Biography of Edward L. Lewis
Humboldt County, CA Biographies





EDWARD L. LEWIS. - The president of the board of trustees of Blue Lake, Edward L. Lewis has been a resident of Humboldt county, Cal., for more than thirty years and during that time has made many friends, and has built up a business and a business reputation that are both valuable assets, both to their owner and to the community at large. His present place of business in Blue Lake is a credit to the city and is one of the best known of the general mercantile establishments in the valley.

Mr. Lewis was born in Smaland, Sweden, January 3, 1861. His boyhood days were passed there on his father's farm and in the vicinity he attended the public schools, graduating from the regular course in 1875. After completing his education he secured a position in the postoffice department of the government, continuing there until he came to the United States in 1881. He arrived at Castle Garden, N. Y., but soon set out for Warren county, Ill., where he entered the employ of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad on construction work. In the meantime he was constantly on the alert for information as to the section of the United States offering the greatest opportunities and in 1883 he decided that this place was California. From San Francisco he came by water to Eureka on the City of Chester, arriving on March 15. He at first found employment in the woods with Frank Graham, pioneer lumberman, working on the site of the city of Blue Lake, then thickly covered with trees. He rose gradually from one position to another until he became a foreman.

Mr. Lewis remained in the employment of this company until in 1907, at the time of the great strike. He was then president of the labor union and had been an active and a prominent member since its first organization in Humboldt county. The conditions resulting caused him to sever his connection with the lumber company and he went to Blue Lake, there following carpentering, contracting and building for a time. Later he carried on merchandising, opening with a small stock of candy and notions. From this beginning he has constantly increased his scope and added to his stock of goods, until he now carries a full line of general merchandise and is doing a profitable business, with a host of friends and his full share of the patronage of the town and community. Aside from his business he has been interested in general farming and has also built about a dozen residences in Blue Lake, most of which he still owns, as well as owning property in Eureka, on the Bay, and in Oregon. Mr. Lewis attributes much of his success to his faithful wife, who has always put her shoulder to the wheel and aided him in every way by her wise counsel and good judgment.

Mr. Lewis is popular among his business associates and friends and is accredited a citizen of sterling worth and integrity of character. He is a member of the Knights of Pythias, an Odd Fellow, a Woodman of the World and a Hoo-Hoo and is influential in each of the several orders. In his political affiliations he is a Republican, and has always been interested in the affairs of his community and in the politics of the state. He is close in the confidences of local party affairs and on several occasions his constituents have shown their confidence in his ability by making him their representative at various party conventions. He is also prominent in city governmental affairs, where he stands for progress and good government and for civic improvement and general uplift. He is a member of the board of city trustees and is president of the board.

The marriage of Mr. Lewis and Mary Emily Coulter took place at Eureka, July 3, 1887. They have two children, Lucile and Carroll Lewis, to whom they are giving all the educational advantages within their means. Mrs. Lewis is a native of Gilroy, Santa Clara county, Cal. Her father is Benjamin Carroll Coulter, a native of Bledsoe county, Tenn., where he was born July 8, 1832. When but three years of age he removed with his parents to Arkansas territory. He attended a subscription school up to the age of fourteen years, after which he assisted his father on the farm until 1850, when he came to California with his father and brother, locating at Weaverville, Trinity county. Being attracted by the discovery of gold and interested in the mining opportunities in Trinity county they prospected and mined for gold, but failed to meet with the desired success, however, and Mr. Coulter later went into Shasta county, where for four years he engaged in independent ventures in mining. From there he went into Nevada county, where for eight years he followed placer mining, also with indifferent success.

It was in 1860 that Mr. Coulter first came into Humboldt county. His brother was located at Eureka and for a time Mr. Coulter engaged in teaming and in working in a pack train. In 1861 the Indian wars broke out and he responded to the call for volunteers to fight the Indians, serving under Captain Work. On one occasion the company was constantly on duty for three months and on many other occasions made short expeditions after the savages.

Following this, in 1863 Mr. Coulter journeyed north into Washington territory prospecting, but again without success, and later he returned to Red Bluff and worked for J. D. Carr & Co. After a short time there he removed to Santa Clara county, and in 1872 opened a general merchandise store, which he sold the following year and engaged in the teaming business. Another trip north followed this, Oregon this time being the objective point, and for a time he looked for a suitable location there. Failing to find what he wanted he again returned to Red Bluff, where for a time he had charge of the Oak Grove House. In 1883 he removed to Humboldt county, locating at Blue Lake, where he has since remained. He purchased land and erected a house for a residence, and in this opened a small store and restaurant, but this he sold and is now living retired. When Mr. Coulter first visited Eureka there was only one street and but few houses, the surrounding country being still principally virgin forest.

The father of Mr. Lewis is Lawrence Lewis, a native of Sweden. born August 14, 1830. At that time there were no public or private schools, the teachers going from house to house and giving their instruction in the homes, and Lawrence Lewis received a good education. During his early life he engaged in farming. Later he entered the service of the government as the first postmaster at Smaland, which position he held until within the past few years, when he retired on account of his age and is now passing the afternoon of his life at his old home.

From:
History of Humboldt County, California
With a Biographical Sketches
History by Leigh H. Irving
Historic Record Company
Los Angeles, California 1915


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