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Griffin Lewis (1842-1920)
Newspaper publisher, native of Kalamazoo, and resident of Bay City, MI.

1892 biography. (Added Feb., 2009)

History of Saginaw and Bay Counties of Michigan, H.R. Page, 1892

GRIFFIN LEWIS.
_______

GRIFF LEWIS, who is one of the oldest printers now in business in Bay City and has been for five years a member of the Board of Aldermen, was born in Kalamazoo, Mich., and is a son of J. R. Lewis, a native of Pennsylvania. The grandfather, the Rev. Griffin Lewis, was a Baptist minister, and he and his brother-in-law was captured with others by the Indians at the time of the massacre, but made his escape.

The father of our subject was a shoe dealer and came to Kalamazoo in 1834, becoming one of the first settlers there, and in 1855 he established himself in business in Battle Creek, and continued there until his death in March, 1890, when he was seventy-five years old. He was a Seventh-Day Adventist and one of the most active in the State, being a leader and exhorter. The mother’s maiden name was Caroline E. Bogardus, and she was born in Pennsylvania and was a daughter of Jacob L. Bogardus, a prominent citizen and Sheriff of Wilkesbarre. He came to Michigan about 1840 and after living in Kalamazoo for some years removed to Sandusky, Ohio. The family is descended in one of the branches of John Rogers, who was burned at the stake in England.

Our subject was born March 22, 1842, and was educated in Kalamazoo and Battle Creek until he reached the age of fifteen when he was apprenticed to the printer’s trade in the office of the Review and Herald, and after that attended school for a year and then entered the office of the Journal under W. W. Woolnough, who is now the oldest editor in Mich.

In August, 1862, the young man enlisted in the Sixteenth United States Infantry Bank, of Chicago, and took part in the encounters at Murfreesboro, Chickamauga, Lookout Mountain and Mission Ridge. He came near staring during that time of peril at Chattanooga, when the soldiers were reduced to rations of three hardtack crackers a day. He says he was hungry all the time and only slept to dream of being at home and eating of everything that a home table supplied. At the siege of Atlanta and the march to the sea all the bands were sent back and this young man remained at Oswego, N.Y., and Sackett’s Harbor until the close of the war when he was mustered out, after three years’ service.

Returning to Battle Creek Mr. Lewis resumed his business there, and in the sprint of 1866 joined Haverly’s Minstrels and traveled with them for one year. From a boy up he had played the baritone trombone, and he afterward joined the band of the Dan Costello circus. After his return to Battle Creek he started the Constitution and Union with his partner, Mr. Pease, but the following year sold out his interest there and coming to Bay City worked at his trade. He was one of the organizers of the Knight Templar Ban, which remained in existence about fifteen years, and he played in the opera house about twenty-two years.

In 1876 our subject started the daily Tribune with Harding, Culbert, and Kronecke, and took the position of foreman, which he held until 1882, when he sold out his interest and took charge of a job office, which was located at No. 618 Water Street. Here he has a steam printing establishment and does job work of all kinds, make a specialty of legal printing. He still keeps up his musical interest and is baritone in the Third Regiment Band.

The social orders with which our subject is connected are the Knights Templar, Michigan Sovereign Consistory, the Mystic Shrine, and the Grand Army of the Republic. Of the latter he is a charter member and was one of a committee of four to attended to the decoration of Gen. Grant’s grave at Riverside. Their offering was a magnificent one costing $600, and required ten men to lift it into position, and was esteemed the finest one presented on that occasion.

The marriage of Mr. Lewis took place in Muir, Ionia County, this State, in 1868, and he was then united with Miss Lucinda, daughter of Artemus Beach, of who the reader will find a fuller record in the sketch of F. L. Beach. Their two children are Lillie, who is a graduate of High School of the Class of ‘91, and Fred, who is now fifteen years old and plays the cornet in the orchestra. Mr. Lewis is a genial and war hearted man who is truly popular among his fellow-citizens; as a Republican he is a leader and frequent delegate to State Conventions, besides being a member of both ward and city committees.

1920 Obit. (Contributed by Jim Petrimoulx. April 2008)

Bay City Tribune - Tuesday, December 16, 1920 (Page 1)

Griff Lewis Is
Called By Death
----------

A Prominent Figure of Bay City for Nearly Half a Century.

Griffin Lewis, one of the best known men in Bay City, died in Battle Creek this morning. The remains will be brought to Bay City and the funeral will take place from the Masonic temple Thursday afternoon at 2:30 o’clock.

Mr. Lewis attended a Knights Templar meeting at Battle Creek last night and was taken with apoplexy, death following at 1:30 o’clock this morning.

Griff Lewis was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan March 22, 1842. He was educated in Battle Creek and Kalamazoo until he reached the age of fifteen years when he was apprenticed to the printers trade in a newspaper office. In August 1862 he enlisted in the 16th U.S. Infantry band in Chicago and later took part in encounters at Murfreesboro, Chickamauga, Lookout Mountain and Mission Ridge. He came near starving during the time of peril at Chattanooga when the soldiers were reduced to three hardtack crackers a day. He once said he was so hungry all of the time and only slept to dream of being home and eating of everything that a home table supplied. At the siege of Atlanta and the march to the sea all of the bands were sent back and Mr. Lewis remained at Oswego and Sackett’s Harbor, New York until the close of the war when he was mustered out after three years service.

Returning to Battle Creek Mr. Lewis resumed his business there and in the spring of 1866 joined Haverly’s minstrels and traveled with them for a year. From a boy up he played a trombone and he afterward joined the band of Dan Costello’s circus. After his return to Battle Creek, he started the Constitution and Union, but the following year sold out his interest there and came to Bay City, where he worked at his trade as printer. He was one of the organizers of the Knights Templar band which remained in existence about fifteen years and he played for many years in the opera house orchestras.

In 1876 with Thomas K. Harding, Edward Kroeneke and John Culbert, now deceased he started the Bay City Daily Tribune, taking the position as foreman of the composing room which he held until 1882 when he sold out his interest and opened a job printing office. He was a member of the Bay City Commandery, Knights Templar, the Scottish Rite Mystic Shrine and Bay City lodge No. 129 F.A.& M.

He was also one of the charter members of the U.S. Grant post No. 67 G.A.R. In his recent years he was county agent and probation officer.

Several weeks ago he was taken with a apoplectic stroke. When he had partially recovered he went to Battle Creek to reside with a relative. Only a few days ago he wrote to the Times Tribune saying he was all knocked out, having lost the use of his right arm.

Mr. Lewis was married at Muir, Ionia county in 1868 to Miss Lucinda Beach. Surviving him are his daughter in Battle Creek and his son Fred in Bay City.

Related Pages/Notes

Griffin Lewis

Related Pages:
B.C. Newspaper History
Cowels, Edwin D.
McCabe, James C.
Snyder, Irving W.
Bay Co. Civil War History
People Referenced
Beach, Artemus (f-inlaw_
Beach, F.L.
Beach, Lucinda (wife)
Bogardus, Caroline (mother)
Bogardus, Jacob L.
Costello, Dan
Culbert, John
Harding, Thomas K.
Kroeneke, Edward
Lewis, Griffin (subject)
Lewis, Griffiin Rev (g.father)
Lewis, Fred (son)
Lewis, J.R. (father)
Lewis, Lilly (dau.)
Peace, Mr.
Robers, John
Woolnough, W.W.
Subjects Referenced
16th US Inf.
Baptist
Battle Creek, MI
Bay City, MI
Bay City Daily Tribune
Chicago, IL
Civil War
Constitution & Union
Dan Costello circus
Haverly's minstrels
Ionia Co., MI
Journal newspaper
Kalamazoo, MI
Knight Templar band
Masonic Temple, Bay City
Muir, MI
Oswego, NY
Review & Hearld
Sandusky, OH
Seventh Day Adventist
Times Tribune
Wilkesbarre, PA
WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.