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LEWIS, WILLIAM (ca. 1820–1883). William Lewis, shoemaker, judge, and author, was born in Boston, Massachusetts, about 1820. He moved to Texas in the 1830s and by 1850 was living in Jefferson County and working as a shoemaker. Within the next ten years he became an attorney, and he and his wife, Eliza, amassed $10,000 in real estate and a personal estate of $2,000. They had one daughter of their own and three from Eliza's previous marriage. During Reconstruction Lewis was appointed district judge in Dallas by Governor Edmund J. Davis. At the end of his term he became a cobbler and, despite his money, lived as a hermit and miser. In 1882 he took part in the general election as a member of the Greenback party. His Biographical Sketch of the Life of Sam Houston with a Condensed History of Texas from Its Discovery to 1861 was published in Dallas in 1882. On February 7, 1883, Lewis took an overdose of morphine, supposedly intending to commit suicide when he heard of the death of E. J. Davis. He died in City Hospital, Dallas, on February 12.


Dallas Herald, February 10, 14, 1883. Galveston News, February 9, 13, 1883.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

"LEWIS, WILLIAM," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed November 30, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.