Sarah Hawely was born in 1686 in Nomony, Westmoreland County, Virginia probably on the lands that were to eventually become Mt. Vernon.  She was a fascinating lady.  I wish I would have known her.  She was call Madam denoting a high position in society.  She married well and no doubt lived well.  She socialized with “movers and shakers” of the day.

Sarah named herself as the daughter of Henry (I) and Mary Hawley in a deposition, found in the Mount Vernon Ladies Association Library at Mr. Vernon, in a suit between Thomas Marshall plt. and Sampson Darrell, defendant, Fairfax Co., Va.

“In the Mt. Vernon Ladies Association Library at George Washington’s home, Mt. Vernon, in Virginia, Washington MSS#243 (a-d) depositions taken on the 28th and 29th of March 1748 in Fairfax Co., Va. regarding the Washington land, the following is found: Sarah Halley Lewis age 62, an aunt of James Halley Sr. deposes that her father Henry Halley came and settled on Spencer’s Land about 55 years ago on land near Mr. Vernon as a tenant (in the year 1693), and James Halley, Sr. age 40 states that Henry Hawley, Sr., was one of the first inhabitants to settle on Spencer’s land. Henry Hawley was the son of James Hawley who immigrated to America in 1641. In deposition of Robert Stepans he states that old Henry Hawley is the father of William Hawley. Daniel Ansdale deposed “Old William Hawley was a tenant to Spencer, and Thomas Odford states that William Hawley was reportedly the son of Henry Hawley who was an ancient tenant on the land of Spencer. In addition Robert Moxham in his book The First Hundred Years at Mount Vernon 1653-1753 has placed Henry Hawley on Dogue Creek as early as 1693.

In the book “The Sydney-Smith and Clagett-Price genealogy: with the Lewis, Montgomery, Harrison, Hawley, Moorhead, Rixey, Doniphan, Waugh, Anderson, Randolph, Mott, Drake, Butcher, Tripplett, Humphrey, Ball, Porter, Brown, Dorsey, Cooper, Stuart, Strother, families with whom they inter-married and some of their descendants” By Lucy Montgomery Smith Price, 1927 there are several informative articles about Sarah Hawley and her husbands William Harrison and Thomas Lewis – both very influential gentleman.

When she was 16 she married William Harrison on December 4, 1706 and they owned 266 acres on Dogue Run adjacent to John Ball on and 281 acres on the Potomac River below Sugarland Island. She and William had five children: William, Sybil, George, Sarah Jane, and Mary between 1704 and 1714.

According to the Maryland Heraldry “Madam Sarah Harrison, wife of Captain William Harrison of Stafford, was Sarah Hawley, of Stafford County, because records of the Rev. Dr. Forest, D. D., who was a descendant of Captain William Harrison.   Captain William Harrison was an only brother to Thomas and son of Burr, who was the son of Cuthbert, the immigrant. Captain Harrison of Chipwansic Creek near Dumfries, Overwharton Parish, obtained a warrant of land, was vestryman of Overwharton Parish, justice of the peace in 1731. Tradition says he was killed by his negroes, and his death is recorded in the Overwharton Parish Register, page 81, December 1, 1745.”


On page 214, Volume XXIII No. 2 of the Virginia Historical Magazine we read: “Probably no family of equal note has had so little systematic genealogical work in regard to its history as that of Harrison, which first settling in Stafford, extended to Prince William, Fauquier, Loudoun and other counties, and for the purposes of distinction may be called Harrisons of Northern Virginia.”

Rev. Dr. Hayden in “Virginia Genealogies,” pages 510-513, says: “The descendants to whom application was made showed no interest in the matter, and furnished no records.” However, the magazine above quoted says, “But fortunately other public records have been examined, and access has been made to an old family Bible and other reliable information received from other descend­ants. It is hoped that persons having information in regard to the family, especially the Loudoun Branch, will send it in to the magazine.”

Miss Edna Alexander of Alexandria, Va., being a descendant of Sarah Hawley and her first husband, Captain William Harrison, of Stafford County, has many interesting records concerning him. The author to find which Harrison her great-grandmother, Sarah, married, has gathered records from the clerks’ offices of Loudoun, Fauquier, Prince William, Fairfax, and Stafford, and has before her a volume of Harrison data.

The first of whom anything is known is Cuthbert Harrison, whom the Maryland records say was of Caxon and Flaxby, Yorkshire. His son, Burr, was baptized in the Parish of St. Margaret, Westminster, England, and on this register he is spoken of as Burr Harrison of Chippawansic, son of Cuthbert. This is verified by the following Virginia records. The first of whom anything is known was Cuthbert Harrison who was resident in the parish of St. Margarets, Westminster. (Bible records), (See Volume XXIII, No. 2, Virginia Historical Magazine). Burr Harrison, eldest son of Cuthbert Harrison, was born in the city of Westminster in the parish of St. Margaret, the 28th day of December, 1637.

He emigrated to Virginia and settled in Stafford County. He was a man of some prominence there; in 1698 was justice of that county, and in 1699 was sent by the House of Burgesses on an embassy to the Piscataway Indians.

He married the widow of Edward Smith – Lettice, and they had three children, William, Edward, and Catherine. Lettice was the grand­child of Ann Scarlett.

On May 16, 1773 is mentioned on the bond of his son, Thomas, Jr.: In 1740 Thomas Harrison, Sr. of Prince William, gent. conveyed to Thomas Harrison, Jr. of Prince William, gent. ¼ of a patent of land in Prince William dated October 13, 1710, then in Stafford to said Thomas Harrison, Sr., and Thomas Whitledge.

Thomas Harrison, Gentleman, of Prince William made a sale of land, “part of 4,639 acres patented December 23, 1706, by John West, John Pearson, William Harrison and the said Thomas Harrison.”

Thomas, son of Burr from old “Chippawansic” on Goose Creek, had four sons, William, Burr, Thomas, and Cuthbert. – See page 216, XXIII, No. 2, Virginia Historical Magazine, Bible Record.

“William Harrison married Sarah Hawley and had issue,” stated the late Rev. Douglas Forest.-See page 331, Volume XXIII, No. 3. “The Rambler” in the Sunday Star, Washington, D. C., January 19, 1919 says:

Cuthbert and his son, Burr, settled in what was known then as Stafford County, on the northern side of Chippawansic Creek, near Dumfries, and there today is the old estate, called “Chippawansic” with its quaint old graveyard where once lived, and now rest the first members of this Harrison family so far as is known. Old deeds in Stafford and Prince William Counties show that, in the latter part of the seventeenth century, large tracts of land were granted to Burr and William and Thomas. The Lees, Elzys, Powells, Waughs, were closely related to the Harrisons by marriage.

He married Mary, the widow of Edwin Smith. He was burgess, 1690, and an ambassador to the Piscataway Indians of Maryland, whose chief village was 15 miles below Washington, on what we now call Piscataway Creek, the village or. or close to the site of Fort Washington.

Burr had two sons, William and Thomas. William married Sarah Hawley.

Dr. Douglas Forest, who was the son of Commander French Forest and a descendant of William Harrison, who married Sarah Hawley, writes, “William Harrison married Sarah Hawley.” He also mentions much about the descendants and has given some valuable information to the Northern Neck Harrisons, but he is wrong in his statement that Captain

Harrison died in 1750, unless there were two William Harrisons in Stafford, for in the Overwharton Parish Register, to be found in the Library of the Theological Seminary near Alexandria, it is recorded, “Captain William Harrison, buried 1745.”

In Stafford County, Libri O, page 118, we find “Settlement of Captain William Harrison Estate in Fairfax County, 1749.” – A man must die before his estate can be settled up.

Sarah Hawley Harrison’s first husband, Captain William Harrison, certainly died before 1749 for Sarah’s second husband, Thomas Lewis, died in that year. (See his printed will in this sketch). As Sarah happens to be the author’s own grandmother (See extracts of clerk’s records, affidavits of her great-grandchildren, and Bible records), we have followed her with the assistance of the clerks through Stafford, Fairfax, Loudoun, Prince Wil­liam, and Fauquier Counties, and we now lay before her descendants unquestionable proof.

DEED OF EDWARD BLACKBURN, Deed Book C, Page 355, Dated August 10, 1762. Deed of Edward Blackburn and Margaret, his wife, and John Monroe and Sarah, his wife, of Fairfax County land previously and originally belonging to William Harrison of County of Stafford and afterwards granted William Harrison, his son and afterwards to Sarah Lewis, then to Sarah Harrison, widow and relict of William Harrison, the elder, and mother to William, the son.

DEED OF SARAH LEWIS, Dated October 11, 1764 Deed between Sarah Lewis of County of Loudoun, widow of William Harrison, late of Stafford, and John Trammell of County of Loudoun. Said Sarah having in his life time made an entry and obtained a warrant of land formerly in Stafford but now in Loudoun. The clerk of Loudoun court says there is a record where in. June, 1761, Sarah Lewis, widow and relict of Thomas Lewis, brings suit against Elizabeth Lewis, who is elsewhere described as the widow of Stephen Lewis. The record states that since the institution of the suit the said Elizabeth had inter-married with William Douglas, who asks to be included in the defense and the suit is postponed to the next court. From this it would seem that the husband of Sarah Lewis was dead in 1761, and as this county was not formed until 1757, we may have to go to Fairfax County to verify the fact of the Sarah of the record given above being the one you want. In Fairfax records we find Thomas Lewis’ will, which mentions his “dear wife, Sarah,” and the home at Difficult Plantation which he built for her. Her son, William Harrison, often visited William Lewis, his half-brother, at “Cedar Hill” and they were known to be the children of Madam Sarah Harrison.

In 1748 Sarah tesfitied in a second Court case that her Father settled on the Spencer Land in about 1698 when she was about 12 years old. “Sarah Lewis Wife of Thomas Lewis of Fairfax County aged about sixty two years being ( ) as a witness on behalf of the Plt in the Difference aforesaid. In presence of the Jury & surveyor deposeth that her Father Henry Hawley came & settled on Spencer’s Land about fifty years ago and that she has heard him say that he thought the Land of Spencer reached very near the Plantation of Nicholas Carrol noted in the Surveyor’s Plat by an old Orchard & she cannot remember to have heard her Father say there was a Line of marked Trees of Spencers there ( ) else & says she believes but is not certain that she has heard her Father say that the Land cleared below the Branch on Dogue Creek noted by the Surveyor in the Place he began his Survey was Spencers & is certain she has been told by other that her Father did say so. And further sayth no.”

Signed this 29th Day of March 1748

/s/ Sarah S. Lewis

In 1740, after her daughter Mary Harrison wed John Brown, Sarah married a second time. She was 54 years old and her new husband, Thomas Lewis was 10 years younger. He was a very successful man in Fairfax County.  As a note I think this speaks to the position th Hawley family had in society in early Virginia.  They were a very influential family.  Thomas died suddenly in 1749 while Sarah was pregnant with their first child.  This was no small feat since supposedly she was in her 60’s. Thomas updatedhis will in September 1749 shortly before he dies.  However, he did not recognize the potential he would have a male heir.  Instead he left all his property to his brother and his children. Thomas’ will can be found in Fairfax Co, VA Will Book A-1 pp. 291-3. This is very suspecious.  Why would he leave all his extensive holding to his brother and his family, not his wife.  Sarah was to have the use of the estate, Difficult Run, during her natural life. All lands and estates were bequeathed to the children of his brother, Stephen Lewis. Sarah sued that her late husband and his brother had conspired to defraud her and she was granted a judgement of 6868 pounds of tobacco. However, she was ordered to pay 15 pounds, 2 shillings and 5 pence to the estate of Stephen Lewis. One has to wonder why she thought and eventually proved that her husband and his brother conspired to defraud her.

Again from the book “The Sydney-Smith and Clagett-Price genealogy: with the Lewis, Montgomery, Harrison, Hawley, Moorhead, Rixey, Doniphan, Waugh, Anderson, Randolph, Mott, Drake, Butcher, Tripplett, Humphrey, Ball, Porter, Brown, Dorsey, Cooper, Stuart, Strother, families with whom they inter-married and some of their descendants” By Lucy Montgomery Smith Price, 1927 there is an article about Thomas Lewis.

Thomas Lewis, Gentleman, of Dogue Creek, Fairfax County

THOMAS Lewis, Gentleman, the son of John Lewis and Elizabeth of Prince George County, Maryland, was a planter and large landowner. The date of his birth is not known. He married Madam Harrison, the widow of Captain William Harrison of Stafford County. The Overwharton Parish Register says Captain William Harrison died 1745, and Madam Harrison’s second husband died 1749. His will is printed in this sketch.

His mother, Elizabeth, of Prince George, Maryland, was married three times; first to John Lewis, Gentleman, who was a part of the Robert Lewis family; the second time to a Mr. Pearson (See record in sketch); and third, to a Mr. Warner as we have before stated. She names Thomas in the division of her property as “my son, Thomas, of Fairfax County, Virginia.”

Thomas Lewis, Gentleman, was a man of no small importance in Fairfax. He was one of the first vestrymen in Truro Parish in 1732 (See Truro Parish Register, page 17), and owned many acres of land; four estates were mentioned in his will and one he sold to William Fairfax (See printed record) which was originally “granted to John Lewis, brother of the said Thomas, 1728, situated in the County of Stafford but since that time the county being divided it is now in the county of Fairfax.” The land records in Maryland mention many acres that belong to him. The Northern Neck grant book lists two grants to him.

Madam Harrison was spoken of in the family as a woman of great beauty and culture. She had a son, William Harrison, who was very close to his half-brother, William Lewis, and their descendants have always been intimate.

Thomas Lewis’ only son, William Thomas Lewis, was a posthumous child, born six months after his father’s death. The author’s mother, Mrs. William Worth Smith, and Mrs. James Alexander of Alexandria, Va. are direct descendants of Madam Harrison. Madam Harrison was Sarah Hawley of Stafford County, a descendant of the Maryland and Virginia Hawleys, one of whom was Governor-General and first Treasurer of Colonial days. (See Madam Harrison’s family in sketch). In the Loudoun County Records she is mentioned as “Mrs. Sarah Lewis, relic of Thomas Lewis, Gentleman of Fairfax County, and widow of Captain William Harrison of Stafford, and mother of William Harrison.”

William Lewis and his half-brother, William Harrison, were very much devoted to each other and when Brother Harrison came to visit William Lewis and Anne Montgomery at “Mount Pleasant,” Fauquier County, swift slave girls moved quickly, and the table groaned with delicacies. Many family dinings took place and “Mount Pleasant’s” doors were thrown wide open to the neighboring gentry for “Brother Harrison” had come.

Thomas Lewis left his “dear brother, Stephen,” his Executor, with orders to complete the “residence on Difficult Run,” where the land grant books in Richmond show he had large holdings. He mentioned “walling in the grave with brick.”

One of his estates was on Dogue Creek, which Mr. Callahan, the author of “The Man and the Mason,” says undoubtedly was a part of the Mt. Vernon estate. In his inventory we note that Colonel John Washing­ton was mentioned.

The following affidavits were made by the grandchildren of Thomas Lewis and great-grandchildren of “Madam Harrison,” who married Thomas Lewis of Dogue Creek:

My grandfather was William Lewis of Loudoun County, half-brother of William Harrison of Fairfax County. My grandfather’s mother was Sarah, widow of William Harrison. My grandfather married Ann Montgomery, a daughter of Captain William Montgomery.  /s/ LUCINDA SMITH. State of Virginia, City of Alexandria. This day, March 5, 1925, Lucinda Smith, whose name is signed to the above affidavit, appeared before me and made oath that the above affidavit is true.  /s/ JOHN BROOKFIELD, Notary Public. My commission expires July 29, 1928.

From a very small child I have always been told that my great-grandfather, William Harrison’s mother married a second time a Mr. Lewis, whose descendants live in Prince William, Loudoun and Fauquier Counties.  My great-grandfather, William Harrison, had a half-brother, William Lewis, who lived in Loudoun, afterwards in Prince William and Fauquier County. He married Miss Montgomery.  /s/ MRS. JAMES E. ALEXANDER. Alexandria, Va., March 6th, 1925. Sworn to and subscribed before me, a Notary Public. /s/ MAURICE WILKINS. My commission expires January 25, 1926.

My grandmother, Mrs. Mary Harrison Kell, used to tell me of her grandfather, William Harrison, Jr., who lived in Fairfax, and I have every reason to believe that his parents were William Harrison, Sr. and Sarah Hawley, his wife, of Stafford County.  After the death of William Harrison, Sr. his widow married a Mr. Lewis and the Lewis children always spoke of William Harrison, Jr. as “Brother Billy,” and the next generation as “Uncle Harrison.”  William Lewis was a half-brother to William Harrison, son of Captain William Harrison who died 1745.  Sarah Harrison as widow of William Harrison, Sr. lived in Loudoun, where she married second, Thomas Lewis, Fairfax County.  The counties of Loudoun, Fairfax and Prince William were cut out of Stafford.  /s/ EDNA HARRISON ALEXANDER. Alexandria, Va., March 6th, 1925. Sworn to and subscribed to before me a Notary Public. /s/ MAURICE WILKINS, Notary Public. My commission expires January 25, 1926.

Recorded in Will Book A, No. 1, Page 291

In the name of God Amen. I Thomas Lewis of Fairfax County and the colony of Virginia being weak of body but of perfect sense and memory and knowing all flesh must die when it pleases Almighty God. Therefore return my soul to the God who gave it to me Trusting in the merits of my Redeemer Christ for its happiness, and a glorious resur­rection of my body at the general Judgment.

The interment of which body I leave to the discretion of my Executors, here after mentioned and my worldly estate I give and bequeath in the manner following:

Inprim – I will that all my just debts and funeral expenses be paid.

Item – I give and bequeath to my brother Stephen Lewis’s son Thomas all that tract of land lying on Difficult run in this County whereon I am now building, to him and his heirs and assigns forever.

Item – My will is that Thomas Lewis may have the Liberty of Settling two plantations on a small tract of Land lying on the north side of Difficult run where he now is building, he paying yearly one thousand and thirty pounds of Crops tobo rent after the third year and when the rents shall amount to thirty thousand pounds of Crop tobacco, I give, give and bequeath the said Tract of Land to the said Thomas Lewis to him and his heirs forever.

Item – My will is that my Executor sell the rents of the above tract yearly for money and that the said money be paid to my brother Stephen Lewis’s son Thomas when he shall arise to the age of twenty-one years.

Item – I give and bequeath to my brother Stephen Lewis’s daughter Elizabeth all that tract of Land lying on Difficult run whereon James Brown now lives to her & the heirs of her body lawfully begotten forever.

It is likewise my will and desire that my Loving wife Sarah have the sole use and benefit of my Estate already bequeathed during her natural Life, My desire is that my Executor Finish and Compleate the buildings I began on Difficult and sell my land in Mary­land and what stock can be spared for money, And I do nominate constitute and appoint my loving brother Stephen Lewis whole & Sole Executor of this my Last Will and Testament in manner as aforesaid.

In Witness whereof I have set my hand and affixed my seal this thirteenth day of September, 1749. /s/ THOMAS LEWIS (Seal) Signed, Sealed and Published by Thomas Lewis to be his last Will & Testament. In presence of John Hunter, Charles Mason, John Peake.

I give and bequeath to my Dear friend Thomas Lewis of Fairfax County my right to a parcel of Land whereon he and William Trammell now lives to him and his heirs forever, September 13th, 1749. /s/ THOMAS LEWIS (Seal) Codicil attested by: John Hunter, Charles Mason, John Peake. Abstract Teste: /s/ T. W. RICHARDSON, Clerk.

Fairfax Court House, Book 1742-46, Page 46

This Indenture, made The Fourteenth day of February and in the Year of Our Lord, one thousand seven Hundred and Forty two between Thomas Lewis Gent. of the county of Fairfax and Parish of Truro planter, of one part, and William Fairfax Esq. of the county and parish of the aforesaid of one part. Witness that the said Thomas Lewis for and in consideration of the sum of five shillings sterling to him paid by the said William Fairfax, the receipt thereof he dothe therebye acknowledge, have bargained sold and by those present dothe bargain and sell unto the said William Fairfax all that Certain Tract and parcel of land which was granted by deed from the Proprietors of the Northern Neck unto John Lewis – brother of the said Thomas Lewis for 365 acres, dated the 9th day of March 1728 – and was at the time of the deed issuing, situate in the County of Stafford, but since that time the county being divided and is now Situated in the County of Fairfax. /s/ THOMAS LEWIS.

William Fairfax was the cousin of Lord Fairfax and came over to this country in 1717. He was living at Salem, Mass., 1725. Nine years later he came to Virginia, where he built Belvoir. He was a surveyor with Washington on his first trip, employed by Thomas Fairfax. His son, George, married a Miss Cary.

Tracing up the above-mentioned record the clerk of Stafford wrote: Dear Mrs. Price: The deed recording Thomas and John Lewis dated 19th of March was recorded in Liber L, which book was destroyed during the Civil War. Yours truly, /s/ JAMES ASBY, Clerk. December 2nd, 1925.

The author traced this record to the Land Office in Richmond and there with the assistance of the Clerk and Mr. Robinson, who is in charge of the State Archives, found the original grant which was given to John Lewis. It was situated on Difficult Run, where Thomas had other holdings, and the Clerk assures me that this is the same tract of land. By this we know that Stephen and Thomas had a brother, named John, as the Maryland records show.

At a court for the County of Fairfax 18th July, 1754, Stephen Lewis, Gentleman, Administrator of Thomas Lewis, deceased exhibited this count to which he made oath and the same being examined is allowed and ordered to be recorded. Teste: /s/ G. WAGONER, I Cur. A Copy Teste: /s/ T. W. RICHARDSON, Clerk.

In Will Book B, No. 1, Page 64, Prince William County, we find the original account, by Mr. William Douglas, dated October 22, 1761. On page 367, Book A, in the above office is the “Inventory of Thomas Lewis,” mentioning “My plantation on Dogue Creek. A Tract of land to my dear friend Thomas Lewis, ‘Difficult Plantation.’ A tract of land to Thomas, my nephew, son of my brother Stephen. A tract of land to Elizabeth, daughter of Stephen.” The valuation of the personal estate on “Difficult Plantation” was 449.17.0; that of Dogue Creek 316.3. These are quite interesting, mentioning a castor hat, much pewter, a case of silver, three wigs, silver kneebuckles, a Bible, a cradle, etc. It is eight pages long, but the estate account is interesting because it shows his neighbors and the men with whom he transacted business.

After the death of Thomas (See Loudoun Records) Elizabeth ( his sister-in-law and administrator of her late husband Stephen’s estate) brings a number of suits in 1758 and 1759, in all of which she is described as the Administratrix of Stephen, deceased. At a Court held in Loudoun County, June 11, 1761 is the following:

Sarah Lewis, Relick of Thomas Lewis Dec’d     Plt. Against  Elizabeth Lewis  Deft.

William Douglas, who since the bringing of this suit, intermarried with the Def’t. is admitted Def’t with her. In 1767 William Douglas in his list of tithes is charged with “land his own and Lewis Estate,” 3000 acres. Colonel William Douglas emigrated from Ayreshire, Scotland and married Elizabeth Offett, widow of Thomas Lewis. Nancy Douglas was his daughter. The Douglas home in Fauquier County was called “Garralan” from the Douglas family seat, Scotland. Nancy Douglas married Smith Hale, who came from Fauquier County to Woodford, Kentucky.—Kentucky State History No. 7, Volume 11.

Mary Harrison Brown had gone to Difficult Run to live with her mother after her husband John Brown died. There she met and married the overseer of Difficult Run, John Peake.  They married in 1746  three years before Thomas Lewis died.  By 1772 the Peake family had moved to Fauquier County, Virginia. Sarah moved there to be with her daughter and died there in 1778 at the age of 92.

In several places on the internet it says that Sarah Hawley Harrison Lewis was married to John Posey a tenant of George Washington.  I don’t whether or not she was. She was married to Thomas Lewis until 1749.  John Posey died in 1769. So, there is a 20 year period where she could have been married to him, but he was not of the social stature of William Harrison or Thomas Lewis.  He borrowed 750 pounds from and had trouble repaying George Washington.  If he ws married to Sarah Hawley Harrison Lewis, she was rich.  He wouldn’t have needed to borrow from Washington.  Sarah could have given him the mone.

Sarah Hawley was a very interesting lady.  She had a front row seat to the Revolutionary War and all the participants, including George Washington, who were at the center of the Revolutionary movement.  As I said, I would really have like to have known her.