Lewis Burwell was born to Edward and Dorothy (Bedell) Burwell in Harlington, County Bedford, England. His mother's brothers, Gabriell and John Bedell, were members of the Virginia Company and came to Jamestown with the Second Supply in 1608.
After the death of his father, his mother had married Roger Wingate. In October 1633 Wingate and Edward Kingswell arrived in Jamestown aboard the ship Mayflower with a plan to create a settlement in Carolina. Finding that their promised transportation to Carolina was not yet available, they remained at Jamestown through the winter until early spring when they decided to give up the project. In March Wingate left with his family and returned to England and Kingswell followed in June. They should have been more patient, for the promised ship arrived in July.
Lewis Burwell arrived at Jamestown about 1640 - a time when the original first generation had failed to carry their leadership over to the next generation. The new immigration of 1640, of which Burwell and his brothers were a part would give to Virginia the progenitors of her great eighteenth-century families.
Roger Wingate, Burwell's stepfather, was the residuary legatee of the land for which his now deceased partner, Kingwell, had claimed by the headright system. Wingate did not immediately claim the land to which he was entitled until the spring of 1648. 2300 acres were granted jointly to Burwell and Thomas Vause on the "lower part in Yorke River about 7 miles up the Narrow on the South side thereof". In the summer of the same year Burwell claimed the headrights he inherited form his stepfather, he received 2350 acres "lying upon the North Side of York River up Rosewell Creek on the Southward side thereof" for the transportation of forty-seven persons. This was the largest patent issued in 1648.
Nevertheless, the estate could not have been so large as to have guaranteed Burwell and his descendants a position of undisputed eminence in the colony. But while everything did not proceed smoothly, he appears to have been a hard worker who devoted much of his efforts to the acquisition of land. His landholdings expanded rapidly, and in 1650, for the transportation of thirty-two persons, he received 1600 acres in Northumberland County "upon the South side of Potomeck River and East side of Machotick River". The next day he was alloted 500 acres - this time on the "South side of Potomeck River upon West side of Nomeny River". Two years later, in October, 200 acres "100 acres of which lyes within the Pallisade at the Middle plantation...the other with out the Pallisade" were granted to "Major Lewis Burwell and Lucy, his wife".
When he died in 1653, he had been in Virginia for less than fifteen years.
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