JOHN E. LEWIS, a prominent manufacturer of West Eaton, has met with such success In business that a brief narration of the chief events of his life is eminently worthy of place in a work of this kind. He is a manufacturer of woollen goods, an industry that is indispensable to the comfort of the human race. His education he acquired mostly in Wales, from which country have come many skilled workmen who have found in the United States more profitable employment than in their native land, and who are among our most useful and most valuable citizens.
John E. Lewis was born in Wales, December 25, 1841, and is a son of Edward and
Mary Lewis, also natives of that country. Edward Lewis was a carder by trade: hence it was perfectly natural for his sons to fall into the lines they are following. Mr. Edward Lewis emigrated from Wales to the United States in 1853, his family coming the following year. Settling in West Eaton, he worked in factories for some years, and then went to live on a farm which he bought in the town of Eaton. He spent his last years in the village of West Eaton, dying when sixty years of age. His widow is still living with her daughter, Mrs. Elias Thomas, in the village of West Eaton. Mr. Lewis was a Republican in politics, and was, as his widow is, a member of the Congregational church of this place.
John E. Lewis has lived in the town of Eaton ever since 1854. His early schooling in Wales was supplemented by one year's study in the United States. In 1855, when fourteen years of age, he began to learn his trade, that of loon-repairing and designing. Remaining at home until he was twenty-five years old, he then took an extended trip through the Western States, spending three years in Peru, Ind. In 1880 the company of Barnes, Jones & Lewis was formed for the
purpose of manufacturing woollen goods. The style of the firm was in 1882 changed to Jones, Lewis & Thomas, so remaining until 1887, when Mr. Jones sold his interest. Since that time the firm has been Lewis & Thomas, Mr. Lewis being the senior member. Elias J. Thomas, the junior member, who was born in 1844 in Wales and removed to Eaton in 1851, is an equal partner in the firm and superintendent of the factory. This company has been very prosperous. It employs about sixty hands, and runs the year round. At the present time they have fifteen looms, but contemplate an increase to twenty-one. They manufacture about one hundred thousand dollars worth of goods per year. When their mill is increased in capacity, its output will be correspondingly increased. Their product is sold direct from the factory in all parts of the United States. The factory as it now stands is comparatively new, having been erected in 1886, and is completely fitted up with modern machinery. It takes the place of the old mill which was destroyed by fire November 17, 1885, the new one having been
put in operation in July, 1886.
Mr. Lewis married in 1868 Mary E. Thomas, who was born in 1849, near Utica,
N.Y., and whose parents are both deceased. Mr. and Mrs. John E. Lewis have had three children, namely: Mary, born in 1870, died when ten months old; Charles, born July 3, 1873; and Walter, born July 5, 1879. He and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal church; and, politically, Mr. Lewis is a Republican. In West Eaton he has about thirty-three acres of land and a very neat and comfortable home.
L. W. Lewis, brother of John E., was born in Wales, October 3, 1849. He also came to the United States with the family, and at fourteen years of age began working in a mill for Alpheus Morse, continuing thus employed one year. He then went to work in the present establishment of Lewis & Thomas, remaining thus engaged until 1872. For the twelve succeeding years he was employed in various mills, returning in 1884 to what was then the firm of Jones, Lewis & Thomas.
Having been an industrious man and strictly attentive to his duties, he has been advanced from the very lowest round of the ladder to his present responsible position of overseer of the mill. Mr. Lewis was married in 1871 to Sarah Green, who was born in Rhode Island on September 17, 1847, and is a daughter of Albert Green. He and his wife are members of the Church of Christ of Auburn, N. Y.; and in politics Mr. L. W. Lewis is a Republican, able to give good reasons for the principles that he professes. He owns a comfortable home in the village of West
Eaton, and with his wife is highly respected.
Mr. Albert A. Green was born in Woonsocket, R.I., October 29, 1824. His father,
John Green, was also of Rhode Island birth. His grandfather, Job Green, a native of Coventry, Conn., a farmer, moved to Rhode Island after his marriage, and died there, in the Village of Franklin, when about eighty-seven years of age. He and his wife were Quakers. John Green was one of a family of three sons and two daughters, the others being Job, Jr., Daniel, Margaret, and Maria, the last-named a Quaker preacher. He was a farmer, and spent his entire life in his native State, dying in Smithfield, at about the age of forty-four years. A Quaker by birth and breeding, in nature life he dissented from the faith of his
parents. He married Miss Sarah A. Tinkham, who is thought to have been born and
reared in Rhode Island. After her husband's death Mrs. Green moved, with her children, to Millville, on the Blackstone River, in Massachusetts. In religion she was a devoted Methodist. Two of her seven children are yet living; namely, Albert and J. Charles, the first-named being a resident of West Eaton, a finisher in woollen mills, his brother following the same trade in Killingly, Conn. Albert Green learned his trade in Millville, and there married Susan M. Fisher, of Wrentham, Mass. Mrs. Green died in West Eaton in 1870, aged forty-four years, leaving three children: Mrs. L. W. Lewis; Emma, wife of Richard Vickers, a farmer at Reedsburg, Wis.; and Allie. NI., wife of Edward Vaytte,
who runs a hoop factory in Reedsburg, Wis.
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