Colonel Charles Lewis of "Byrd"

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Charles Lilburne Lewis, Sr.

Also Known As: "Prince"
Birthdate: (83)
Birthplace: Chemokins, Virginia, United States
Death: December 15, 1779 (83)
Goochland, Goochland, Virginia, United States
Place of Burial: Naxera, Gloucester, Virginia, United States
Immediate Family:

Son of Colonel John 'Councillor' Lewis and Elizabeth Lewis
Husband of Mary Lewis
Father of Elizabeth Kennon; John Lewis of The Byrd; Charles Lewis, of Buck Island; Jane Lewis; Anne Taylor and 5 others
Brother of Elizabeth Letitia Martin; Colonel John Lewis, IV; Mildred Howell Brown Willis; Angelica Lewis; Rebecca Lindsay and 9 others

Occupation: Colonel
Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Colonel Charles Lewis of "Byrd"

DAR Ancestor # A069786


From "History of Albemarle County", by Rev. Edgar Woods, 1901, page 252:

Robert Lewis, a nephew of the first Charles above mentioned, lived at Belvoir, on the east side of the South West Mountain. He was the son of John Lewis and Frances Fielding, and a brother of Fielding, Washington's brother-in-law. He married Jane, daughter of Nicholas Meriwether, the large landholder, and he was himself one of the largest landholders in the county. In 1736 he entered upwards of four thousand acres in North Garden, and in 1740 nearly sixty-five hundred acres near Ivy Depot. He died in 1765. His children were John, Nicholas, Robert, Charles, William, Jane, the wife of Thomas Meriwether, Mary, the wife first of Samuel Cobb, and secondly of Waddy Thomson, Mildred, the wife of Major John Lewis, Ann, the wife of another John Lewis - both of these gentlemen of Spotsylvania and kinsmen- Elizabeth, the wife of William Barrett, and Sarah, the wife of Dr. Waller Lewis, of Spotsylvania, son of Zachary Lewis, and brother of Mildred's husband. John, the eldest son, received the main portion of his estate in Gloucester.

From: Lewis of Warner Hall: The History of a Family, Compiled by

Merrow Ederton Sorley


Pages 293-300



Col. Charles Lewis (1696-1779), of "The Byrd", Goochland

County, Virginia, was the second son of "Councillor" John Lewis and

Elizabeth Warner. As has been said, it is probable that both he and

his older brother were born at "Chemokins" (alias Port Holy), in St.

Peter's Parish, New Kent County, and removed with their parents to

"Warner Hall" in 1701 or 1702. Charles Lewis spent his boyhood at

Warner Hall, and on May 28, 1717 married Mary Howell (born about 1700

died 1779 or 1783), whose lineage is discussed in a later chapter;

she was the half-sister of Frances Fielding, future wife of Charles'

brother John Lewis (See Chap. 33, Fielding and Howell Families).

When Charles Lewis came of age and was preparing to be married, his

father decided to settle upon him the lands which would be his

inheritance. Warner Hall would naturally descend to the oldest son

John, if he later married and had issue; consequently the thoughts of

"Councillor" John Lewis turned naturally to the "Chemokins" estate of

2600 acres. This estate he determined to divide equally between his

younger sons Charles and Robert; and to " Chemokins " young Charles

Lewis took his bride to make their home upon the 1300 acres which were

his share. It is shown by two Acts in Henings Statutes-at-Large of

Virginia, that "Councillor" John Lewis held the Chemokins estate in

fee simple (Hening Vol. 7, Pp. 377-379; Vol. 8, Pp. 478-480) ; he

divided the estate on Oct. 13, 1717, giving to Charles Lewis the 1800

acres which were his share, but at the same time he made of them an

entailed estate vested in the male heirs of Charles Lewis, with

reversion to the male heirs of Robert and John Lewis in turn. Robert

Lewis did not receive his half of the Chemokins estate until, like his

brother Charles, he reached the age of twenty- one and married; and

since this event occurred only a few weeks before his father's death,

the 1300 acres came to him as a legacy under his father's will; and,

also like his brother Charles, Robert Lewis received this land from

his father in the form of an entailed estate. It should be mentioned

here that a part of the 1300 acres of Robert Lewis lay in that portion

of New Kent County which in 1720 became St. Paul's Parish, Hanover

County (Hening, Vol. 8, Pp. 59-61).

Like his father, Col. Charles Lewis became a vestryman of St. Peter's

Parish during his residence at Chemokins. He was chosen for this

office at a meeting of the vestry on Jan. 26, 1721/2 (Vestry Book, P.

132), and first appeared as such at a later meeting in the same year

of 1722 (Ibid., P. 135). In 1724 he was chosen as one of the two

church wardens for the ensuing year (Ibid., P. 138), and in the

following year he was renominated for an additional year in this

capacity (Ibid., P. 141). His name appears as a vestryman and

otherwise (Ibid., Pp. 142, 145, 146, 150) until June 23, 1729, when he

resigned from the vestry (Ibid., P. 154) by letter-a probable clue as

to the date of his removal from New Kent County. In newly all of these

records he is referred to as "Capt. Charles Lewis", indicating that he

held this rank in the New Kent militia between the years 1722 and 1729

inclusive. After the year 1729 there are no references in the vestry

book of St. Peter's Parish to Charles Lewis; nor do there appear, for

about twenty-two years, any references to a Lewis who might have been

a relative of the Warner Hall family.

In August, 1725, Charles Lewis acquired the estate from which he is

known as Charles Lewis of "The Byrd". The Henrico County Records (Of

the Virginia State Library, Pp. 12-13), relate that on the ninth or

tenth of this month "John Thornton of New Kent County conveyed to

Charles Lewis of New Kent County, a plantation on Ye Byrd Creek in

Henrico, (now Goochland) County". To this new home Charles Lewis moved

with his family, if we judge from the above records, about the year

1729. The date has been placed by some writers as late as 1733,

although his resignation from the vestry of St. Peter's Parish, New

Kent, seems to indicate this earlier date; also, he received a further

grant of 1200 acres in Goochland County (cut off from Henrico in 1727)

in 1731 (Goochland Deed Book No. 14, P. 375), and while this is not

proof of his actual residence in Goochland at the latter date, this

extension of his holdings there hardly seems to indicate be growing

needs of a mere absentee landlord.

Col. Charles Lewis became one of the most prominent and influential

citizens of Goochland County during the fifty years of his residence

there. He does not appear to have entered the arena of political life

to any great extent, and it is not of record that he ever served in

the General Assembly; possibly his motives for not seeking such office

were dictated by the great burdens of his large plantations and their

care, and the inability to absent himself at the Capitol for long and

irregular periods. His principal public service was of course

military, as colonel of the Virginia militia from Gooehland. To this

latter office he was first appointed on March 20, 1753, and later

reappointed on August 18, 1761 (Americans of Royal Descent, Browning,

7th Edition, P. 255). In his military career he participated in the

Indian campaigns which were conducted from time to time, and according

to the late Thomas M. Green of ]Kentucky he was known as one of the

distinguished officers of the French and Indian War (Historic Families

of Kentucky, Green). In September, 1758, appropriations by the General

Assembly included an allowance to "Colonel Charles Lewis of Goochland

County" for provisions furnished to Indian allies in the campaigns

just preceding (Hening, Vol. 7, P. 218).

There is no doubt that Col. Charles Lewis was one of the wealthiest

citizens of his neighborhood, and this fact is immediately apparent

merely from the extent of his land holdings. Byrd Creek, on which his

principal residence was located, is a stream which rises near the

northern border of Fluvanna County and runs thence southeast into

Goochland County, within which it empties into the James River at Elk

Hill; its course is generally parallel to the Rivanna, which lies just

to the westward. The 1731 grant mentioned above was located on both

sides of the Rivanna River, at the mouth of Buck Island; and Col.

Charles Lewis also entered nearly three thousand acres in the Rich

Cove (History of Albemarle County, Woods, Pp. 251-4). The Journals of

the Council show that he received in 1738 a grant for an additional

thousand acres in Goochland; this land was located in present

Albemarle County on Green Creek and the Rockfish River (Virginia

Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 14, P. 243) Col. Charles Lewis

also owned lands still farther to the westward; as an example, on July

25, 1741 he patented 1850 acres on the south side of the Tye River in

present Amherst, which is now separated by that river from adjacent

Nelson County. At the dates of these grants the lands mentioned were

all within the bounds of Goochland County, from which in 1744

Albemarle County was cut off (including at that date not only its

present extent, but also the present counties of Fluvanna, Amherst,

Nelson, Buckingham, etc.).

It will be remembered that "Councillor" John Lewis, in dividing the

Chemokins estate between his two younger sons, created entailed

estates of their portions instead of giving them the land in fee

simple. As a result the lands could not be sold by any owner to whom

they might descend, but were to descend in perpetuity to the

respective male heirs of his two sons; the line of descent would

follow, of course, the strict English rule of primogeniture. The

creation of such entailed estates was a common proceeding among the

wealthy landholding families of Colonial Virginia; the popularity of

the custom prevailed because only in this way could a prosperous man

provide in his lifetime for the estate of his heirs to continue after

his death - it was thus more or less the contemporary counterpart of

insurance and trust funds. With the expansion of population to the

westward it often became desirable to sell these entailed estates in

order to purchase lands elsewhere; in such cases the Assembly was

prevailed upon to pass an Act docking the entail from the old lands,

and settling it instead on the new lands for the benefit of the heirs.

Thus, in October, 1760 such an Act was passed at the request of Col

Charles Lewis and his oldest son (to whom the land would have

descended in the normal course of events), transferring the entail on

Col. Charles Lewis' 1300 acres at Chemokins. This Act contains so much

explanation of facts stated herein that it merits reproduction in


"I. Whereas John Lewis, formerly of the parish of Abington, in the

county of Gloucester, esquire, was seized in feesimple of a tract or

parcel of land called by the name of Chemoikins, alias Port-Holy,

lying in the parish of Saint Peter, in New-Kent County, containing

thirteen hundred acres, more or less, being part of a patent granted

to Major William Lewis; and being so seized by indenture bearing date

the thirteenth day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand

seven hundred and seventeen, and made between the said John Lewis,

esquire, of the one part, and Charles Lewis, son to the said John, of

the other part, did, for the considerations therein mentioned, give

and grant unto his said son Charles Lewis the said tract or parcel of

land, with the appurtenances, to have and to hold, to him the said

Charles Lewis, and the male heirs of his body lawfully begotten, for

ever; and for want of such heirs, to Robert Lewis, son to the said

John, and the heirs male of his body lawfully begotten, for ever; and

for want of such heirs, to the heirs male of the body of him the said

John lawfully begotten; and for default of such heirs, to the right

heirs of his said son Charles, for ever; and so extinguish and

determine the said estate tail: And in the same indenture, it is

declared to be the real intent and desire of the said John the father,

that if at any time the said Charles should fall into extreme poverty

and want, or his male heirs begotten in possession, that then the said

Charles, or his said heirs, might dispose of or sell the said land for

their relief, by virtue of which deed the said Charles Lewis entered

into the said lands, with the appurtenances, and is now seized thereof

in fee-tail.

"II. And whereas the said Charles Lewis is seized in feesimple of and

in eighteen hundred and fifty acres of land, lying and being on Tye

river, in Albemarle county (formerly Goochland) granted to the said

Charles Lewis by patent bearing date the twenty-fifth day of July, in

the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and forty-one, and it

will be greatly to the advantage of the said Charles Lewis and his

posterity to dock the entail of the said thirteen hundred acres of

land, called Chemoikins, and to settle the said eighteen hundred and

fifty acres of land, on Tye river, in Albemarle county, so granted to

the said Charles Lewis by patent, being of greater value, to the same

uses; and John Lewis, gentleman, eldest son, and heir apparent, of the

said Charles, being of full age, is willing and desirous that an act

should pass for that purpose: And forasmuch as notice hath been

published, three Sundays successively, in the church of the said

parish of Saint Peter, that application would be made to this present

general assembly to dock the entail of the said thirteen hundred

acres, called Chemoikins, and to settle other lands of greater value

to the same uses, pursuant to your majesty's instructions.

" III. May it therefore please your most excellent majesty, at the

humble suit of the said Charles Lewis, that it may be enacted, and be

it enacted, by the Lieutenant-Governour, Council and Burgesses of this

present general assembly, and it is hereby enacted, by the authority

of the same, That the said thirteen hundred acres of land, called

Chemoikins, with the appurtenances, lying and being in New Kent

county, whereof the said Charles is now seized in fee-tail, as

aforesaid, be, and the same is hereby, vested in the said Charles

Lewis, his heirs and assig, to the only proper use and behoof of the

said Charles Lewis, and his heirs and assigns, for ever; and that the

said eighteen hundred and fifty acres of land, with the appurtenances,

lying on Tye river, in the county of Albemarle, granted to the said

Charles Lewis by patent, shall be, and the same are hereby, vested in

the said Charles Lewis, and the male heirs of his body lawfully

begotten, for ever; and in default of such heirs, the same shall

remain and descend to such person and persons as the said thirteen

hundred acres of land, called Chemoikins, would have remained and

descended, by virtue of the before recited indenture, if this act had

never been made,

"IV. Saving to the king's most excellent majesty, his heirs and

successors, and all and every other person and persons, bodies

politick and corporate, other than the persons claiming under the said

recited indenture, all such right, title, interest and estate, claim

and demand, as they, every, or any of them, could or might claim, if

this act had never been made.

" V. Provided always, That the execution of this act shall be, and the

same is hereby, suspended, until his majesty's approbation thereof

shall be obtained."

By this act (Hening, Vol. 7, Pp. 377-9; Journals of the House of

Burgesses 1768-1761, Pp. 186-191, 194), and in such a manner was the

entailed estate of Col. Charles Lewis at Chemokins changed to an

estate in fee-simple in 1760; and soon after that act the lands were

sold. In a later chapter we shall observe the same fate overtake the

Chemokins estate of Col. Robert Lewis, but it is of interest to follow

at this point the subsequent history of the entail originally created

for Col. Charles Lewis by his father. After 1760 (and perhaps earlier)

Col. Charles' oldest son John resided on the Tye River lands which

were his in expectation; in 1770, however, he decided to remove to

Pittsylvania. County, where he received in that year a grant of 1146

acres; and in consequence of an act of the same year (Hening, Vol. 8,

Pp. 478-480; Journals of the House of Burgesses 1770-1772, Pp. 14-16,

19, 35, 53. 56, 109) the entail which had originally rested on

Chemokins was again transferred. Under the terms of the act the entail

was settled on the Pittsylvania land, and the Tye River lands in

Amherst were vested in John Lewis in fee-simple in order that he might

sell them and thus provide for his younger children.

In 1739 Col. Charles Lewis submitted a petition to the Council

(Virginia Magazine of History and Biography, Vol. 14, Pp. 338-9)

regarding a grant made to him in Goochland several years earlier; this

grant was never entered by him, and as it was later found to conflict

with a grant previously made to Col. Charles Chiswell, Col. Charles

Lewis filed with the county surveyor for a similar quantity of land

elsewhere in Goochland. Later, however, two men named Rose and Chew

filed a patent conflicting with the one actually obtained and entered

by Col. Charles Lewis, and the petition asked that the Council settle

the dispute. On June 13th the Council ordered that Col. Lewis should

have the land, despite the later patent of Rose and Chew; but the

dispute appears to have been continued, and in June of 1740 the

Council decided with the consent of all parties that Col. Lewis should

have a single tract of two thousand acres "beginning at the Mouth of

Lewis's Creek the land was laid out accordingly. Rose and Chew

considered themselves aggrieved by the way in which this was done, and

in June of 1741 made an appeal to the Council (Virginia Magazine of

History and Biography, Vol. 15, Pp. 3, 237), but the land was

confirmed to Col. Charles Lewis

Col. Charles Lewis and Mary Howell enjoyed a married life whose

remarkable span was more than sixty-two years. The will of Col.

Charles Lewis of "The Byrd", dated and proved in 1779, shows that he

died between September 1st and December 20th of that year, leaving

several children. His wife survived him, and is believed to have died

either late in the same year or in the year 1783. In closing the

account of their lives, it is appropriate to give in full the will of

Charles Lewis, as filed in Goochland County:

" In the name of God, Amen. I, Charles Lewis of Goochland County and

Parish of St. James Northam being of sound mind and disposing sense

and memory do make constitute and ordain and appoint this writing to

be my last will and testament in manner and form following, that is to

say-I give and devise and bequeath to my loving wife Mary Lewis during

the time of her natural life the free use and profits and full

enjoyment of my whole estate both real and personal, without

impeachment of waste, and after her decease I give and dispose

thereof, as follows: to wit: I give and bequeath to my son Charles

Lewis and his heirs forever four hundred acres of land in Albemarle

County, commonly called Buck Island tract with all and singular its

appurtances. I give and bequeath to my son Robert Lewis and his heirs

and assigns forever, all that tract of land in which I now live called

by the name of the Bird tract together with all the appurtances, also

five acres of land which I purchased of Edmund Rice, also my stick, my

clock, great glass, and twenty of his choice out of my stock of

cattle, meaning the horned or black cattle. It is my desire and will

that after my wife's decease that my son Howell shall have his first

choice of all my negroes, and that my son Robert should have his

second choice of all my negroes and that after my son Howell and my

son Robert has so made their choice of a negro each, that there should

be seven of my youngest negroes set apart from the others of my

slaves. I give and devise to my sons John, Charles, Howell and Robert

and their heirs as follows, that is to say: To my son John three, to

my son Charles two, to my son Howell one and to my son Robert one,

which I do in order to make the number of slaves to these sons equal

to what I gave my son James in his life time, and the division and

partition of the said same slaves among my said sons John, Charles,

Howell and Robert, a divide may be made the drawing the names of the

said slaves by lot or otherwise as they my said sons can agree. My

will and desire further is, that on the death of my wife, all the rest

and residue of my estate not herein otherwise disposed of, may be

divided into eight equal parts or portions I give and devise and

bequeath to each of my sons and daughters respectively or their heirs,

viz.: John Lewis, Charles Lewis, Howell Lewis, Robert Lewis, Elizabeth

Kennon, Anne Taylor, and Frances Lewis and the other eighth part or

portion to the sons and daughters of my son James Lewis, deceased, and

to their heirs and legal representatives respectfully. And lastly I

constitute and appoint my loving wife Mary, Executrix and my sons

John, Charles, Howell, Robert, with my friend William Haleman,

Executors of this my last will and testament, hereby revoking and

disannulling all former and other wills by me at any time made,

desiring that my estate be not appraised, and that no security be

demanded of my Executrix or Executors in the probate of this my last

will. In witness thereof I have hereunto set my hand and affixed my

seal this first day of September one thousand seven hundred and

seventy nine.

"Charles Lewis (Seal).

"Signed, sealed and published by the said Charles Lewis the Testator,

as and for, his last will and testament in presence of us the

subscribers, who in his presence and at his request subscribed our

names as witnesses.

" Anne Harrison

" Milly Cobbs

"Wm. Harrison

At a Court held for Goochland County Dec. 20th 1779, William Harrison

and Anne Harrison proved the writing to be the last will and testament

of Charles Lewis, Gent., Dec., which was thereupon admitted to record.

"Test. Val Wood, Clerk."

Col. Charles Lewis and Mary Howell were the parents of ten children,

most of whom survived and themselves had large families. The chapters

next following are devoted to the history of these children and their


He was Col. Charles Lewis of the "Byrd Plantation". His son John sold the property and purchased land on the Dan River in Pittsylvania County, VA.


  1. Title: LEWISES, MERIWETHERS and THEIR KIN by Sarah Travers Lewis (Scott) Anderson
     Media: Book
     Page: pp25 &43.
  2. Title: Marriage Records of Patrick Co., VA
     Media: Other
     Text: Date of Import: Dec 14, 1998
  3. Title: LEWISES, MERIWETHERS and THEIR KIN by Sarah Travers Lewis (Scott) Anderson
     Media: Book
     Page: pp25. 

Information from: Sources: Bradney, History of Monmouthshire, vol. 1, p. 153; Duke, Kenmore and the Lewises, pp. 4–11; Harris, "John Lewis," pp. 195–205; Hotten, Original Lists of Persons of Quality, pp. 79, 103, 108; Lewis, Lewis Patriarchs, pp. 74–82; Moses, Welsh Lineage, pp. 1–20 ff.; New England Historical & Genealogical Register, vol. 18, p. 81; Nugent, Cavaliers and Pioneers, vol. 1, p. 229; Sorley, Lewis of Warner Hall, pp. 17–29, 293–300, 445–68; St. Teilo's parish register; VA tombstone records.

Son of Col John Taliaferro and Elizabeth WARNER Lewis born in Warner Hall. Died in Warner Hall. Married Mary HOWELL May 28, 1717 in Kent Co.,VA. Father of Charles Lewis born 3/14/1721,John of The Byrd Lewis, Elizabeth, James and Anne (Lewis) Taylor.

view all 15

Colonel Charles Lewis of "Byrd"'s Timeline

October 13, 1696
Chemokins, Virginia, United States

He was born at Chemokins, New Kent County Virginia

October 13, 1696
Chemokins, New Kent, Virginia
Age 19
Conjurors Neck, Chesterfield, Virginia, United States
April 8, 1720
Age 23
Byrd Plantation, Gloucester, Virginia, USA
May 14, 1721
Age 24
Buck Island, Goochland County, Province of Virginia
October 6, 1726
Age 29
Byrd, Goochland, Virginia, United States
Age 29
March 2, 1733
Age 36
Byrd, Goochland County, Province of Virginia, Colonial America
Age 38
Goochland County, Virginia, United States