Sunday, September 1, 2013

Grandparents Who Fell From Quaker Grace

Ann Beeson Lewis, Wife of David, My 5th Great
 Grandmother,  Born in 1789 in Hopewell, VA and Died
 in 1812 in Anderson, SC
David Lewis, Husband of Ann, My 5th Great
Grandfather, Born in 1747 In Guilford, NC and
Died in 1822 in Anderson, SC

David Lewis and Ann Beeson met and married in Guilford County, North Carolina.  Ann's parents, Benjamin and Elizabeth (Hunter) Beeson, were staunch Quakers.  The record of the Society of Friends (Quakers) of New Garden, Guilford County, show that Ann Beeson 'married out of meeting' on January 30, 1768.  This meant that she chose a husband who was not a Quaker, which resulted in her dismissal from fellowship.

 From April 12, 1781 until April 12, 1782, David Lewis served in North Carolina's 10th Regimental Line, helping the colonies win their independence from England.  After the American Revolution, David and Ann Lewis bought considerable land in Pendleton County, South Carolina, where they raised eight sons and five daughters.  Ann (Beeson) Lewis died in 1812 in Pendleton District (now Anderson County, South Carolina), David Lewis subsequently married Penelope?, who is named in his will.  David made his will on January 19, 1820, in Pendleton/Anderson County, South Carolina. He died there on June 23, 1822 at the age of 75. 

Before coming to South Carolina, it is certain that the Lewises lived in Guilford and Randolph Counties, North Carolina.  The Benjamin Beeson family, came to Randolph County area with many other Quakers around 1760.  Unlike the peace loving Quakers who would not bear arms for any reason, Randolph County annals record that the Lewis family had a reputation for dealing with conflict in very physical and sometimes violent ways.  Early stories of Randolph County describe the Lewises as tall, broad, muscular and powerful -- 'the lions of the county'.  It must have been a great sorrow to Benjamin Beeson when his daughter, Ann, chose to marry outside her faith and into a family rather famous for fighting.

The Lewises lived in Virginia prior to coming to North Carolina.  Records seem to indicate this family of Lewises came to American from Wales around 1640.

 Indian Trader Ellis Harlan 1731 Fell Out of Grace

Indian traders were the first to penetrate Indian Country. They were white men living on the edge of civilization, or in some cases, living among the Indians and very often taking an Indian wife.

Ellis Harlan (1731 -1819), another 5th Great Grandfather was one of these - an Indian Trader who married a full-blood Cherokee woman, Ka-ti Kingfisher daughter of Kingfisher a famous chief and Nanye'hi - the beloved woman. 

Ellis Harlan was evidently a person of great personal charm and vigor, who endeared himself in later life both to the pioneers and the Cherokees. He must have been a person of deep and abiding loyalty to his friends and relatives. But not, however, to his staid Quaker community. We find the following entry in the “New Garden Monthly meeting 10-6-1764” London Grove preparative meeting, Complains of Ellis Harlan for drinking to excess and quarreling, and while under dealing by that meeting has gone as apprehended to Carolina.”
 From the Draper Collection of Tennessee and Kings Mountain Papers at the University of Wisconsin we know Ellis Harlan in 1777 already was much at home with the Cherokees, and seemingly trusted by whites and Indians alike. When the Transylvania Company and the Cherokees held a great council fire at Sycamore Shoals on March 17. 1775 to consider a sale of Cherokee land, Ellis Harlan was one of the white traders present to act as an unofficial interpreter for the Cherokees, and see that the official interpreter furnished by the Sylvania Company truthfully translated the term offered by the white promoters.

1 comment:

  1. Hi,
    This is a terrific blog and I appreciate the scholarship and information. We share a number of ancestors, including Ann Beeson and John Lewis. I recently saw Hannah Perry's name on the Trail of Tears Roll and was surprised. I was also surprised to see her daughter Susan Jane Perry on the roll. I had thought David the only one "removed," and that Susan and Eliza came later. I had to wonder if the Hannah Perry on the roll was our Hannah Lewis Harlan Perry, and if you knew anything about all of this. If you have time and can share such information, I would be grateful. All best, Trish (