NEW MILFORD, CONNECTICUT
MIGRATIONS

 

Compiled and written by Roberta Freeland Woods for use by genealogists and family searchers. Email rwoods@conknet.com.

Thomas LEWIS and Mary TURRELL

(1745-1810) (1748-1823)

Thomas LEWIS, son of the Rev. Thomas LEWIS, who graduated from Yale College in 1741, and Joanna BOOTH. Thomas was born 11 Apr 1745. Although many accounts indicate he was born in New London, Connecticut, there is evidence that he was born in Sherman, Connecticut, where his father was the pastor of a Presbyterian Church from 1744-1746. He married Mary TURRELL, dau. of Capt. James TURRELL and Abigail BUCK, 20 May 1768. Mary was born 17 Mar 1748 in New Milford, Litchfield, Connecticut

Thomas was a soldier in the Revolutionary War, serving under General George Washington, and fought in the Battle of Ticonderoga. He also served under General Montgomery in the Northern Army that invaded Canada. Thomas’ skills were used to help build Fort Ticonderoga and the bridge across Lake Champlain. In 1871, the lumber in the bridge was raised and sawed for county use, after lying in the water nearly 100 years.

In 1786, Thomas purchased the Connecticut title to land located in Bradford County, Pennsylvania. In 1787, Thomas and Mary removed to Wyalusing, Bradford County, Pennsylvania, from Merryall, a town near New Milford, Connecticut. They took six children, all born in Connecticut, along with them. [Sarah (1769-1823), Deborah (1770-), Ebenezer (1774-), Jeremiah (1776-), John (1779-), James (1782-). One son, Justus (1787-1874) was born at Merryall, Bradford Co., PA].

According to The History of Camptown, Pennsylvania, 1792-1975, the LEWIS family settled near the mouth of the Wyalusing Creek where Thomas built a log cabin and settled the land. He called the new settlement in Pennsylvania, Merryall, after the town in Connecticut.

Justus LEWIS, son of Thomas and Mary, gave the following account of the origin of the name of Merryall. "In the early settlement of Connecticut a few hardy pioneers began a settlement in the township of New Milford, in what was afterwards the parish of New Preston, and having got a little rum while regaling themselves by a fine cold spring, christened it with the name of Merryall. From this place came Thomas LEWIS and the wives of Reuben WELLS and several others of the first settlers [of Bradford County, Pennsylvania], hence the name of the place." Mr. LEWIS wrote a history of the settlement of Merryall, which is now unfortunately lost, except a single page, from which the following quote is taken:

  • "On the 13th day of July, 1788, Thomas LEWIS and family moved from the river on to a place now called Merryall. The year before they came from Connecticut and made a temporary residence at the mouth of the creek and on that day they settled in a log cabin in a wild, dreary wilderness, four miles from a neighbor on one side and forty on the other. The prospect was dreary enough, but they persevered, and helped others to come in and settle around them."

Many neighbors from Connecticut followed Thomas to Bradford County, Pennsylvania, which was proof of the confidence they had in him. In less than three years, a school house was erected and school commenced, mainly through his influence and exertions. The same boat that brought the LEWIS family up the river, also carried Reuben, Amasa and Guy, sons of James WELLS, who occupied the place held by their father, Lt. James WELLS, previous to the Revolution.

Thomas LEWIS died at Merryall, Wyalusing Twp., Bradford Co., Pennsylvania, on 7 Feb 1810. He was 64 years old. His wife, Mary TURRELL, died approximately three years later on 21 or 23 Jan 1813 in Merryall, Wyalusing Twp., Bradford Co., PA.

SOURCES

The History of Camptown, Pennsylvania, 1792-1975, Published by the Camptown Civic Club, p.11-12].

The History of Bradford County by H. C. Bradsby, 1892. [Available online at http://www.rootsweb.com/~pabradfo/bradsby/wyaluhcb.htm]

History of Bradford County 1770 - 1878 by The Reverend Mr. David Craft

Biographical Sketches of the Graduates of Yale College with Annals of the College History, October 1741-May 1745 by Franklin Bowditch Dexter, M.A. New York: Henry Holt and Company, 1885. pp.681-2.

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