From Cocke County Tennessee
To Collin County Texas
On August 20, 2001 I left Jacksonville Arkansas traveling to Farmington Arkansas with my grandson, Ryan Clemons Lewis. Our goal that day was to find and take a picture of my great grandfather's tombstone which was believed to be in a cemetery in Farmington Arkansas. That day we got more than we bargained for and what a nice surprise it was. When we arrived we located a friend who is a local in Farmington and asked him where the cemeteries were located and how many their were. It turned out that there were two and that one was smaller than the other, being the older of the two. Ryan and I decided to work the oldest cemetery first. We did not find my grandfather Andrew Jackson Lewis in that cemetery but we did get very tired and hot. I told Ryan that we needed to get some water and cool off a bit so I drove to a nearby store. Once there I asked the clerk if she knew of any other cemeteries in the community. She said, No!, after looking in the phone directory. I asked to see the directory and saw that there were three columns of Lewis's and as my eyes went down the columns they focused on the name Lawrence A. Lewis. I wrote the number and address down by his name and told Ryan that as soon as I had cooled off that I was going to call this man just on a chance that he might be some relation or would know something.
In a few minutes I rang the number for Mr. Lewis, and was greeted by a kindly voice who responded to my questions. Mr. Lawrence said that he was the son of Martin Grundy Lewis, and I knew in an instance that I was talking to a relative since Felix Grundy Lewis had named one of his son's Martin Grundy Lewis. I asked him about Andrew Jackson Lewis, and he told me that he was his uncle. I said that I understood that he was buried on his brother Martin's Lot, and he told me I understood right. I asked him if he had time to talk to me and he said he did and asked where I was. I told him in Farmington and he said then why don't you come over to the house? I got directions from him and Ryan and I traveled to his home.
Jim Lewis interviews Lawrence Allen Lewis in Farmington Arkansas about his side of the Lewis family. Photo taken by Ryan Clemons Lewis at age 8.
We were met by an older gentleman who was mowing on his riding lawnmower in the 93 degree weather. He told me he was 87 years and 1 month old. That makes him the oldest living Lewis that I am aware of in our line. He told me that Andrew had related a story to him as follows.
Picture of Martin Grundy Lewis's old homeplace in Farmington Arkansas. This is a drawing made of the homeplace and is hanging in the home of Lawrence Allen Lewis in Farmington. Lawrence is Martin Grundy Lewis' son and Martin was the brother of Great Grandfather Andrew Jackson Lewis.
They were living in Cocke County Tennessee when they decided to move. No information as to why the move was made, and if he had been told he did not remember. What he did remember was that Andrew Jackson Lewis told him that they made a homemade raft and placed it on the Ohio River. He added at this point that he was not really sure if they had gotten on the Ohio River first or not. After checking the map and locating Cocke County Tennessee and more importantly Newport where they lived it was noted that they would have had to float a small tributary called French Broad to the Tennessee River and then to the Ohio river before heading downstream via the Mississippi. This agrees with what Lawrence said about them making a raft and loading their wagon, mules and other items before they set out on their trip as Newport is located on the French Broad or Branch.
Next they floated down the Mississippi to Memphis. They left their raft at Memphis and boarded some sort of boat on The Mississippi going down river to the Red River where they headed up through Lousiana to the corner of Arkansas, and then into Texas (again at this point he was not sure just exactly what had been told him). He said that Andrew has stated that they got off somewhere around Sherman Texas or in that area, and then they traveled to Collin County just west of present day McKinney Texas to where they settled.
Lawrence then told me, and Ryan where the graves of Andrew Jackson Lewis, and others were at the larger cemetery in town so that we could photograph them.
See the story as related first hand by Martin's son Carig Tipton Lewis to his daughter. Martin & Winnie's Trip
Click the map to see the Map of Cocke County Tennessee and Newport where Martin Lewis and his family were living during the Civil War.