Tuesday, October 30, 2007

John Lewis (1678-1782)

John Lewis was descended from Huguenots who emigrated from France to Ireland in 1685 (at the revocation of the Edict of Nantes.) He left Ireland in 1729, a fugitive, after his oppressive landlord Charles of Clonmithgairn launched a brutal attack to evict Lewis’ family from premises of which he held a freehold lease. During the attack, Lewis’ wife was wounded and his invalid brother Edward was killed. John Lewis defended his family, slaying the landlord and one of his henchmen in the process.
In Virginia, shortly after William Beverley received his grant of 118,000+ acres in 1736, a grant of 100,000 acres was made to John Lewis and his associates, under the name of the “Greenbrier Company.” (John Lewis had been occupying previously unsettled land, afterwards granted to Beverley, which in the interim made Lewis a "squatter" after Beverley took possession.) Much of this land was located on the Greenbrier River, a name given to the stream by Col. Lewis. John Lewis, along with his son Thomas, were of the first magistrates of Augusta County, Virginia at the formation of the county in 1738. In 1751, John Lewis and his son Andrew would survey the Greenbrier tract.
In 1900 Joseph L. Crowder, a Staunton, Virginia citizen, realised that the grave of John Lewis was in a dilapidated state, and the inscription on the monument was even then very hard to read. On 18 November 1900, Mr. Crowder, with great effort, copied this inscription:

Here Lie the Remains of
John Lewis
Who Slew the Irish Lord
Settled Augusta County,
Located the City of Staunton
And furnished five sons to
Fight the Battles of the
American Revolution.
He was the son of
Andrew Lewis and Mary Calhoun
Was born in Donegal County
Ireland 1678 and
Died February 1, 1762 aged
84 years.
He was a brave man
A true patriot and a Friend of
Throughout the World.
“Morta litate Relicta Vivit”