My father, Samuel Riddell Lewis, told me his Lewis family came from Wales. According to records, migration from Newport, RI to Westerly, RI was in 1661)
Reference: Pioneer Lewis Families, Vol 1, p. 35:
JOHN Lewis (5L101)
John Lewis was one of the original settlers of Westerly, R.I. According to tradition, the first settlers were John Babcock and his lover, Mary Lawton, who eloped from Newport. They landed on the east side of the Pawcatuck river and built themselves a wigwam. Their first child, James Babcock, was the first male white child born in the Narragansett territory. The place of their retreat having been ascertained by the people of Newport, they deputized five men, viz., William Vaughan, Robert Stanton, John Fairchild, Hugh Mosher and James Longbottom, to purchase a title of land from the Indians. They purchased of one Sosoa his title to the land and the deed was dated June 29, 1860. It was not long before settlers began to arrive, and among them were John Lewis and his family. It is supposed that he came from Newport, but nothing definite can be ascertained as the records of Newport were captured by the British during the Revolutionary War and carried to New York. When they were returned they were in such condition (having been in the water) that they were incomplete. The RECORDS OF THE RI COLONY, Vol. II, P. 238, states that "John Lewis, of Misquamicut, was admitted a free man October 28, 1668. The records of Westerly were not kept in any regular form until 1683 when the town obtained "a book" and the "list of free inhabitants" were entered. Under the date of May 18, 1669, the name of John Lewis appears; September 16, 1679, that of John Lewis, Junior, lot; and of March 3, 1680, James "Lewes", "1 lote", David "Lewes, 5 lot", Isreall Lews, 16 lot, and Samuel Lews, 38 lot."
However, John Lewis was in Westerly in 1661 as he signed articles of agreement March 22nd of that year. On May 16, 1671, a warrant was issued requiring the inhabitants of Westerly to appear "tomorrow at Tobias Saunders house to see how they stand as to their fidelity to His Majesty and this colony." Twenty-two persons, including John Lewis, appeared and took the oath of allegiance to the government of RI. John Lewis died before 1690 and was buried just below the village of Westerly, near the road leading to Watch Hill, on the east side of the highway. The place where he was buried is a large, unfenced spot, in the southeast corner of a field in front of the house owned at one time by Thomas E. Saunders. The land once belonged to the Lewis family, and afterwards to Arnold Kenyon. It is said that seven generations of Lewises are buried here, but there is no lettering on the stones. There is another Lewis burying ground in Westerly situated on the crest of a gravel hill, south of the house once owned by Pardon Lewis.
According to a Land Grant Chart in the RI Historical Society, compiled by Edward H. West of Portsmouth in 1932, a John Lewis had a grant of land between 1638 and 1657 in Portsmouth, R.I. on the mainland in the southern part of the town toward Newport, or what is now Middletown. This could possibly be the John Lewis herewith concerned. If he was the one b. ca 1631 (which is not proven) he might easily have secured this grant upon reaching legal age. If so, he was probably searching for productive land outside the Newport area, before the Misquamicut Purchase. In 1648, John Winthrop was given a half mile square on the Thames River, at Groton, Conn., then called Towowesuck. HISTORICAL SKETCHES OF THE TOWN OF GROTON, pub. 1935, states "This grant extended north from Broad Street. The following January, lots of 20, 30 and 40 acres were laid out between the Bill property and the Atlantic Coast Fisheries. These lots were given to Robert Hempstead, William Hallet, Samuell Lothroup, John Latham, Jacob Waterhouse, Robert Bedell, Thomas Miner, William Boardman, Gils Smith, John Stubens, Isacke Willie, John Lewis, and William Morten..." These men, along with John Winthrop, held proprietor's rights though many of them never came to New London to live, and only Carey Latham ever settled in Groton. Austin, in his GENEALOGICAL DICTIONARY OF Rhode Island, says that "There has been no relationship found between John Lewis and Robert Lewis of Newport, who made his Will April 12, 1682, having but two witnesses although the law required three. Nothing more is learned of this Robert, nor of his Will except that it was named in a list of others as deficient in witnesses."
From THE HISTORY OF HOPKINTOWN, R.I. by Rev. S.S. Griswold, it was stated"...John Lewis, who came from England in company with his four brothers, at the first settlement of this country and settled not far from the present residence of John H. Cross, Esq., Westerly. His brothers located themselves near Boston, Suffolk , Massachusetts, USA. John had seven sons Daniel found his home in Hopkinton, Israel at Long Island, Jonathan at Richmond, in this state, another at Exeter, while several remained with their father in Westerly."
From THE WYOMING AND LACKAWANNA VALLEYS, Pennsylvania, USA, Vol.I, pub. 1906, it is stated that "John Lewis, the founder of the family in this country, came from East Greenwich, England in the year 1630. He bought 600 acres of land from the Indians near Misquamicut, now called Westerly, R.I. He was a signer of a treaty with the Indians and one of the five deputies who established the RI colony, March 22, 1661. He was admitted a free man October 28, 1668. Tradition has it that John Lewis was well versed in the Indian dialect and that he was elected captain of a company for protection against the Indians, and was a famous and brave Indian fighter. The name of his wife is unknown, but she came to America against the wishes of her parents, to meet John Lewis, who had the reputation of being a 'wild blade'. When the boat on which she embarked neared the land, John Lewis waded into the surf, clasped her in his arms and carried her to shore. They were married and were the parents of seven sons and one daughter..."
Tradition given by Mrs. Sally Lewis, wife of Jeffrey Sheldon Lewis is that "John Lewis came to America and the young lady with whom he was in love did not come over because her parents did not like him. She wrote to him asking him to come to England to get her, but he answered her that he could not but would meet her if she came to him. She wrote him that she would come, and he went to work and built a log cabin and when the time for the boat to arrive came, he went down to the shore at Plymouth and met her. As soon as the boat touched the shore, he jumped on board and met her. He kissed her and then they went and got married immediately. They lived together for a number of years before he died. She survived him fifteen years." This is related in LEWISIANA, Vol, 4, p. 35.
REP MEN of OLD RI FAMILIES, Vol 4, page 2189:
John Lewis is credited with having come from England in company with his four brothers in the early settlement of this country, locating in what is now Westerly RI; his brothers are said to have located near Boston. John is of record in Westerly in 1661, and was made a freeman of the town in 1668. He died in 1690 in Pawcatuck and was buried just below the village of Westerly near the road leading to Watch Hill. His children were: Jonathan, John, Daniel, James, David, Israel, Samuel and Dorcas, several of whom remained with their father.
RANDALL Lewis, of Hopkinton, RI, page 20-27:
The visionary traditional "three emigrant brother" fallacy seems to be attached to John who is said to have come from Wales to America, landing in Plymouth Massachusetts and locating in Newport, RI where he is supposed to have resided for a few years until his fiancee arrived from overseas to wed and become the head of a prolific branch of Lewis race in little Rhody.
BABCOCK & ALLIED FAMILIES, pp. 62, 63:
John Lewis is first mentioned in the Rhode Island records as signing the articles of agreement about the settlement of Westerly on March 22, 1661. He was one of the founders of the town, and is supposed to have been at Newport, RI previous to this date, but the records of Newport were damaged during the Revolution and this supposition therefore cannot be verified. On October 28, 1668, he was freeman at Westerly, and on May 18, 1669, his name appears on a list of the inhabitants of the town. He took the oath of allegiance on May 16, 1671, in response to a warrant issued to the inhabitants of Westerly to appear "tomorrow at Tobias Saunders home to see how they stand as to their fidelity to His Majesty and his colony." Before 1690, he died, and was buried just below the village of Westerly. Nothing is known of his wife.