The maiden name of my grandfather Rhapherd Thomas BREEDLOVE's grandmother, according to him, was Nancy LLYWELYN. Pop always wondered whether or not we were descended from the Welsh kings of that name. [COMMENT-1] In doing research, it appears that while in all probability that was the original Welsh spelling of the name, by the time of Pop's great grandparents, it was normally spelled even by them as LEWELLEN. That is the name on his great grandparents' tombstones. However, the Welsh spelling does seem to have continued not only in Pop's memory but in the spelling of another family in his generation, descendants of his grandmother's younger brother. The surname LEWELLEN is also variously spelled as LLEWELLEN, LLEWELLY, LUELLEN, LUALLEN, LEWELLING, and LUELLING. Members of the family who still reside in Glamorganshire and Pembrokeshire, Wales, generally use the spelling LLEWELLYN.
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Out of the Welsh heartland leader after leader sprang to defy the English power, culminating in the two LLEWELYNs of Gwynedd, the Great and the Last, who made a virtual federation of independent Wales, and were to personify for ever the spirit of the resistance. A running war that had lasted, on and off, through eight English reigns had never achieved serenity for the English in Wales--'we dwell here', wrote one unhappy soldier of the thirteenth century,' in watchings and fastings, in prayer, in cold and nakedness....' Two Williams, three Henrys, a Stephen, a Richard and a John all failed to impose the peace of the English upon their nearest neighbours; it was only in the reign of the first of the Edwards that a soldier in the royal service killed LLYWELYN ap Gruffydd of Gwnedd, and so symbolically ended the Independence of the Welsh.
Actual resistance continued even after the death of this charismatic prince, but it is the killing of LLYWELYN OLAF, LLYWELYN THE LAST, near the hamlet of Cilmeriin Powys, that has remained in Welsh minds the fatal fact. A big stone of rough-hewn granite beside the road marks the place where he is said to have died, on a bitter snowy day in the winter of 1282. When Henry III was on the throne of England LLYWELYN was recognized even in London as Prince of Wales, and in return he acknowledged the suzerainty of the English Crown.
Under Edward I matters changed. First LLYWELYN refused to pay tribute, then he insisted on building a new castle and town, Dolforwyn in Powys, which the king forbade....
When they discovered that they had killed the Prince of Wales, they cut his head off, washed it in the well of a nearby cottage, and sent it to Conwy in Gwynedd, where Kind Edward was, together with a message from the English commander in Powys: 'Know, sire, that the force that you placed under my command fought with LLYWELYN ap Gruffydd in the land of Builth on Friday after the feast of St. Nicholas, and that LLYWELYN ap Gruffydd is dead, his army broken and all the flower of his men killed...' The head of the prince was then conveyed to London, like the head of Bran before it, paraded through the streets with a crown of ivy on it, and finally stuck up on the Tower of London.
LLYWELYN's dynasty was obliterated. His only child, his daughter Gwenllian, was condemned to live the rest of her life in English nunneries. His nephew Owain was imprisoned in Bristol Castle, and twenty years later we hear of Edward ordering its Constable to make 'a wooden cage bound with iron, in which Owain may be enclosed at night.' His brother Dafydd was dragged by horses through the streets of Shrewsbury, before being hanged, drawn and quartered: the several parts of his corpse were distributed throughout England, the cities of York and Winchester disputing possession of the right shoulder. [COMMENT-2]
Apparently the LEWELLENs first migrated to America in the 18th century, with most of them settling in Virginia. From there, they journeyed to the Carolinas, Tennessee and Alabama, then on to Mississippi and elsewhere. This follows the general pattern of western settlement in the United States. In Virginia, the LEWELLENs settled primarily in Norfolk and Prince Edward counties prior to the American Revolution. The John LEWELLEN who is described in the following section was a native of Norfolk County, Virginia, and his father died at Portsmouth, Virginia in 1761. John died in Martin County, North Carolina, in 1794. Only one other LEWELLEN is known to have participated in the American Revolution. Thomas LEWELLEN of Northampton County, North Carolina, served in the militia of that state for three years, receiving a grant of 274 acres of land for his service in 1784. He was still living in 1810. The 1790 Federal Census shows sixteen LEWELLEN families in Virginia, and five in North Carolina. By 1800, there were eight LEWELLEN families in North Carolina.
According to family tradition, three brothers, descended from the Prince of Wales, immigrated to America late in the 18th century. One settled in Virginia, one in Pennsylvania, and the third, Jesse, in North Carolina. The names of all three brothers are not definitely known, but we do know that Jesse was located in Prince Edward County, Virginia, in 1788. On January 14 of that year, he was surety for Moses LEWELLEN. Anderson LEWELLEN and Freeman LEWELLEN were also located in Prince Edward County in the 1780s. [COMMENT-3]
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For the most part I have avoided setting out in this condensed version of my research my hunches and notes on families I can't at least suggest a tie-in for other than last name and general location. However, this one was so interesting and a rather unusual name, in the right state at the right time; so I have included it.
What follows is quoted from court documents and concerns the treasonous acts of one John LEWELLING of Martin County, North Carolina, an English sympathizer during the American Revolutionary War.
John RAWLINS, of Martin County, fleeing from thence to Mattimuskeet, being there apprehended on a Report that he had a hand in a Conspiracy carried on against the State of North Carolina, Deposeth and Saith:
That about the time of Laying the Constitution of Government (as well as he can remember) a General Muster was held at Plymouth, the Court House of said Martin County, on or about the 28th day of March last past, when John LEWELLING & John CARTER, Both of that County, going home in Company with the sd RAWLINS (told him, one or both), that the Country was Like to become subject to popery, for which reason LEWELLING sd there ware a Necessity of Indeavoring to seek relief and had thought on Means proper, and hop'd for a Blessing on the Indeavour he, the sd LEWELLING, said there must be an Instrument of Writing Drawn to which people Might agree under oath and Related something of the form and some few Days after ye sd John LEWELLING and his son William came to the house of sd RAWLINS and the sd Jno. LEWELLING further declared the form which contained much writing and also the form of an oath of Compliance - all of which John LEWELLING sd to the said Deponent if he would Take the Trouble to write down he should be well satisfy'd. [COMMENT-4] And that then his son should Coppy from the same which he also did as he the sd Wm. LEWELLING Told sd Dpo. that he had wrote some for MARTIN, EDGECOMBE, HALIFAX and think he sd for BARTEE and TERIL. He also heard James SHEROD say he had wrote some and likewise John LEWELLING. Now after Many had come into this Society, as it was Term'd, they became known to each other by word and sign; and some time after John LEWELLING told sd Deponent that if they could destroy Whitmel HILL, Colonel WILLIAMS, Thomas HUNTER, Nathan MAYO, Colonel SALTER and one TAYLOR, that then the Country would soon be settled. In Behalf of the King, this being proposed by John LEWELLING, seem'd to be approv'd off by several others, But not yet put in practice as the Dep't knows off. After this John LEWELLING Told the Deponent it would be a good scheeme to Git some Body to Diseffect the negroes and thought David TAYLOR would do it and Give out an oration of their Rising would draw the soldiers out of Halifax, whilst he and Company could seize the Governor and Magazene, [COMMENT-5] but hearing the Governor was not to Come at the appointed time it was Dropt for that time, but that scheeme became not public to many, the Dept. believes, for when he objected against it John LEWELLING said if he Divulg'd anything, Death was the portion to him or any one else. Another scheeme was to go to General HOWE. John LEWELLING with the Deponent agreed if he would go with him to do for him what ever he Could to advance him as also the Deponent expected to see his father and friends, but going as far as Scotland Neck, returned Back and in a few days something of the matter Became Discovered, [COMMENT-6] When John LEWELLING persuaded the Deponent to flee and not to be taken by any means; accordingly he fled from home the 5th day of July. It is certain none of these vile proceedings were Incerted in their writings; but very Repugnant to them, some of the Express words in their writings were those to Govern their Lives and actions By the Just Laws of Morality and by the Scriptures of old and New Testament, to which they were sworn, which caused Many to be Cald in the proceedings of Cruelty, I believe altho first proposed by John LEWELLING.
From James RAWLINS to the Worshipful Justices of New Bern:
Some days past, George WAINWRIGHT, from Martin County, a Great Friend to John LEWELLING, was here. I expect to endeavour to hear some News by his short stay of what I had Related, and I knowing the Great Influence Capt. LEWELLING has over that Neighborhood have Great Reason to fear he will make any attempts to invalidate my Testimony, and though no other person but myself could have discovered the Beginning of the Scheeme, unless himself. Yet I will acquaint you of some Evidence as yet I believe unknown that may be Material. Richard TAYLOR, Sr., a near neighbor to Capt. LEWELLING, told me in private that LEWELLING had Told him if he could git but ten Men to Joyn him he would fall to work and kill them every one, speaking of Whitmel HILL and others that had threaten'd him as a Tory. This Richard TAYLOR told me Long since the Scheeme was begun; also James MAYO, Captain, had threatened Mr. LEWELLING. To take him up for a Tory for which Reason Mr. LEWELLING Desired Peter TYLER and myself to waylay sd MAYO on the Road to kill him, but when I told him I could not he persuaded, Peter TYLER and lent him his Gun and told him Tarry till he sent him victuals, which TYLER did, but saw MAYO not. This may be prov'd by TYLER and Myself. Again a few days before I made My Escape, Mr. LEWELLING said to me it would be no Damage if he were Taken to swear that a Travling Man brought the writings to My house and that I and that Travelling man Carried the same to his house, by which Means the Beginning would not be Discovered, so that I being to My hurt, as all the friends or power I have is to declare the Truth and Humbly Crave pardon for having had any hand in sd plot or Scheme, testifying whatever shall Come to my Memory I will make known about this matter.
Nathan HATTAWAY being sworn on the holy Avangelists of Almighty God, deposeth & sayth as follows (to-wit), that John CARTER swore him to keep John LUALLEN's name a Secret and that John CARTER give him a stick with three notches, which stick he was to carry to the sd John LUALLEN, and the meaning of that stick was to let LUALLEN know that he was Entered into their Society to support the Old & New Testament and that John CARTER told him that the French was coming in & that the Gentry was joining them to being in the popish Religion, this Deponent sayth that when he Delivered the stick to John LUALLEN he asked him what he gave him that for, this Depon't answered for a sign. The sd. LUALLEN asked him if he had got that sign - this Depo't answered, I have. He said then, give it me. This Dep't answered B, he sd E, the Dep't T, he said R, the Dep't sd U, he sd E, this Dep't then said be true, he answer'd I hope you will. Then the sd LUALLEN Read to this Dep't what he called a Constitution, & after that this Dep't told him he could not join in it & then left him - this Dep't sayeth that John CARTER told him James SHARRARD was in the Scheme and that James SHARRARD handed him a Book and told him he might swear if he would or not, this Dep't then swore that he was to join with him if the people was Drafted, & they should find themselves about to oppose those that Drafted them, and further this Dep't sayth not.
N.B. - This Deponent further sayth that he heard CARTER say that he got no Powder & shot at Halifax.
Letter from John B. BEASLEY to Gov. Richard CASWELL:
2nd December, 1777
The distressed circumstances of Mary LEWELLEN, wife of poor John LEWELLEN now under the sentence of death in Edenton Gaol induces me to write your Excell'y. I am so unhappy to have nothing to plead in his behalf but Mercy which as it is a darling attribute of the Deity hope it will prevail, this much I can say that when he had an opportunity toe scape out of Edenton Gaol he did not.
I am Your Excellency's Most Obed Humble Servt.,
John B. BEASLEY
John LEWELLEN was one of the first to organize the Tories in Martin, Bertie and Washington Counties, and had been tried for treason, convicted and sentenced to death for the part he took in the Conspiracy against the State. His pardon was granted, and he was not executed.
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John LEWELLEN and his wife Nancy COLEY are the first ancestors I can identify as being out ancestors on this line. They are my sons fourth great grandparents. While I have settled on this spelling, I have certainly not eliminated the possibility that they may have spelled their name differently. According to the 1850 Census in Smith County, Texas the spelling was LEWELLING; In 1830, the Lincoln County, Tennessee Census-taker spelled the name LEWELLIN; in 1840, the Effingham County, Illinois census lists the family as LEWALLEN; a great grandson of the couple told his family that LLYWELYN was the correct spelling. [COMMENT-7]
John LEWELLEN was born in North Carolina about 1795 according to 1850 census, and about 1798 according to his tombstone. I know nothing about his parents. He married Nancy COLEY, daughter of J. COLEY, there and their oldest child was born there. Nancy COLEY, was born North Carolina about 1805 (but according to census records she may have been older than that. Females in this family seem to be especially good at lying about age--maybe even after death). She died October 13, 1855, age 50, at Smith County, Texas and is buried there in the Verner Cemetery. Her tombstone inscription reads, "Nancy LEWELLEN, daughter of J. COLEY and wife of J. LEWELLEN, d Oct. 13, 1855, age 50 years." John died June 5, 1853, in Smith County and is also buried in the Verner Cemetery. [COMMENT-8]
The young family was in Lincoln County, Tennessee by 1826. If the birth data on Edwin and Lucinda is right, they moved from North Carolina to Tennessee about 1820-1821. They were still there in 1830, when the census taker indicated the family consisted of: LEWELLIN, John, 1 male under 5, 5 females under 5, and wife.
The couple moved to Effingham County, Illinois, by 1840, and the census taker reported: LEWALLEN, John, 1 male under 5, 1 male 15 to 20, 1 male 40 to 50, 2 females under 5, 3 females 10 to 15, 2 females 15 to 20, 1 female 30 to 40. They didn't own property in Effingham County, although later their son Edwin did. My assumption is that they lived there with the GORDON, MARTIN, and other families and that all or parts of the families moved to Texas together, since there was considerable intermarriage among them.
The LEWELLENS were in Texas by September of 1848, and the census of Smith County, Texas, 1850, page 74, shows: LEWELLING, John, age 55, property valued at $100, born North Carolina; Nancy LEWELLING, age 55, born North Carolina; Nancy LEWELLING, age 21, born Tennessee; Dovey LEWELLING, age 18, born Tennessee; John LEWELLING, age 12, born Illinois.
On September 25, 1848, John LEWELLING signed a petition with about 30 other people protesting the selling of the courthouse property in Smith County. [COMMENT-9] After John's death, the scholastic census of Smith County, October 18, 1854, shows on the first page Nancy LEWELLEN (head of household) and John (student). On the same page are her sisters' husbands and relatives, A. GORDON with Alfred, Abraham, and David; James GORDON with James, Eliza, and Soloman; and William GORDON with James A. B. and William R.
The report of the founding of Pleasant Retreat Methodist Church in Smith County indicates that the GORDON family was among the founding members of the church, although the LEWELLEN family is not mentioned. However, John and Nancy LEWELLEN were buried in the cemetery associated with the church and in light of the close personal relationships with the GORDONS and others mentioned as founding families and in light of the fact that Nancy LEWELLEN SPENCE WHITWORTH's daughter Roxanna Pauline SPENCE BREEDLOVE joined the church in 1906, it seems plausible to believe that the LEWELLEN family were also Methodists and associated with the church. [COMMENT-10]
There was a Thomas LEWELLING in Smith County in 1852-1853. He was involved in the estates of Eliza Jane DICKEY and Eli E. COWSAR. I don't know the connection, but I believe there were more LEWELLENS in the vicinity who were related, based on the fact that Wyley LEWELLING is shown on the census records with Abraham and Tobitha GORDON in 1850, and there is no evidence that he was a brother of Tobitha.
Materials set out on the SPENCE page involving Nancy LEWELLEN SPENCE WHITWORTH also apply in many cases to the other children of John LEWELLEN and wife Nancy COLEY. Known children of the couple include the following:
| Edwin LEWELLEN born about 1820 in North Carolina; married Nancy SIMPSON, July, 1842, in Effingham County, Illinois. They were in Coles County, Illinois as was Edwin's brother John at one point. They later moved to Erath County, Texas; she is the "Nancy LEWALLEN" born 1820, died 1906 buried in Hannibal cemetery near Tobitha, Lucinda, and our Nancy. Children of Edwin LEWELLEN include: |
| Tabitha/Tobitha LEWELLEN GORDON born about 1821, Tennessee; married Abraham GORDON, a brother of Wilbain, before 1840; later moved to Smith County and Erath County; children include |
|Rachel LEWELLEN BLUNT married Redding BLUNT, Effingham County, Illinois. He died soon after.|
| Lucinda LEWELLEN GORDON born about 1826 married Wilbain GORDON, on the same day in July, 1842, that her brother Edwin married. She also married in Effingham County, Illinois and later moved to Erath County. Her children include |
|Nancy LEWELLEN SPENCE WHITWORTH, my ancestor, is described on the SPENCE page. She was born about 1826 or 1829 (or less probably, December 1838) in Tennessee. She married first John Thomas SPENCE and second William H. WHITWORTH. She died April 12, 1906, and is buried at Hannibal Cemetery, Erath County, Texas.|
|Dovey LEWELLING POWELL born about 1832 in Tennessee; married James M. POWELL in Smith County, Texas in 1853. The family is still in Smith County in 1860.|
| John LEWELLEN born July 22, 1832, Cole County, Illinois; [COMMENT-13] married Barbara Emaline CLONIGER, March 6, 1965; died January 17, 1920, buried in Kingston Cemetery, Kingston, Caldwell County, Missouri; listed on 1900 census (Caldwell County, Missouri) as John LEWELLYN, and at least one branch of his descendants spelled their name LLEWELLYN; children include an |
| Lucretia "Crisey" Lewella LEWELLEN ENLOW SIMPSON was born in 1845 in Lincoln County, Tennessee and died April 8, 1899. She married William S. ENLOW March 8, 1849, in Smith County, Texas, and their children were |
|Mary Elizabeth LEWALLEN SIMPSON, born about 1830, and died November 1893 in Otterville, Jersey County, Illinois. She married John SIMPSON February 25, 1846 in Grayson County, Texas. Her children were:
Based on the children reported on the census lists, there should be two other daughters, and of course there could be other children. Another possible relation could be Mary F. LEWELLYN who married William H. PETTY August 1, 1869, in Smith County.
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While all I know of the parentage of Nancy COLEY, wife of John LEWELLEN, is that she was, as her tombstone says, the daughter of J. COLEY, I have learned something of the family from which she came. Her birth about 1805 in North Carolina and her maiden surname would show relationship with the following people.
James COLLEY enlisted July 27, 1778 for 3 years in the army under Capt. Ptolemy POWELL in North Carolina Line; his name does not appear on muster roll; he has not received bounty land. Capt. POWELL in Halifax County, on October 19, 1808 affirmed COLLEY's service. Jacob CARTER and Jeffery COLEY of Halifax swear James COLEY formerly on (sic) North Carolina, now living in Tennessee served as stated. The action was taken in the House and Senate November 30, 1808, and December 1, 1808. [COMMENT-15]
The 1800 census shows:
|James COLEY in Halifax County, North Carolina, page 296, 3 males under 10, 1 male 10-16, 1 male 26-45, 1 female under 10, 2 females 10-16, 3 females 16-26, 1 female 26-45, 1 other free person.|
|Jesse COLEY, Mucklenburg County, North Carolina, page 508, 1 male 26-45, 3 females under 10, 1 female 26-45.|
|Julius COLEY, Chatham County, North Carolina, page 178, 3 males under 10, 1 male 10-16, 1 male over 45, 2 females under 10, 1 female 26-45.|
The 1810 census shows:
|J. COLEY, Mont.(?) County, North Carolina, page 38;|
|James COLEY, Halifax County, North Carolina, p. 100;|
|Jesse COLEY, Mont. County, North Carolina, page 41;|
|Julius COLEY, Chatham County, North Carolina, page 104;|
|Mrs. COLEY, Franklin County, North Carolina, page 79.|
In February, 1786, COLLEY's and COLEY's listed in Halifax County, North Carolina, include:
|Head of House||WM 21-60||WM u21,o60||WF||BLACKS 12-50||BLACKS u12,o50|
The Montgomery County information from the same listing includes:
|Head of House||WM 21-60||WM u21,o60||WF||BLACKS 12-50||BLACKS u12,o50|
The 1790 Census of North Carolina lists the following persons who could be J. COLEY:
|Head of House||WM 16+||WM -16||WF||Other free||Slaves||County & Pg.|
|John COLEY||2||0||2||0||2||Hali 63|
|James COLEY||1||1||5||0||0||Hali 62|
|Jeffry COLEY||2||1||2||0||0||Hali 62|
|Joyce COLEY||Hali 65|
|Julius COLEY||Chat 87|
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