Fielding Lewis
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Fielding Lewis
Fielding Lewis
FIELDING LEWIS (1725-1781).jpg
Born(1725-07-07)July 7, 1725
DiedDecember 7, 1781(1781-12-07) (aged 56)
OccupationMerchant, soldier
Catharine Washington
(m. 1746; her death 1750)

Betty Washington
(m. 1750; his death 1781)
Children14
Parent(s)John Lewis
Frances Fielding Lewis
RelativesGeorge Washington (brother-in-law)

Fielding Lewis (July 7, 1725 – December 7, 1781) was an American merchant and a Colonel during the American Revolutionary War. He lived in Fredericksburg, Virginia where he had a plantation, which later became known as Kenmore. His brother-in-law was George Washington.

Early life and education

Lewis was born at Warner Hall, a plantation in Gloucester County, Colony of Virginia.[1] He was third of seven children born to John Lewis IV (1694-1754), a merchant and planter (also known as Colonel John Lewis), and Frances Fielding (c. 1702-1731).[2] After the death of his mother in 1731, his father remarried to Priscilla Churchhill Carter, the widow of Robert Carter II.[3]

His paternal uncle, Robert Lewis (1704-1765), became the grandfather of Meriwether Lewis, who would explore the Louisiana Purchase.[4]

His father had a store in Fredericksburg. In 1749, John Lewis had a fine retail building constructed to display his wares and provide space for a selling floor and storage. The sandstone quoins, usually found only on larger mansions, were a sign of his aspirations. His son Fielding joined him in the business, taking it over in the 1750s.[1]

Career

Lewis was established as a successful merchant before the American Revolutionary War.[3] He was appointed as Commissary General of Munitions during the war, and commissioned at the rank of Colonel.[5]

He and his second wife Betty resided on a plantation (later named Kenmore) in Fredericksburg. Like others in the planter elite, they were supported by the labor of slaves. Betty's mother Mary Ball Washington frequently visited them and had a favorite spot she called her "meditation rock".

In 1769, Fielding and Betty started construction of a large Georgian mansion on their property, which was completed in 1775. It has some of the most refined colonial interior finishes of any surviving mansion. Named by later owners as Kenmore Plantation, it has been designated a National Historic Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Personal life

Lewis married Catharine Washington on October 18, 1746. She was his second cousin, the daughter of John Washington (an uncle of George Washington) and Catharine Whiting. Before his wife's death on February 19, 1750, they were the parents of three children, including:[6]

  • John Lewis (1747-1825)

A few months later, on May 7, 1750, Lewis married Betty Washington (1733-1797), the sister of George Washington and another second cousin. She was 17 years old.[7] They had 11 children together, including:[8]

  • Fielding Lewis, Jr. (1751-1803), who married Anne Alexander and, after her death, Nancy Alexander. He had issue by both wives.
  • Augustine Lewis (1752-1756), who died as a child.
  • Warner Lewis (1755-1756), who died in infancy.
  • George Washington Lewis (1757-1831), who married Catherine Daingerfield, had issue (grandparents of Princess Catherine Murat).
  • Mary Lewis (1759-1759), who died in infancy.
  • Charles Lewis (1760-1793)
  • Samuel Lewis (1762-1810)[]
  • Elizabeth Lewis (1765-1830), who married distant cousin Charles Carter, had issue.
  • Lawrence Lewis (1767-1839), who married step-cousin Eleanor Parke Custis (George Washington's step-granddaughter) and had issue.
  • Robert Lewis (1769-1829), who married cousin Judith Carter Browne and had issue.
  • Howell Lewis Sr. (1771-1822), who married Ellen Hackley Pollard and, after her death, Henry Howell Lewis. He had issue by his first wife.

Lewis died in Fredericksburg in 1781 at the end of the Revolutionary War. Before her death in 1789, Mary Washington asked to be buried at her favorite spot at Kenmore, and her daughter Betty arranged for that. Betty outlived Lewis by 16 years, dying in 1797.[9]

In 1833 a memorial was started at Mary Washington's gravesite, but never completed. Following the United States Centennial in 1889, numerous historic and lineage societies were formed; the Mary Washington Memorial Association held fundraising events and commissioned a memorial for her gravesite. It was dedicated in 1894 at Mary Washington's gravesite in a ceremony presided over by President Grover Cleveland of the United States.[10]

Legacy and honors

  • The Lewis mansion and property was later named Kenmore Plantation when purchased before the Civil War by people outside the Lewis family. It is now operated as a house museum, and is open to the public for viewing.
  • In the late 20th century, the Kenmore Plantation purchased Ferry Farm, the property said to be George Washington's boyhood home, to keep it from being developed.[11]
  • Lewis' great-granddaughter Catherine Willis Gray married into the Bonaparte family of France. A sixth-generation descendant, Fielding Lewis Wright, served as Governor of Mississippi.
  • Fielding and his wife Elizabeth "Betty" Lewis are each commemorated with street names in the Ferry Farm subdivision outside Fredericksburg, with Fielding Circle and Betty Lewis Drive.

References

  1. ^ a b Lewis of Warner Hall: The History of a Family, Including the Genealogy of Descendants in Both the Male and Female Lines, Biographical Sketches of Its Members, and Their Descent from Other Early Virginia Families. Genealogical Publishing Com. 1979. p. 248. ISBN 978-0-8063-0831-9. Retrieved 2020.
  2. ^ Lewis Family Ancestors and Descendants, Historic Kenmore, George Washington Foundation.
  3. ^ a b Hoppe, Geoff. "Lewis, Fielding (1725-1781 or 1782)". www.encyclopediavirginia.org. Encyclopedia Virginia. Virginia Humanities. Retrieved 2020.
  4. ^ The Meriwether Lewis Connection, Historic Kenmore, George Washington Foundation.
  5. ^ "Va Sons of the Revolution". Archived from the original on 2008-08-28. Retrieved .
  6. ^ Lewis, William Terrell (1893). Genealogy of the Lewis Family in America: From the Middle of the Seventeenth Century Down to the Present Time. Courier-journal job printing Company. p. 46. Retrieved 2020.
  7. ^ Van Meter, Benjamin Franklin (1901). Genealogies and Sketches of Some Old Families who Have Taken Prominent Part in the Development of Virginia and Kentucky Especially: And Later of Many Other States of this Union. J.P. Morton. p. 43. Retrieved 2020.
  8. ^ "Fielding Lewis". www.mountvernon.org. George Washington's Mount Vernon. Retrieved 2020.
  9. ^ "Fielding Lewis". www.kenmore.org. Retrieved 2020.
  10. ^ Felder, Paula S. (1998). Fielding Lewis and the Washington Family: A Chronicle of 18th Century Fredericksburg. American History Company. ISBN 978-1-891722-01-1. Retrieved 2020.
  11. ^ Fleming, Emily White (1924). The Kenmore Mansion, Built 1752: Home of Colonel Fielding Lewis and His Wife, Betty Washington. Kenmore Association. Retrieved 2020.

External links


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