Biography of Robert S. Lewis

Lewis, Robert S., was born in Pavilion, N. Y., March 4, 1824, a son of Denby and Mary (Woodruff) Lewis. He was educated in the common schools and at select schools. After leaving school he learned the trade of a printer at Warsaw. Upon completing his apprenticeship he worked at his trade two or three years and then taught school in Canada for four years. In 1854 he married Nancy, daughter of Warren Tompkins. of Pavilion. Their surviving children are Mary A. and Fred A. Lewis of Batavia, N. Y., both of whom have for many years been employed in the surrogate's office, Miss Lewis as stenographer and Fred A. Lewis as clerk of the Surrogate's Court. In 1855, in company with Edwin L. Babbitt, Mr. Lewis became a proprietor and publisher of The Wyoming County Mirror, a weekly paper at Warsaw, N.Y. He soon purchased the interest of his partner and continued business alone for several years, finally selling the establishment to Harwood A. Dudley, esq., the well-known publisher of The Western New Yorker. Mr. Lewis next removed to Hornellsville, where he purchased and published for a year or two the Canisteo Valley Journal. He was appointed by President Lincoln route agent on the Erie Railway. He removed to Attica and continued in this capacity in the mail service for five years, when, to use Mr. Lewis's own expression, "Andy Johnson 'swung round the circle' and Lewis's official head was twisted off." Mr. Lewis removed to Batavia in 1868, and purchased of Harry Wilber the Genesee County Democrat printing establishment. The Democrat was discontinued and in February, 1868, The Progressive Batavian was established, and with this paper Mr. Lewis was connected as editor and publisher until January 1, 1897. Very few weekly papers have every maintained a more excellent reputation or exercised a wider influence in any community. At the date last named The Batavian was purchased by Griswold & McWain, publishers of The Daily News, and after a short time the Batavian was discontinued. In a brief memorandum written by Mr. Lewis for the editor of this work, he says: "One of the greatest sources of satisfaction to me has been that almost all of the many boys who have served their apprenticeship under my care and direction have turned out well and become men of worth and standing. Among them are William Henry Merrill, now the principal editor of the New York World, and Andrew Jackson McWain, editor and one of the propietors of The Batavia Daily News."

Our County and it's people
A descriptive work on Genesee County, New York
Edited by: F. W. Beers
J.W. Vose & Co., Publishers, Syracuse, N. Y. 1890



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