Lewis family papers

Biographical and Historical Notes

The Lewis family of Newark, Delaware, who came to be prominent farmers and landholders during the mid- to late- nineteenth century, was descended from Philip Lewis, Sr., who owned farmland in Little Creek Hundred in Kent County, Delaware.

Philip Lewis, Sr., (d. 1769) and his wife Mary (d. 1782) had one son named Philip, who was born in 1768. Philip Lewis, Sr., died in 1769 and his wife remarried and died in 1782.

Following the death of his father and remarriage of his mother to Risdon Reese, a blacksmith, Philip Lewis, Jr., lived with his mother and step-father. He attended school in Chestertown, Maryland, with his step-brothers and eventually received a Bachelor of Arts degree. After his mother’s death when he was fourteen, Philip was appointed a guardian by the state of Delaware. Upon reaching the age of majority, he was permitted to select his own guardian and chose his step-father. Philip Lewis inherited land from his father and continued to accumulate wealth through farming and subsequent land deals. During the course of his education and business dealings, Philip became interested in the political climate of the country. In 1792, he was selected a grand juryman in Kent County and produced a number of speeches, essays, and additional writings regarding the rights of citizens and other political issues. In 1791, he married Dorcas Armitage, a grand-daughter of Thomas Cooch, and together they had three sons. Philip Mirabeau was born in 1793 and died two months later. Robert Montgomery was born in 1796 and died that same year. Their final son, Albert Gallatin Lewis was born in 1798. Dorcas Armitage died in 1800 at the age of 38.

After the death of his first wife, Philip Lewis married Frances Lowen Simonton, Dorcas’ step-sister, in 1800. The couple then produced three additional sons. A set of twins, Jefferson and Franklin were born in 1801. Jefferson lived to reach adulthood but Franklin died in 1814 at the age of 13. Phocion was born in 1803 and later became a doctor in Philadelphia where he died in 1841. Philip Lewis Jr. died in 1804 at the age of 37.

Little is known of Albert Gallatin Lewis’ early years. He attended Newark Academy during the year 1813 (F40). Following the death of his father, he inherited land in Kent County, Delaware and through assorted business dealings, he later acquired land near Summit Bridge and in Newark. In 1829, after establishing himself as a farmer, landowner, and businessman, Lewis married Catherine A. Lum. Their son, John Lum, born in 1831, died at the age of five months. Their second child, Anna Louisa, was born in 1832 and died six months later. In 1833, a third child was born named Henrietta Allman followed by Edmund Armitage in 1837. He was followed by the birth of Hester Sophia in 1839 and finally, Mary Josephine born in 1842. Both daughters would later attend Newark Female Seminary (F23).

Albert and Catherine expanded upon Albert’s existing business dealings and continued to farm, lease land, and make real estate investments. These included the purchase of large plots of land within the town of Newark, including over 100 acres extending south from Main Street along present day Academy Street, purchased from Thomas Blandy in 1844. It was on this property that Albert Lewis built the family home. As the population of the town increased and the center of Newark expanded, portions of the Lewis’ land were appropriated by the city for the purpose of building roads, such as Delaware Avenue, or were sold to various businesses, institutions, and residents. For instance, the Lewis family home, located at 150 Academy Street (F72), was eventually purchased and demolished by the University of Delaware. In addition, a portion of the family property was sold to the school district following Albert Lewis’ death in 1883 and remains the property of the Christina School District.

Catherine died of cholera in 1847 at the age of 39, leaving Albert to care for the children. From papers contained in the collection, including poems written by Albert following the death of his wife, it is apparent that her death had a devastating effect on him. Further proof of their devotion can be found in the fact that Albert never remarried in the remaining 36 years of his life.

Albert’s oldest daughter, Henrietta, married Aaron Marshall in 1857. The couple suffered the deaths of two daughters in infancy.

Albert’s son, Edmund Armitage Lewis, married Anna Olivia Bradley in 1862 and together they had Albert Lum (1868–1933), Eugene Moore (1872–1938), and Mary Olivia (1866–1906). Edmund A. Lewis died in 1898. His wife Anna Olivia Bradley died in 1887.

Albert’s youngest daughter, Hester Sophia, married Andrew McIntyre in February of 1864. When McIntyre died seven months later, Sophia was pregnant with their daughter who was born in May 1865. Unfortunately, Sophia died in childbirth. It is unknown who raised their daughter, named Catherine Sophia McIntyre.

Albert Lum Lewis, born in 1868, married Hattie N.M. Lewis, his second cousin, and together they had seven children: Edith Olivia (b. 1895), Edmund Armitage (1896–1897), Conrad King Dolby (b. 1897), Adelaide Eliason (b. 1899), Albert Lum Jr., (b. 1902), Harriet Elizabeth (b. 1905), and Anna Mary Edmunson (1906–1907). Albert Lum Lewis died in 1933. His wife Hattie died in 1941.

Sources

Biographical information obtained from the collection, especially genealogical chart (F69) and family Bibles (F46, F56, and F65).

Scope and Content Note

The Lewis Family Papers consist of three linear feet of material related to this Newark, Delaware, farming family, who also owned property in Little Creek Hundred in Kent County, Delaware. Material in the collection dates largely from the mid- to late-nineteenth century. Members of the family were farmers and large landholders who maintained business relations with many prominent citizens of early Newark, such as George Platt, Samuel Donnell, James T. Maxwell, and Eri Haines. The collection sheds light on domestic and business issues during the time period. It also demonstrates trends in education, politics, and land dealings.

Included in the papers are deeds, indentures, maps, ledgers, poems, receipts, memorandum books, account books, day books, legal documents, wills, correspondence, Bibles, photographs, a voting poll, funeral notices, and news clippings. Three Bibles, belonging to different portions of the Lewis family, document three generations of family marriages, deaths and tragedies, including a high infant mortality rate (F46, F56, and F65). Among the maps included in the collection are some of the earliest known maps of the town of Newark. These maps also served to record the expansion of Lewis family land holdings in White Clay Creek Hundred, Pencader Hundred, and Little Creek Hundred (F70-F71). Divided into five series, the Lewis Family Papers are arranged chronologically following genealogical relationships.

Series I consists of the papers of the Philip Lewis family. Included in this series are legal papers and correspondence. Of particular interest are a number of essays written by Philip Lewis addressing political issues such as the proper behavior for a patriot and advice regarding the election of representatives. The series also contains materials belonging to Dorcas Armitage, Philip’s first wife, who was the grand-daughter of Thomas Cooch. Also included in this series are papers belonging to Jefferson Lewis, Philip Lewis’ son, such as descriptions of ballroom dances.

Series II includes the papers of the Albert Gallatin Lewis family, Philip Lewis’ eldest son. Among the papers of Albert Gallatin are deeds, particularly for land around Newark, correspondence, checks, and mortgages. Also included are bills of sale and indentures for slaves held by the Lewis family and receipts for services provided by many prominent Newark residents such as Dr. E.W. Haines and Samuel Wright. Apparent throughout the papers, is Albert G. Lewis’ continued relationship with the Cooch family. This is especially evident regarding the will of Francis Lowen, a distant Cooch relative, who left an inheritance to the children of Thomas and Sarah Cooch. Also found among the papers of Albert Gallatin Lewis is a marriage contract and property list made with Catherine A. Lum demonstrating the equality of their relationship.

In addition to the papers of Albert Gallatin Lewis, this series contains the papers of Catherine A. Lewis, Albert’s wife (F32). Among her papers are numerous legal documents as well as a bound recipe book containing recipes she intended to be used by her children. Of particular interest is the Lewis family Bible, in which Catherine Lewis and others family members recorded births, deaths, and marriages that occurred in both the Lewis family and the Lum family, in addition to recording the same records for Eliza Ivory, a Lewis family slave.

Also included in this series are the papers of Albert G. Lewis’s children, Henrietta A. Marshall, Edmund Armitage Lewis, Hester Sophia McIntyre, and Mary Josephine. Among the papers of Edmund Armitage Lewis is a draft notice for a three year period of duty in the Civil War. Albert G. Lewis purchased a substitute for his son for $275 and Edmund’s service was deferred. In addition, Edmund Lewis’s papers include a letter written to him as heir to the estate of Albert G. Lewis by the commissioners of the town of Newark, expressing their appropriation of a portion of Lewis family land to serve as an extension of Delaware Avenue from College Avenue to Academy Street.

Series III contains the papers of the Albert Lum Lewis family, son of Edmund Armitage and grandson of Albert Gallatin. This series includes many documents regarding the estate of Mary Josephine Lewis, Albert Lum’s aunt and daughter of Albert Gallatin, for which Albert Lum served as executor, as well as various deeds, bonds, and mortgages. Finally, this series includes photographs of Albert Lum Lewis, his wife, and two of his children, as well as the family Bible with inscribed genealogical records.

Series IV contains the papers of other Lewis family relations in addition to papers belonging to a family business associate. Relatives whose papers are included in this series are Francis Elizabeth Cooch Armitage, Thomas Cooch, Anna Pennell Lewis, James B. Lewis, Philip Lewis Sr., and Thomas Lewis. Among the papers of Thomas and Anna Pennell Lewis is their family Bible which recorded births, deaths, and marriages within the family. Also included are papers belonging to business associate James Hynson, who owned land adjacent to property owned by Philip Lewis, Jr., in Little Creek Hundred.

Series V includes miscellaneous materials related to the Lewis family as well as items tangentially related to the family. This series also includes various maps of tracts of land both in Newark and in Little Creek Hundred. Included in the maps of Newark is one dated 1736 and depicting three roads leading into Newark. Also included is a map dated, January 1820, of the Village of NewArk depicting Main Street and detailing the residents. Another map depicts a plot of land in Pencader Hundred adjacent to land belonging to William Cooch. An 1848 map portrays residences and homes along Elkton Road. The verso of this map describes a dispute regarding a ditch opened on Albert G. Lewis’ land to benefit land belonging to Levi Hiches and John Whann. The maps of Little Creek Hundred describe land belonging to Albert G. Lewis.