Genealogies of the Lewis and Kindred Families

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John Meriweather McAllister, and Lura Boulton Tandy, eds., Genealogies of the Lewis and Kindred Families (Columbia, MS: E.W. Stephens, 1906), 134-136.[1]

Excerpt from Genealogies of the Lewis and Kindred Families, 1906

Page 134


Born 1702, married Mary Waller, January 5, 1725; and died 1765. His will is probated February, 1765. Mary Waller was born 1699, baptised by the Rev. John Munroe, October 17th of that year, and died March 25, 1781. She was the daughter of Col. John Waller and his wife Dorothy King. The best established traditions, as well as the court records for generations previous to this, go to show that the Lewises of this line were a wealthy family, and this number was no exception to the rule. As a result of a large and lucrative law practice, Mr. Lewis amassed a fortune and left his children wealthy. As an attorney he was a recognised leader, being retained in the most important cases and receiving the largest fees. In his will he names four sons: John, Zachary, Waller and Benjamin; daughters, Mary Meriwether, Betsy Littlepage, Lucy Ford, and Dorothea Smith, and makes his four sons executors; but from the church regis-

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ter and other records we find the name of Ann Lewis, born November 30, 1726, died August 8, 1784 [sic],[2] married Chancellor George Wythe who was one of the most distinguished lawyers and jurists of his age. They were married about 1746.

Chancellor Wythe was born in the county of Elisabeth City in 1726 and died June 8, 1806. He studied law with Mr. Dewey of Prince George county and came to the bar at Williamsburg after 1756. In 1758 he was burgess, at which time Thomas Jefferson came under his instruction, and they were ever afterwards warm friends. In 1764 Mr. Wythe was a member of the Commission of the House which presented resolutions of Remonstrance to the House of Commons. In 1774 be joined the Continental forces against Lord Dunmore. In 1776 he was elected to the Continental Congress and was one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.

In 1778 Chancellor Wythe was appointed one of the three judges of the High Court of Chancery, and when that court was reorganised in 1788 he was made sole Chancellor, which position he continued to hold the remainder of his life.

An incident in the life of Chancelor [sic] Wythe which has never been published is worthy of notice here, as it gives an insight, not only to his own character, but to his fine judgment of the character of others. It was related to the writer by Robert L. Cobbs, an intimate friend and relative of General White, who was surgeon on his staff through the war of 1818, and afterwards read law in his office. As was the custom with Virginia planters at that time, Mr. White, a wealthy Virginia planter, and special friend of Chancelor [sic] Wythe, had delivered his entire crop of tobacco to Richmond, and commissioned his son William to attend to the sale for him. The sale having been made, and the money collected, young White fell into the hand of sharpers and was swindled out of the last dollar. Mortified and chagrined at the turn of affairs, he determined never to return home until he could carry with him the full amount of his father's losses. He sought Chancelor [sic] Wythe, laid his plans before him, in the meantime his misfortune, requested the loan of

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enough money to carry him to Nashville, then a frontier town in Tennessee. Having been furnished with the needed amount he let out, a youth of seventeen, on his journey to the "Far West" For several years Mr. White knew nothing of his son except such information as was given him by Chancelor [sic] Wythe, and even then he knew nothing of his whereabouts, was only assured that he was determined to reinstate himself in his father's confidence. Confident of the integrity of young White, Chancelor [sic] Wythe gave the father such assurances that his confidence in his son was unshaken and he was content to await results. In an incredibly short time the amount with interest, which had been advanced by Chancelor [sic] Wythe was returned, and all of Mr. White's losses made good by his son. This youth turned out to be General William White who had command of one of the divisions of General Jackson's army during the war of 1812, and commanded the left wing at New Orleans on the 8th of January, 1815. He had become a distinguished lawyer before the war, and after the close of the war he resigned his commission in the army and resumed the practice in Nashville, Tennessee.

Chancellor Wythe did not live to see White in the zenith of his fame, as he died in 1806, while White, at that time, had just entered upon his brightest career, but he lived to see him prove himself a man, in the redemption of the most sacred pledges of his early life.

Chancelor [sic] Wythe married a second time, Elisabeth Taliferro [sic] of Williamsburg, but we have no account of any children by either marriage. He removed to Richmond in 1789 where he spent the remainder of his life.

See also


  1. John Meriweather McAllister, and Lura Boulton Tandy, eds., Genealogies of the Lewis and Kindred Families (Columbia, MS: E.W. Stephens, 1906), 134-136.
  2. The printer has transposed the 8 and the 4 in this date: Ann Lewis Wythe died on August 8, 1748. See William Edwin Hemphill, "George Wythe the Colonial Briton: A Biographical Study of the Pre-Revolutionary Era in Virginia" (PhD diss., University of Virginia, 1937), 51-52.

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