The World of Grandpa Don

The Lewis Family Line
 

William Lewis, the patriarch of our Lewis line in America was an early arrival to America. One of his descendants married into the Doolittle line of our ancestors.

This is their story, as I know it.

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In England & Wales

I have gone further back in my Lewis Ancestry. William Lewis (1594-1683) was the patriarch of the Lewis clan in America and my 8th great grandfather. I had not recorded his ancestors because the only information I could find was in Ancestry.com family trees and these can be unreliable at times. But, in the hope that there is some validity there I was able to find Edward Lewis, my 11th great grandfather. If the records are to be believed he died at the age of 16 after fathering a son. His father was Richard Llewys, a typical Welsh spelling of Lewis. From there the names get interesting. His father was Llewelyn Ap Madog. This was actually "Llewelyn, son of Madog" There were no surnames used. And Richard dropped the "ap" (son of) creating the surname Llewys which became Lewis.

Further down the line we find Maredudd Ap Bleddyn, my 15th great grandfather. This from Wickopedia:

Maredudd ap Bleddyn (1047 - 9 February 1132) was a prince and later King of Powys in eastern Wales. Maredudd was the son of Bleddyn ap Cynfyn who was King of both Powys and Gwynedd. When Bleddyn was killed in 1075, Powys was divided between three of his sons, Iorwerth, Cadwgan and Maredudd.

Maredudd was my 15th great grandfather and we can see where the name Madog came from. I followed the line back to Gwerystan Ap Gwaithfoed (950AD - 1005), my 18th great grandfather. After that the dates do not seem to be reliable and so we pause there in the knowledge, or assumption, that our ancestry does include Welsh royalty.

Pictured to the right is Powis Castle from the south, showing the distinctive terraced gardens

Powis, unlike the castles Conwy, Caernarfon, Harlech and nearby Montgomery, which were all built by the English to subdue and rule the Welsh, was the fortress of a dynasty of Welsh princes. In 1286, four years after Edward's conquest of Wales,  Owain ap Gruffydd ap Gwenwynwyn, the last hereditary prince of Powis, renounced his royal claim title and was granted the title of Baron de la Pole, (i.e. "of the Pool" a reference to Welshpool, formerly called just "Pool" and the location of Powis Castle). The ancient Kingdom of Powyshad included the counties of Montgomeryshire, much of Denbighshire, parts of Radnorshire and previously large areas of Shropshire.

 William Lewis (1561-1592) and his wife Felix who lived and died in Penarth, Glamorgan, Wales. Their son William sailed to America in 1632.

In America

The ship Mayflower arrived and discharged its passengers at Plymouth Massachusetts in 1620, the place of the first New England settlement. In 1630 the town of Boston was founded, providing an excellent harbor. It grew rapidly.

 

Generation 1

William Lewis (1594-1683) & Mary Hopkins  (1623-1671)

William Lewis came from England on the ship "Lion", landing in Boston September 16, 1632 just 2 years after its founding. He was admitted a freeman Nov 6, 1632 and was a member of the Braintree Company, which in August 1633 was located at Cambridge, Mass. In 1635 he resided at the northwest corner of Winthrop and Holyoke Streets, Cambridge.

  He moved to Hartford in 1635, being one of its first settlers.  A monument in Hartford has the following inscription:

In Memory of the Courageous
Adventurers
Who Inspired and Directed by
Thomas Hooker
Journeyed Though the
Wilderness from Newton (Cambridge)
in the Massachusetts Bay to
Suckiaug (Hartford) - October, 1635


Matthew Allyn
John Barnard
William Butler
Clement Chaplin
Nicholas Clarke
Robert Day
Edward Elmer
Nathaniel Ely
Richard Goodman
William Goodwin
Stephen Hart
William Kelsey


William Lewis
Mathew Marvin
James Olmsted
William Pantry
Thomas Scott
Timothy Stanley
Thomas Stanley
Edward Stebbins
John Steele
John Stone
John Talcott
 Richard Webb
William Westwood

 In 1641 he was a juryman and selectman. In 1659 he moved to Hadley, Mass, signing an agreement with his son William, Luke Hitchcock, and others, in all fifty-nine persons to do so, and thus becoming one of the founders of Hadley.  In 1644 William married Mary Hopkins, born in 1623, we believe the daughter of William Hopkins and Mary Andrews who may have lived in London. William Lewis represented Hadley in the general court in 1662, and Northhampton in 1665.

William and Mary Lewis had 7 children between 1646 and 1669. They were' Philip, Samuel, Sarah, John, William, James, and Ebenezer.

 In 1663 he was one of 10 troopers in the Hampshire Troop. After his wife's death on December 22, 1671 and before Nov. 29, 1677, he moved to Farmington, Conn, where he died Aug 2, 1683.  His will was admitted to probate August 10, 1683, and the inventory filed Dec. 3, 1683. The court records a the State Library show that Philip (a grandson) claimed his grandfather's real estate in Hartford under the English law of primogeniture.

 

Generation 2

Ebenezer Lewis (1669-1709) & Elizabeth Merriaman (1669-1749)

The last child of William and Mary Lewis, Ebenezer, was born on September 14, 1669 in Wallingford, CT.  On 2 Dec 1685 he married Elizabeth Merriaman of New Haven. Her parents, Nathaniel Merriaman and Joan Lines had immigrated from London, England before she was born  4 Sep 1669 in New Haven Connecticut. 

Between 1686 and 1705 the couple had 10 children; Hezekiah, Mary, Caleb, Felix, Elizabeth, Barnabas, Hannah, Benjamin, Malachi, and Agape. Nothing else is known of this generation except that Ebenezer died January 22, 1709 in Wallingford and Elizabeth on February 2, 1749 in Cheshire, New Haven, Connecticut.

 

3rd Generation 

Mary Lewis (1689-1749) and Abraham Doolittle (1684-1770)

The second child of William and Mary Lewis married Abraham Doolittle, joining the Doolittle line of our ancestors. To follow this line see, Abraham Doolittle (1684-1770) and Mary Lewis (1689-1749)

 

Postscript:
The Lewis family line as short as it is in our family genealogy, more like a stub, has nevertheless contributed to our DNA and heritage. The patriarch of this family in America adds a bit of the Welch to our mostly English blood although the Copeland line could have had roots in Scotland. William was also an adventurer as well as being a very civic minded individual. We are proud to share a bit of his blood.

It should be noted that the 8th child of Ebenezer and Elizabeth, Benjamin (1701-1789) who married Esther Mathews, had, among their children, another Mary Lewis (1747-1818) who married another Doolittle, Titus (1746-1818) Although this part of the two lines are not among our ancestors but are distant cousins, it does show the closeness of the two families while living in Connecticut for several generations.

We invite you to visit the town of Penarth in Whales, where the roots of our ancestor lie.

 

Grandpa Don Plefka
aka Harry Ronald Cecora
Revised
12/21/2009

 

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