Tuesday, July 2, 2013


My sister and two nieces are coming to visit me this weekend.  Next week I will be off to Florida with two of my children to see my mother, my daughter, son-in-law and grandson, as well as my other sister, her husband and my six nephews.  When you are researching one of your ancestors, remember he/she was part of a family too.  You really need to pay attention to relationships and how your ancestor interacted with others.  Very few of our ancestors were cave-dwelling hermits.

One of the most interesting father-daughter relationships I have in my tree is John Lewis and his daughter Mary (Lewis) Ashley.  The two of them were accused of burning down the Sardis Methodist Church (now known as Lewis Memorial United Methodist Church).  According to several descendants, John was upset because the church was allowing certain unsavory groups to use the Sunday School building for meetings.  Supposedly these patrons drank alcohol.  John and Mary were charged with the crime but the charges were dropped "for want of evidence."1  Did you notice that the church now has Lewis in its name?  Funny thing is, John’s son Ellis Lewis donated land and money to the church and they ended up changing the name in 1947.2  The whole area is now know as Lewiston and the church sits at the corner of Columbia and Lewiston Roads in Columbia County, Georgia.  A bit ironic I thought.  The family that commits arson together, stays together.

1 "The burnt church," The Augusta Chronicle, 09 Jul 1875, p. 4, col. 1; "The prosecution against John Lewis and Mrs. Ashley...," The Augusta Chronicle, 24 Jul 1875, p. 1, col. 3. 

2 “Evans church overcomes setbacks to begin building,” The Augusta Chronicle, 27 Oct 1984, p. 2B, col. 1-4.

Copyright © 2013 Michele Simmons Lewis

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