Brigadier General Andrew Lewis
Andrew Lewis was born in Ireland in 1720, and fled to Virginia with his family at age 12. He built his home, Richfield, overlooking the Roanoke River. His expansive estate included much of today’s downtown Salem. Lewis was most noted for his military career. He fought during the French and Indian War under a young George Washington. Washington assigned Lewis to build forts to protect settlers from Native American attacks. Fort Lewis was built west of Salem in 1757. Later, Lewis was captured by French soldiers and imprisoned in Quebec until late 1759. Just prior to the start of the Revolutionary War, Lewis led a militia which defeated the Shawnee Indians at the Battle of Point Pleasant, securing Virginia’s western frontier. This ornament depicts Lewis’ first victory of the American Revolution: driving out Lord Dunmore, Virginia’s last royal governor, and his troops. On July 9, 1776, Lewis fired the first cannon volley against Dunmore and his fleet out in the Chesapeake Bay, striking Dunmore’s ship and—according to legend—destroying his prized china tea set. In 1777, Lewis rejoined the Virginia legislature. His friend William Fleming was with him at his death in 1781. Lewis is buried in the center of Salem’s East Hill Cemetery.