William Watkins Lewis, who for the past three years has been manager of the Batavia Brick & Tile Company,
was born in Harrison county, Ohio, on the 22d of February, 1861. In the paternal line he is of English extraction,
his father, Aaron C. Lewis, having been born and reared in Nova Scotia, but his mother, who bore the maiden name
of Phoebe Rickey, was a native of the United States, while the maternal grandfather was a soldier in the Revolutionary
war, After the completion of his education Aaron C. Lewis learned the harness maker's trade, but he subsequently
devoted his energies to agricultural pursuits. In the early days of the Civil war he enlisted as a private in the
Ninety eighth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, remaining in the service for three years and eight months. During that period
he participated in many prominent battles, among the most notable of which was that of Lookout Mountain. In 1876
he brought his wife and family to Iowa, locating on a farm near Marengo, Iowa county. There he continued to reside
until his death on the 1st of July, 1900. The mother survived for fifteen years thereafter, her demise occurring
at Williamsburg, Iowa county.
Reared on a farm in the acquirement of his early education William Watkins Lewis attended the district schools,
the course therein pursued being supplemented by further study in the public schools of Uhriehsville, Ohio. He
was a youth of fifteen years when he removed to Iowa with his parents, with whom he continued to reside for two
years thereafter, when he began his career as a wage earner. For some years thereafter he followed various pursuits,
but having always been very fond of machinery and possessing considerable mechanical skill he subsequently became
identified with the Milwaukee Harvester Company. He continued in their service for several years, during four of
which he was their traveling representative in eastern Iowa. In 1895 he became engaged in the brick and tile business
as manager and part owner of the Williamsburg Brick & Tile Company of Williamsburg, Iowa. He was identified
with this enterprise for thirteen years, at the expiration of which time he removed to Batavia to assume the management
of the Batavia Brick & Tile Company. Under his capable supervision this concern has made steady and permanent
progress until it now gives employment to fifteen workmen. They have three large kilns, their daily output averaging
eight thousand pieces, based on a four inch drain tile size. Their plant is most conveniently located on the main
line and the Fort Madison branch of the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad, thus affording them excellent
shipping facilities. Although they manufacture brick and building blocks, their principal output is drain tile
of which they have always made a specialty.
Mr. Lewis was married on the 14th of November, 1891, to Miss Nettie E. Long, a daughter of Albert M. and Julia
(McLeod) Long, residents of Williamsburg, Iowa. There the father passed away in 1899, but the mother still survives
and now makes her home with her daughter Mrs. Lillian Hanaford of Williamsburg. To Mr. and Mrs. Lewis there have
been born four daughters: Flossie and Maude, twins, who graduated from the high school of Williamsburg in June,
1911, and the following autumn entered Parsons College, Fairfield, Iowa; and Alberta and Mazie, both of whom are
attending the public schools of Batavia.
The family affiliate with the Presbyterian church, of which both Mrs. Lewis and the two eldest daughters are members.
Fraternally he is identified with the Masonic order and the Knights of Pythias of Williamsburg. In matters politic
Mr. Lewis has always been an ardent supporter of the men and measures of the republican party, and while he was
living in Williamsburg served for ten years as a member of the town council. During the period of his residence
in Batavia Mr. Lewis has become recognized as a prominent factor in the business life of the town, while both he
and his family hold an excellent social position.
History of Jefferson County, Iowa
A Record of Settlement, Organizatin,
Progress and Achievement
BY: Charles J. Fulton
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Jefferson County, IA
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