not kept in any regular form until 1683 when the town obatained
"a book" and the "list of free inhabitants" were entered.
Under the date of Ma 18, 1669, the name of John Lewis appears; Sept 18, 1679,
that of John Lewis, Junior, lot; and of March 3 1680, James "Lewes",
"1 lote" David Lewes, "5 lot", Israell Lews, "16 lot"
and Samuel Lews, "38 lot"
However, John Lewis was in Westerly in 1661 as he signed articles of agreement
March 22nd of that year. On May 16, 1671, a warrant was issued requiring the
inhabitants of Westerly to appear "tomorrow at Tobias Saunders house to
see how they stand as to their fidelity to His Majest and this colony".
Twenty-two persons, including John Lewis, appearerd and took the oath of allegiance
to the government of Rhode Island. John Lewis died befroe 1690 and was buried
just below the village of Westerly, near the road leading to Watch Hill, on the
east side of the highway. The place where he was buried isa large, unfenced
spot, in the southeast corner of a field in front of the house owned at one time
by Thomas E. Saunders. The land once belonged to the Lewis family, and afterwards
to Arnold Kenyon. It is said that seven generations of Lewises are buried here,
but there is no lettering on the stones. There is another Lewis burying ground
in Westerly situated on the crest of a gravel hill, south of the house once owned
by Pardon Lewis.
According to a Land Grant Chart in the RI Historical Society, complied by
Edward H. West of Portsmouth in 1932, a John Lewis had a grant of land between
1638 and 1657 in Portsmouth, RI, on the mainland in the southern part of the
twon toward Newport, or what is no Middletown. This could possibly be the John
Lewis herewith concerned. If he was the one b. ca. 1631 (which is not proven)
he might easily have secured this grant upon reaching legal age. If so, he was
probably searching for productive land outside the Newport area, before the Misquamicut
Purchase. In 1648, then called Towowesuck. HISTORICAL SKETCHES OF THE TOWN OF
GROTON, pub. 1935, states "This grant extended north from Broad Street.
The following January, lots of 20, 30 an d40 acres were laid out between the
Bill property and the Atlantic Coast Fisheries. These lots were given to Robert
Hempstead, William Hallet, Samuell Lothroup, John Latham, Jacob Waterhouse,
Robert Bedell, Thomas Miner, William Boardman, Gils Smith, John Stubens, Isacke
Willie, John Lewis, and William Morten.." These men, along with John Winthrop,
held propreitor's right though many of them never came to New London to live,
and only Cary Latham ever settled in Groton. Austin in his GENEALOGICAL DICTIONARY
OF RHODE ISLAND says that "There has been no relationship found between
John Lewis and Robert Lewis of Newport, who made his Will April 12, 1682, having
but two witnesses although the law required three. Nothing more is learned of
this Robert, nor of his Will exept that it was named in a list of others as
deficient in witnesses."
From THE HISTORY OF HOPKINTOWN, R.I. by Rev. S.S. Grswold, it is stated
"..John Lewis, who came from Engalnd in company with his four brothers,
at the first settlement of this country and settled not far from the present
residence of John H. Cross, Esq., Westerly. His brothers located themselves
near Boston, MA. John had seven sons, Daniel found his home in Hopkintown, Israle
at Long Island, Jonathan at Richmod, in this state, another at Exeter, while
several remained with their father at Westerly.
From THE WYOMING AND LACAWANNA VALLEYS, PA, Vol. 1, pub. 1906, it is stated
that "John Lewis, the founder of the family in this country, came from East
Greenwich, England in the year 1630. He bought 600 acres of land from the Indians
near Misquamicut, now called Westerly, RI. He was a signer of a treaty wit the
Indians, and one of the five deputies who established the Rhode Island colony,
March 22, 1661. He was admitted a freeman Oct. 28. 1668. Tradition has it that
John Lewis was well versed in the Indian dialect and that he was elected captain
of a company for protection against the Indians, and was a famous and brave Indian
fighter. The name of his wife unknown, but she came to America against the wishes
of her parents, to meet John Lewis, who had the reputation of being a "wild
blade". When the boat on which she embarked neared that land, John Lewis
waded into the surf, clasped her in his arms and carried her to the shore. They
were married and were the parents of seven sons and one daughter.
Tradition given by Mrs. Sally Lewis, wife of Jeffrey Sheldon Lewis is that "John
Lewis came to America and the young lady with whom he was in love did not come
over because her parents did not like him. She wrote to him asking him to come
to England to get her, but he answered her that he could not but would meet her
if she came to him. She wrote him that she would come, and he went to work and
built a log cabin and when the time for the boat to arrive came, he went down
to the shore at Plymouth and met her. As soon as the boat touched the shore
he jumped on board and met her. He kissed her and then they went and got married
immediately. They lived togehter of a number of years before he died. She survived
him fifteen years." This is related in Lewisiaa, Vo 4, p. 35.
Thus, the John Lewis b. in England, d. ca. 1690 in Westerly RI and is buried
near Watch Hill Road, his wife, name unknown, d. in Westerly ca 1705.
LEWIS and (?) LEWIS were married about 1665 in Westerly, Washington Co., RI.
(?) LEWIS was born in 1639 in England.
She died in 1705. John LEWIS and (?) LEWIS had the following children: