Breaker's Bio


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     Lewis Frederick Breaker is my fourth-great-grandfather.  He was one of three male descendents of George Breaker.  It's unknown if he was the oldest, youngest, or middle son.  We've seen his brothers were bad apples, but it appears Lewis Frederick was just the opposite.  Born in 1779, he worked with his brothers tilling the land.  Deeds exist showing he and Jacob buying land in the same area in the early 1800's around the 18 mile house.

     Lewis married Ms. Martha Cantey in March of 1807.  A newspaper article states, "Married on Tuesday evening, the 3rd instant, in the Parish of St. James Goose Creek, by the Rev. Mr. McCullah, Mr. Lewis F. Breaker, to Miss Martha Canty, both of said parish."     

     Lewis eventually moved to Camden, South Carolina, where he worked selling shoes.  The 1820 S.C. census shows Lewis Breaker having two children under the age of five, one between 5 and 15, and one between 15-20.  Further mentioned living in the house were one person between 20-30, four between 40-50, and one between 50-60.

     In Camden, Lewis and Martha joined the Baptist Church, and eventually he became a deacon on April 3, 1824. 

     For some unknown reason (possibly money problems), Lewis decided he'd move away from South Carolina.  On March 8, 1828 the church minutes of Camden Baptist Church record, "Brother L. F. Breaker and Sister Martha Breaker his wife contemplating a removal from this place requested letter of dismission to some other, which where most cordially granted."

     The actual church letter written reads, "Beloved Brethren, in the orderings of providence our beloved brother L. F. Breaker and Sister Martha Breaker his wife are called to take up their connection with this church and remove to a distant part of the country, with many tears and with we are required to give them our parting blessing, our beloved brother and sister Breaker have for several years been members of our church and in full fellowship and good standing, we have rejoiced and taken sweet counsel together in sympathy have shared each others burdens and sorrows.  We most cordially and affectionately recommend them to the fellowship, confidence, and love of our sister churches wherever in providence their lot may be cast and when united to a church of the same faith and order will be dismissed from us."

     Lewis and Martha left Camden early in 1829 for Key West, Florida.  Lewis' Missionary spirit shines forth, as he writes back to the church in Camden in May of the same year, asking them to grant him a license to preach, as the village he lived in was "destitute of religion."  The church obliged in the following words, "[as] Brother Breaker has begun a prayer meeting and Sabbath School...being satisfied that he has gifts to be improved and which should be improved in his present situation the church feels it their duty to extend to him a special license that his labours may be regular and in gospel order."

     Through his role as preacher, Lewis was often asked to preach funerals and more.  Eventually, he became so well known, he was named the Justice of the Peace of Monroe county in the township of Key West.

          In Key West, Lewis and Martha took up residence in the Montgomery house (one of the first houses built in Key West), right on the water, on the property located on the corner of Front Street and Whitehead (square five and lot three on the old Whitehead map). 

     Lewis eventually became the Port Warden, and even the Sheriff of Key West.

     Lewis had two daughters, who were very well liked in the area.  Stories exist of them being serenaded, while they sat on their balcony in the early evening.  Their names were Emeline, who married a Mr. James Filor, and Eliza Ann, who married a Joseph Prince.

     Tragedy struck in early 1842 when the plague hit Key West.  Martha succumbed to illness and died on March 23.  The Camden Journal of S. C. gave the following obituary, "Departed this life at Key West, Fa., on the morning of the 23rd March, Mrs. Martha Breaker, consort of Mr. Lewis F. Breaker, formerly of this town.  She was within one day of being 53 years old. For 30 years a consistent member of the Baptist Church...her son [the soon to be reverend J.M.C. Breaker] pursuing theological studies at the Furman Institution...

     Lewis followed her into the afterlife only a few months later.  His Camden Journal of S.C. obituary states, "Died at his residence Key West, Fa., in the 63rd year of his age, on the 17th ult. [in July], after several weeks illness, Mr. Lewis F. Breaker, formerly a citizen of this place...a member of the Baptist Church and a Deacon."

     Lewis and Martha had quite a few children.  Those I am aware of are as follows:  Samuel G. Breaker, George Breaker, William Breaker, James Henry, Marther Breaker (Boone), Eliza Breaker, and Jacob Manley Cantey Breaker (the youngest).

     My line comes from Jacob Manley Cantey Breaker. 


This picture was found in an old Breaker photo album.  Could this be Martha Cantey?  Or maybe one of her daughters?  It looks to be the right time period.



Click below for the actual historical documents I found pertaining to this bio.


Historical Timeline of South Carolina

1816-1824 Business Directory showing Lewis selling shoes wholesale and retail

Info on Kershaw County, where Camden, S. C. is located

1810 S. C. census showing L F Breaker

1820 S. C. Census showing L F Breaker

1830 Florida Census showing L F Breaker

1840 Florida Census showing L F Breaker

Old Letter Styles

Notes on life of L F Breaker

More notes on life of L F Breaker

Few more notes on L F Breaker and his daughters

Newspaper with L F Breaker's marriage announcement

Typical Newspaper page in early 1800's Charleston, S.C.

Land Survey of land bought by Lewis and Jacob Breaker

Sale of land by Lewis F. Breaker in 1824

S. C. Historical and Genealogical Magazine Breaker entries

S.C. Department of Archives Alphabetical Index of land grants

Info about Camden Baptist Church

Actual signatures of Lewis and Martha Breaker in Camden Baptist Church Roll book

Church minutes of Camden Baptist Church from 1810 to 1838        (click here for missing page 16)

Excerpts from Book by Joan A. Inabinet about Breakers at Camden Baptist Church

Appointment of L F Breaker as Justice of the Peace of Monroe County

Excerpts from FL History showing L F Breaker Appointments

Territorial Papers of the U.S. from 1828 to 1845 showing L F Breaker in Key West

March 26, 1829 Key West Register Article naming L F as delegate to congress

March 5, 1829 Key West Register Obituary for Samuel G. Breaker, oldest son of L F Breaker

June 20, 1832 Key West Gazette showing death of Amanda Eleanor daughter of L F Breaker

Correspondence with Key West Library about Breakers

1829 Whitehead Key West Map

Current Corner of Front and Whitehead where L. F. Breaker once lived

Sketches of Key West in the Early Days

Oldest photo of Key West date 1849

Key West Baptist Church minutes 1842 - 1920  index for Monroe County

Brief History of Key West Baptist Church

Info on the modern Key West Baptist Church

Info about Key West First Baptist Church from someone in Ohio

Book on Key West by Browne, chapter on Baptist Church

Book Wreckers and Workers of Old Key West by Betty Brothers

Excerpts from unknown book on history of Key West

Excerpts from Book A Sketch of the History of Key West, Florida by Walter C. Maloney

Marriage cerificate of Mr. James Filor and Emeline Breaker (daughter of L. F. Breaker)

Record of L. F. Breaker buying the Montgomery house in Key West Florida in 1833

Records of L. F. Breaker buying and selling a slave in 1833 and 1838

Record of L. F. Breaker getting loan and repaying it in Key West Florida

Info on the old Key West Cemetery being destroyed by hurricane

Info on Mary Judith Breaker, L. F. Breaker's daughter




Click here for the descendents of Lewis F. Breaker