John F. Lewis, of Great Bend, Kan., a successful business man of that city and a veteran of the Civil war, is a pioneer of Barton county, where he took up a homestead in 1873, and for nearly forty years has been prominently identified with the public and business life of that community. Captain Lewis was born Aug. 9, 1842, at Mount Union, Ohio, son of Dr. Benjamin S. Lewis, born in Fayette county, Pennsylvania, in 1816. Dr. Lewis was a graduate of Rush Medical College, Chicago, Ill., and practiced his profession at De Witt, Ill., until the outbreak of the Civil war, when he organized Company G, One Hundred and Seventh Illinois infantry, and was mustered into service Aug. 4, 1862. He was appointed captain of his company and with his regiment saw active service in the South, but after eighteen months resigned on account of failing health. At the close of the war he resumed the practice of medicine at De Witt, Ill., where he remained until 1868; then he entered the drug business at Clinton, Ill., and remained there until his removal to Great Bend, Kan., in 1874. He continued an active practitioner until his death, April 3, 1881. Fraternally he was a member of the Masonic order and of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. In 1849, at Mount Union, Ohio, was solemnized the marriage of Dr. Benjamin S. Lewis and Miss Emily Mackerell, and of their union were born four children: John F. is the eldest, Benjamin S. was born in 1844 and died Sept. 13, 1866: Emily M., born in 1846, died Sept. 6, 1866; and Winfield Scott, born in 1849, died in infancy.
Capt. John F. Lewis was reared in De Witt county, Illinois, and there received a public school education. At the age of nineteen he entered his father's drug store where he was employed during the early months of the Civil war. He assisted in the organization of the One Hundred and Seventh Illinois infantry and enlisted in Company G, of which his father was captain, and with which Captain Lewis served until the close of the war. He participated in the following engagements: Huff's Ferry, Campbell Station, Siege of Knoxville, Dandridge. Buzzard's Roost, Resaca, Pumpkin Vine Creek, New Hope Church, Columbia, Franklin, Kingston and Nashville. Following the battle of Nashville his corps was ordered to Fort Fisher, N. C., where it joined the new army organization and became the right wing of Sherman' army which took Wilmington and Fort Anderson, N. C., by assault, and rescued about nine hundred Union soldiers. Mr. Lewis rose from a private to the rank of first sergeant; then, in June, 1865, he was promoted to second lieutenant of his company, and on July 1, 1865, with his regiment was mustered out of the service at Springfield, Ill. He returned to his home at DeWitt, Ill:. but in February, 1868, President Andrew Johnson commissioned him a second lieutenant in the Fourteenth infantry of the regular army. He at once joined his regiment and accompanied it to Arizona, where the Fourteenth infantry served until February, 1871, in the quelling of hostile Indians. Upon the reorganization of the regular army in 1866 he became a first lieutenant in the Thirty-second regiment of infantry, but in 1869 was transferred to the Twenty-first regiment of infantry and was mustered out of the service upon the reduction of the army in 1871. Captain Lewis then returned to civil life and removed to Kansas in 1873, taking a homestead in Barton county. He farmed until 1882 and then engaged in the real estate and loan business at Great Bend, where he has since continued very successfully.
Captain Lewis was married Sept. 13, 1873, at Corning, Iowa, to Miss Frances M. Morton, born Sept. 22, 1853. They have four sons: John P. S., born Sept. 12, 1878, is a farmer in Finney county, Kansas; Charles E., born in 1882, is in the cavalry service of the United States army; Laurence L., born in 1885, is a college teacher at Huron, S. D.; and Thaddeus A., born in 1892, is associated with his father in the real estate business.
Captain Lewis has taken an active interest in the public life of Barton county during the nearly forty years he has been a resident of it. He is a loyal Republican and has served as justice of the peace at Great Bend six years; has served as a member of the city board of education three years and is now a member of the city council. Fraternally he is a member of the Masonic order, the Knights of Pythias and the Grand Army of the Republic. Mrs. Lewis is a member of the Order of the Eastern Star and has been three times worthy matron. Both Captain and Mrs. Lewis are numbered among the most worthy and respected citizens of Great Bend.Pages 661-662 from volume III, part 1 of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed December 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM195. It is a two-part volume 3.
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