Joseph Eldridge Lewis , 1834–1914 (aged 79 years)
Transcription of text in death certificate document
Joseph Eldrige Lewis, male, white, married, birthplace: Illinois, Date of birth: Sept 27, 1834, age 79 years, 10 months, 4 days. Died on the 27 day of July 1914 at about 10:20 a.m. Last occupation: Retired merchant farmer. Place of Death: Marshall, Clark County, Place of Burial: Marshall Cemetery, Date of Burial July 29, 1914. How long in State: All life; Name of father: Johathan Lewis, born in KY, maiden name of mother: Cobb, born in Illinois, Informant: J. W. Lewis of Marshall. Cause of death: Apoplexy.
"JOSEPH E. LEWIS, merchant, McKeen, was born in Edgar County, Ill., on the 23d of September, 1833. His father, Jonathan Lewis, was born in Kentucky in 1808, and when a boy came to Crawford County, Ill., where he grew to manhood, and where he married Miss Celinda Cobb. She was a native of Massachusetts, and sister to the eminent jurist of the Supreme Bench. She was born in 1814, and died in 1882. Soon after marriage, Mr. Jonathan Lewis removed to Edgar County, Ill., where he made a brief residence, coming to Clark County in 1835. He settled on Mill Creek, and engaged in farming. It is said he assisted in the sawing a portion of the material for the County Court House, which was done with an old-style whip-saw. He died in this county in 1854, leaving a family of eight children, subject being the second. Thomas [sic] E. was educated in the pioneer schools of Clark County, and on August 9, 1861, he enlisted in Company K, of the First Missouri Cavalry, from which he was discharged in October, 1862, in consequence of injuries received in Missouri. He was married in Wabash Township, on the 18th of November, 1855, to Miss Eliza Knox, daughter of Charles G. and Sarah (Wilson) Knox. She was born in Ohio January 21, 1835. They have a family of five children, whose names and ages are as follows: William E. Lewis, born January 21, 1857; Rosa B. Lewis, born October 6, 1858, deceased; John W. Lewis, born January 25, 1860; Annie Lewis, born December 4, 1861, deceased; Catherine Lewis, February 16, 1864. Mr. Lewis is a member of the Masonic fraternity. He is Postmaster at McKeen, where he has been engaged in mercantile business for a few years." SOI: William Henry Perrin, editor, "History of Crawford and Clark Counties, Illinois," Part III. Biographical sketches. Clark County. Wabash Township (Chicago: O. L. Baskin & Co., Historical Publishers, 1883), pp. 63-64.
In the History of Clark County 1917, page 786 it says about Joseph E Lewis: To have passed through the seven ages of man in a given community to have profited by its schools, diversions and general opportunities, to have added to its character and material assets by promoting with ability and wisdom some of its practical resources, and at the age of seventy-four years to enjoy the dignity and ease of existence with the bounding pulse of middle age, is the fortunate position of Joesph E. Lewis, a Clark County pioneer of 1835, and at present a retired agriculturist, merchant and real-estate dealer of Wabash Township.
The accident of his birth, which occurred on a farm in Edgar County, IL, September 23, 1834, alone alienates Mr. Lewis from life allegiance to Clark County. He is the second oldest of the eight children of Jonathan Lewis, who was born in Kentucky in 1808, and who, as a boy, came overland to Crawford County, this State, where he earned his first money as a farm hand. Grown to manhood, Mr. Lewis married Celinda Cobb, a native of Massachusetts, and a sister of an eminent member of the Supreme bench of the United States. Soon after he came with his wife to Edgar County, and in 1835, when his son, Joseph E. was less than two years old, joined the few straggling settlers who were taking their chances with fertile but undeveloped Clark County. For many months existence circulated around a small house on the banks of Mill Creek, where the food consisted largely of game which abounded in the region, and where all the tasks within were performed by a self-sacrificing and heroic pioneer mother. Eventually the land along the creek took on a semblance of cultivation, the house was enlarged and modernized, and the owner found time not only to till his own land and garner his harvests, but to assist with the making of roads and the establishment of public utilities. With an old fashioned whip-saw he helped prepare the timber for the first county court house. His death occurred in 1854, nineteen years after his arrival in the township, and he was mourned as a just and fair-minded man who had contributed a noble example for others to follow. His wife, who was born in 1814, lived until 1882.
The youth of Joseph E. Lewis was beset with limitations and hardships hardly conceivable to the children of a later generation. But there was health in the out-of-doors of the prairies, exercise for muscles in chopping trees and guiding the nose of a plow through its straight furrow, and good appetite and digestion in the plain and wholesome fare to which the family sat down when the day's work was on the wane. As was the custom among the settlers, he established a home early in life, marrying, November 18, 1855, Eliza Knox, who was born in Ohio January 21, 1838, a daughter of Charles G. Knox, mention of whom may be found elsewhere in this work. For many years after his marriage Mr. Lewis engaged in general farming and stock-raising, perfecting the farm in Wabash Township which was been his home for more than half a century, and which is regarded as one of the notably fine landmarks in the neighborhood. In time he engaged in the mercantile business in McKeen with signal success, increasing his business from small to large proportions, and becoming known as one of the reliable and dependable merchants of the community. Having great faith in the future of the township, he invested a large portion of his earnings in land, and has both bought and sold some of the most desirable holdings in this part of the State. He had the business sense which prompts a man to spend less than he makes, and thus to make ample provision for a time of life when, realizing nothing from a financial standpoint, he yet has sufficient for all his needs.
In political affiliation Mr. Lewis is a Republican, but while never aspiring to elective offices, he was appointed Postmaster of McKeen, Clark County, and served one term. Fraternally he is connected with the Masons. Mr. and Mrs. Lewis are the parents of five children; William E. born January 21, 157, deceased; Rosa R., born October 6, 1858, deceased; John W. born January 25, 1860, married January 20, 1884; Annie, born December 4, 1861, deceased; and Catherine, born February 16, 1864, wife of J. H. Laufman. Throughout the changing years Mr. Lewis has maintained the simplicity of manner and living made necessary by his early surroundings. He never has overtaxed himself with vain ambitions or allowed aught to disturb the calmness and serenity of his tendencies and disposition. He may best be characterized as a man who has clearly seen his duty, has applied to it the best energy and heart of which he has been capable, and who knowingly has never abused human confidence or lessened by a shade the honor and esteem which has gathered around his well directed life.