Author: Geoff Hoppe


Fielding Lewis (1725–1781 or 1782)

Fielding Lewis was a merchant, justice of the peace for Spotsylvania County (1749–1781), and member of the House of Burgesses (1760–1769) who helped to found the Fredericksburg Gun Manufactory during the American Revolution (1775–1783). Born at Warner Hall, his family’s Gloucester County estate, he moved to Fredericksburg in the 1740s, helping to manage his father’s store there. Lewis married George Washington‘s cousin and, after her death, Washington’s sister, serving in the General Assembly and as a justice of the peace. He was known, in particular, for his financial acumen and sometimes advised his brother-in-law on investments. Early in the 1770s Lewis built for his family a large Georgian mansion (later named Kenmore) that was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970. In 1775, the third Revolutionary Convention tasked Lewis and his fellow merchant Charles Dick with establishing a weapons factory in Fredericksburg; by May 1777 the Fredericksburg Gun Manufactory produced about twenty muskets per week. The enterprise cost Lewis £7,000 of his own money, which the state never repaid. He died sometime late in 1781 or early in 1782.

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