NORMAN LEWIS

Thomson, York Township


Carroll County Biography



Norman Lewis, one of the substantial and well to do farmers of Carroll County makes his home on a farm which he owns in the corporate limits of the village of Thomson in York Township. He comes of a family which had been settled in the State of Delaware for several generations. The first of the family to leave that State was the grandfather, named robert, who was born in Delaware and lived there until some years after his marriage, when he removed to Pennsylvania. Staying there but a short time he came farther West, settling in Licking county, Ohio. Here the Lewises were farmers and made for themselves a home in that densely timbered region; literally hewing it out of the forest. Both the grandparents lived to a good old age, both having attained four-score; the grandfather dying about 1852 and the grandmother about six years later, on the farm where they had made their home for many years. The grandfather had been a soldier in the War of 1812, serving his country creditably.

These worthy pioneers had a family of seven children, namely; Stephen, Robert, William, Demus, Moriah, Jane and Pattie. Some of these children, including Robert, father of the subject of this sketch, were born in Delaware; the others were born in Ohio. The father of Norman Lewis was born Sept. 13, 1800 and was reared on the Ohio homestead, participating in the hard labor of clearing it, and enduring all the vicissitudes of a pioneer's life. He lived in the Buckeye State until 1853, some yers after his marriage, which took place in June, 1819, his wife being Miss Anna, daughter of James and Anna Millikin. So far as known she was of Irish descent. They were the parents of three children - M. James, Norman and Charlotte; the latter now the wife of George Duke and living in Johnstown, Licking Co., Ohio and mother of one child, named Emma. Both the sons are residents of Thomson.

Robert Lewis emigrated to Carroll County, but remained only one year, and then removed to Atchison County, MO and our subject, being under age, accompanied him. The sister had previously returned to her Ohio home, but the brother, M.James, remained here. The father died June 8, 1858 aged 58 years. The mother had died before the removal from Ohio. Mr. Lewis had been a hard-working, industrious man, but the circumstances of the country at that early day were not favorable to the acquisition of great wealth.

Norman Lewis, our subject, was born Sept. 29, 1837, and had his share of hard work in his youth. He helped to build the house on the Missouri farm and did his full share in getting the farm into good shape. This farm almost adjoined the present site of the city of Hamburg, Iowa, and on the ground on which it is build our subject gathered corn in 1854. His father had been offered and refused 120 acres now covered by that city for the sum of $600.

In 1855 our subject returned to Carroll County to settle up some business for his father, going from here to Ohio. He was living in Illinois and in Iowa until 1862, in August of which year he entered the ranks of his country's defenders, enlisting in Company C 92nd IL Inf. as a private. On the organizaiton of the company he was elected Secon Lt. and served int that capacity until Jan. 12, 1863 when he was promoted to First Lt. On the 22nd of July, 1865 he was appointed Captain by brevet. This appointment, which was directed by the War Dept. was given as stated therein, "for bravery and gallantry in the campaign in Georgia and the Carolinas.' At that time he was a member of Gen. Kilpatrick's Staff, and was present at the conference between Gens. Shierman and Johnston, at Durham's station NC April 14, 1865. Mr. Lewis served until the close of the war, and was transferred to the 65th IL Inf. in July 1865. After peace was declared he was left in charge of the Government property in the department of the Carolinas, as ordnance officer of the 3rd Military Div. of the Mississippi.

An incident in Capt. Lewis's career, recently published in the Chicago Times is worthy of a place in a work of this character.

"Away back in August 1862, says a dispatch from Harrisburg, the 56th PA Vol. went into the second battle of Bull Run, under the gallant Col. J. Hofmann. At Groverton, on August 29, while fighting bravely, their color company was surrounded, a portion captured by the rebels, and with the went the colors. Several days afterward some of the members of the color company were paroled by the rebels, and when on their way to Washington they passed the regiment and told Col. Hofmann that sooner than let their flag fall into the hands of te rebels they had cut it into small pieces and distributed it, and they showed a small piece of the blue field as evidence of the truth of their story. Col. Hofmann was loath to believe the story, but Richmond fell and he saw the list of flags recaptured from the rebels, and that of the 56th was not among them, he came to the conclusion that the story of the paroled members of the color company was true - they had destroyed the flag."

"One day recently, however, Adjt. Gen. Hastings received a letter from Capt. Norman Lewis, Company C, 92nd IL Inf., now living at THomson, IL, informing him that he had in his possession the flag of the 56th PA Vol., which had been captured by the rebels at the second Bull Run fight, and recaptured by him at the time of the surrender of Raleigh NC. Capt. Lewis stated that he had found the flag in the capitol at Raleigh and took possession of it, and he now desired to return it to the State of PA. This generous offer was appreciated, and he was directed to forward it. In due time the flag arrived at the Adjutant Gen. Dept. It is almost intact, save that time has cut the silk in several places, and there is a hole in it made by the branch of a tree which being taken through the woods, and the fringe was full of pine needles that stuck as the flas was dragged under the trees. In the blue field was pinned a large sheet of paper, bearing the inscription, "Captured by the 6th NC Reg. at the battle of Manassas No. 2." Underneath this was a small piece of paper bearing the words, "Recaptured at the surrender of Raleigh, NC by Norman Lewis." The flag will be photographed then placed ith the other flags of the 56th Reg. in the flag-room. There is no doubt the recent agitation over the return of the rebel flags led Cappt. Lewis to endeavor to find the owner of the flag he recaptured."

In September 1865, Mr. Lewis returned to his home and began farming near Mt. Carroll, living there until 1871, when he sold his farm in Fairhaven Twp.

In December of that year, after his marriage he came to Thomson, where he engaged in dealing in lumber, stock, grain, agricultural implements, etc. He has a farm of 100 acres in the corporate limits of Thomson, and another of 200 acres just outside, but lives on the former.

He erected the Thomson Elevator and his business there will average $200,00 per annum.

Oct. 9, 1871, Mr. Lewis was married to Miss Alice E. Bailey, eldest daughter of Elijah and Almira (Holman) Bailey, who were pioneers of Carroll County, and now live in Mt. Carroll, of which city Mr. Bailey is now Supervisor. The union has been blessed to them by the birth of nine children - Frank E, who is attending the Mt. Morris College; Chester E at the Northern IL College; Llewellyn E., Ivan, Otto, Echo, Edith, Norman Jr and a babny not yet named.

Mr. Lewis has, since his residence in Thomson, filled a large place in its business, official and social circles. He has for the past eight years been a member of the County Board of Supervisors, representing York Twp; he was appointed a delegate to the Natl. Conv. at Chicago in 1884; he was also a delegate to the Springfield convention of 1888. Socially, he is a member of Holman Post No. 597, G.A.R. adn of Thomson Lodge No. 559, A.F. & A.M. Mrs. Lewis is a consistent member of the Methodist Church, and both are justly held in high esteem by everyone who knows them.

The above mentioned flag, together with sixteen others, was discovered at the capitol building in NC on the day of the surrender of Raleigh, April 13, 1865. The Confederate Governon, Swain, of that State, said when interrograted by Capt. Lewis in regard to the flags; "There are no flags here sir." A negro standing by, who, like all the blacks, was a friend of the Union soldier, spoke out and said: "Here, massa, I show you where de flags is." Capt. Lewis followed the loyal African, and seizing the emblems of Union liberty and law, found among themt he flag surrendered by Gen. Miles's command at Harpers Ferry, and the PA banner previously mentioned, toether with the flag of a NY Regiment. The latter was returned to the Governor of NY. Capt. Lewis had in his possession the PA flag about 23 years. He still has a number of others, which he retains as mementoes of the great struggle.

Portraits and Biographical 1889 Pg 907

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