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George Lewis (1827-1897)
Born in Monroe, N.Y. & long-time resident of Bay City, Bay Co., MI

1905 Bio.. (Added Oct., 2008)

History of Bay County, Michigan Augustus H. Gansser, 1905


The late George Lewis was one of the early and able business men of Bay City, one whose energy and enterprise left its mark in the firm founding of business concerns that still continue. He was born November 8, 1827, in Orange County, New York, and remained at home until the age of 21 years, securing as fair an education as was possible in the pioneer log school house of his native locality. He was very likely better acquainted with farming and lumbering than with books. Prior to 1849 he came to Michigan which was then considered as the far, far West, and pleased with the outlook in the Saginaw Valley he located at Zilwaukee and embarked in a lumber business. At this time the most pressing demand in this locality seemed to be for fish barrels, and these Mr. Lewis resolved to make, despite the fact that he had no capital with which to buy machinery. He had however, plenty of lumber, two strong and capable hands and inherited mechanical genius and until his removal, about 1857, to Bay City, he made fish barrels by hand, successfully competing with those who used the clumsy machinery of that day. Prior to leaving Zilwaukee he had served in a number of the local offices and was looked upon as one of the representative men of that place.

After coming to Bay City, Mr. Lewis was superintendent of a mill for about five years and then bought a one-half interest, with William Peter, in the Partridge sawmill which was then on the site now owned by the Campbell-Brown Lumber Company, on 26th street, and they started into the manufacture of lumber. Subsequently he disposed of this interest and opened the Bay City Savings Bank, continuing for two years sole proprietor, and then taking in George Young as a partner. Later it was incorporated with a capital of $50,000 and became the Bay City Bank. Mr. Lewis remained president of this institution until he resigned the position, in 1886, but he continued on the directing board until 1890.

Mr. Lewis was interested in other successful business enterprises. In 1879 he formed a partnership with Albert Miller, under the firm name of Miller & Lewis, which did business until 1891, when it was reorganized as George Lewis & Company. The company operated a large shingle mill on 26th street, which had capacity and facilities for turning out 40,000 shingles a day. During this same period, Mr. Lewis became connected with the lumber firm of G. H. Merrill & Company, which developed into and still continues as the Lewis Manufacturing Company.

It is interesting to note the rise and developing of large enterprises, typifying as they do the foresight and judgment of those who ultimately bring about their prosperity. The Lewis Manufacturing Company had its beginning in 1882, when Hyde and Trombley erected a planing mill at Lafayette and James streets, and that firm operated it for some two years. It then fell into the hands of the firm of Merrill and Campbell. The death of W. M. Campbell made a change in the firm style and for a time the business was conducted as G. H. Merrill & Company, George Lewis purchasing Mr. Campbell's interest. The status of the company continued thus until the Lewis Manufacturing Company was organized and incorporated, with George Lewis as president; G. H. Lewis as vice-president, and Adna G. Lewis as secretary and treasurer. The control of the mill remains in the hands of Adna G. Lewis, as manager. The business is the manufacturing of and dealing in all kinds of lumber, sash, doors, and interior finishings. As a substantial, well-managed concern, it stands a a leader among the many great industries of Bay City.

Politically the late George Lewis was always identified with the Republican party. In Bay City he served two years as supervisor from the Sixth Ward, and two years as a member of the Board of Education. In 1872, without undue effort on his part, he was elected a member of the State Legislature, and served consistently through the session of 1874 which was memorable, as it saw the revision of the State constitution. He was a liberal, broadminded man and an ideal citizen. He owned much Bay City property, especially in the residential districts and, as he conducted his business enterprises with marked ability, he became one of the largest capitalist of this section.

Mr. Lewis was twice married. His first union was with Martha Campbell, who died in Michigan. In 1866 he married Frances Merrill, who was a daughter of Alonzo Merrill, of Detroit, and who still survives. Six children were born to this marriage: Jennie, who is the wife of H. R. Albee, of Portland, Oregon; Adna G., who is the immediate subject of this sketch; Elizabeth, who is the wife of W. W. Chapman, of Bay City; George H., deceased; Frank, a resident of Bay City; and Marjorie. Mrs. Lewis is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Mr. Lewis held fraternal associations with the Knights of Pythias and the Masons. For eight year he was worshipful master of the Portsmouth Lodge, No. 190, F. & A. M., of which he was a charter member; he was also a member of Blanchard Chapter, No. 59, R. A. M.; and Bay City Commandery, No. 26, K. T.

1888 Political Bio. (Added Aug., 2008)

Early History of Michigan - Political Biographies (1888)


Representative from Bay county in 1873-4, was born in Monroe, N. Y., November 8, 1827. He received his early education in common schools. In 1849 he emigrated to Michigan, and settled in Saginaw. In 1858 he removed to Bay City, where he now resides. He has been supervisor, and has held minor positions of trust in Bay county. His occupation is that of a banker and lumberman.

Related Pages/Notes

Related pages:
Lewis, Adna G.
Lewis Manufacturing Co.
Lewis & Miller Mill
People Referenced
Campbell, Martha (1st wife)
Albee, H.R. (son-inlaw)
Campbell, Wm.
Chapman, W.W. (son-inlaw)
Lewis, Adna G. (son)
Lewis, Elizabeth (dau.)
Lewis, Frank (son)
Lewis, George (subject)
Lewis, George H. (son)
Lewis, Jennie (dau.)
Lewis, Marjorie (dau.)
Merrill, Alonzo (f-inlaw)
Merrill, Frances (2nd wife)
Merrill, G.H.
Miller, Albert
Peter, Wm.
Young, George
Subjects Referenced
Bay City, MI
Bay City Bank
Bay City Saving Bank
Bay Co., MI
Campbell-Brown Lumber Co.
Detroit, MI
George Lewis & Co.
G.H. Merrill & Co.
Lewis Mfg. Co.
Methodist Episcopal Ch.
Miller-Lewis Co.
Monroe, NY
orange Co., NY
Partridge sawmill
Portland, OR
Saginaw, MI
Saginaw Valley, MI
Zilwaukee, MI
Internet References
Source: [FamilySearch.org]
  • 1900 U.S. Census: Bay City - George and wife, Anna (marriage 1851) - Children: Lissie, Emmily and Nora.
  • WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.