Biography of William I. Lewis
Connecticut Biographies





WILLIAM I. LEWIS, GROVE BEACH, WESTBROOK.

Mr. Lewis was born at New Canaan, in this state, in 1840, the son of Isaac Hayes Lewis, and nephew of John Lewis, for whom the town of Lewisboro, Westchester county, N. Y., is named. He is descended from the old French Huguenot family of Hayes, who settled New Rochelle, N. Y., and from the old Connecticut family of Lewis. He was solidly educated at the New York public schools and free academy. He studied law three years in the office of Lawyer Sherman in New York city, and two years at the Columbian University, Washington, D. C. His life has been a varied and busy one : in the army, in manufacturing and mercantile pursuits, and at times holding several important offices of trust under the government. In the early part of the war he enlisted as a private in the 20th Connecticut volunteers, and being a rapid and fine penman, he was soon placed on detailed service with Captain John P. Green, now vice president of the Pennsylvania railroad, and in the field with the fearless General Thomas L. Kane, brother of the famous Arctic explorer, and while on this duty was with the general day and night, of whom it was said "He never slept." Mr. Lewis was captured by the famous guerilla chief Mosby and incarcerated in Castle Thunder and Libby prisons. Before the close of the war he was made the general accountant of the military railroads, U. S., which was organized by Thomas A. Scott, the great president of the Pennsylvania railroad, and he undertook and successfully accomplished the work of classifying, arranging and tabulating the multifarious reports of the thirty five railroads operated by the government throughout the rebellious states into one volume or tabulated statement, comprising over zoo folios, which is on file in the archives of the state department at Washington, D. C., and it is said to be the finest and most elaborate and complete statistical report of its kind in existence. He was for three years in the office of the secretary of the treasury, and while there originated and established the system of accounting and rules now in use, governing the expenses of collecting the revenue from customs throughout the United States, whereby the secretary of the treasury controls these expenditures, and which has resulted in saving millions of dollars to the government. His knowledge of public men is large, having been connected with the treasury and for the past seven years associated with the sergeant at arms of the U. S. senate at Washington. Mr. Lewis has always risen in the estimation of those with whom he has been associated by simple force of his ability and character. Shortly after the war he married Isadora, daughter of Mr. William D. Winship of Georgetown, D. C. Three sons and three daughters are the fruit of this union. He is a member of the Presbyterian church and with his good wife founded a mission church of that denomination, while sojourning in Washington. He is also a free mason and in politics has always been a pronounced republican. He believes in progression and takes great interest in everything pertaining to the welfare of Connecticut; especially is he interested in all improvements in his own locality. He is an enterprising citizen of the town of Westbrook. He has resided at Grove Beach between the villages of Clinton and Westbrook, with his family since 1872. He is a very nervy, tireless worker at whatever he undertakes, as shown by his energy in causing the opening of the new and beautiful shore highway running through Grove Beach and connecting the towns of Clinton and Westbrook, and in his untiring and persistent work for the breakwater improvement at Duck Island Harbor on the sea front of these towns. He is the founder of Grove Beach, and the improvements and wonderful growth of this place in the past few years is due to him more than to any other person for his enterprise and push in developing this charming summer resort.

From:
Illustrated Popular Biography
Of Connecticut
Compiled and Published by J. A. Spalding
Press of the Case, Lockwood & Brainard Co.
Hartford, Conn. 1891


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