THOMAS M. LEWIS, who has been a resident of Illinois for "nearly thirty years, is one of the highly respected residents of West Township, Town 21, where he owns a comfortable farm homestead on section 5. He is a native of Harrison County, Ohio, born in Green Township, May 1, 1836. His father, Joseph Lewis, who descended from Scotch ancestors, was a native of Berks County, Pa., where he grew to manhood. He was there married to Miss Mary Benner, also a native of the Keystone State, but descended from the German. After marriage they went into Harrison County, Ohio, being among the earliest settlers of that region. Joseph Lewis purchased a tract of heavy timberland, only a small portion of which was cleared. This in due time, with the assistance of his sons, he converted into a valuable farm homestead, where he passed the remainder of his life, dying in 1883. The wife and mother had passed to the better land in 1850. Their eight children included four sons and four daughters, six of whom grew to become men and women, and five are now living. Jacob B. was for many years a banker in Farmer City, Ill.; Joseph L. is a resident of West Township, this county; Hannah married William Kent, and lives in Harrison County, Ohio; Thomas M., our subject, was the fourth child; Rebecca became the wife of James Maholn, and died in Marion County, Kan., in 1882.
Thomas M. Lewis was reared on a farm in his native county, and received a fair education in the public schools. He remained under the home roof until he was twenty-two years of age, when he came to this State and located in West Township. He was then unmarried and employed himself at whatever his hands could find to do, working out for two years by the month. He then purchased a team, and in company with his brother Jacob, commenced farming on rented land. In the fall of 1860 he returned to the old homestead, and worked with his father until the fall of 1865. He then came back to Illinois and West Township, of which he has been a resident since that time.
Mr. Lewis was married in November, 1860, to Miss Nancy Smith, who was born in Wyandotte County, Ohio, April 7, 1839. Her father. Benjamin Smith, was a native of New Jersey, whence he removed after his marriage to Ohio, and settled in Wyandotte County. In 1856 he started further Westward, and coming to this State and county located in Empire Township, where he spent the remainder of his days. He married early in life Miss Esther Eft, also a native of New Jersey. She survived her husband a number of years, and died at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Coons, in Arrowsmith Township, this county.
Of the union of Mr. and Mrs. Lewis there were born seven children: Ida M., Mrs. Nichols, lives in Belleflower Township; Mary Esther, Mrs. Stanley, is a resident of Farmer City; Hartwell E. lives in West Township; Walter V., Callie M., Lela Mabel and Jacob S. are with their parents at home.
Mr. and Mrs. Lewis are members in good standing of the Methodist Episcopal Church, of which Mr. L. has been Trustee and Steward and Superintendent of the Sunday-school for a number of years. Politically he is a Republican. He was Collector of West Township for a number of years, has served as Assessor, and has always taken a lively interest in the establishment and maintenance of schools.
Portrait and biographical album of McLean County, Ill. : containing full page portraits and biographical sketches of prominent and representative citizens of the county, together with portraits and biographies of all the governors of Illinois, and of the presidents of the United States. (Chicago: Chapman Brothers, 1887), 197-8. Transcribed by Judy Rosella Edwards