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The Lewis Family and the Arcola Slave Quarters

In the first half of the 18th century, the Lewis family began to acquire land in what became Loudoun County.  Vincent Lewis purchased 417 acres in 1744.[1]  His landholdings were primarily in the southwestern part of the county in an area known as Arcola.  Vincent had at least 7 children: John, Betty, George, Joseph, Anna, James, and Charles.[2]

Vincent died in 1796, and his youngest son, Charles, inherited 333 acres.  Charles never married, and his will, written in 1841, bequeathed his land and the people he enslaved to his brother James.  Their names were:

Jane Turner

Joe Sprawling

Lydia Hogan

Nelson Turner

Mary Turner & child

Harry Newman

William Henderson

George Henderson

Sam Owings

Charles Newman

Henry Simms

Tom Simms

Charles Henderson, blacksmith

Betsey & 3 children: John, Mary, and Betsey

Nelly & her child Nancy

Fanny & her child Martha

Caroline Henderson

Mary Henderson

Eliza Simms

Hanibal Simms

William Simms

Harriet Simms

Gustavia Simms

Charles Simms

Amand Simms

These enslaved people and others lived in the stone building that still stands on the land once owned by Charles Lewis.  The property remained in the Lewis family until the 1980s when it was purchased by developers.  It is now owned by Loudoun County, and its future interpretation is directed by the Friends of the Slave Quarters. It is not open to the public except for periodic programs. For more information, click here.

Oatlands’ connection to the Arcola Slave Quarters is through Joseph Lewis Jr., the son of Joseph and grandson of Vincent.  Lewis Jr. married Elizabeth Osborne Grayson, who later married George Carter of Oatlands after Lewis died.  Generations of the Lewis family, starting with Vincent, held men, women and children in bondage.  For unknown reasons, Joseph Lewis Jr. emancipated all but one of the people he enslaved.  To read more about the enslaved community at Lewis Jr.’s plantations, click here. 

 

 

[1] National Register of Historic Places nomination for the Arcola Slave Quarters.  VDHR #053-0984. https://www.dhr.virginia.gov/historic-registers/053-0984/. Viewed on 25 August 2018.

[2] Lewis – A Loudoun County Family at Gumspring, Virginia. Undated, unpublished manuscript by Wynne Saffer. Oatlands Archives.