Transcribed from "An Illustrated History of The
Big Bend Country, embracing Lincoln, Douglas, Adams and Franklin counties,
State of Washington", published by Western Historical Publishing
JOHN R. LEWIS, who lives about
a mile north from Coulee City, is, doubtless, one of the best known men
in Douglas county. Since the very early days, he has been prominent
in every line of industry in the building up and improvement of the country,
and has labored here with excellent results. After settling here,
he at once gave his attention to making known the resources of the country
and especially to his countrymen, the Welsh people having a desire for
a large settlement in the Big Bend country. He wrote numerous newspaper
articles and assisted settlers in finding good locations and in every way
possible was very influential in getting the country filled up with a good
John R. Lewis was born in Cardiganshire, Wales,
on January 10, 1855, being the son of Thomas and Mary (Jones) Lewis, natives
of Wales, also. His educational training was received in the common
schools and he remained in that country until September 24, 1880.
On that date, he landed in Philadelphia, from which place he went to Braddock,
Pennsylvania, and took up work at his trade, that of the stonemason, which
he had thoroughly mastered in his own country. For two and one-half
years, he labored there, working on the Edgar Thompson steel works.
Mr. Lewis then came west via San Francisco and in March, 1883, filed on
a pre-emption and timber culture claim near the present town of Almira.
After spending some years there in building up and getting the country
settled, he came to his present location and took a homestead. But
one other settler, Philip McEntee, was in the Coulee. Mr. Lewis has
given his attention almost exclusively to stock raising, since settling
in the Coulee, and he has gained remarkable success in this line.
During the year of 1889-90 he lost two-thirds of his cattle, owing to the
heavy winter and storms. Since that time, however, he has increased
his herds until he has a very fine holding at the present time. Mr.
Lewis has always taken a very active interest in political matters and
from 1888 to 1892, he served as county commissioner of Douglas county.
He is at the present time, a member of the state central committee of the
Republican party and has always attended the county conventions and many
of the state conventions. In 1904, Mr. Lewis received the unanimous
voice of the convention nominating him for the state legislature; but owing
to the railroad complications, which, as he viewed the field, deterred
him from doing what he deemed his duty for the people in that capacity,
he refused the nomination. Mr. Lewis is a progressive, wide awake
and talented man.
In August, 1880, at Aberystwith, Wales, Mr.
Lewis married Miss Ellen, daughter of David and Ellen Jones, natives of
Wales. To this union ten children have been born, named as follows;
David, March 19, 1884; Mary, April 24, 1885; Edith, March 9, 1887;
Olwen, February 7, 1890; Arthur, October 10, 1891; Ellen, January 1, 1893;
Blodwen August 14, 1894; Annie, October 18, 1897; Sarah, March 11, 1900;
and John, January 28, 1903.
Mr. and Mrs. Lewis were raised under the influence
of the Presbyterian church and are stanch and upright people who have won
hosts of friends and are deserving of the esteem and confidence granted
them by their fellows.