Clete Ramsey - Nov 29, 2012


In “History” on this website, I began a thread with a 19 September 2010 post about the marriage in Virginia in 1802 of Turner Stevenson to Mrs. Grace Lewelling.   Later in that thread, on 19 January 2011, I noted that I had found a listing in an 1866 business directory for Norfolk and Portsmouth, Virginia, for Col. J. Richard Lewellen, publisher of the Norfolk Virginian, who lived at 102 West Bute.   I said I was working further on identifying him.   I only began that work in earnest a few weeks ago, over two years after my Turner Stevenson/Grace Lewelling post, while searching for more information on any possible Potts-Lewellyn connections in Norfolk reflecting the Potts-Lewellyn connections far across the state in Loudoun County.   Here’s some of what I found.   I’d welcome corrections and/or additions.

“Googling,” I found a Norfolk City Directory for 1872 (published by J. F. Milligan & A. J. Dalton of Norfolk) that had Lewellen, Lewelling, and Potts entries.   They included [my additions in brackets]:

P. 98

Lewelling, Mrs Jane, widow, h [home] 262 Bute.
Lewellen, J. Richard, City Sergeant, h 48 Duke.
Lewellen, R. Mortimer, clerk J R Lewellen, h 48 Duke.
Lewellen, Charles H., printer, h 48 Duke.
Lewellen, A. T., harness maker, h 22 Bermuda.
Lewellen, Mrs Sarah, widow, h 22 Bermuda.
Lewellen, Charles B., blacksmith, Water st., h Jerusalem Armistead’s bridge road.
Lewellen, George, shoe maker, Church st., h Jerusalem Armistead’s bridge road.

In Virginia then, a City Sergeant was the equivalent of a County Sheriff.

P. 114

Potts, Mrs T H., dyer and cleaner, h 23 Bank.

On the same page of the directory that noted J. Richard Lewellen was a City Sergeant, there was an advertisement for a store he also owned.



(Successor to ROBT. O. EPES & CO.)


China, Glass & Crockery


Messrs. R. O. EPES, D. HUMPHREYS, and C. G. TAYLOR
Are with me, and would be glad to see their Friends.



Another 1872 city directory for Norfolk, published by Chataigne & Boyd [J. Henry Chataigne and William A. Boyd], lists these Lewellen, Lewelling, Lewellyn, and Potts individuals:

Lewellen Chas. J., printer, h Duke nr [near] Washington
Lewellen Harry, printer, bds [boards] 48 Duke
Lewellen J. Richard, china, glass and earthenware, 39 Market sq, and city sergeant, h 48 Duke
Lewellen R. Mort, clk [clerk], bds 48 Duke
Lewelling Calvert, clk, h 262 Bute
Lewelling Jane wid [widow of] Wm., h 262 Bute
Lewellyn A. T., harness maker, h Fenchurch cor [at the corner with] Bermuda
Lewellyn C. B., blacksmith, 131 Water, h Norfolk
Lewellyn Chas., blacksmith, h Smith’s creek

Potts Emily Mrs., agt [agent] dyeing and scouring establishment, 23 Bank

The 1870 census (the last census before the 1872 business directories were published) listed this household head in Norfolk:

LEWELLEN Richard 48 Male White VA City Sergeant
LEWELLEN Virginia 37 Female White VA Keeping House
LEWELLEN Mortimer 19 Male White VA Deputy Sergeant
LEWELLEN Lillie 14 Female White VA Attending school
LEWELLEN Fannie 3 Female White VA
LEWELLEN Bettie 6/12 Female White VA
DAVIS Charlotte 16 Female Black VA Domestic servant

So far, I haven’t been able to locate Emily Potts on the 1870 census in Norfolk or elsewhere.


“Googling” again, I found this obituary for J. Richard Lewellen on page 4 of the 5 December 1886 edition of The Richmond Times, a newspaper published in Virginia’s capital from October 1886 until December 1889:

“Death of Col. J. Richard Lewellen—Brief Sketch of His Life.”

   Col. J. Richard Lewellen, editor of the Danville Register, died yesterday morning at 12.20 o’clock, aged 65 years.

   Col. Lewellen was born in Lynchburg in 1821, and in that city served his apprenticeship as a printer.   After living a short time in the West he came to Richmond and worked for some time on the Richmond Whig.   He afterwards went to Petersburg, and from that city went with a company to the Mexican war.

   After that he married in Richmond Miss Virginia L. Morris.   He was living in Petersburg when the war between the States broke out, and entered the Confederate army as captain of Company K of the Twelfth Virginia Regiment.   He was afterwards promoted to major of that command.   He returned to Petersburg after the war and was connected successively to the News and Index.   He afterwards went to Norfolk, and was at various times on the Virginian and Journal, and was one of the founders of the Ledger.   After that he moved to Danville and took charge of the Register, of which paper he had made one of the best in Virginia.

   Colonel Lewellen had at various times in all of the cities of his residence been solicited to become a candidate for civic honors, particularly in the Legislature, but had uniformly refused to allow use of his name.

   His remains were expected to reach Petersburg to-day, and were to be interred at old Blandford.

   Colonel Lewellen leaves a wife and one child.   Mrs. Lewellen is a sister of Capt. Eldrige Morris of this city, and first cousin to Mrs. John W. Ferguson.   Representatives from these families, as well as other friends, will attend the funeral to-day.

I also found this brief death notice published on 11 December 1886 in the Peninsula Enterprise, a newspaper published from 1881 until 1965 in Drummondtown (re-named Accomac in 1893), on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, when it was absorbed by the Eastern Shore News of Onancock:

   Col. J. Richard Lewellen, editor of the Danville “Register,” but better known as the “leader of the young Democracy of Virginia,” died last Saturday aged sixty-five years.   He was one of those men who never grow old and while he was honored and respected by Virginians everywhere, who knew him, he was especially loved by the young men of the state who came in contact with him.   He served with distinction in the Mexican and late war.

The Peninsula Enterprise had previously published in its 23 May 1885 edition two items (in order below; the second copied from the Danville Register) on J. Richard Lewellen, both of which reflect his move about that time west from Norfolk to Danville:

The first:

   “We congratulate the people of Virginia —  and especially those of Danville, that Col. Lewellen has taken charge of the Danville Register.   Norfolk, and the “Public Ledger” —  has sustained great loss —  but we thank “the god of battles” that Colonel Dick, the simon-pure young Virginia Democrat, yet, belongs to the Virginia he loves.   It is our wishes could make our young friend a millionaire he’d soon be rich.   But Colonel Dick is in purpose and honesty a bi millionaire.”

The second:

   “Col. J. Richard Lewellen, late of the Norfolk Ledger, has become owner and editor of the Danville (Va.) Register, succeeding Judge. A. W. C. Nowlin.   On the first of June the Register will be changed from an afternoon in[to] a morning paper, with its telegraphic service largely increased.   Col. Lewellen is a journalist of large experience; and will have an excellent field for display of his capacity and enterprise.
— Danville Register”

The Library of Congress’ Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers” website (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/about) notes the Norfolk Public Ledger was published from 1876-1906 by J. Rich’d Lewellen & Co.   It’s not clear to me if J. Richard Lewellen kept an interest in the Public Ledger when he bought the Danville Register.

The Library of Virginia’s online “Virginia in Newspaper Bibliography” (http://www.lva.virginia.gov/public/vnp/results.asp?rl=Danvil
le&rt=Search+Titles) reports the Daily Register was published from 1885 to 1896 in Danville, Virginia, by R. E. Freeman, W. S. Copeland, J. Rich’d. Lewellen & Co.

The R. E. Freeman associated with “J. Rich’d. Lewellen” in publishing the Danville Daily Register was Robert Eldon Freeman (1849-1929), his son-in-law.

R. E. Freeman, a son of J. H. and M. A. Freeman is reported by a record in the LDS Church FamilySearch “Virginia Marriages, 1785-1940” database as having married L. L. Lewellen, a daughter of J. R. and V. L. Lewellen, in Norfolk, Virginia, on 10 January 1882.   The groom (white, widowed, and 30) was born in 1852 [at odds with other reports, which show him as born in January 1849] in Page County, Virginia.   The bride (white, single, and 23) was born in Petersburg, Virginia, in 1859.   She was Lillian L. “Lillie” Lewellen.   Her birth date listed on the 1900 census was 1857, not 1859.

A biographical sketch of Robert Eldon Freeman’s father in a history of Virginia, written by Robert Alonzo Brock and Virgil Anson Lewis Robert and published in 1888, more fully names the father as John H. Freeman, MD, who was born in Culpeper County, Virginia in 1816, and graduated from the University of Virginia in 1836.   He was practicing medicine in Luray, Page County, Virginia, when his son Robert Eldon was born.   Dr. Freeman’s wife, the mother of six children, including Robert Eldon, who appears to have been her youngest, was Mary A. (Flinn) Freeman.   She was born in Luray, and married John Freeman there on 9 October 1837. [John Freeman’s middle name was Henry.   His wife appears on the 1850 census as Adeline.   At least one other source lists her middle name as Adelaide.   A record the 7 December 1871 marriage of John and Mary Freeman’s son Charles W. Freeman to Laura A. Baylor in Staunton, Augusta County, Virginia, names the groom’s mother as “Margt. A. Flinn.”]

In 1880, Robt. E. Freeman was reported as living in this household in Lexington, Rockbridge County, Virginia:

ADAMS George W. Head 62 Male Married VA MD VA Saddle & Harness Maker
ADAMS Elizabeth Wife 61 Female VA MD IRELAND Keeping House
FREEMAN Robt. E. Brother-in-Law 31 Male VA VA VA Census Enumerator

Robert Eldon Freeman’s father John was postmaster in Lexington as late as July 1882.   On the 1880 census, his occupation was listed as “Farmer,” not physician.   John and Mary Freeman were living in Natural Bridge, Rockbridge County, Virginia, in 1880.

Before he married Lillian Lewellen, I don’t know if Robert Eldon Freeman first married a sister of George Adams or a sister of George’s wife Elizabeth.

This was Robert Eldon Freeman’s household in Danville, Virginia, as listed on the 1900 census:

FREEMAN Robt Head White Male 51 (b. Jan. 1849) Married/15 yrs. VA VA VA Editor
FREEMAN Lillinne Wife White Female 42 (b. Oct. 1857) Married/15 yrs VA VA VA
FREEMAN Lewellyn Son White Male 17 (b. May 1883) Single VA VA VA Stenographer
FREEMAN Rhoda E Daughter White Female 15 (b. Nov. 1884) Single VA VA VA
FREEMAN Jno H Son White Male 13 (b. Aug. 1886) VA VA VA Single Drug Clerk
FREEMAN Lillinne Daughter White Female 11 (b. Jul. 1888) Single VA VA VA
FREEMAN Mary M Daughter White Female 10 (b. Apr. 1890) Single VA VA VA
CREW Edw W Boarder White Male 35 (b. Dec. 1864) Married/6 yrs VA VA VA Tel Operator
CREW Agnes E Boarder White Female 33 (b. Jan. 1867) Married/6 yrs VA VA VA
CREW Annie J Boarder White Female 5 (b. Jan. 1895) Single VA VA VA
SNEED Robt L Boarder White Male 43 (b. Aug. 1857) Single VA VA VA Operator Tel
COURTNEY Jno C White Male 25 (b. Jun. 1874) Single VA VA VA Operator Tel

“Lillinne” Freeman was listed as having had five children, with all five still living.

Lillian (Lewellen) Freeman was almost certainly the one child of Richard Lewellen left living as reported in the “Brief Sketch of His Life” printed by the Richmond Times after his death on 4 December 1886.

Robert Eldon Freeman served as Captain of Company H (The Danville Blues) with the Third Regiment, Virginia Volunteer Infantry, during the Spanish-American War.   According to one history, the regiment never served outside Virginia during the war.


According to holdings at Virginia Tech about the Mexican War, a meeting was held at Military Hall (over the old First Market) in Richmond on 15 May 1846 to organize a volunteer corps to “aid in the defense of Texas.”

At the meeting, Edward C. Carrington Jr., from the Class of 1844 at the Virginia Military Institute (VMI), was elected Captain of the company being raised.   George A. Porterfield, a friend of Carrington’s at VMI, was elected First Lieutenant.   Carlton R. Munford, a friend of both Carrington and Porterfield at VMI, was elected Second Lieutenant.   John D. Warren was elected Third Lieutenant, and Thomas G. McKenzie Fourth Lieutenant.   Hermon Carlton was elected 1st Orderly Sergeant, and J. Richard Lewellen was elected Color Sergeant.   The company became Company A of the First Virginia Regiment of Foot.

Second Lieutenant Munford fought a duel with muskets with another officer of the regiment, Second Lieutenant Washington S. Mahan, near China, Nuevo Leon Province, Mexico, on 20 May 1847.   Both Munford and Mahan were mortally wounded in the exchange.   Munford died on 22 May.   Members of Company G met in their quarters on 23 May to express their deep regret at the death of Lt. Munford.   A Sergeant Lewellen (almost certainly J. Richard Lewellen), along with Privates Ward and Hudnall (not further identified), were elected to write a resolution expressing the sense of the company.   The proceedings of the meeting were to be forwarded to the editors of the Richmond Whig, Republican, and Enquirer, along with a request that they publish them, and that they be copied by other papers throughout Virginia.   Mahan lingered, dying on 1 June.   Major Jubal Anderson Early was in command of the regiment at the time.   As a Confederate major general, Early would later command a division at Gettysburg.

I assume J. Richard Lewellen was instrumental in sending an account of the proceedings of Company G’s meeting following the death of Lieutenant Munford, as well as and the resolution that meeting produced, to his old newspaper, the Richmond Whig.


The 1850 census reported this household in Henrico County, Virginia.

Dwelling 120/Family 120

LEWELLEN J. Richd 27 Male VA Printer
LEWELLEN Sarah 62 Female VA

Was Sarah the mother of J. Richard Lewellen?

Who was she?

Who was J. Richard Lewellen’s father?

In 1850, J. Richard Lewellen owned one slave; a 5-year-old black female.

The 1850 census also reported this household in Henrico County, Virginia:

Dwelling 248/Family 248

LEWELLEN James W. 32 Male VA Printer
LEWELLEN Mary 30 Female VA
LEWELLEN Charles E. 5 Male VA

In 1850, James W. Lewellen owned one slave; a 25-year-old black female.

The next-listed household was this one:

Dwelling 249/Family 249

LEWELLEN Francis 21 Female VA
LEWELLEN Richard 5 Male VA
LEWELLEN William 3 Male VA

In 1850, Francis Lewellen owned two slaves; a 30-year-old black female and a 7-year-old black male.

Apparently some distance away, but in the same enumeration district as the other three Lewellen households, was this one:

Dwelling 642/Family 642

LEWELLEN Alfred 30 Male VA Bookbinder
LEWELLEN Francis 20 Female VA
LEWELLEN John R. 7 Male 7 VA
LEWELLEN Sarah V. 3 Female VA
MOON Doretha C. 28 Female VA

It’s hard to tell in which enumeration district of Henrico County the four Lewellen-headed households were located, as the Assistant Marshal responsible for it, C. B. Lipscomb, listed it on the census pages only as “My District.”

Were these four Lewellen households related.   Could John Richard Lewellen, James W. Lewellen, and Alfred Lewellen have been close kin; brothers or cousins?   Could Francis Lewellen have been their sister-in-law? Or, was their presence in Henrico County together merely coincidence?

There were also this household in Henrico County in 1850, in a dwelling in the Western District of the county shared with the household (Family 126) of gardener Ignatius H. Allen (60, b. MD):

Dwelling 117/Family 127

LEWELLEN Margaret 29 Female VA [No occupation listed.]
LEWELLEN Virginia 11 Female VA
LEWELLEN Isabelle 4 Female VA
LEWELLEN Charles 1M Male VA

A mystery.   Watchmaker Thomas Lewellen (35, male, and married) died in Henrico County in July 1850 of cholera, after an illness of one day.   There’s no mention of his wife’s name.   Margaret Lewellen’s household was enumerated on 26 July 1850.   Was Margaret Thomas’ widow, or could Francis Lewellen have been his widow?

Was deceased watchmaker Thomas Lewellen kin of J. Richard, James W., and Alfred Lewellen?

His 1886 obituary noted that, after his Mexican War service, J. Richard Lewellen married in Richmond to Miss Virginia L. Morris, a sister of “Eldrige” Morris.   A record in the LDS Church’s FamilySearch database had John R. Lewellen marrying Virginia L. “Monis” (a transcription error, no doubt) in Henrico County on 19 August 1850.

Given the presence of Eldridge Morris in it, I’m certain the 17-year-old Virginia Morris in this 1850 household in Richmond, Henrico County, Virginia, was J. Richard Lewellen’s future bride:

Dwelling 132/Family 145

MORRIS John 58 Male VA Carpenter
MORRIS Louisa 55 Female VA
MORRIS Eldridge 19 VA Machinist
MORRIS Virginia 17 Female VA
WALKER Mary 30 Female VA

John Morris’ household was enumerated on 16 August 1850, three days before J. Richard Lewellen was reported as marrying Virginia Morris.


After the start of the Civil War, Virginia (Morris) Lewellen’s brother Eldridge joined the 1st Virginia Infantry.

The National Park Service’s Soldiers and Sailors Database (http://www.nps.gov/civilwar/search-regiments-detail.htm?regi
ment_id=CVA0001RI) says this of the 1st Regiment, Virginia Infantry (Williams Rifles):

“Overview: 1st Infantry Regiment completed its organization at Richmond, Virginia, in May, 1861. At the outbreak of the war it had ten companies, but in April three were detached. Thus the unit contained seven companies from Richmond and in mid-July a company from Washington, D.C. was added. It fought at First Manassas under General Longstreet and in August totalled 570 men. During April, 1862, when the regiment was reorganized, it contained only six companies. The 1st was assigned to A.P. Hill’s, Kemper’s, and W.R. Terry’s Brigade, Army of Northern Virginia. It was active from Williamsburg to Gettysburg except when it was with Longstreet at Suffolk. Later the unit was involved in the capture of Plymouth, the conflicts at Drewry’s Bluff and Cold Harbor, the Petersburg siege south and north of the James River, and the Appomattox Campaign. This regiment lost twenty-two percent of the 140 engaged at Second Manassas, had 9 wounded at Fredericksburg, and had more than half of the 209 at Gettysburg disabled. Its casualties were 12 killed and 25 wounded at Drewry’s Bluff, 1 killed and 77 wounded at Five Forks, and 40 captured at Sayler’s Creek. Only 17 surrendered on April 9, 1865. The field officers were Colonels Patrick T. Moore, F.G. Skinner, and Lewis B. Williams; Lieutenant Colonels William H. Fry and Frank H. Langley; and Majors John Dooley, William P. Mumford, George F. Norton, and William H. Palmer.”

According to a history of the regiment written by Charles T. Loehr and published in Richmond in 1884, Captain Eldridge Morris was wounded in battle at Gettysburg on 3 July 1863, while serving as captain of the 1st Virginia Infantry’s Company G.   He previously had been wounded on 31 May 1862 in a battle near Williamsburg, Virginia, when he was serving as a lieutenant in Company G, and, as captain of Company G was wounded again in battle at Drewry’s Bluff (some eight miles south of Richmond in Chesterfield County, Virginia) on 16 May 1864.   He was captured by Union forces in fighting at Sailor’s Creek (or Saylor’s Creek), in the northwestern portion of Amelia County Virginia, midway between Petersburg and Appomattox Court House, on 6 April 1865.

As noted, J. Richard Lewellen also was a Civil War veteran.   I found this biographical sketch of him on the Antietam on the Web (AOTW) site detailing the role the 12th Virginia Infantry played in the Antietam Campaign in Maryland in 1862 (http://behind.aotw.org/2008/02/20/12th-virginia-infantry-in-

“Captain John Richard Lewellen (1822-1886)”

“A Mexican War veteran, he was running a religious newspaper, The Conductor, at Petersburg before the War.   He entered service in Company K —  formerly the (F.W.) Archer Rifles —  on 4 May 1861 as First Lieutenant, and was promoted Captain on 1 July.   Llewellyn was in hospitals recovering from his wound for most of the remainder of 1862, and on light duty, detached on conscription service for all of 1863.   He was promoted Major 3 October 1862.   He rejoined his unit in the field in January 1864, commanded it in combat that year, and was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel in February 1865 (to rank from July ‘64).   He spent the last two months of the War sick in hospital.   After the War he was a farmer and politician, and was editor of the Danville Register.   His name is sometimes spelled Llewellyn in the records, as it is on his headstone.”

Elsewhere on the AOTW website (http://antietam.atow.org), it notes that Captain Lewellen (the senior officer fit for duty) led the regiment’s 14 September 1862 action at Crampton’s Gap on South Mountain (near Burkittsville, Frederick County, Maryland), having only just returned to duty that day after having been injured at Manassas [the Second Battle of Bull Run, or Second Manassas, was fought 28-30 August 1862, a few miles east of where I live].   Captain Lewellen was seriously wounded again at Crampton’s Gap; almost certainly the wound from which the biographical sketch notes he spent most of the rest of 1862 recovering.   He was on light duty, detached on conscription service, for all of 1863.   He rejoined the 12th Virginia in the field in January 1864, and commanded it in fighting that year.   It also notes he was born in Campbell County, Virginia; married Virginia Louisa Morris in 1850; died at Danville, Virginia, on 4 December 1886; and was buried at the Blandford Cemetery, in Petersburg, Virginia.

The National Park Service’s Soldiers and Sailors Database (http://www.nps.gov/civilwar/search-regiments-detail.htm?regi
ment_id=CVA0012RI) says this of the 12th Regiment, Virginia Infantry, mentioning Lt. Col. John R. Lewellen:

“Overview:   12th Infantry Regiment was organized at Norfolk, Virginia, in May, 1861, using the 4th Battalion Virginia Volunteers as its nucleus.   Its members were from Petersburg, Richmond, Hicksford, and Norfolk.   The regiment was assigned to General Mahone’s and Weisiger’s Brigade in the Army of Northern Virginia.   It participated in many conflicts from Seven Pines to Cold Harbor, then was involved in the Petersburg siege south of the James River and the Appomattox Campaign.   This unit totalled 691 effectives in June, 1862, and sustained 23 casualties at Oak Grove, 69 at Second Manassas, 39 during the Maryland Campaign, 1 at Fredericksburg, and 86 at Chancellorsville.   Of the 348 engaged at Gettysburg, only four percent were disabled.   It surrendered 12 officers and 177 men.   The field officers were Colonels Everard M. Feild and David A. Weisiger; Lieutenant Colonels John R. Lewellen and Fielding L. Taylor; and Majors Edgar L. Brockett, Richard W. Jones, and John P. May.”

The Richmond Times item reporting J. Richard Lewellen’s death noted he had been born in Lynchburg, Virginia.   Lynchburg was recognized as an independent in the early 1850s.   It is in, but not part of Campbell County.   It’s possible that J. Richard Lewellen was born in a part of Lynchburg, then in Campbell County, that was later incorporated into the independent city of Lynchburg.

I’ve found little information on The Conductor.   A history of Dinwiddie County, Virginia, said The Conductor, which began publication under J. R. Lewellen in 1859, preached temperance.   The history reports the paper, said to be unsuccessful, was published at least as late as December 1860.   A guide to Petersburg likewise said J. R. Lewellen began the paper in 1859, and that it remained in publication “for several years.

Here’s a second mystery.   The Civil War holdings of the Library of Virginia in Richmond includes a file (Mss2L5814b.) of Lewellen family papers from 1863-1866 (http://www.vahistorical.org/cwg/l.htm).   The Library describes the file as:

“This small collection contains the papers of the Lewellen family of Campbell County.   Wartime items include a letter, 28 June 1863, from “J. R. L.” of St. Louis, Mo., concerning his efforts in purchasing medicine and delivering it to the Confederacy, and a letter, dated 5 April 1865, from James Wesley Lewellen (1818–1876) of Richmond to John P. Packer (1807–1881) offering a description of the burning and evacuation of the city.”

Could the “J. R. L.” writing from St. Louis have been J. Richard Lewellen?   The AOTW website noted he was on light duty in 1863.   While on light duty, did J. Richard Lewellen travel to St. Louis to buy medical supplies for his (and possibly other) Confederate units?

Did J. Richard Lewellen have any connection to Green Berry Lewellen, who is reported as having been born in 1792 in Campbell County, Virginia, and as having died in St. Louis in 1847?   Is St. Louis the “West” to which J. Richard Lewellen traveled before returning to Virginia, first to newspapering and then to Mexican War service?


A third mystery.   James W. Lewellen, who for many years was linked to the Richmond Dispatch newspaper, was reported in January 1864 to have purchased a one-quarter interest in it.   Was newspapering more evidence of a link between printer James W. Lewellen and printer J. Richard Lewellen in Henrico County?

An article about Richmond, Virginia, appearing in the New York Times on 28 May 1865, identified J. W. Lewellen as the book-keeper of the Richmond Republic.   I’ve appended that article at the bottom of this long (and growing longer) post.


As noted above, J. Richard Lewellen was living in Petersburg, Virginia, when the Civil War broke out.   The 1860 census lists “Jno. R. Lewellen,” 46, as a member of Family 1349 in Petersburg’s East Ward.   I have only a limited ability to view the 1860 census.   I can find individuals, but I can’t see whole households. My searches did not locate J. Richard’s wife Virginia on the 1860 census.   Perhaps someone with an Ancestry.com subscription can more fully identify the members of Family 1349, or locate where Virginia Lewellen was living then.

J. Richard Lewellen appears to have been in Norfolk only months after the end of the Civil War.   A history of the Norfolk Virginian, published in that paper’s annual for 1884, notes the first number of the Virginian was issued on 21 November 1865, by G. A. Sykes & Company.   A. M. Keiley, Esq., and Captain James Barron Hope were the paper’s editors.   The then late Holt Wilson, Esq., had charge of the Local Department, and Col. J. Richard Lewellen was the paper’s business manager.   The Annual noted the paper’s office was then located on Main Street, opposite the Exchange National Bank, later Hoffman’s Dyeing Establishment.

According to the Virginian’s 1884 annual, five months after the first issue, a change in the ownership and staff occurred; an interest in the paper having been purchased by Col. Lewellen.   Capt. Hope and Mr. Wilson retired from the paper, and Col. William E. Cameron assumed the editorship.   Some months afterwards, a new company was formed, consisting of Col. J. R. Lewellen, Soloman Hodges, Edward H. Hodges, T. B. Ruffin, and J. C. Adkisson under the firm name of J. R. Lewellen & Co.   In November 1866, Col. Lewellen was said to have withdrawn in order to take charge of the publication of the Norfolk Journal.   His interest in the Virginian was purchased by the remaining partners, and the firm name was changed to S. Hodges & Co., with J. Marshall Hanna as editor.

During the Civil War, a William E. Cameron served in the 12th Virginia Infantry, the same regiment in which J. Richard Lewellen had served [Cameron in Company D; Lewellen in Company K].   According to the National Park Service’s Soldiers and Sailors Database, Cameron began his service in the 12th Virginia as a Second Lieutenant, and completed it as Adjutant.   I believe he was William Evelyn Cameron (1842-1927), soldier, lawyer, journalist, and politician, who was elected Mayor of Petersburg in 1876, and served as Governor of Virginia from 1882 until 1886.   One biography notes Cameron served as editor of newspapers in Petersburg, Norfolk, and Richmond, Virginia.

A history of Norfolk, written by Harrison W. Burton and published by the Virginian in 1877, reports the first number of the Norfolk Journal was published on 4 December 1866 by a company of Norfolk businessmen, with Col. J. Richard Lewellen, described as “the ‘wheel-horse’ of the press in Virginia,” as its business manager.   It’s not clear to me how long J. Richard Lewellen was associated with the Norfolk Journal.   By at least December 1882, when he was called before a grand jury as one of several newspapermen witness to alleged election fraud the previous month, J. Richard Lewellen was associated with the Norfolk Ledger.

The obituary for J. Richard Lewellen in the Richmond Times stated that Col. Lewellen never allowed his name to be put up for public office.   That appears not to have been the case.   The Library of Virginia’s Dictionary of Virginia Biography notes that, in November 1875, Conservative candidate John Richard Lewellen ran for a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates against Miles Conner, a Republican Party candidate.   Conner, who was born into slavery in the 1830s, probably in Norfolk County, defeated former Confederate officer Lewellen by 1,852 to 1,454 votes, despite Lewellen having been endorsed by the Norfolk Landmark and the Norfolk Virginian.

Burton’s history of Norfolk reported that a row of houses on Roanoke Avenue was badly damaged by fire and/or water early on17 February 1868.   The structure at 12 Roanoke Avenue contained S. R. Borum’s liquor store, above which was J. Parker Jordan’s law office, and behind which was “Colonel. J. Rich’d Lewellen’s sleeping apartment, wherein was stored a quantity of household furniture, all of which was a total loss.”   The entry goes on to add, “Colonel Lewellen lost heavily in furniture, upon which there was no insurance.”   Borum was reported to have lost heavily by water and damage in moving his stocks, while Jordan’s loss was reported to be considerable in books and papers.   Elsewhere in the book, Burton reports Samuel R. Burton had lost his liquor store before, early on 8 January 1867, when a fire entirely consumed Norfolk’s Atlantic Hotel and the stores under it, including Borum’s liquor store.   Burton noted the Atlantic Hotel at that time was on Main Street, between Gray and Banks Streets, nearly opposite Roanoke Avenue.

The structure at 18 Roanoke Avenue, which contained the office of the Norfolk Journal [J. Richard Lewellen’s newspaper at that time], with the paper’s editorial and composing rooms upstairs, suffered water damage.   The Journal’s “job office,” over A.E. Smith’s restaurant at 20 Roanoke Avenue, also suffered damage.

If J. Richard Lewellen had sleeping quarters at the rear of 12 Roanoke Avenue in 1868, I suspect his family may have been elsewhere.   Where, I don’t know.   Perhaps they joined him in Norfolk later, as his wife and children were counted in censuses there, both 1870 and 1880.

According to Burton’s history, Lewellen was the victim of a fire again on the night of 25-26 July 1873, when fire destroyed the stores of Hofheimer & Company, S. Frank, W. R. Hudgins & Company, L. Raphael, W .T. Harrison & Son, J. R. Lewellen, and Taylor Martin & Company.   The 1872 business directory for Norfolk lists W. R. Hudgins & Company, dealers in hardware and cutlery, at 35 Market Square.   That address would place the business close to J. Richard Lewellen’s store selling china, glass, and crockery at 39 Market.   The stores likely were in the same block.

The Special Collections Department at the University of Virginia Library holds nine letters, from between 1873 and 1878, sent to R. Hoe and Company, a printing press manufacturer in New York City, seeking information about printing presses or ordering equipment and related materials.   One letter was from Samuel R. Borum of the Norfolk Journal Company.

There is an entry in Abstracts from Norfolk City Marriage Bonds 1797-1850: And Other Genealogical Data by George Holbert Tucker noting the marriage in Norfolk on 14 October 1850 of Samuel R. Borum and Miss Eliza S. Stevenson.   One account names Eliza S. Stevenson as the daughter of Charles Stevenson.   Another account names Samuel Borum’s bride as Eliza P. Stephenson

I’m not sure if I’d be shocked to learn that there was a connection between Samuel Borum’s bride and Grace (Stockley) Lewelling Stevenson/Stephenson.

The 1870 census shows Samuel Borum as head of this household in the City of Norfolk’s Second Ward:

BORUM Samuel 41 Male White VA Wh. Liquor Dealer
BORUM Susan 8 [38] Female White VA [Eliza Borum was listed as 29 on the 1860 census.]
BORUM Samuel 11 Male White VA Attending School
BORUM William 6 Male White VA
BORUM Eliza 4 Female White VA
BORUM Susan 64 Female White VA No Occupation

I suspect the future Mrs. Samuel R. Borum was the 19-year-old Eliza in this household in the City of Norfolk in 1850:

STEPHENSON Charles 43 Male VA Tailor
STEPHENSON Sarah 44 Female VA
STEPHENSON Eliza S 19 Female VA
STEPHENSON Charles R 17 Male VA Clerk
STEPHENSON Sarah M 14 Female VA
STEPHENSON Virginia M 9 Female VA
STEPHENSON Fanny H Female 3 VA
DAVIS Imogene 24 Female VA
SPRATT Frances 22 Female VA
GWALTNEY G B 25 Male VA Clerk

An item appearing on 27 December 1878 in a Norfolk newspaper [it’s not immediately clear to me which one] reported that at noon on Christmas Day [a Wednesday in 1878], “B. T. Tatum” of Norfolk County held an inquest over the remains of a “colored man” named Lawrence Mccoy, aged about 65 years, who was run over and killed by an outward-bound train over the A. M. & O. railroad on “Tuesday last” on the farm of J. Richard Lewellen near Providence Church.

In 1870, farmer Lawrence Mccoy (56, Black, b. VA) was listed as head of a household in Washington Township, Norfolk County, Virginia.   The 1880 census lists Benj. T. Tatem (62, b. VA), a Justice of the Peace, as head of a household in Washington Township, Norfolk County, Virginia.

The A. M. & O. was the Atlantic, Mississippi & Ohio, which ran west from Norfolk to Bristol, Tennessee.   It later became part of the Norfolk & Western, and is now part of the Norfolk Southern.

From the item about the death of Lawrence Mccoy, I assume that, by 1878, J. Richard Lewellen had bought a farm in a rural part of Norfolk County.

I’ve yet to firmly locate Providence Church.

This was J. Richard Lewellen’s household in Norfolk in 1880, the last census before he moved to Danville, where he died in 1886:

LEWELLYN, J. Richd. Head 58 Male Married VA VA VA Editor
LEWELLYN V. L. Wife 46 Female Married VA VA VA Keeping House
LEWELLYN R. M. Son 28 Male Single VA VA VA
LEWELLYN Lillian Daughter 22 Single VA VA VA [the future Mrs. R. E. Freeman]
BASS Angelina Other 19 VA VA VA

In 1870, J. Richard Lewellen was living with his family in the City of Norfolk’s First Ward.   It’s not clear to me where his household was located in Norfolk in 1880.


The New York Times

May 28, 1865

FROM RICHMOND.; The Sixth Army Corps en Route to Washington--The Richmond Press and the Washington Chronicle--Arrest of Ex Gov. Letcher and Hon. James Seddon.

From Our Own Correspondent.

RICHMOND, Tuesday, May 23, 1865.

The Sixth Army Corps marched through Richmond this morning, on its way to Washington.

They crossed the James at 7:30, marching up Seventeenth-street to Broad, thence to Brook’s-avenue, and will encamp for to-night about seven miles on the road leading to Hanover Junction.

Maj.-Gen. WRIGHT and staff headed the advance column, which was formed of the Third Division. Maj.-Gen. RICKETTS, Maj.-Gen. HALLECK, and Maj.-Gen. ORD, with their respective staffs, reviewed the gallant corps as they filed past the City Hall.

It was a brilliant pageant, and drew out a large concourse of spectators.

In a recent editorial article of the Washington Chronicle, appeared a violent article upon the whole of the newspaper press of Richmond; many individuals now connected with it being singled out by name as fast enemies of the government, and, consequently, presumable to be so still.

From what I have been able to learn since coming here, I am bound to say that very grave errors are constantly made in the North respecting the aims and character of people here, and in this individual case I am able to assert that two parties, at least, are most unjustly treated, for they are both personally well known to me. Messrs. R.L. WALKER and J.W. LEWELLEN, of the Richmond Republic, are spoken of as men who, both before and during the war, have been in the habit of writing against the authority of the United States. This is not so. Neither of these gentlemen are, or ever have been, in any way connected with writing for the press.

Mr. LEWELLEN was connected with the Richmond Dispatch simply as book-keeper, and has always been openly and avowedly opposed to the rebel government, and who was probably saved by nothing but his age from falling into their clutches. As to Mr. WALKER, he, too, was never engaged in writing for any paper. He was a practical printer in the Examiner office, earning his livelihood like any other man in a newspaper office, without having anything to do with its opinions.

Both of these gentlemen were noted for the vehement support they gave JOHN MINOR BOTTS in the convention of 1860-61 -- merely because of his intense opposition to the doctrine of secession. If these two gentlemen were not honestly and sincerely desirous of restoring the authority of the United States, they would not have selected as editor of their paper such a man as Mr. R.J. HAMILTON, the well-known correspondent of the New-York TIMES for the past three years. One remarkable incident connected with this article in the Chronicle is worthy of mention. During the first few days of the Federal occupation of Richmond, a gentleman named MCCARTNEY (professing to be one of the editors of the Washington Chronicle) met Mr. WALKER, and pressed him very urgently to join with him in starting a newspaper here. Now the question very naturally arises: If, in the opinion of the Washington Chronicle, Mr. WALKER’s antecedents are such that he is not a proper man to be the proprietor of a journal in Richmond, was he exactly the kind of a person to be approached, in precisely the same capacity, by an editor of the Washington Chronicle?

The arrest of Ex-Gov. LETCHER and Hon. JAMES SEDDON, rebel Secretary of War, is announced, and excites no surprise. R.D. FRANCIS.

Billie Harris - Nov 30, 2012

A lot to digest, Clete, and certainly a lot of time went into your post.   Thank you.

I'm not sure any of the following helps.   I'm in a rush for an appointment right now but will look at everything you've written once again later today.  

Noting the surname Freeman, in Norfolk - as you know - we have this:
 1772 - Ann Bailey, born say 1725, was called a "free Negro" on 18 July 1754 when she sued William FREEMAN for taking her daughter Sue outside the colony. She was called Ann Bailey, "a free Molatto," on 17 January 1755 when the court bound her daughter Sue to Lewis Stanford. She was the "free negro" mother of James Bailey who complained to the Norfolk County court on 17 December 1772 about the treatment he was receiving from his master JOHN LEWELLING.

And also noting the surname Freeman, we have a Freeman Lewellen in Prince Edward County.  
1780 - Feb. 1. FREEMAN LEWELLEN of Prince Edward County applied for bounty land for his service in the French and Indian War (1754-63). He served under William Byrd and assigned his right to the land to Robert Goode. In 1790 Robert Goode received bounty land in Western Virginia (Kentucky, which Freeman Lewelling was entitled to 50 acres)
1789 - FREEMAN LEWELLING, private, in command of William Byrd was granted land in the French War. This land was assigned to Robert Goode in February Term of Court 1780
by 1806 Freeman was deceased.

As you undoubtedly did, I, too, checked to see what happened to Mortimer Llewellyn but couldn't find anything.   There was a Richard Mortimer Llewellyn who was born 1851 and lived in Norfolk County.   He died at the age of 30 and is buried in Petersburg City.   Mortimer is certainly not a common given name so I wonder if there's a connection.

Great job.     All I can say is WOW ! ! ! !

Billie Harris - Dec 11, 2012


Seeing John W. Lewellen as a captain (wounded in the leg), another site showing Lt. Col. John Richard Lewellen
my guess is that John was probably Colonel J. Richard's first name.
More mentions about him:

And it appears from that post that the "west" was Nashville.

His obit doesn't name any siblings so more than likely the ones he had passed away before he did.   James W. was indeed a brother of Richard's and died 1876.   Found the following on the internet and - sorry - neglected to make note of the web site.

August 8, 1876
The Richmond papers announce the death of Mr. James W. Lewellen a well known gentleman, brother of Col. J. Richard Lewellen, editor of the Public Ledger of this City which occurred at his home in Richmond Saturday night. "

James W. Lewellen had only one son, Edward, who died at about 18:

"Death on young Lewellen. --We very much regret to record the death of young Edward Lewellen, son of Mr. James W. Lewellen, of the Richmond Republic. It will be remembered that he was accidentally shot in the wrist, while out on a hunting excursion with a young friend, on Thursday, the 17th instant. As he leaped from the wagon, in which they rode, to shoot a bird, the lock of his gun hung in his clothes and was fired off, wounding him in the wrist. The wound, although painful, was not deemed serious at the time; and his parents looked forward to his speedy recovery. His case, however, took a more serious turn within a few days, and on yesterday at 12 o'clock he died of lockjaw. As he was an only son, his death is all the more afflicting to his parents. He was about eighteen years old, and was an ingenuous and gentle youth, greatly esteemed by those who knew him. "

That can be found at

as well as other references on that page to James who was, incidentally, 1/4 owner of the Dispatch newspaper. Here's the headline to an article in the Richmond Whig although the article itself doesn't give much more:

James LEWELLEN Now Partner in the Dispatch Newspaper
The Richmond Whig, Richmond, Virginia
January 7, 1864

Here's another reference to James:

Will keep looking but I couldn't find anything that would indicate the parents of these two.   The Richard who married Grace Stokeley had only one son, Joshua but it doesn't appear Joshua married until 1825 and J. Richard was born before then.   The only other possibility I saw was Abel who's shown in 1810 and 1827 Norfolk.   But able was born 1774 ahd had more children than just two.   I'm at a loss on whose son Richard and James could have been unless maybe Joshua was married prior to 1825.  

Another posting on the internet which doesn't help in answering the question but I'll add it anyway::
Dec. 27, 1878
On Christmas day at 12 Noon Justice B. T. Tatem of Norfolk County held an inquest over the remains of a colored man named Lawrence McCoy and aged about 65 years who was run over and killed by the outward bound train over the A.M.& O. Railroad on Tues last on the farm of Colonel J. Richard Lewellen near Providence Church.

Billie Harris - Dec 12, 2012

It appears J. Richard had one son, Mortimer, who died when he was 30, and James had one son, Edward, who died when he was 18.   That would leave no male descendants of these two men.   I still can't figure out who their father would be.

Clete Ramsey - Dec 13, 2012


J. Richard Lewellen is identified by several sources as either John Richard Lewellen or John R. Lewellen, including an entry for him in the National Park Service’s Civil War Soldiers and Sailors System (CWSSS) database:


Soldier Details

Lewellen, John Richard

Regiment Name:   12th Regiment, Virginia Infantry

Side:   Confederate

Company:   F&S [Field and Staff]

Soldier's Rank In:   Captain

Soldier's Rank Out:   Lieutenant Colonel

Alternate name:   none listed

Film Number: M382 roll 34

Notes:   none

Plaque Number:   none listed

The Antietam on the Web site (http://antietam.aotw.org/officers.php?officer_id=551) names him as “John Richard Llewellyn (Lewellen).”

I had originally included the information about the accidental shooting and death of James Wesley Lewellen’s son Charles in my post above, but took it out to include in a separate, follow-on post I’m writing about James Wesley Lewellen.

I had also seen the item about the death in a railroad accident of Lawrence McCoy.   The A. M. & O. Railroad mentioned in the item was the “Atlantic, Mississippi & Ohio,” which ran west from Norfolk only as far as Bristol, Tennessee (204 miles by one count).   So far, I’ve been unable to exactly pin down where Col. J. Richard Lewellen’s farm may have been on the railroad’s route out of Norfolk.

The A. M. & O. appears to have become the Norfolk & Western (now part of Norfolk Southern).   I’m not sure if the Norfolk Southern tracks running west from Norfolk follow the same route the A. M. & O. did in 1878, when Lawrence McCoy was struck and killed by a westbound A. M. & O. train.   In 1870, farmer Lawrence McCoy (Male, Black, 56, b. VA) was head of a household in Washington Township (Washington Point Post Office), Norfolk County, Virginia.   Washington Point is where the Eastern and Southern branches of the Elizabeth River meet.   The area behind the point became the town of Berkley in Washington Township.   I’ve found no mention of a Providence Church there.

Upstream from Washington Point on the Southern Branch of the Elizabeth River, above what is now the Norfolk Naval Shipyard, is Paradise Creek (http://www.paradisecreekpark.org).   As we’ve discussed before, many of the Lewelling men clustered in Norfolk County in the 18th century appear to have been shipwrights/boat builders living on the banks of Paradise Creek.   They may include Richard Lewelling, who married Gracie Stokeley.

I had not seen the short 8 August 1876 item on the death of James W. Lewellen, which confirms my suspicion that John Richard Lewellen and James Wesley Lewellen may have been brothers.   That item came from a list of items related to Virginia deaths in 1876 on a website called “Virginia & New York Genealogy” at:   http://nyvagenealogy.homestead.com/VD1876.html

I had viewed that page, which has a link to a 22 March 1876 piece in an unidentified newspaper about the destruction by fire of Col. J. Richard Lewellen’s Norfolk home.

Good catch on your part.

I still have no firm clues as to who the father of John Richard Lewellen and James Wesley Lewellen might have been.

However, I suspect there may have been a third brother.

This was James Wesley Lewellen’s household in Henrico County in 1850:

Dwelling 248/Family 248

LEWELLEN James W. 32 Male VA Printer
LEWELLEN Mary 30 Female VA
LEWELLEN Charles E. 5 Male VA

The next-listed household was this one:

Dwelling 249/Family 249

LEWELLEN Francis 21 Female VA [No occupation listed.]
LEWELLEN Richard 5 Male VA
LEWELLEN William 3 Male VA

I doubt Francis Lewellen‘s presence next door to James W. Lewellen was coincidence.   I think she was too old to be a daughter of either John Richard Lewellen or James Wesley Lewellen.   I suspect she more likely was the widow of their brother, who I have not been able to identify.



Billie Harris - Dec 14, 2012

Clete, I'm stumped.   The only Francis/Frances that I've been able to find who married a Lewellen was Frances Walker who married Alfred Lewellen 1843 in Campbell County, VA.   Marcus Lewellen was the surety.

Even searched the Morris line but couldn't find a Virginia Morris who married Richard

Clete Ramsey - Dec 16, 2012


I'm certain the 17-year-old Virginia Morris in this 1850 household in Richmond, Henrico County, Virginia, was John Richard Lewellen’s future bride:

Dwelling 132/Family 145

MORRIS John 58 Male VA Carpenter
MORRIS Louisa 55 Female VA
MORRIS Eldridge 19 VA Machinist
MORRIS Virginia 17 Female VA
WALKER Mary 30 Female VA

In addition, I found these households of interest in Henrico County on the 1850 census:

Dwelling 120/Family 120

LEWELLEN J. Richd 27 Male VA Printer
LEWELLEN Sarah 62 Female VA

That head-of-household was John Richard Lewellen and the Sarah Lewellen I suspect was his mother.

Dwelling 248/Family 248

LEWELLEN James W. 32 Male VA Printer
LEWELLEN Mary 30 Female VA
LEWELLEN Charles E. 5 Male VA

That head-of-household was the James Wesley Lewellen you reported as being John Richard Lewellen.

Dwelling 249/Family 249

LEWELLEN Francis 21 Female VA
LEWELLEN Richard 5 Male VA
LEWELLEN William 3 Male VA

That household was listed immediately after that of James W. Lewellen.   Mostly likely she was a Lewellen widow.

Likely some distance away, but in the same enumeration district as the other three Lewellen households, was this one:

Dwelling 642/Family 642

LEWELLEN Alfred 30 Male VA Bookbinder
LEWELLEN Francis 20 Female VA
LEWELLEN John R. 7 Male 7 VA
LEWELLEN Sarah V. 3 Female VA
MOON Doretha C. 28 Female VA

Was Francis Lewellen the Frances Walker you noted as having married Alfred Lewellen in 1843 in Campbell County, Virginia?   If so, she would have married young.   Was Alfred another brother of John Richard Lewellen?   Have you been able to more fully identify the Marcus Lewellen who acted as surety in the Alfred Lewellen-Frances Walker marriage?

There were also this household in Henrico County in 1850, in a dwelling in the Western District of the county shared with the household (Family 126) of gardener Ignatius H. Allen (60, b. MD):

Dwelling 117/Family 127

LEWELLEN Margaret 29 Female VA [No occupation listed.]
LEWELLEN Virginia 11 Female VA
LEWELLEN Isabelle 4 Female VA
LEWELLEN Charles 1M Male VA

I’ve not been able to identify Margaret’s husband.   As I noted in my post beginning this thread, watchmaker Thomas Lewellen (35, male, and married) died in Henrico County in July 1850 of cholera, after an illness of one day.   There’s no mention of his wife’s name.   Margaret Lewellen’s household was enumerated on 26 July 1850.   Was she Thomas’ widow, or could the 21-year-old, head-of-household Francis Lewellen have been his widow?

I was saving this for a separate post, but I’ll include it here.   Looking for Lewellen households in Henrico County in 1850, I found these two households in the City of Richmond in Henrico County then:

Dwelling 5/Family 5

KILGORE Gidion 42 Male VA Ship Carpenter
KILGORE Margaret 28 Female VA
KILGORE Mary Elizabeth 7 Female VA
KILGORE John Richard 2 Male VA
KILGORE Ann Eliza 1 Female VA
JONES Richard 27 Male VA

Dwelling 952/Family 1046

LEWELLYN Abel S. 47 Male VA Engineer
LEWELLYN Sarah W. 32 Female VA
LEWELLYN Emma D. 10 Female VA
LEWELLYN Sarah E. 6 Female VA
LEWELLYN Abel D. 3 Male VA

“Gideon Kelgour” is reported to have married Margaret Jones in Henrico County on 8 September 1841.

Was the presence of these Kilgore and Lewellyn families in Richmond coincidence, or an echo of these earlier marriages in Norfolk County?

30 March 1793.   Richard Lewelling and Gracie Stokeley.   Surety:   Eyrs Stokeley.

22 December 1798.   James Kilgore and Sally Stockley.   Surety:   Richard Lewelling.   The entry noted that Sally Stockley was a sister-in-law of Richard Lewelling.

10 March 1799.   Gideon Kilgore and Ann Lewelling.

8 April 1825.   Gideon Kilgour and Mrs. Elizabeth Potts (widow).   Security: Abel Lewelling.

The occupations of many of the Lewelling men of Norfolk County in the 18th and 19th centuries were ship’s carpenter, shipwright, or boat builder.

There was also this household in Portsmouth, Virginia, in 1850, the kinship connections of which I’ve puzzled over for years (Kilgrove being one variant of Kilgore, or vice versa):

Dwelling 33/Family 33

LEWELLING Abel 76 Male VA Farmer
LEWELLING Sarah 61 Female VA
KILGROVE Ann 30 Female VA
LEWELLING Sarah A. 20 Female VA
LEWELLING Charles B. 20 Male VA Blacksmith
LEWELLING Eliza 18 Female VA
LEE Richard L. 15 Male VA
LEWELLING Laura 10 Female VA

I suspect the Charles B. Lewelling living in Abel Lewelling’s household in 1850 may have been this blacksmith listed in 1872 Milligan & Dalton directory:

P. 98

Lewellen, Charles B., blacksmith, Water st., h Jerusalem Armistead’s bridge road.

A Chas. B. Lewelling (28 and single) is reported as having married Lucy B. Lee (22 and single) in Norfolk on 25 February 1858.   The groom’s parents were not named in the record, but the bride’s parents were listed as Thos. R. Lee and Lelia Lee.

The 1850 census listed head-of-household (Dwelling 1614/Family 1806) Thomas R. Lee (44, b. VA) as a blacksmith.   Lelia A. Lee (33, b. VA) and Lucy D. Lee (16, b. VA) were among others listed in Thomas’ household in Norfolk County.

The 1872 Milligan & Dalton city directory for Norfolk is the same one that listed City Sergeant J. Richard Lewellen and two other Lewellen men at the same address (48 Duke Street); clerk R. Mortimer Lewellen (the Richard Mortimer Llewellyn you noted as having died at age 30) and printer Charles Lewellen.   We know Richard Mortimer Lewellen was J. Richard Lewellen’s son, but I’m not sure about Charles’ relation to J. Richard Lewellen.

Could the widow Sarah Lewellen, listed in the 1872 Milligan & Dalton city directory for Norfolk as living at 22 Bermuda Street have been Able Lewelling’s widow?   The factor that makes me think otherwise is that an 1801 city directory for Norfolk lists several sea captains, a pilot [harbor pilot], a ship joiner, a ship chandler, and a ship carpenter as living there.   One “planter” and a blacksmith were listed as living on Bermuda Street, but no farmers and no Lewellings or any variant of it.



Landy Gobes - Dec 13, 2012

Thank you, Clete, for the referenced and organized research!

I believe I am descended from the Thomas Lewellen who owned property near the Potts in the 1700's in Louden County.   My paper trail only goes back to John Lewellen who died in Preble Co, OH in 1827.

I received a DNA match recently from a woman who had a line of Potts in her family, and I could not find another connection.   Of course, this proves nothing.  

Are you descended from both families?   In Louden Co?   What Potts-Lewellen marriages have you found?

Thanks,     Landy Gobes

Clete Ramsey - Dec 16, 2012


So far, I haven’t found any Potts-Llewellyn (etc.) marriages in the Norfolk area

As noted above, there was a Potts entry, both for the same individual I’m sure, in separate 1872 Norfolk directories:

Potts, Mrs T H., dyer and cleaner, h 23 Bank.

Potts Emily Mrs., agt [agent] dyeing and scouring establishment, 23 Bank

So far, I haven’t been able to more fully identify Emily Potts or the T. H. Potts I assume was her husband.

I’m still searching.

My father had a double Potts connection through his maternal grandfather, John Madison Owens (b. 1869, KY; d. 1949, MO).   I discussed those complicated Potts connections in a 17 February 2011 post to the “Thomas & Mattie Cowan Llewellyn, New Mexico” thread in “History” here.

In that post I noted that Potts family researcher Joe Reichel reported some members of one branch of the Potts family moved around 1752 from Pennsylvania to Augusta County, Virginia.   Joe Reichel considered the possibility that they might have stopped in Loudoun County, Virginia, en route, but also considered that they may have traveled straight from Pennsylvania to Augusta County.   As we know, Loudoun County was thick with members of the Potts family.   By coincidence I’m sure, my father’s ancestral Ramseys moved from Pennsylvania to Augusta County, Virginia, about that same time.   The Augusta County related-Potts branch moved on to Kentucky, while my father’s ancestors moved from Augusta County to Lincoln County, North Carolina.   My father’s great-great-grandparents, Samuel Ramsey and Rebecca (Huggins) Ramsey, left North Carolina for Cape Girardeau County, Missouri Territory, arriving there late in 1816 or early in 1819, with as many as nine children in tow.

As I recommended in my February 2011 post, anyone interested in the history of the Potts family should check out Joe Reichel’s home page at http://home.comcast.net/~joereichel/site.

In his “Jonathan Potts 1714 –  1785: His Ancestors and Descendants,” Joe Reichel notes that in 1759, John Potts Sr., Peter Looney, and Thomas Ramsey, appraised Robert Clark’s estate , as reported in Augusta County Will Book 2.   Thomas is a name that repeats in my father’s family, and there were members of the Looney family both in Cape Girardeau and Bollinger Counties in Missouri.   I’ve no evidence the Thomas Ramsey who served as an estate appraiser in Augusta County with John Potts Sr. was connected to my father’s Ramsey line.

As an aside, I cross through Loudoun County twice each day, going to and from my office near Dulles International Airport.   Bull Run is the boundary between Prince William and Loudoun Counties that I cross each morning and evening.