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Roger Preston Chew

Jefferson County, West Virginia         Biography of Roger Preston CHEW

This biography was submitted by Sue Schell,
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The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume II,
Pg. 321 & 322

Col. Roger Preston Chew, who was one of the honored and representative 
citizens of Charles Town, Jefferson County, at the time of his death, 
gave distinguished service as a soldier and officer of the Confederacy
in the war between the states, and the same fine spirit of loyalty and 
high personal stewardship characterized all other phases of his life record. 

Colonel Chew was born in Loudoun County, Virginia, April 9, 1843, a son 
of Roger chew, who was born July 21, 1797, and who was a son of John Chew,
born March 21, 1749. The most authentic data concerning the family is to 
the effect that its American founder was John Chew who, with three servants,
came from England and settled at Jamestown, Virginia, in the early part of 
the second decade of the seventeenth century, he having become a man of 
prominence and influence in that historic colony. John Chew, grandfather
of the subject of this memoir, removed from Alexandria, Virginia, to Loudoun
County, that state, where he became a prosperous farmer and where his death 
occurred May 22, 1838. The maiden name of his wife was Margaret Reed and 
their children were fourteen in number. Their son Roger removed to Jefferson
County, and here became a substantial exponent of farm industry, besides 
which he served as magistrate and as a member of the County Court. His death 
occurred in 1864. Roger Chew married Sarah West Aldridge, daughter of John 
and Harriet (West) Aldridge, of Loudoun County, and they reared six children:
John Aldridge, eldest of the children, served under Colonel Moseby as a 
Confederate soldier in the war between the states; Roger P., of this memoir,
was the second son; and the names of the other children were Robert, Aldridge,
Harriet Virginia, and Mary Belle (wife of William O. Norris, mentioned 
individually on other pages of this volume).

Col. Roger P. Chew was afforded the advantages of Charles Town Academy and 
also those of the Virginia Military Institute at Lexington, where he completed 
his course of study in 1861, the discipline which he there received having 
proved of great benefit in his subsequent military career. He was forthwith 
appointed a drill master in preparing troops for the Confederate service, 
and was given the rank lieutenant. In September, 1861, in association with 
William Rouss, he raised a company for active service and was chosen its 
captain. This company became a part of Turner Ashby's brigade, and thus 
continued until the death of Ashby. The commander, on the 6th of June, 1862. 
Thereafter it was attached to General Stuart's battalion of horse artillery. 
In 1864 Captain Chew succeeded Major H. C. Beckham as commander of the horse 
artillery, with the rank of major, and in the same year was effected a
reorganization of the battalion, and he was assigned to the command of 
General Hampton, with which he served until the close of the war, the rank 
being that of lieutenant colonel. In 1888 Gen. Wade Hampton wrote as follows 
concerning Colonel Chew: "I always regarded him as the best commander of the 
horse artillery, though that gallant body of men had been under the command 
of able and efficient officers." In a letter written by General Jackson to
General Lee, in February, 1863, appears the following estimate of Colonel 
Chew, who was then a captain: "He has seen comparatively much artillery
service in the Valley and is a remarkably fine artillery officer, and I 
recommend that he be promoted and assigned."

After the close of the war Colonel chew returned to the home farm in 
Jefferson County. In 1883 he was elected representative in the State 
Legislature, to which he was returned by re-election in 1885, 1887 and 
1889. Later he engaged in the real estate business at Charles Town, in 
company with his brother-in-law, William O. Norris, and with this line 
of enterprise he continued his active connection until the close of his life.

At Blakeley, this state, was solemnized the marriage of Colonel chew and Miss 
Louisa Fontaine Washington, daughter of John Augustin and Eleanor (Selden) 
Washington, of whom specific record is given in the Willis sketch on other 
pages of this work. Mrs. Chew survives her honored husband and continues her 
residence at Charles Town. Colonel and Mrs. Chew became the parents of six 
children: Christine Washington, Roger, John Augustin, Virginia, Wilson Selden
and Margaret Preston.