Information in Generation One and Generation Two mostly provided by Leland L. Smith, descendant of James Franklin Lewis, son of Bennett, that moved to Texas from Pickens County, AL.
Information was taken from Mr. Smithís book, Gone to
Texas, Volume I.. He
did a beautiful job on this coffee table sized, hard back book and it is
well worth the money. His research is thorough and he includes
maps, photos and diagrams. (Dr. Leland L. Smith
passed away from cancer in 2007. He taught chemistry and genetics
for many years at the University of Texas Medical School in Galveston, TX. )
Nathaniel Lewis died in May 1798 in Nash County , NC . His wife was named Winney. Nathaniel is first found in Bute (later Franklin ) County, NC in 1778 when he obtained land on Linches Creek. Bute County had been created from Granville County , NC in 1764. He was in Johnston County , NC in 1784-1787 by land and census data. He had moved into Nash County , NC by 1790 and may be placed there by land transactions of 1794; his lands were on Turkey and Moccasin Creeks. Nathaniel Lewis died in Nash County , NC in 1798 leaving a large family of eleven children.
Children of Nathaniel and Winney Lewis were:
1. Martha Lewis. Married Nathaniel High.
2. David Lewis.
3. Elizabeth Lewis. Married a Mr. Beck.
4. Robert Lewis. Born 1755-1774.
5. Kesiah Lewis. Married a Mr. Johnson.
6. Sherwood Lewis. Born 1755-1770.
7. Mayor Lewis. Born by 1755.
8. Henry Lewis. Born 1755-1774. Died after 1830 in California . Married Feruba (or Pherby. Henry Lewis was in Franklin County, NC in 1780 and in Nash County , NC 1794-1796 and 1798-1814 as administrator of his fatherís estate and by other data.
9. John Lewis. Born 1765-1780.
10. Sarah Lewis. Married Francis Johnson
11. Jinncy Lewis.
Henry Lewis was born ca. 1755 and died after 1830 in North Carolina . His wife was named Feruba or Pherby.
Children of Henry Lewis were:
1. Robert Lewis. Born ca. 1787 in NC. Died February 1853 in Nash County , NC . Married Charity Tucker, born ca. 1788, daughter of James Tucker. Robert Lewis may be placed in Johnson County NC 1805-1810, in Nash County , NC from 1810, in Mecklenburg County , NC in 1830 but back in Nash County , NC 1840-1850. He owned land on Mocassin Creek in Nash County , NC .
2. Bryant Lewis. Born 1784-1790. Died May 15, 1848 in Johnston County , NC . Name of first wife is unknown. He married his second wife, Sarah Wood, on September 24, 1827 . Bryant can be placed in Nash County , NC by land records of 1805 and 1814-1824 by census records of 1810-1820. He served as private in the 1st Regiment, North Carolina Detached Militia during the War of 1812 for six months Sept. 1814 Ė March 1815. He became administrator of the yet unsettled estate of Nathaniel Lewis in May 1815. He moved from Nash County to Johnston County , NC by 1830.
3. Sarah (Sally) Lewis. Born ca. 1794. Died ca. 1835-37 intestate in Fayette County , Illinois . She married Thomas Narron/Nairon.
4. Bennett Lewis. Born 1795 in NC. Died 1860-1870 in Pickens County , AL and is buried in an unmarked grave. Name of first wife unknown. His second wife was Mary Ann Graham.
BENNETT LEWIS from Gone to Texas Vol. I
by Leland L. Smith
5. Washington Lewis. Born ca. 1796 in North Carolina . Married January 6, 1826 in Wake County , NC to Catherine Tomlin. Washington Lewis resided in Johnston County NC in 1830 and in Wake County , NC in 1840-1860.
6. Winnifred (Winney) Lewis. Born ca. 1800 in North Carolina . Married Samuel Ligons. The Samuel Ligons family resided in Johnston County , NC in 1850-54.
The following is info of Bobbye C. Winston:
Bennett Lewis was born ca. 1795 in North Carolina . The name of his first wife is unknown. After the death of his first wife in Nash County , he moved to Pickens County , AL bringing his younger children with him but there were older children left behind in Nash County . After settling down in Pickens County he married Mary Ann Graham, born 1818 in SC and died 1887 in Pickens County , AL . She is buried in Dunnís Creek Baptist Church Cemetery No. 1 in Echola , AL .
Bennett Lewis can be placed in Nash County , NC in 1820-1832 but he has not been located in 1840, perhaps the family was in transit to Alabama . He appeared to have left North Carolina after 1839, arriving in Pickens County in 1842. He is listed in Pickens County census in 1850 Ė 1860. Bennett Lewis died sometime during the 1860ís and is buried in Pickens County , AL in an unmarked grave.
Bennett Lewis lost contact with his older children left behind in North Carolina .
His daughter, Nancy Wren Lewis, told stories to her children and grandchildren about losing her mother at age 11 and then moving to Pickens Co. in a covered wagon. They set up camp at times in mountainous areas on their journey. Nancy longed to know what happened to her older sisters that were left behind in North Carolina .
Nancy Lewis also spoke of her father being a very aggressive man that loved to drink and would cause trouble with neighbors at times. He may have as many as twenty children (nine by his first wife, eleven by Mary Graham Lewis) and maybe one illegitimate child. (Reference Nash County, NC Court records 1815-1821 dated May 12, 1817). The mother of this child was Jean or Jasmin Horn.
Bennett bought land in the Benevola or Bethany area from a Mr. Franklin of Pontotoc County , MS on June 16, 1853 for $1000.00. Description: W1/2 of NW1/4, the W1/2 of the NE1/4, and also the SE1/4 of the NW1/4 all of Section 6 of Township 24 of Range One E, containing two hundred acres more or less.
The following are twelve of his children (he is believed to be the father of twenty children):
1. Nancy Wren Lewis, born April 2, 1831 in Nash Co. NC. She died Oct. 9, 1916 from burns received several days earlier after catching fire from the fireplace and is buried in Bethesda Cemetery in Pickens Co., AL. She married John M. Craft in Pickens Co. John Craft died in Civil War and she never remarried.
Nancy Wren Lewis Craft
The following letter was written by Mary Ann Graham
Lewis to her son, John C. Lewis, who had recently moved to Texas. The
family was very unhappy with John C. Lewis moving away to Texas and they
did everything to entice him to come home, but he never returned home.
The letter is dated March 25, 1870 and written from Sipsey Mill, Alabama.
Dear Son: It is with pleasure that I take the
pleasure of writing you a few lines. Oliver and Tom Lock is farming
together this year. They are getting along the best you ever saw.
I am sending Andrew to school and
Jo has sent _____ and Jane to go with him. Billy is living with Joe
We have clear up another new
ground that will head west then east (?) and we have rented some right
good land from Miss _____ to put in corn and expect to get one of her
mules to plow. I want you to be a good boy and take care of what you
make. Shun all bad company and spend nothing on drink. John
the thought of you turning your back on me nearly broke my heart. I
hope this will be a schooling to you. You know you was going off in
debt and I am not about to pay you out, it is my desire to help you pay
out bil. It is out of the question to pay much for I was in debt
I have had so much feed to buy.
Cotton is a dollar and a half per bushel and it is so hy I could not buy
it. I bote flour at a dollar for bussel. Mister Mack (?) came
to see me after you left. John I never felt so sorry for ____ in my
life for I think he is a good man. I had not got over my trouble of
losing you _____ that I was so troubled. He said that I need
not mind that he had come to ____ me, for he never wood dunn me for a
thing in his life. He came to no if I was knowing of you going
off and I told him that I did not no you were going til you were gone.
He said you told him that you were going off but he thought that you were
going off out to where Bill Chamblee was but still I think he has got
confidence in you that you will come back and pay him. I hope that
you will be spared to make money and come back and pay him not for _____to
say that you went off to keep from paying your debts. John you no that I
have tried to raise you all in ___ ___ ___. Mr.
Mack(?) did not talk to me like he was angry at you at all. He said
he new that you was young and could see for he had him a boy himself.
John, he is a good friend to and I reckon as I have in the world. I
want you to rite him a kind leter to give him satisfaction. He
placed so much confidence in you, he sed that he could not help believing
that you was persuaded of a _____ to go to see him before long. If
____ when you write to Mark(?) put a kind word or to in their for me.
Son, I want you to be a good boy
and don't you forget your savior for if you have Him He will have you to
love your Dear Mother an all things will be right. Son I never
expect to come to you but I hope you will come to me. When you come
you need not expect to go back for I never could part with you. I
will close. I remain your Dear Mother til death. Goodby.
Mother (Mary Ann Graham Lewis)
This next letter to John C. Lewis is from his Pickens
Co. girlfriend, Mary Chamblee and dated March 25, 1870.
I will rite you a few lines to tell you Annie is well as I
truly hope that I may find you well. I have no news to write to you
only I want to see you worse than I ever did in my life and I could not
tel you how I felt when you left me at the river. I don't expect
that you cared for me like I did for you. John, I wish for you a
____ this minute for somebody told some lies on me. I will tell you
when you come if you ever do. I want you to come for my sake if
nobody else. John I am staying with your mother this week but I am
going home tomorrow but I shall be with her all thru the years. I was here
when she got your letter. Me and her was like two fools we set an
crid over your piece of hair. I will close. I remain your true
The following letter was written by Oliver Lewis,
brother of John C. Lewis. Dated March 25, 1870.
Good evening, John. I wood be glad to see you come
over an go with me to see my girl. I will tel you what her name is -
Miss Hatty Coulson. She is so pretty she could charm a little kitten
out of the ____
I love her from the top of her
head to the end of her big toe, the girl that you used to tease me about,
she is gone and was glad when she left. She is gone to Tar Creek.
If you don't like the girl I am going to see, pick me out one and I will
come an get her if you don't make haste. I wil have you to dance in the
pig trough if you don't dance you can _____me______. We have planted
some corn. We planted some 9 of March. I must tell you
something about Buck (?). He work last year for two suits of clothes
an bridle an saddle. An this year he is going to work for a horse an then
next year he is going to work for a girl. Andrew is going to see
John Hood an Oliver sees that Andrew love his brothers ____ letters, but
he says he loves his brother. He loves him like a dog love hickory.
Andrew says that he good boy. Hasty is most redy to go in a
geography dictionary, he has grod so you hardly no him. He said you
must come home John. I will close this myself. You must come here in
Mother an brothers ever. Good by for all.
|The following letter was written by Nancy Craft to her brother,
John Calhoun Lewis, who had moved to Texas. The letter is dated
April 4, 1871. It was among the letters and photos kept by John
Calhoun Lewis. Many in the Lewis family, including Nancy Lewis
Craft, wrote him trying to persuade him to return home but he never
returned. He loved Texas.
As your mother has not sent this letter off I
will write you a few lines. This leaves all well and truly hope
these few lines will find you in good health. John I have no news to
write. We have not done planting corn yet. It has rained
so much but we have got a good spell of weather now. John lives is
hard and many is coming for next year, the world will be full of children
and Billy will be called Pa too and Jess (or Jeff) too.
John you had better come home and see what you
can do. I saw Miss Nancy and Miss Mary C. Chamblee last Sunday and
they looked fine. Buck is still at Mr. Gaskin yet, David (her son,
David Craft) is at Lanier Mill near Mr. Baker. He gets 19 dollars
per month and you could get the same as this to if you were about 1 mile
and a half from your poor old Mother. Oh John you don't know what
she suffered from you. Well I must close. Tell D.D. to write to me.
John tell Jim to write to me.
2. James Franklin Lewis, born August 17, 1832 in NC. Died Nov. 6, 1896 near Crossroads in Henderson Co. TX.. Buried at Union Chapel Cemetery near Cross Roads, Tx. Married Malinda Strickland. James Franklin Lewis was a farmer in Pickens Co., AL in 1850-60 with a post office address of Bridgeville , AL in 1860. He was living near his father, Bennett Lewis. He is the earliest known Lewis family member to go to Texas . The Lewis family migrated to Texas during 1863-1868, perhaps settling initially outside of Freestone County, TX but settling in the northern part of the county by late 1870 near Stewards Mill, TX and Young, TX.
3. Joseph Lewis. born ca. 1833 in NC. Married Mrs. Martha Chamblee, widow of Lewis Chamblee. In 1860 Joseph was a farmer living near Mantua in Greene County (at that time it was in Pickens Co.) and in 1870 he was living at Pleasant Ridge in Greene County but had moved by 1880 to Oktibbeha County , MS .
4. Arnita Lewis. born ca. 1835 in NC.
5. Margaret Lewis. born ca. 1837 in NC. Joined Mt. Zion Baptist Church . (She was ex-communicated from the church as a teen-ager because of her unchristianlike conduct - they didn't like the way she walked. No one knows what happened to poor Margaret.
6.Lucy Lewis. Born 1839 in NC.
(The following children are by second wife)
7. Ivy Lewis. Born ca. 1842 in AL .
8. Dempsey Daniel (Dan) Lewis. Born Feb. 4, 1845 in Pickens County , AL Buried in Mount Hope Cemetery in Wells, TX. Died March 21, 1924 in Cherokee Co., TX.Buried
in Mount Hope Cemetery, Wells (Cherokee County) TX. He married Mary Ann Crist
in Anderson Co., TX on April 20, 1848 . Dempsey Daniel came to Texas with the Lewis family group and was in Freestone Co., TX in 1870 living in the John M. Phillips household. He appeared to have lived in neighboring Anderson Co., TX in 1880 but was back in Henderson Co in 1892-1899 where he was postmaster at Bute , TX . He was living alone in the early 20th century in east Texas .
|For more information on Dempsey Daniel Lewis Family click
Dempsey Daniel Lewis
Mary Ann Crist Lewis--Dempsey Lewis' wife.
Lacy Tannie Lewis Gannon, daughter of Dempsey and
Mary. She is pictured here mid 1940's Oakhurst, TX with her grand
daughters who she raised after the death of their mother. Grand
daughters are Gladys Dean, Dealia Ann (my Mom) and Ervialeen Gannon.
9. Martha Lewis. born ca. 1845 in Pickens County , AL .
10. Oliver Bennett Lewis. born 1846. Married Malinda Mustin. Joined Mt. Zion Church during a 16 day long protracted meeting in Oct. 1870.
For more information on OLIVER BENNETT LEWIS click
11. John Calhoun Lewis. Born Sept. 17, 1850 . He left suddenly in 1870 for Texas without saying goodbye to his mother, owing money, and leaving behind his sweetheart, Mary Ann Chamblee. Despite the pleas of his family to return to Alabama he remained in Texas .
He married Sarah Nancy Jackson on Sept. 17, 1874 . She was the
daughter of John Jackson and Elizabeth Wafer. The family was hard shell Baptist and sang "Old Harp". He was a member of Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Pickens Co., AL. joining on Sept. 9, 1866 and was granted letter of dismission on first Sabbath of June 1874. He was a farmer living near Rome Church and Willow Springs School northeast of Cross Roads, TX and was appointed postmaster of the post office at Bute , TX in 1893. He was a Justice of the Peace in 1896.
He was also a store clerk, teacher and preacher. He became ill with typhoid fever that affected his mind and he was admitted to a State Hospital in Terrell , TX where he died in January 28, 1918 .He
is buried at Willow Springs Cemetery in Anderson Co., TX.
|For more information on John Calhoun Lewis Family click
|L-R: John Calhoun Lewis, half brother of Nancy Wren
Lewis Craft, and his children: Belton, Bennett, Corah, Cormilly.
Photos taken in Texas on Dec. 16, 1894.
The following letter was written Sept. 21, 1903 from John
Calhoun Lewis to his son, Belton Lewis. Belton was 19 years old
when his father wrote the letter. The letter was kept by Tennie
Belle Lewis Williams of Athens, TX, a daughter of Belton Lewis.
The letter sounds a lot like the letter John Calhoun Lewis's mother had
written to him when he was a young man.
You are now starting out in other fields
among strangers. Remember that you are not at home, you cannot be
as free about as home, and this I will advise you, always conduct
yourself gentlemanly, respect every man's feelings, never indulge in
buying anyone, not even a negro, he has rights as well as you.
Attend strictly your own business, and let everyone else do the same,
always treat people nice, work for a man only that you know has the
money, always do a reasonable amount of work, "that is" keep steady,
don't fuss with no one if you can help it, but don't be run over, don't
drink whiskey, it will surely ruin you, keep away from all disreputable
places such as saloons and their kindred, be sure to keep good company
or name, never take up with a stranger, make no friends of that kind,
especially in towns and on the cars, for they are seeking to rob you,
never be on the streets after dark, never take up with or ____ at no
man's trials, use your own judgment of others except it be a known
friend. Don't buy anything that you don't need, take care of what
you have. If you should be with a crowd or anyone that is
consulting on something wrong, quit them at once for they may bring you
into trouble unthoughtfully. Be kind to everybody, keep out of
danger if possible.
Finally, Belton, be sure to tell the truth
and be honest and you will always find friends.
John C. Calhoun
P.S. Adhere to this strictly and you will have no trouble.
The following was written by Belton Calhoun Lewis sometimes
between 1913 and 1925.
We have been receiving Saving Grace and
Religion for a year. We enjoy it so much we read every word of it.
It is a great comfort to me.
I would like to tell my experience, but I
can't even do that.
My father, John C. Lewis, was a Primitive
Baptist and to me, a great and good man. Mother died when I was
six years of age. Father was left with four little children.
He attended his meetings regularly. He would take us on Sunday,
sometime on Saturday. He would have us close to the front so he
could see after us and as we grew older we would help them sing.
(I had one sister older than I). We thought the Old Baptist were the
best people in the world, we loved them and it did us good for them to
shake hands with us. I wanted to be one of them, to understand the
Scriptures like they did. But I did not want anyone to know how I
felt. I would hide from Sister and pray, or tried to, about all I
could say was "Lord have mercy on me, a poor sinner", then sometimes I'd
kneel to pray and could not say one word. I was wretched,
miserable. I married during that time and I still tried to keep my
troubles hid. I would steal away to the woods and try to pray so
earnestly but no relief. One day we went to church. Brother
M. T. Pace was preaching and he pointed his finger at me and said: you
have an experience of Grace in your heart whether you ever tell it or
not:, and I was made to rejoice. But, I wondered how those dear
old Brethrens and Sisters knew that. I had tried so hard to hide
it. This same preacher afterward baptized me. But I felt
very unworthy and it worried me quite a bit. I fear I am deceived
and deceiving those good people. I know I am not as good as they
are. I am bowed down most of the time. My cross is heavy.
I stagger along. I don't want to deceive anyone. I will ask
you all to pray for me.
Belton Calhoun Lewis
12. Andrew Jackson Lewis, born August 30, 1857 in Pickens County, AL. Died March 1,1940 and is buried in Dunnís Creek Baptist
Church Cemetery in Echola, AL Married Martha Lou Ellen White. They lived in Moore ís Bridge in Tuscaloosa County. His mother lived with him 1884-86.
Andrew Jackson Lewis and wife
|For more information on Andrew Jackson Lewis family click
The following letter was written by Andrew Jackson
Lewis to his brother John C. Lewis on May 26, 1884 from Moore's
Bridge in Tuscaloosa, AL.
It is with pleasure I again seat
myself to write you a few lines to let you hear from me. This leaves
us all well, hoping this may come safe to hand and find you and your
family enjoying the same blessing. John, I have nothing of
importance to write. I am busily engaged in my crop at this time.
I am about half done chopping cotton. I suppose you will call
it late to chopping and is but people are severely behind. We have
had so much rain in the spring we could not get to plant until late.
My corn looks very well but is needing rain now it has bin about four
weeks since we had rain but looks promising for rain now. Well, I
recon you think I had almost forgot to write but I thought I would wait
until I could tell you all of it though that will not be much. In
the first place, I bought me a good large tract of land 300 and 60 acres
and then married the 5th day of Dec. last, so I believe I am settled for
awhile, perhaps forever.
I married Miss Martha White so
come over next Sunday and take dinner with us. We will have what you
told the fellow once asked about the big dinner. You told they had
six kinds of meat when he asked you what kind, you told him sheep, mutton
& lamb, foul, chicken and hen. So I don't know about mutton and
lamb, but if you will come, we will kill fowl and a chicken.
John, I would give my old Barlow
to see you once more and talk with you. I got a letter from
W.H.B. a few days ago. He said he would come to see me the 4th of
July. I wish you would try to come to. I do believe if you
could about that time, we would have a perfect jubilee.
John, I will send you a chicken
protector, if the hawks is bad use it.
Well, I believe I have said all I
know what to say. Mother is living with me. She sends her love
to you and family and says for you to hurry and come and bring her that
dress you promised to bring her a long time ago and says for you to come
this summer to see her. O. B. and family are all well and getting
along very well. Olivers eyes has got well.
So I believe I will close and go
Your Brother as ever,
A. J. Lewis
Written with a pencil. If rubed out let me know. A
The following letter was written by Andrew Jackson
Lewis on March 7, 1907, to the Gordo Messenger.
You will please allow me a few lines in your paper.
We would say that those concerned that we regret every much not
meeting the class at Zion on last 3rd Sunday one of our neighbors died,
and for this reason were not there. Hope we will meet the class
some future day. Myself and brother, John C. Lewis, of Athens,
TX, whom I have not met in 37 years until recently will visit our old home
in Pickens County 9 miles east of Vienna and look at the hills that we
roamed in our boyhood days, and visit the ground of our father. We
will remain with our old friends about 4 or 5 days. We will return
thence to our home in Tuscaloosa County. Brother will start for the
west March 14. I will close.
|Andrew Jackson Lewis and wife, Martha White Lewis
Success to The Messenger and its readers.
A. J. Lewis