Who was this Charles Lewellen who killed two people? (Herndon, Voorhees)

Billie Harris - Jul 1, 2009

In 1821 Maury County, Tennessee, Charles Lewellen/Lewallen married a Herndon woman, daughter of Benjamin Herndon.   Benjamin Herndon, an attorney,   had bought considerable acreage 1788 in Davidson County, TN, then moved to Newberry SC, then apparently back to Maury County.   Charles Lewellen killed a Mr. Branby and his son and was arrested.   He escaped and there was a $100 reward for his capture.   He died, whether captured and hung or by some other means and his wife remarried.   The administration of his estate was 1827   in Maury and all he had were slaves which could have actually been his wife's since her father was wealthy.

Does anyone know anything about Charles E. Lewallen (the middle E. came from the notice of the inventory)?   I've looked all over the internet for information about him, about the murders, what happened to him and I can find nothing.


Billie Harris - Jul 2, 2009

I wrote to a descendant of Benjamin Herndon who has apparently written a book on him, and I asked about Charles Llewellen.   Here's his reply but I'd still like to find out who this Charles E. Lewellen was.  

The Benjamin Herndon to whom you refer was Benjamin Herndon, Jr. (1782-1818), a son of Lt. Col. Benjamin Herndon and his first wife, Sarah Pines. The Sarah Herndon to whom you refer was Sarah Pines Herndon (1805-1858), a daughter of Benjamin Herndon, Jr., and his wife, Sarah Chapman Gordon. Sarah Pines Herndon married Charles Llewellen in 1822. He killed another man, supposedly in self defense, was arrested, escaped, and fled to Kentucky for a month, then returned. I have no information about his death, only that he was dead before 1827. His widow, by 1827, had married William Richardson Brown (1802-1856), who had previously been married to Elizabeth Miller Paine.

I wrote the book, Lt. Col. Benjamin Herndon, and gave it as a gift to the Chester District Genealogical Society, P.O. Box 336, Richburg, S.C. 29729. They published it in 2008 after I had sent it to my indexer in Boston. I think the price is $25, postage and tax included.

Bob Stevens
Darlington, S.C

Sue Cooper - Jul 3, 2009

"Maury Co, TN Chancery Court Records" 1810-1860, Vol I; proves Charles E. Lewallen married Sarah Pines Herndon in March 1822, daughter of Benjamin Herndon and his wife Sarah C.   Herndon left 1000 acres of land and 15 slaves when he died in 1818.   Lewallen was involved in killing someone in self defense and to avoid public prosecution for a supposed crime,   fled to Louisville, Jefferson Co, KY.   He returned to Maury Co. in a month and took over the management of the Herndon Estate.   Charles Lewellin, dec'd Inventory is recorded 15 May 1827 on page   251 of "Maury Co, TN County Court Minutes" Vol 1, 2 December 1830-March 1836.   Only slaves are listed which were the probably originally the property of Herndon.   The Inventory   was signed by P.I. Voorhis and Sarah P. Llewellin as Administrators.   (Sarah was his widow and Voorhis was her step-father., refer Maury Co, TN Chancery Court Records, 1810-1860, Vol I in Equity, P.I. Voorhies vs Charles Lewellen and Wife; "The widow of Benjamin Herndon, Sarah C, now wife of Peter I. Voorhies).   On page 21, "They Passed This Way", Vol II, Maury Co, Tennessee Death Records;   Mr. Branby:   "Three murders have been committed in Maury County within 2 or 3 weeks past.   A Charles Lewallen killed a Mr. Branby and his son:   Lewallen made his escape".   Governor has $100.00 reward on Lewallen.   Taken from "Independent Gazette", Franklin, TN 31 August 1822.   This does not answer the question of who is Charles E. Lewallen, but does gives the sources for what is known about him.   Respectfully submitted, Sue Cooper, Professional Genealogist

Billie Harris - Jul 3, 2009

Thanks, Sue.   Bob Cooper is a professional genealogist, specializing in the backcountry of South Carolina.   Right now we have very little information on South Carolina so I may seek his assistance in obtaining more.   I've researched Herndons to see if we could find Lewallens with them prior to Maury but can't find any connection.   I'll see if there was a relationship with the Voorhis so that's a clue on where I can check next.
   Thanks again

Billie Harris - Jul 3, 2009

There doesn't appear to be any relation of the Vorhees to the Lewallens.  

Peter Imlay Voorhees was born Mamouth County, New Jersey Oct. 12, 1786 and died October 13, 1855, son of Daniel and Rebecca (Imlay) Voorhies.   Married Polly J. Roberts daughter of Isaac and Mary (Johnson) Roberts March 15, 1811 in Maury County, and then married Sarah Chapman Herndon Mar. 6, 1822 in Mary.   He died Oct. 13, 1855 in Maury at the age of 69.

[NOTE: broken link]

But the question remains of why Charles would go to Jefferson County, Kentucky, and not someplace else.   Is it possible he had relatives there?   Here's what we have for Jefferson County, KY as of right now.

Created 1780 from Kentucky County, Virginia

1785 - Freeman Lewelling - 50 acres May 18, surveyed by George Wilson of Jefferson County, on waters of Fishpond Creek.   ( Philip Fall Taylor, Earliest Surveys of Land In Kentucky, p. 118 (grants for services in the French and Indian Wars)
   NOTE:   Freeman was from Prince Edward County, Virginia, and assigned this land to Robert Goode.   See Virginia - Chronology.

1810 - Census shows   Sam'l Louallen (died 1822, see below)

1820 - Census shows Richard Lewellan  

1822 - Kentucky Court and Other Records by Ardery, Vol II shows:
Samuel Lewellin gives to his wife, Patty Lewellen, to his children:   Nancy Speig, Thomas B., Catherine Bigs, Mary Everett and Samuel R.   Exr. Patty Lewellen, wife and David McCallister.   Probated 9 Dec. 1822

1823 - Mar. 27 Henry C. Dorsey married Eliza B. Llewellen, daughter of Richard Llewellen.   They were married by Rev. Richard Carwine at Louisville, Kentucky (info from copy of marriage license #58943)

1830 - Census shows John Lewellen and Woodson Lewellen

1840 - Census shows G. B., G. W. and Peter   Lewellen

1845 - History of Adrain County, page 799-800, shows (Missouri)
“J.F. LLEWELLYN, druggist, Mexico, and one of the prominent and popular business men of this city, is a native of Kentucky, born in Louisville, September 13, 1845.   His parents were Robert Llewellyn and wife, whose maiden name was Mis Abbie Knott, both originally from England.   They came over to this country many years before the civil War, and the father was a bookkeeper in Louisville.   J. F. Llewellyn, the son, was reared in that city, and had the benefit of a high school course as he grew up.   He early began to learn the drug business, and was for three yeas in the Louisville Chemical Works, and was afterwards with George H. Cary, druggist, for seven years.   While learning the business he also occupied his leisure with study so that at the expiration of his experience in the drug and chemical houses mentioned above, he was justly regarded not only as a superior theoretic and practical pharmacist, but also as an experienced chemist.
“…On the 2d of October, 1879, Mr. Llewellyn was married to Miss Sallie C. Duncan of this county.   They have two children, Henry and Frederick.   Mr. L. is a member of the Episcopal Church.”

1850 - Census shows:   Robert Llewellyn born 1798 Wales, Abigail Llewellyn born 1820 Ireland, William T (1843)   John T. (probably John L - see 1845) born 1845 KY, Anna born 1847KY and France born 1849 KY, Jane Knott 26 England, Mary Engal? 21 Kansas

1906 - Elizabeth Lewellyn, wife of B. Frank Littrell died.   She was born 1859.   B. Frank Littrell was born 1860 and died 1921.   (Ref:   Kentucky Cemetery Records, and Llewellyn Traces Sept. 1990)

Billie Harris - Jul 5, 2009

I've looked to see if there was a Branby in Maury County's census record for 1820 and there isn't.   In fact, I can't find any Branbys in Tennessee or any other state.   Anyone have an idea of a variation of what the name could be?   There's nothing that even resembles that name in Maury.