Information on the TEW Family of Oxfordshire and Northamptonshire, England, and Newport, Rhode Island
Origin of the Tew Surname This surname derived from the small english village of Great Tew in Oxfordshire, England, which, in turn, derived its name from the old english word for ridge, which is "tiew". There are three villages in close proximity, Great Tew, Little Tew, and Duns Tew, the former of which is situated next to a long, running hill, or ridge. In England, among the surname variants appear Tewe, Tiew, and Tew.

At some point, which is unknown to this author, most of the Tews left this area, and the branch from which the subject line descends arrived in Maidford and Eydon, Northamptonshire; the earliest record this author has found was of a Richard Tew of Eydon from the late 1400s, quite likely the ancestor of Richard Tew, the immigrant.

Henry Tew and His Son, Immigrant Richard Tew
What we know of Henry Tew of Maidford, Northamptonshire, England which provides the name of his wife and his relationship to son Richard Tew, as well as the name of Richard's wife, comes from an Indenture between Henry Tew and William Clarke.

Indenture. Between Henry Tew and William Clarke.

Between Henry Tew, of Maidford, county of Northampton, yeoman, of one part, and William Clarke, of Priors Hardwick, of the other part, county Warwick, yeoman. That for and in consideration of a marriage intended by the grace of God, between Richard Tew, son of said Henry, and Mary Clarke, daughter of William, and for 20 pounds by bond secured, to be paid by said William Clarke, to said Henry Tew, on the last of May next ensuing and for 120 pounds, Eng., by bond secured to be paid by said William Clarke to said Richard Tew, Sept. 29, 1640; It is agreed by all said parties that said Tew shall be ever hereafter seized of that messuage, tenement, close and half yard land thereto belonging in the town, parish and fields of Maidford now in possession of said Henry Tew and of that cottage and tenement, etc. now in occupation of Nicholas Carey, and of all that cottage and tenement in Maidford, now in possession of Nathaniel Shea, etc. The tenure of which shall be to said Henry Tew for seven years, after which, to the said Richard Tew, his heirs and assigns for ever. And said Henry Tew covenants with said William Clarke that said premises shall be free from any claims on him, the said William Clarke, except such right of dower as Ellen, wife of said Henry Tew, may or ought to have, in the same, and further, said Henry Tew engages to perform all such acts as may be necessary to confirm said Richard Tew in his rights.

Signed by Henry Tew Oct. 18, 9th reign of King Charles II.
Witnessed by William Leeke, Samuel Leeke and John Maine.

Richard Tew and wife Mary Clarke left Maidford, Northamptonshire and arrived in New England in the summer of 1640, along with their first child, Seaborn, who had been born during the voyage. By 1642 Richard and Mary were in Newport, Rhode Island, where it is recorded that he purchased about 60 acres from John Anthony, and the following year he bought 30 acres of John Layton. Their homestead was in that part of Newport which later became Middletown, bordered by the Maidford River, likely named after his place of birth in England. He and wife Mary became staunch Quakers.

He became an important man in the colony. In 1653, he was appointed to a commission which negotiated with the Dutch regarding Long Island. He was also a member of the General Assembly for eight years, as well as on the board of Governor's Assistants for five years. He was made a freeman of Newport in 1655, was named in the 1662 Charter of Charles II, and in the Rhode Island Charter of 1663. He also served as Deputy in 1663, 1664, and 1665.

According to family tradition, he returned to England around 1673 to settle property matters there, and died in London, possibly of the plague. An abstract of his will follows.

The Will of Richard Tew (abstracted)
Dated 19 Jan 1673, Proved 27 Mar 1674.

He calls himself of Newport in Rhode Island, in New England, yeoman, and now of St. Leonard's Shoreditch, Middlesex. "Being desirous to settle my affairs and concerns which I have in Old England, my native country, according as I have already done in New England", and "to brother John Tew of Towcester County of Northampton, doctor of physick, 20 shillings to buy him a ring to wear for my sake. Rest of goods in Old England to son, Henry, of Newport in Rhode Island, yeoman".

Executors, son Henry Tew of Newport, and brother John Tew.
Overseers, Edward Wharton of Salem, and Joseph Nicholson of Rhode Island.

Maj. Henry Tew and Sarah Paul
Only son of Richard Tew and Mary Clarke, Henry Tew was very active in the affairs of Newport, serving on various committees, such as advisor to Governor Cranston concerning the expedition into Canada, superintendant of work at the fort on Goat Island, as well as others. By 1698, he had become a Captain, and by 1714, Lieut. Colonel. He was also chosen to go to England, as agent, but declined. In 1714, he was elected Deputy Governor, serving in place of the deceased Walter Clarke, until May of 1715.

"Proceeding of the General Assembly held for the Colony of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, at Newport, the 15th day of June, 1714: The new election members or representatives, being engaged, the General Assembly first took into consideration the necessity of proceeding to elect a Deputy Governor, in the room of the Honorable Walter Clarke, Esq., late deputy governor, deceased; and accordingly proceeded, and chose the Honorable Lieutenant Colonel Henry Tew, Deputy Governor, who took his engagement accordingly."

Henry Tew was twice married, first, to Dorcas, surname unknown, with whom he had ten children, Mary, Henry, William, Richard, John, Elizabeth, Sarah, Elisha, Edward, and Dorcas. Wife Dorcas died 16 Dec. 1697 and Henry remarried Sarah Paul shortly thereafter, as their first child was born Sep 1699.

The Will of Maj. Henry Tew (paraphrased and condensed)
Dated 20 Apr 1718, Proved 5 May 1718.

Styles himself yeoman of Newport and as weak of body.
To son Richard Tew, all lands in Jamestown, with all stock thereon, said Richard to pay his five sisters (Mary Peckham, Elizabeth Smith, Sarah Sweet, Abigail Tew, and Elnathan Tew) 29 pounds each.
To son John Tew all housings and lands in township of Dighton, county Bristol, in case of his death without issue, the same to son Paul Tew, when of age, on condition that said son Paul pay within ten years after possession, sum of 200 pounds, equally divided, to his three brothers, George, Thomas, and James Tew. In case of death without issue of both John and Paul, then the same be divided among all youngest sons of the whole blood, or of them then surviving.
Having invested son Henry Tew with his portion by instrument of 18 Jun 1717, upon condition of payment of the sums of 40 pounds to each of his sisters (named above); in case of death of either of said sisters without issue, her portion to go the surviving sisters.
Lot in Newport between land of Nathaniel Dyre and Richard Higgins' shop, with dwelling house and "one of my rights in the Town Wharfe" to son James Tew, who dying without issue, the same to be divided between his brothers of the whole blood then surviving.
Lot of land in Newport purchased of Henry Bull with dwelling house and other right in Town Wharfe to son Paul Tew, with reversion to brothers of whole blood in case of death.
Having already by deed given full proportion to son Wm. Tew therefore "I omit to give my bequest to his children."
To daughter Mary Peckham 60 pounds, to be paid her by her brothers, Henry Tew and Richard Tew.
To daughter Elizabeth Smith 70 pounds, to be paid as above, also a sliver cup marked H. Tew. D.
To daughter Abigail Tew 60 pounds, to be paid as above, also one good feather bed and furniture thereto belonging, and 10 pounds to be paid by executrix and executor.
To daughter Elnathan Tew a bequest like that to Abigail.
To wife Sarah "my great Bible and my Concordance, and all the rest of my books to be divided equally amongst all my children".
To son Edward Tew "my now dwelling house, mill and mill utensils, and all lands in township of Newport not included in the above written articles".
To wife Sarah Tew and son Edward Tew, who are appointed executrix and executor, profits and income of housings and lands in Newport bequeathed to the younger children during their minority; also profits and income of dwelling house, outhouses and mill, and all lands in township of Newport, with profit of all movable estate jointly, they to equal in charge of improvement of same and payment of all present debts, bringing up of minor children, mill repairs, etc.
After children are of age, to wife Sarah, in lieu of thirds, two-thirds of all household goods, one-third of cattle, horses, sheep and swine, one-third of all negroes.
To son Edward remaining third of household goods, and two-thirds part of negroes, etc.
In case of wife marrying again, all above-named, except Bible and Concordance, to return to Edward and he pay his mother 10 pounds per year during life.
Loving friends and neighbors, Capt. Wm. Weeden of Newport and Wm. Sanford of Portsmouth, requested to be overseers.

James Tew and Ann Arnold
What little is known of James Tew, is provided by his will. Wife Ann Arnold would later attain the dubious position of aunt to the infamous Revolutionary War traitor, Benedict Arnold.

The Will of James Tew
Dated 2 Jan 1762

In the name of God, Amen, the twenty second day of January in the second year of his Majesty's reign, George the Third, King of Great Brittain, A.D. 1762, I, James Tew, of Newport, house carpenter, being well in body and of perfect mind and memory, thanks be given unto God, but calling to mind the mortality of my body, and knowing that is is appointed for all men once to die, do make and ordain this my last will and testament.
I give and devise unto my four sons, James Tew, Thomas Tew, William Tew, and Benedict Tew, and to their heirs and assigns forever, to be equally divided amongst them, my dwelling house where I now live, situated in Newport, together with the lot of land thereunto adjoining and belonging, they allowing their mother to possess and enjoy the same and a part of it as herein after mentioned. And paying to their sisters herein after mentioned sums.
I give and devise unto my wife, Ann Tew, my aforesaid dwelling house and lot of land to be possessed and enjoyed by her until lmy yongest son shall arive to the age of twenty-one years, and after that I give to her, my said wife, such a part of my said dwelling house to live in as she shall choose for and during the term of her natural life. I also give unto my said wife all my household goods to be at her own disposal and my mind and will is that what I have herein given to my said wife shall be in full lieu of her thirds and dower of my estate.
I give and bequeath unto my four daughters, Patience, Sarah, Ann, and Bethsheba, each of them the sum of one hundred pounds at the rate of Spanish Silver Milled Dollars at seven pounds apiece, to be paid to them by my said sons, James, Thomas, William and Benedict equally among them.
I give and bequeath unto my two sons, James and Benedict, all my working tools to be equally divided between them.

Witnesses Caleb Arnold, Josias Lyndon, and Sam Lyndon.

Capt. Thomas Tew and Ann Clarke
Thomas Tew was made Ensign in 1758 and First-Lieutenant the following year, and in 1760 was promoted to Captain. In 1762 he served in the French and Indian War as Captain, as well as Captain in 1775 in the Revolutionary War. In the latter war, he was made Captain "enlisted into His Majesty's Service" by Governor Stephen Hopkins. According to the family book, A Few of the Tews, E. Jean Scott found a piece of paper, unsigned and undated, among the commission records of Thomas Tew which is most revealing in view of the impending state of rebellion at that time, which is included here.

"Thomas Tew was an officer in the "Army of Observation" in 1775. These were the first troops raised and they were "enlisted into His Majesty's Service" in May to serve until the end of December. The commissions of this singular "army" enlisted as one thing, but really were another by special act valid signed only "Henry Ward, Secretary", Wanton, the Tory Governor, having been refused the oath of office. "Gen. Greene" was Brigadier General; Thos Church, Esq. was Col. of the Reg't to be raised in the counties of Newport and Bristol and Thos Tew, Captain, Jonathan Simmons, Lieut. and Christopher Bermet(?), Ensign of one of the companies to be raised in this reg't. It is rather a comic tragical matter. They were the first troops really against the King, quickly enlisted. When their time was out, most reinlisted for a year, but few rolls or records remain of them. They are like the line of demarcation between monarchy and republic. See Cowell's Spirit of '76."

His obituary in the Rhode Island Republican stated that "he was an officer in the Revolutionary Army and for upwards of thirty-five years, keeper of the gaol in this town. Capt. Tew sustained through life the character of an honest and upright man".

The Will of Thomas Tew
Dated 21 Apr 1819

In the name of God that created all things, I, Thomas Tew of Newport in the County of Newport, at present gaol keeper, being of sound mind and memory and calling to mind the certainty of death and uncertainty of the time when, and to prevent dispute among my children and family, do make this my last will and testament.

First, I give to my five children, namely Edward, William, Elizabeth, James, and Benjamin, one dollar each to be paid by my Executrix, hereafter named, in some convenient time after my decease.

And I give my beloved wife, Ann Tew, all personal estate of every kind and sort, and likewise my four lots of land, wo of which lying in that part of Newport called Newtown and two lying on a street leading from Tanner Street to Warner Street, and further I give unto my said wife, Ann Tew, all my claim to a tract of land granted to me by the King of Great Brittan for my service as a Captain of Infantry in the British Army against Canada and granted me by the Kings Proclamation in 1763 and is to be found in the Annual Register of 1763, to her the said Ann Tew and her heirs and assigns forever.

And my will is that my wife should be my sole executrix of this my last will hoping she will pay all my just debts and funeral charges and see my body decently buried in a pine Coffin.

Fra Henderson
Edward Thurston
Jn Banister

On 7 Oct 1822, Benjamin Tew was appointed administrator of the estate.

Benjamin Tew and Mary Horswell
Very little is known about the life of Benjamin Tew, aside from being named administrator of his father's estate. He married Mary Horswell at the First Baptist Church in Newport, and died 22 Oct 1836, age about 42. There was also a notice of probate court, dated 9 Aug 1838, for appointing an administrator for Benjamin Tew, appointment requested by William White.

The wife of Benjamin Tew was Mary Horswell, daughter of Thomas Horswell and Amey Lake. No records as to Thomas Horswell's origins have yet been found, nor of his wife, but the author suspects there may well be a connection to the Horswell and Lake families of nearby Little Compton, Newport.

Thomas Horswell Tew and Laura E. Willey
Thomas Horswell Tew managed the beach houses at Easton's Beach in Newport, and was a member of the Aquidneck Encampment of Odd Fellows, something akin to today's Lodges. His will was recorded and proved 16 Feb 1874, and his estate inventory totaled over $6,000, including beach property, a nice sum in those days. He left his real and personal estate to wife Laura. His obituary, which appeared in the Newport Mercury, dated 24 Jan 1874, stated him to be "an old and much respected citizen of Newport".

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