General Andrew Lewis was born in County Donegal, Ireland, in 1720. The Lewis family emigrated to America and settled in the Shenandoah Valley around 1732. Father John Lewis procured a land grant west of the Blue Ridge contingent on finding settlers for his holdings.
John Lewis taught Andrew fort building and surveying. In 1751, they surveyed the Greenbrier Valley and named the river for the vexatious Greenbriers that abounded in the region, then as now. Later, Andrew surveyed Western Virginia tracts with his friend, fellow surveyor, and comrade in arms, George Washington. Lewis served as captain in the Virginia militia and commanded his county’s militia. During the French and Indian War he was with Washington in 1754 at Fort Necessity, and he accompanied Braddock’s disastrous expedition to Fort Duquesne in 1755. He was wounded each time. Captured at Duquesne, Lewis was interned at Montreal. In 1756, Major Lewis led the unsuccessful Sandy Creek Expedition across present southern West Virginia, meant to stop Shawnee depredations on American settlements. Lewis was a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses and helped negotiate the Treaty of Fort Stanwix (concluded 1768), which ceded to England all of the Iroquois claims to lands east of the Ohio River.
Indian troubles persisted in Western Virginia, and in September 1774 Lewis marched a frontier army from Camp Union, now Lewisburg, westward to the Ohio River. At the Battle of Point Pleasant, October 10, 1774, Lewis’s 1,000 Virginia militiamen defeated a confederation of tribes led by Cornstalk. Lewis’s brother, Charles, died in the day-long battle. Historian John P. Hale called the Battle of Point Pleasant a ‘‘military academy’’ which educated future military heroes. It was the last great Indian battle east of the Ohio River, and the Virginians’ victory encouraged westward pioneer movement throughout Western Virginia.
Although he never lived in present West Virginia, Andrew Lewis had a profound effect on our state’s history. He died September 26, 1781, in Bedford County, Virginia.
This Article was written by Garrett C. Jeter
Last Revised on December 07, 2015
De Hass, Wills. History of the Early Settlement and Indian Wars of Western Virginia. Philadelphia: H. Hoblitzell, 1851, Reprint, McClain, 1960.
Lewis, Virgil A. History of the Battle of Point Pleasant. Charleston: Tribune Printing, 1909, Reprint, C. J. Carrier Co., 1974.
Poffenbarger, Livia Nye Simpson. The Battle of Point Pleasant, October 19, 1774. Point Pleasant: State Gazette, 1909.
Cite This Article
Jeter, Garrett C. "Andrew Lewis." e-WV: The West Virginia Encyclopedia. 07 December 2015. Web. 23 March 2017.