However, David Williams, who compiled the entry 'Francis Lewis' in the Dictionary of Welsh Biography, shows conclusively that this American version of Francis Lewis's parentage is incorrect. There was no Rev. Francis Lewis at Llandaff at this date; the duty of resident vicar in the parish at this time was performed by cathedral clergy. Similarly there was no Dr. Pettingal in the parish at Caernarvon, although we know that the most distinguished member of the family at this time was Dr. John Pettingall (1708-81), vicar of Christchurch and Whitson, near Newport, who became well-known nationally for his antiquarian studies. It seems that the passage of time had produced confusion not only in the Welsh place-names but also in the names of the family members themselves. It now seems certain that Francis Lewis's mother was Anne Pettingall who married Morgan Lewis. Anne was a member of the large Pettingall family who produced several prominent Newport citizens in the early eighteenth century. Her father, Francis Pettingall, a Newport mercer, became an alderman of the town; her eldest brother, Richard, was town clerk and an alderman; and her youngest brother, Francis, was vicar of St. Woolos for 21 years as well as vicar of Christchurch. Another discrepancy in the American version of events concerns the upbringing of the young Francis Lewis. The Dictionary of American Biography states that he was left an orphan at an early age and that he was brought up in the care of his mother's relatives (ie the Pettingalls) in Wales. But this version is contradicted by the evidence of extant wills of members of the Pettingall family living at the time. The will of Susana Pettingall of Newport, dated 5 March, 1716, refers to "my sister, Anne Lewis of Cowbridge, Glamorgan". The will of Anne's father, Francis Pettingall of Newport, dated 3 July 1724, makes a bequest to "my daughter, Anne Lewis, married to Mr. Morgan Lewis", and in the will of Anne's cousin, Florence Pettingall of Newport, dated 11 May, 1735, both Morgan Lewis and Anne Lewis signed as witnesses. We know little about Morgan Lewis, but it is evident that the young Francis Lewis was not left an orphan but was brought up by his parents, probably in his early years at Cowbridge in Glamorgan. There is no reference to the baptism of the infant Francis in the parish register of St. Woolos, where Anne Lewis's brother was vicar. There is no further reason to query the American account of Francis Lewis's life. He was sent to school at Westminster, and this would certainly have been in accord with the expectations of the Pettingalls. Afterwards he joined a mercantile house in London, and no doubt it was there that the idea of emigration came to him. The young Francis left for New York some time between 1734 and 1738. The former date is given by Julia Delafield, but the latter date, as found in the Dictionary of American Biography, is more likely. When Mary Pettingall made her will on 9 April, 1740, she left
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