CHARLES H. LEWIS.
Charles H. Lewis, who is now living retired at Vallejo, is a veteran of the Civil war, having served in both the
army and the navy, and a veteran of the navy yard service, with a record of more than thirty years in the government
employ. He was born at Portsmouth, New Hampshire, August 24, 1841, and is a son of Andrew and Nancy (Wilson) Lewis,
both members of old colonial families. Andrew Lewis and two of his brothers came to California, by way of the Horn,
during the days of the gold excitement in 1849, but after spending some time prospecting in the mining country
without any very satisfactory results he returned east and with his family settled at Charleston, a suburb of Boston,
on Massachusetts bay, and there he and his wife spent the remainder of their lives. It was thus that Charles H.
Lewis finished his schooling at Charleston, where he grew to manhood and where he learned the blacksmith's trade,
becoming employed in the iron working department of the shipyards at that place, and he was thus occupied when
the Civil war broke out, then being in his twenty first year.
Following President Lincoln's call for volunteers in the spring of 1861 Mr. Lewis enlisted with the navy for a
three year term of service, and it was during this period that he participated as a gunner on the United States
frigate Congress, of fifty guns, in the historic battle between that vessel and the Confederate armored frigate
Merrimac, or Virginia, March 8, 1862, when the Congress was sunk by the Merrimac at Newport News. He also served
on the U. S. S. Mississippi and participated in the battle of Port Hudson, when that ship was sunk, being a lieutenant
at the time. He was taken prisoner and sent to Jackson, Mississippi, was kept there for seventy days and was then
paroled and returned to New Orleans. Thence he came to New York, and he was then discharged from the naval service.
He had also served on the Monadnock and on the Brandywine. Upon the completion of his term in the navy Mr. Lewis
enlisted in the army and as a member of Company H of the Fifth Regiment, Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, served
until the close of the war, being mustered out at Readville, a suburb of Boston.
Mr. Lewis then resumed his former employment in the shipyards at Charleston and was thus engaged until 1869, when
he came to California, which state he has ever since regarded as his home. Not long after his arrival here he was
employed with a party of railway surveyors laying lines in Montana and Idaho, and upon his return to California
he became connected with the operations of H. P. Miller at Stockton, also later being employed for a time with
the Central Pacific Railway Company. For five years he rendered service with the fire patrol in the bay and for
seven years was with the Union Iron Works. In 1889 he entered upon his connection with the Mare Island navy yard
and was thus engaged for thirty one years or until his retirement in 1920, when in his seventy ninth year, being
one of the real veterans of that service. Since leaving the yards Mr. Lewis has been living quietly retired at
Mr. Lewis has been twice married, first to Miss Janet Winchester, who died at Vallejo in 1906. His second wife
was Miss Ellen Wynan, of Santa Cruz, and she died in 1918. Mr. Lewis is a republican and has ever given his attention
to local civic affairs but has not been a seeker after public office. He is one of the active members of Farragut
Post No. 7, Grand Army of the Republic, and has for years taken a helpful interest in the affairs of that patriotic
order. In 1870, the year following his arrival in California, Mr. Lewis became a member of the Independent Order
of Odd Fellows and he is affiliated with the encampment (Mt. Moriah) of that order.
History of Solano County, California
BY: Marguerite Hune
Napa County, California
BY: Harry Lawrence Gunn
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Solano County, CA
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