PERRY EBEN LEWIS
Perry Eben Lewis, a well-known and successful rancher who has resided at Main Street and Newport Boulevard in Tustin for nearly a half century, is a worthy representative of one of the honored pioneer families of Orange County. He was born in Kenyon, Minnesota, December 28, 1869, a son of Harvey Boardman and Theresa (Hilton) Lewis. Harvey Boardman Lewis was born in New York and is a descendant of the well-known Boardman family who came from England in 1595 and settled in Massachusetts and who has since been identified with some of the most important interests in Massachusetts, Connecticut and New York. He was a veteran of the Civil War. At the close of the war he followed his chosen vocation, farming, until 1876 when he came to California with his wife and two young sons, locating in Tustin where he purchased and resided upon a tract of land that now embraces the home ranches of E. M. Neally, A. L. Cotant and John D. Rinard, and he also bought forty acres at Bolsa, Orange County. In 1884 he purchased a twenty-acre tract called the Lewis Addition to Tustin, at Main Street and Newport Road, now Newport Boulevard, on which members of the family have resided throughout the intervening period of forty-nine years. Harvey B. Lewis passed away thereon in 1898. He served as postmaster for a number of years and long enjoyed high standing as one of the substantial and respected citizens of his community. In early manhood in Minnesota he married Miss Theresa Hilton, a native of Damariscotta, Maine. Her ancestor, Edward Hilton, was an early pioneer of New Hampshire, removing to Dover Neck, that state, from Plymouth, Massachusetts, in 1623. In 1639 he received a grant of land in Exeter, New Hampshire, and in 1653 another grant comprising the site of the village of Newfields, New Hampshire, where he built a house which is still standing and is known as Hilton Manse, occupied by George Hilton of Lynn, Massachusetts, as a summer home. Across the road is the little burial place where Edward Hilton was interred at his death in 1671. The house of Hilton traces its ancestry to Adam Hilton, Lancelot, partisan of the Conqueror, and Baron Henry de Hilton. In 1072 Baron Henry de Hilton built Hilton Castle, which was the chief seat and baronial fortress of the Hilton family; it stands near Sunderland in Durham County, three miles to the west of Wearmouth Bridge, on the road to Newcastle, England. Theresa Hilton went with her parents from Maine to Minnesota in 1860 and with them was numbered among the pioneers of the latter state. It was in Minnesota that she formed the acquaintance of the young soldier, Harvey Boardman Lewis, a native of New York, to whom she gave her hand in marriage. Mrs. Theresa Lewis was a woman of staunch New England qualities and of high ideals, home-loving and well versed in choice literature. She survived her husband for more than a quarter of a century, passing away in 1925. They were the parents of two sons: Percy, who died in early manhood; and Perry Eben, of this review.
Perry E. Lewis was a youth of about seven years when he came to California with his parents in 1876 and has remained on the old homestead in Tustin to the present time. He is a graduate of the Tustin schools and also of the Los Angeles International Business College, where he completed his course in 1890. Subsequently he assisted his father in the work of the home ranch and for a time conducted a general merchandise store at D and Main streets in Tustin, in association with C. E. Utt, under the firm name of Utt & Lewis. Later he opened a confectionery and ice cream establishment at Santa Ana, and following the death of his father in 1898, he devoted himself to the care of his mother and to the interests of the home ranch. He purchased twenty acres of land on La Colina Drive from James Irvine upon which is located their large pumping plant which supplies water for this ranch and the one which he purchased at a later date on Irvine Boulevard and Browning Avenue. Both of these places are planted to Valencia oranges, while on the home ranch are grown both oranges and avocadoes. Mr. Lewis is president and a director of the Tustin Hills Citrus Association, now the oldest member in point of service on the board, is a director of the Orange County Fumigating Company, and also of the Orange County Fruit Exchange at Orange.
In 1928 Mr. Lewis was united in marriage to Miss Minnie C. Childs, who enjoys a national reputation as an artist and writer and whose career is reviewed at length in another part of this work. The union was the culmination of a romance that had its beginning at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893.
Active in fraternal affairs, Mr. Lewis is a past grand of Santa Ana Lodge, No. 236, I. O. O. F.; past chief patriarch of Laurel Encampment, No. 81, Santa Ana Lodge, I. O. O. F.; member of Canton, Santa Ana Lodge, No. 18, I. O. O. F., and Sycamore Rebekah Lodge No. 140, I. O. O. F., of Santa Ana. He is also affiliated with the Fraternal Aid Union No. 365, of Santa Ana; Tustin Lodge, Knights of Pythias, of which he is past chancellor commander; Dramatic Order Knights of Khorassan, Al Bora Temple, No. 75, of Los Angeles; and Santa Ana Camp, No. 12, Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. He is a charter member and a life member of Santa Ana Lodge, No. 794, B. P. O. E. Mr. Lewis is well read and widely informed. More than this, however, he is of a generous nature with a great love of his fellowmen and is highly esteemed by reason of his unblemished character and fine personality.
Transcribed by V. Gerald Iaquinta.
Source: California of the South Vol. IV, by John Steven McGroarty, Pages 725-727, Clarke Publ., Chicago, Los Angeles, Indianapolis. 1933.
© 2012 V. Gerald Iaquinta.