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David Park

LEWELLING, THOMAS (1824– circa 1863). Thomas Lewelling, lawyer, editor, and Confederate officer, was born in Louisiana in 1824. In the late 1830s or early 1840s, Lewelling traveled to North Texas and was one of the earliest residents of Paris, Lamar County, when it was incorporated in 1845. He played an active role in the region. A graduate of McKenzie College and a Methodist preacher, he was described by a local as one of city's "most noted educators." He also served as editor of the Western Star newspaper beginning in 1848, and when Texas participated in the United States census for the first time in 1850, Lewelling took the census for Lamar County as an "Assistant Marshal."

Sometime around 1850 Lewelling moved to Collin County and married Nancy Jane Martin in Harrison on May 27, 1850. He purchased some 320 acres in Collin County and engaged in active civic participation in the region. He served as a Collin County commissioner throughout the decade, and in 1858 was the district deputy grand master of the Fourteenth Masonic District of Texas. On November 21, 1859, Lewelling served as chairman of a committee that met in Belknap to draft resolutions regarding Fort Belknap and the defense of settlers from raids by Native Americans. In 1860 before the outbreak of the Civil War, Lewelling and his wife still resided in Collin County. He owned one fourteen-year-old female slave and had a personal wealth of $21,000.

When the southern states began to secede from the Union, forty-eight-year-old Thomas Lewelling enlisted on December 26, 1861, in McKinney, Collin County, Texas. Early in 1862 Col. Robert H. Taylor began organizing the Twenty-second Texas Cavalry Regiment, which Lewelling was mustered into on January 10, 1862, at Fort Washita. Although Lewelling enlisted as a private, he was appointed to the rank of adjutant upon being mustered into service. His unit saw very little military action during the Civil War and served largely in the Trans-Mississippi Department. Lewelling himself saw even less action. The First Conscription Act, passed by the Confederate Congress in early 1862, allowed officers to resign if they could obtain a disability charge. On December 1, 1862, less than a year after enlisting, Thomas Lewelling reached the rank of Lieutenant Colonel, but tendered his resignation due to "extended debility and long continued bad health." On December 27, 1862, by Special Order from the Trans-Mississippi Department Headquarters, he was discharged from service. Once relieved of duty, Thomas Lewelling disappeared from the historical records. He died sometime between 1863 and 1869, but his widowed wife remained in Collin County in 1870.


Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Texas, National Archives and Records Service, Washington. Dallas Daily Herald, December 7, 1859. Ed H. McCuistion, Loose Leaves of the History of Lamar County (Paris, Texas, 1921). A.W. Neville, The History of Lamar County, Texas (Paris, Texas: North Texas, 1937; rpt. 1986). Stewart Sifakis, Compendium of the Confederate Armies: Texas (New York: Facts on File, 1995).

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, David Park, "LEWELLING, THOMAS ," accessed August 14, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/flefb.

Uploaded on April 12, 2011. Modified on January 12, 2018. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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