George Washington Lewis (127th USCT)

George Washington Lewis was born into slavery in Albemarle County, Virginia, in May 1833. According to various sources, Lewis was manumitted in 1848 by Dr. Charles Everett, an Albemarle County neighbor of Thomas Jefferson and doctor of James Monroe. In 1854, Lewis traveled to a free settlement in Mercer County, Pennsylvania, called Pandenarium, where he remained until joining the army. Sometime before the Civil War, he married Caroline Richards, a native of Pennsylvania.

Lewis enlisted in the Union army on August 15, 1864, near New Brighton, Pennsylvania. At the time of his enlistment, Lewis stood 5 feet, 5 inches tall, with black hair, black eyes, and a black skin complexion. At the age of 26, he began his one year of service by mustering in as a private in the 127th USCT Infantry Regiment near Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, on August 17, 1864. The regiment took part in the Siege of Petersburg, the Battle of New Market Heights, and the Battle of Fair Oaks. The regiment was one of seven USCT regiments present during the Appomattox Campaign that culminated in Confederate General Robert E. Lee's surrender at Appomattox Court House on April 9, 1965. The 127th USCT then moved to Texas as part of the occupation of the Rio Grande valley region. Lewis and his regiment mustered out on September 9, 1865, near Brazos Santiago, Texas.

After the war, Lewis returned to Mercer County, where he worked as a farmer. According to one census record, he and his wife had seven children, including Albert, born September 15, 1859; Emma, born in 1863; and Elmer, born in 1867. Near the end of their lives, their daughter Emma's three children — Joseph, Elizabeth, and Ollie—came to live with the Lewises following Emma's death. After his first wife Caroline died in 1902, Lewis remarried Sarah Ellen Chinn on September 13, 1905. Lewis died of tuberculosis on November 19, 1916, and is buried at White Chapel Cemetery in Mercer County.


The Liberator Article on Pandenarium Slaves

Name:Lewis, George W.
Alternative names:
  • Soldier
127th Regiment Infantry U.S. Colored TroopsA
Branch of service:Army
Enlistment1864-08-15New Brighton, PAaccepted26Free
Muster In1864-08-17Philadelphia, PA
Muster Out1865-09-08Brazos Santiago, TXMustered Out
Residence at enlistment:
Rank In:Private
Rank Out:Private
Highest rank achieved:Private
Person 1Person 2NumberRelation Type
Lewis, George W.noneapplication-invalid
Lewis, George W.noneapplication-minor
Lewis, George W.noneapplication-parent
Lewis, George W.noneapplication-widow
Birth date:1833-05
Birth date certainty:Certain
Birth place:Albemarle County, VA
Death date:1916-11-10
Death place:Mercer County, PA
Causes of death:disease: tuberculosis
Occupations:Farmer, Laborer
Person 1Relation TypePerson 2
Lewis, George W.parent ofLewis, Albert
Lewis, George W.parent ofLewis, Emma
Lewis, George W.parent ofLewis, Elmer Ulysses
Lewis, Carolinewife ofLewis, George W.
Lewis, Sarah E.wife ofLewis, George W.

Compiled Service Records for George Lewis, RG94, National Archives and Records Administration (NARA), Washington, D.C.; 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, 1910 U.S. Federal Censuses; Marriage Certificate for George Lewis and Ellen Chinn; Will and Probate Records for George Lewis; Death Certificate for George Lewis, accessed through; Frederick A. Dyer, A Compendium of the War of the Rebellion, vol. 3 (Des Moines, IA: Dyer Publishing Company, 1908); Roland Barksdale-Hall, African Americans in Mercer County (Charleston, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2009).