Bill & LaVonne Lee

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The Ancestors and Descendants
Lt Colonel Leven POWELL

Compiled and prepared by Bill and LaVonne Lee.

214 pages, full-name index, bibliography, softcover (8 1/2 X 11) 2006.
ISBN-13:  978-0-9795830-0-1.
ISBN-10:  0-9795830-0-4.

Bill Lee's mother was a POWELL.  Over the last 35 years Bill and his wife, LaVonne, have been gathering information on a number of family names, POWELL among them.  Early in this process they found that the revolutionary Leven POWELL was Bill's Great Great Great Great Great Grandfather.  A neighbor of George WASHINGTON, Leven POWELL's list of accomplishments is almost unbelievably long.  He was a member of Virginia's House of Burgesses. He served with General George WASHINGTON during the Valley Forge Campaign. He was one of Virginia's representatives at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia.  He was one of the original promoters and developers of Kentucky settlement and was on the first Board of Trustees of Boonesborough, Kentucky's first settlement.  He was the founder of Middleburg, Virginia, and an inscription on a plaque in the Episcopal Church in Middleburg VA recognizes him as such.  As though this is not enough, he was also a direct ancestor of Katherine HEPBURN, the Academy Award winning actress and also of Bill LEE, one of the compilers of this study.

The Ancestors and Descendants of Lt Colonel Leven POWELL (1737-1810) contains 132 unique Family Group Sheets, starting with the immigrant Walter POWELL (1622-1695), Leven POWELL's Great Grandfather, through eleven generations, to current times.  Nearly 300 POWELLs are included in the study (over 500 if one counts wives who took the name of POWELL) and over 1400 names are listed in the full-name index.  Each group sheet includes citations to references used on that group sheet, and a complete bibliography follows the study. 




                                                                                                 BILL and LaVONNE LEE

Introduction To

The Ancestors and Descendants
Lt Colonel Leven POWELL

Historical Background

For many years I have been interested in the genealogy and history of my family and that of my wife, LaVonne.  Then, in 1987, at age 50, I left my paying job as Director of Information Systems for a multinational manufacturer of electronic components to spend full time doing genealogical research of my family, LaVonne's family and others on a fee basis.  In the research I had performed before that time I had discovered that knowledge of the extended family is lost over time as members of the family move on to greener pastures in another locality or state, sometimes moving several states away.  These family members are soon forgotten and records of their life's accomplishments and disappointments are lost forever to some members of the family.  With this in mind, LaVonne and I began researching selected family names - recording every occurrence of those names in public records across a wide area, and publishing the results of our findings.  To date we have nearly 20 books published with the results of that research, and material for at least 20 more.

Due to the commonality of the name, POWELL was NOT one of the names we included in our research, even though POWELL was my mother's maiden name.  There are so many POWELLs in this country that we would soon be buried in more paperwork than a we could handle and there would be little time for anything else.  However, because of the close family connection to the name I had a great deal of interest in the POWELLs, and would capture bits of information along the way as I found it.  I did this only for personal interest and satisfaction, with little interest and no intention of ever publishing what I had gathered.

Then, last month, a person I did not know  (and who is not even related directly to the POWELLs) contacted me, wanting to have what information I had on the POWELL family.  Michelle (HUNTER) JAEGER is the granddaughter of my uncle Randolph Adair POWELL's widow, Clemma Claudine REECE (POWELL) MORTON, so is not even related to the POWELLs, but was interested in the POWELL genealogy.  I went to the notes, documents and books I had gathered over the years and discovered that I had a great deal of knowledge on the POWELLs, information that would be lost if I did not bring it all together in the form of a book.  Thus, the end result is The Ancestors and Descendants of Lt Colonel Leven POWELL.

Somewhere in my wanderings over the years I discovered that Lt Colonel Leven POWELL was a direct ancestor, a Great-Great-Great-Great-Great Grandfather, as a matter of fact.  Colonel POWELL  shows up in history in many ways.  First was his involvement in the American Revolutionary War.  He was with General George Washington at Valley Forge, but became ill and unable to continue actively in the subsequent battles of the war.  But, being a patriot of some means, he helped in the financial matters of the conflict.  For his efforts, first as a soldier, and later as a financier, he was rewarded by the new government with a large tract of land in what would later become the Commonwealth of Kentucky.  With these holdings  he became one  of the original promoters and  developers of Kentucky settlement and was among the founding fathers of Kentucky's first settlement at  Boonesborough.  Additionally, he is recognized as the founding father of Middleburg, Virginia, where he lived.  He was a close neighbor of Mount Vernon and its occupant, George Washington.  Letters between the two, dealing with agricultural matters still survive.  Still more - Leven POWELL represented Virginia at the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia and served on Virginia's House of Burgesses.

Leven POWELL's two-story, Federalist style, stone house, just east of Middleburg, Virginia, is still standing and in good repair.  In 1991, and again in 2004, I had the opportunity to visit this house, which is still in use as a private residence.  The village of Middleburg has managed, to this date, anyway, to stave off the advances of today's population and modern expansion, and is a quaint step back into the past.  Really amazing, when one considers the town's close proximity to the DC Beltway.  A trip to Middleburg is highly recommended.

Another interesting historical note regarding the Leven POWELL family is that a granddaughter of his married a cousin of the LEEs of Virginia that included revolutionaries Light Horse Harry LEE, Richard Henry LEE and, of course, Robert E Lee of Civil War fame.  These LEEs, by the way, are no relation of mine.  Leven POWELL married Sarah HARRISON, a member of a prominent Virginia family, but not a member of the presidential HARRISONs, also a noted Virginia family.

The first known member of Leven POWELL's ancestors in this country was Walter POWELL.  He was probably born in Wales and came to America about 1640, in all likelihood landed in or near the Jamestown settlement.  Walter eventually moved to Maryland, settling on the DELMARVA Peninsula.  Leven was a member of the fourth generation of this POWELL family in America.  This study covers eleven generations of the family.  Not mentioned in the book are three more generations that I'm aware of living today, including my four children, their thirteen children and my one Great Granddaughter who was just born this year.

One member of this extended family was Katherine HEPBURN (see Page 157), the Academy Award winning actress.  In her book ME, she describes her relationship to the family, their prominence in Virginia, and their eventual fall from affluence, as well as an historical footnote, thusly, "Dad's mother was a member of the very distinguished POWELL family.  As with other families in the South, they had been quite impoverished by the Civil War."  And so, this once illustrious colonial family, like so many families, has become part of the landscape of normal American life, as we know it today.


Although not doing an indepth study of the POWELLs, I have always kept my eyes open for literature on the family, and when I have been in areas that I knew the POWELLs lived, I have visited courthouses, cemeteries and libraries.  Most notable of those areas are Saline County, Missouri, where my mother was born; Henderson County, Kentucky, where my branch of the POWELLs settled briefly;  and  Leven POWELL'S home  area of  Loudoun County,  Virginia.  Through the  years I have spent considerable time in libraries.  Those where I have looked for POWELL data include The Family History Library in Salt Lake City UT, the Missouri State Historical Society Library in Columbia MO and The Library of Virginia in Richmond VA.

A large portion of the information in this book came from published material that is referenced on each page and itemized in the bibliography.  Without these books it would have been impossible to prepare this book.  Each of the referenced works contains information on a particular part of the family.  This book brings together these works into one genealogy within one cover, with still a lot of parts of the family uncovered.  Perhaps others will publish their knowledge of their part of the family and will use this work to someday prepare an even more comprehensive and complete history of the POWELL family.

A word of caution on this type of compilation must be noted.  Although every attempt has been made to minimize errors in interpretation and transcription, it is impossible to be 100% accurate.  The same can be said for every secondary source I have used.  The end result may he a hodge podge of inaccuracies.  So one should not accept this work as gospel, and not do research of their own along the way.  Another danger in accepting other's work as the final word is that one does not know who copied who.  I have cited sources of information on each page, although it is impossible to cite each and every piece of data.  For serious researchers this book will make an excellent source for doing further research and a great starting point for Where and When to look for What.

While discussing the Ws of historical research I will mention that I am a big proponent of the five Ws - Who, What, When, Where and Why.  In my research those five Ws are what I am looking for.  One can not always find them, but when I do find them, I report them.  The Why is the hardest to locate, and when using secondary sources such as published books one is totally at the mercy of what the author or compiler was able to locate, or felt was important.  For that reason, in a good many instances, all I have given is the name of offspring, with no dates, locations or anything else.  In several entries all I have is a name and a date - no locations.  That was all I had to work with, so that is all I have reported.  Classic examples of only names and dates are Family Bibles.  Although great references, and considered by many to be a primary source, altogether too often, all that is recorded is a name, date and event.  No location.

Some of the information in this book comes from a first hand knowledge of my own.  I have indicated that fact on the pages where that is the case.

This book is laid out as a series of Family Group Sheets (FGS).  The traditional FGS lists the male of the family first, but my format lists the POWELL  member of the family first, whether male or female.  I have not carried any degree of detail lower than a POWELL.  For instance, if the mother was a POWELL she has her own sheet, but if she married a SMITH (or any other person with a surname different than POWELL), her children would be listed on her group sheet, but would not have a page of their own.  In other words, every group sheet is headed by a POWELL, male or female, never a SMITH, a JONES, or any other surname.  This can be seen best in the Contents.

Another thing that is quite vivid in the Contents, where I have paginated each of the second and lower generations, is that the sheets are presented in a top-down approach, exhausting all that is known of the oldest child down to all descendants of that child, then back to the next oldest, and so on.

There is a great deal of repetition in the group sheets.  All that is known about a child, except for his/her offspring,  is reported on the page of his/her parent, then repeated on a page where he/she is a parent.  In two instances of the POWELLs included in this study, first cousins, both with the name POWELL, married each other.  In these two cases the group sheets are not only doubled, but quadrupled, as each POWELL has a group sheet of their own.  If this is confusing, don't worry about it.  You will see what I mean as you study the book.

The references cited at the bottom of each page indicate sources used for some piece of information on that page.  As stated above, it would be impossible to cite each individual piece of information.  In some instances a dozen or more sources may have been used for information displayed for just one person.

The numbers shown at the left of each name and reference are identification numbers I have assigned to each person and citation.  I use these numbers to reference records in my data base and may (and probably should) be ignored by any reader.

The index is a complete full-name index for all names in the book that have an Identification Number in the left margin, and includes entries for both maiden name and married name for females.  This is making the assumption that the time-honored tradition of the wife taking the name of the husband is followed.  There are no hyphenated names in the index.  Persons with the same name are indicated as different people in the index.  For example, there are seven different Mary POWELLs in the book, and seven Mary POWELLs in the index.

The abbreviations are those most common in genealogical circles.  The obvious ones are:

abt..........about             Ch....................Children       m............married          
aft...........after               Co or Cnty.......County         m1..........first marriage   
b.............born               d.......................died              m2..........second marriage, etc
bur..........buried            div....................divorced       pri...........prior

All months use the first three characters of the month - Jan for January, Feb for February, etc.

The two character state abbreviations in common use at the time of this compilation are used, even though they may not have been in use at the time of the event - AL for Alabama, MO for Missouri, VA for Virginia, etc.

Accumulating this information over the years has been a most enjoyable part of my life, and spending these last few weeks bringing it all together in this book has been quite refreshing.  I hope you enjoy having and using this information, and that it is as informative and enjoyable for you as it has been for me.

Gratitude and Dedication

My interest in where I came from started at a very early age when I was but a small boy.  As I grew into manhood other priorities took center stage, and my interest in family history waned somewhat.  Then, sometime in the early 1970s I met my Great Uncle Bill POWELL (Page 64).  Uncle Bill sensed my interest in genealogy and dug up some old notes that his sister, my Great Aunt Bess, had made.  Aunt Bess had it pretty much on target, as I have since verified.  Perhaps not even knowing the historical significance of Leven POWELL, she had her lineage back as far as him.  I thank my Great Aunt Bess (if I ever met her it was when I was a small boy and don't recall at this time), who kept those handwritten notes and passed them on to Uncle Bill.  And I thank Uncle Bill for then passing them on to me.

As time permitted I pursued filling in the blanks with treks through cemeteries, hours spent in libraries and searching out and buying books related to the subject matter.  I also had the opportunity of meeting many POWELL cousins.  A great deal of the information in this book came from visits and correspondence with these cousins over the years.  I thank these POWELL relations for their patience with my inquisitive mind and the information they passed on to me for this book.

A special thanks goes to my wife, LaVonne, who has traveled just about everywhere with me these last 35 years and who has made valuable research assistance and suggestions along the way.

I also thank Michelle JAEGER for taking the time to find me and giving me the last needed push to put this book in a recognizable format ( I hope).  I still am mystified as to how she found me.  I am no secret and am not in hiding, but there are lots of Bill LEEs in this big crazy World.

A final word about my Mother, Martha Lou (POWELL) LEE ( Page 50).  She was not the least interested in the history of her family.  To her the past was the past, and was best forgotten.  Having dug up a lot of bones in the last several years, I can understand her feelings.  However, despite all the obstacles and heartbreak she had endured over her lifetime, I am a much better person for her love and her influence on me during my lifetime.  For this I am most thankful, and I dedicate this work to her memory.  Despite her negative feelings on what I was doing, I think she would have been proud of this book.

Thank You, and ENJOY!

                                                                                  Bill Lee
                                                                                  Harlingen, Texas
                                                                                  July 2006

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Unpublished   Sources

Countless unpublished sources make up this study.  They are specified as to particulars in the footnotes and include letters, interviews, cemetery inscriptions, Family Bibles, periodicals, newspapers, local histories and city directories.  Government documents include U S Census Returns, documents from the U S Department of Justice and various records from county courthouses.  These include probate records, civil and criminal court records, birth records and death records.

Published Sources

Alcock, John P.  Five Generations of the Family of Burr Harrison of Virginia 1650-1800.  Bowie MD:  Heritage Books, Inc., 1991.

Ball, Rosalie (Noland).  The Family Tree of Col. Leven Powell's Line of the Powells of Virginia.  1938.

Hardy, Stella Pickett.  Colonial Families of the Southern States of America.  New York:  Tobias A, Wright, 1911.

Harrison, Henry Tazewell.  A Brief History of the First Harrisons of Virginia.  2 April, 1915.

Hepburn, Katherine.  Me.  New York:  Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1991.

Irwin, William H., Jr.  Ancestors and Descendants of Francis Marion Irwin of Campbell County, TN.  Knoxville TN:  1990.

Lee, Edmund Jennings, M. D.  Lee of Virginia (1642-1893).  Philadelphia:  1895.

Lucas, The Rev. Fr. Silas Emmett, Jr.  The Powell Families of Virginia and the South.  Vidalia GA:  Georgia Genealogical Reprints.

Powell, Alexander Chesley.  A Record of Powell-Davison Linage.  Oct 1937.

Scheel, Eugene M.  The History of Middleburg and vicinity.  Warrenton VA:  Piedmont Press, Nov 1987.

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POWELL Genealogy and Family History at

POWELL Genealogy and Family History at

POWELL Family History and Genealogy at

POWELL Cemetery Records at

(Because of the large number of records you will need to refine your search by clicking the "Begin New Search" button in the left margin.)

POWELL at Genealogy Today.

POWELL Queries at

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