Col. John Lewis, II (November 30, 1669 - November 14, 1725)
Col. John Lewis, the son of John and Isabella Lewis, married Elizabeth Warner (1672-1720), the daughter of Col. Augustine Warner and Mildred Reade Warner. The Lewises lived at “Warner Hall,” the home of his wife’s family, in the Tidewater of Virginia and had a total of fourteen children – the names of eight being preserved. Presumably, the others died in infancy or childhood. A surviving son, Col. Robert Lewis of “Belvoir,” Albemarle County, married Jane Meriwether in 1702.
Col. Lewis’ family immigrated to America from Wales. He was a member of the King’s Council in the Colony of Virginia in 1715. His wife’s family came to Virginia before 1630 and her father, Augustine Warner, returned to England as a boy to be educated, matriculating at the Merchant Taylor School, London, at eleven years of age. John Lewis’ mother-in-law, Mildred Reade Warner, was part of a distinguished family as well. Her father came to America in 1637, was Secretary to the Colony of Virginia in 1640, and became a Burgess and a Colonel of Militia. (Anderson, pp. 19-21)
These families – Lewis, Reade, Warner – were not of yeoman stock. The great majority of Virginia’s upper elite came from families in the upper ranks of English society. Of the 152 Virginians who held top offices (e.g., Secretary of Colony, member of King’s council) in the late 17th and early 18th century, at least sixteen were connected to aristocratic families and 101 were the sons of baronets, knights and rural gentry (the gentry family names included Bathurst, Carter, Peachy, Randolph, Reade, Warner, Woodhouse – all names that appear in Meriwether and Lewis family lineage). The migration of the Royalist (so-called because of their loyalty to King Charles I) elite to Virginia was strenuously encouraged by the Royal Governor, Sir William Berkeley. When they arrived, he promoted them to high office, granted them large estates and created the ruling oligarchy that ran the colony for many generations. (Fisher, pp. 214-216)
Patricia Zontine, April 2009