Transcribed from History of Labette County, Kansas and its Representative Citizens, ed. & comp. by Hon. Nelson Case. Pub. by Biographical Publishing Co., Chicago, Ill. 1901

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W. H. Lewis

W. H. LEWIS, the efficient and accommodating ticket agent for the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railway Company, at Parsons, Kansas, whose portrait is shown herewith, is an Englishman by birth, his birth occurring in the city of London, in July, 1837. He is the eldest of the five children of W. H., Sr., and Mary C. (Flynn) Lewis. The others are, Charles V., Rev. V. A., Mattie and Elizabeth.

W. H. Lewis, Sr., was a wealthy merchant of London, England, previous to the financial crisis in 1848. During that year, he left England, and with one of his sons crossed the ocean and located in Rochester, New York, where he engaged in mercantile pursuits. His wife was left to settle the property affairs, which she did, and started in 1849 with the rest of the family, to join her husband in America. While en route to the United States, cholera broke out on board the steamer, and she fell a victim to that dread disease, died and was buried at sea. Her trunk, which contained money and other valuables, was thrown overboard, - leaving the children in disagreeable circumstances. In 1857, W. H. Lewis, Sr., moved to Pana, Illinois, where he carried on a successful mercantile business until cut off by death in 1865, when over sixty years old. Politically, he was a stanch Republican.

Charles V. Lewis, eldest brother of W. H., had the distinction of being the first division freight agent appointed by the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railway Company, at Parsons, and worked in that place in 1880, with the Union Pacific administration. He is now general freight agent for the Baltimore & Ohio R. R. system at Baltimore, Maryland. Rev. V. A. Lewis, another brother, was at one time pastor of the First-Presbyterian church, in Boston, Massachusetts. He was educated for the ministry at Princeton, New Jersey, but his career was cut short by death in October, 1899, at Dansville, New York. Mr. Lewis' two sisters, Mattie and Elizabeth, are still living and reside in Pana, Illinois, where the former is a competent instructor of music. The latter has been twice married, and is now a widow. Her first husband's name was Overholt; her second husband's, Hubbard. Both are deceased. She has numerous children in Pana, and her sons are in charge of coal mines at Pana.

Up to his twelfth year, W. H. Lewis had been well schooled in London. When he attained the age of twenty years, he bgan[sic] his railroad career as a clerk in the office of the Illinois Central Railroad Company. When the Civil War broke out, he promptly responded to President Lincoln's call for volunteers, and took an active part in many battles of that fierce conflict, among them some of the very first engagements, and also some of the last. In 1861, he enlisted in Company B, 72nd Reg., Ill. Vol. Inf. His regiment participated, with the 2nd N. Y. Vol. Inf., in the Little Bethel fight, and assisted in carrying off the field the first United States officer wounded, who was Lieut. Grebble, of Philadelphia. After the siege of Vicksburg, he was detailed to serve in the Army of the Tennessee with McPherson, who was afterward killed, Mr. Lewis assisting the general from the field after the fatal shot. He afterward accompanied Gen. Sherman on his famous "March to the Sea," having as his partner and bunk-mate, G. W. Whittle, afterward a well known evangelist. Although Mr. Lewis took part in many engagements, he was not wounded, but his health was impaired.

Returning from the war, he resumed railroad work as agent at Mattoon, Illinois, on the Indianapolis & St. Louis Railroad, now included in the "Big Four" system. He remained at that point for sixteen years, as both freight and passenger agent. Resigning, he went to New York, and worked in the same capacity for the Delaware & Hudson Company, at Schenectady, until October, 1881, when he again went west and assumed his present position at Parsons, Kansas.

Mr. Lewis has entire charge of all business transacted at the new depot. He has one assistant, E. N. Pace, who is night agent, Mr. Lewis being held responsible for the proper management of the ticket department. By his fidelity to the company, his courteous and obliging attentiveness to patrons of the road, and his strict discharge of the duties imposed upon him, Mr. Lewis has commended himself to the officials of the road, and to the traveling public in general.

November 24, 1868, W. H. Lewis was united in marriage with Maria E. Beach, a sister of the wife of Charles V. Lewis, of Baltimore, previously mentioned in this sketch. Mrs. Lewis was born at East Bloomfield, New York, December 31, 1840, and is a daughter of Hunn and Ann (Welfare) Beach, both of whom died while Maria was very young. She was reared in Canandaigua, New York, by her grandparents, and while on a visit to some relatives in Illinois she made the acquaintance of Mr. Lewis, who after a brief courtship persuaded her to become his wife, instead of returning to the East. Mrs. Lewis has three sisters, namely: Mrs. Sarah Lewis, of Baltimore, Maryland; Mrs. Julia Sampson, wife of the editor of the Salina Journal, at Salina, Kansas, one of the oldest newspaper men in the state; and Mrs. Carrie Pettit, wife of Dr. Pettit, of Florida.

Mr. and Mrs. Lewis have reared two sons, Herman C. and William B., both of whom were born in Mattoon, Illinois. The former married Ella Holloway, and resides in Sedalia, Missouri, where he is cashier on the Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railway. William B., also a railroader employed on the same system, is now serving as a switchman in the yards at Parsons, and still makes his home with his parents. Like their father, the sons vote the Republican ticket, and never swerve from absolute party fidelity.

Mr. Lewis is a charter member of the A. F. & A. M., of Mattoon, Illinois, of the Knights Templar, of Parsons, of which he is a past eminent commander; and also Abdallah Temple, Nobles of the Mystic Shrine. He is also a member of the G. A. R. of the same place, - his eldest son affiliating also with the Knights Templar.

His interests having been identified with those of Parsons since 1881, Mr. Lewis early in the history of the city purchased land and built a fine residence. Some time later, however, this residence was sold and is now occupied by William McKee, the druggist. Mr. Lewis afterward purchased the Lee Clark property, at 1720 Morgan avenue, which is an attractive and pleasant home. He joins with his family in worshiping at the Presbyterian church, and, being charitablly disposed, assists all worthy enterprises.