Inventory of the Lewis Family Papers

Sara Gunasekara
Department of Special Collections
General Library
University of California, Davis
Davis, CA 95616-5292
Phone: (530) 752-1621
Fax: (530) 754-5758
Email: speccoll@ucdavis.edu
© 2005
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.


Creator: Lewis family
Title: Lewis Family Papers
Date (inclusive): 1784-1909
Extent: 0.8 linear feet
Abstract: The Lewis Family Papers contain materials relating primarily to Reed Lewis (1787-1836), his son John Bacon Lewis (1825-1909), and John's wife, Elizabeth (1826-1866). John Bacon Lewis was a California pioneer who operated a draying business in San Francisco from 1849-1856. He later purchased and farmed land in Sonoma County. Thirty seven letters written to or by John or Elizabeth Lewis make up the bulk of the Papers. Transcriptions of nearly all of these letters are also found in the Papers. The letters discuss family news, life in Farmington, Connecticut or San Francisco, California, and travel between Connecticut and California via the Isthmus of Panama.
Physical location: Researchers should contact Special Collections to request collections, as many are stored offsite.
Repository: University of California, Davis. General Library. Department of Special Collections.
Davis, California 95616-5292
Collection number: D-329
Language of Material: Collection materials in English.

Biography

Reed Lewis was born on October 14, 1787 in Vermont. He later moved to New York and was a pioneer of Saratoga County. In 1810, he married Margaret Bacon (1794-1869). They had five children: Sarah, Catherine, Jane, Mary, and John.
John Bacon Lewis, the youngest of Reed and Margaret Lewis' children was born on March 15, 1825 in Northumberland, New York. After the death of his father in 1836, John was sent to live with his sister Jane and her husband, James Cowles in Farmington, Connecticut. He resided there until 1847 when he returned to New York and entered into the mercantile business in Schuylerville.
On February 2, 1848, John married Elizabeth Bodwell. Elizabeth (October 10, 1826-October 20, 1866) was born in Farmington to Augustus and Olive (Buck) Bodwell. John and Elizabeth had two children: John Bacon Lewis (1849-1850) and Charles Wadsworth Lewis (1853-1942).
In January 1849, John joined the New York Union Mining Company, formed for the purpose of gold mining in California. The company set sail for California on February 23. However, when the group reached Panama, they found "two to three thousand people all anxious to get to California before the gold was all exhausted, and there was but one steamer available, therefore we were detained." After a four month stay in Panama, the company arrived in San Francisco in late August 1849 and soon dissolved their partnership. Shortly after his arrival in San Francisco, John bought a horse and cart and started a draying business. Elizabeth joined John in California in 1851.
In 1856, John sold his draying business and moved to Sonoma County. There he purchased a tract of land with his brother-in-law, Charles Augustus Bodwell. They cultivated the land together until 1864, when John bought out Charles' interest. In 1900, John moved to Petaluma where he resided until his death on January 6, 1909.
Sources:
Gregory, Tom. History of Sonoma County, California, with biographical sketches of the leading men and women of the county, who have been identified with its growth and development from the early days to the present time . Los Angeles, Calif., Historic Record Company, 1911.
The Pioneer and Historical Review.[San Jose, Cal.: A.P. Murgotten], September 1898.

Scope and Content

The Lewis Family Papers contain materials relating primarily to Reed Lewis (1787-1836), his son John Bacon Lewis (1825-1909) and John's wife, Elizabeth (1826-1866). Thirty seven letters written to or by John or Elizabeth Lewis make up the bulk of the Papers. Transcriptions of nearly all of these letters are in the Papers. The letters discuss family news, life in Farmington, Connecticut or San Francisco, California, and travel between Connecticut and California via the Isthmus of Panama. Several deeds relating to Reed Lewis' purchase of land in New York are also included.

Collection Arrangement

The Papers are arranged into six series: 1. Correspondence, 2. Deeds, 3. Financial Document, 4. Writings, 5. Transcriptions, and 6. Ephemera.

Indexing Terms

The following terms have been used to index the description of this collection in the library's online public access catalog.
Lewis, Reed, 1787-1836
Lewis, John Bacon, 1825-1909
Lewis, Elizabeth, 1826-1866
Lewis family
Voyages to the Pacific coast
Farmington (Conn.)--History
San Francisco (Calif.)--History
Saratoga County (N.Y.)--History

Access

Collection is open for research.

Acquisition Information

Donated in 1999.

Processing Information

Sara Gunasekara processed these papers and created and encoded this finding aid.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Lewis Family Papers, D-329, Department of Special Collections, General Library, University of California, Davis.

Publication Rights

Copyright is protected by the copyright law, chapter 17, of the U.S. Code. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Head of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Department of Special Collections, General Library, University of California, Davis as the owner of the physical items and is not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained by the researcher.

Collection Contents

 

Series 1 Correspondence 1817-1868

Scope and Content Note

Contains thirty-eight letters. Thirty-seven of the letters are written to or by John or Elizabeth Lewis. Transcriptions of nearly all of these letters are found in Series 5. Arranged chronologically.
Box 1:1

[William Bacon?] to Reed Lewis 1817 December 3

Box 1:2

Margaret Roberts to John B. Lewis 1845 March 2

Box 2:1

Elizabeth Lewis to John B. Lewis 1847 November 10

Box 2:2

Elizabeth Lewis to John B. Lewis 1847 November 23

Box 2:3

Elizabeth Lewis to John B. Lewis 1847 December 6

Box 2:4

William Bodwell to John B. Lewis and Elizabeth Lewis 1848 March 8

Box 2:5

Catherine [Bement] to Elizabeth Lewis 1848 May 13

Box 2:6

Sarah Fake to Elizabeth Lewis 1848 October 18

Box 2:7

Clara Wadsworth to Elizabeth Lewis 1849 February 14

Scope and Content Note

Includes letter from Sarah Fake.
Box 2:8

John B. Lewis to Elizabeth Lewis 1849 August 30

Scope and Content Note

Photocopy of original letter.
Box 2:9

Catherine and William B. Bement to Elizabeth Lewis 1850 October

Box 2:10

Catherine Bement to Elizabeth Lewis circa 1850 October-December

Box 2:11

John B. Lewis to Elizabeth Lewis 1851 April 29

Box 2:12

John B. Lewis to Elizabeth Lewis 1851 May 14

Box 2:13

John B. Lewis to Elizabeth Lewis 1851 May 30

Box 2:14

Jane Cowles to John B. Lewis [1851?] September 30

Box 2:15

Augustus Bodwell to Elizabeth Lewis 1856 January 12

Box 2:16

M.H. Humphreys to Elizabeth Lewis 1856 February 17

Box 2:17

Elizabeth Lewis to John B. Lewis 1857 May 27

Box 2:18

Elizabeth Lewis to John B. Lewis 1857 June 2

Box 2:19

Elizabeth Lewis to John B. Lewis 1857 June 8

Box 2:20

Elizabeth Lewis to John B. Lewis 1857 June 19

Box 2:21

Elizabeth Lewis to John B. Lewis 1857 July 17

Box 2:22

Elizabeth Lewis to John B. Lewis 1857 August 3

Box 2:23

Elizabeth Lewis to John B. Lewis 1857 September 2

Box 2:24

Elizabeth Lewis to John B. Lewis 1857 September 20

Box 2:25

Elizabeth Lewis to John B. Lewis 1857 October 19

Box 2:26

Elizabeth Lewis to John B. Lewis 1857 November 4

Box 2:27

Elizabeth Lewis to John B. Lewis 1857 November 19

Box 2:28

Elizabeth Lewis to John B. Lewis 1857 December 3

Box 2:29

Elizabeth Lewis to John B. Lewis 1857 December 18

Box 2:30

Elizabeth Lewis to John B. Lewis 1858 January 17

Box 2:31

Elizabeth Lewis to John B. Lewis 1858 February 4

Box 2:32

Elizabeth Lewis to John B. Lewis 1858 February 18

Box 2:33

Elizabeth Lewis to John B. Lewis 1858 March 18

Box 2:34

Elizabeth Lewis to John B. Lewis 1858 April 3

Box 2:35

Elizabeth Lewis to John B. Lewis 1858 April 18

Box 2:36

Charles W. Lewis to John B. Lewis 1868 March 16

Box 2:37

Envelopes undated

 

Series 2 Deeds 1816-1834

Scope and Content Note

Contains three deeds for land in the town of Northumberland or the County of Saratoga in New York. Arranged chronologically.
Box 1:9

Deed for Conrad Cramer for land in Saratoga County, New York 1816 March 22

Box 2:38

Deed between Reed Lewis, Jeremiah Terhune, and Seth Pope for land in Nothumberland, New York 1816 December 10

Box 1:10

Deed between Daniel Burt and Reed Lewis for land in Northumerland, New York 1834 March 14

 

Series 3 Financial document 1784

Box 2:39

Tax list prepared by Elijah Cowles 1784

 

Series 4 Writings 1843

Box 2:40

School compositions by Elizabeth Lewis 1843

Box 2:41

Poem by "Valentine" to Thomas B. Dodd undated

 

Series 5 Transcriptions

Scope and Content Note

Contains transcriptions for nearly all of the letters in Series 1. Also included are transcriptions for several items that are not available in original form in the Papers. These include: transcriptions of fourteen letters written to or by John or Elizabeth Lewis and a transcription of John B. Lewis' diary. The diary records his trip from Farmington, Connecticut to San Francisco, California from January to September 1849.
Box 2:42

Margaret Roberts to John B. Lewis 1845 March 2

Box 2:43

Elizabeth Lewis to John B. Lewis 1847 November 10

Box 2:44

Elizabeth Lewis to John B. Lewis 1847 November 23

Box 2:45

Elizabeth Lewis to John B. Lewis 1847 December 6

Box 2:46

William Bodwell to John B. Lewis and Elizabeth Lewis 1848 March 8

Box 2:47

Catherine Bement to Elizabeth Lewis 1848 May 13

Box 2:48

Sarah Fake to Elizabeth Lewis 1848 October 18

Box 2:49

Diary of John B. Lewis 1849 January-September

Scope and Content Note

Chronicles his trip from Farmington, Connecticut to San Francisco, California. Original diary is not in the papers.
Box 1:3

John B. Lewis to Elizabeth Lewis 1849 February 2

Scope and Content Note

Original letter is not in the papers
Box 1:4

John B. Lewis to Elizabeth Lewis 1849 February 14

Scope and Content Note

Original letter is not in the papers
Box 2:50

Clara Wadsworth to Elizabeth Lewis 1849 February 14

Scope and Content Note

Includes letter from Sarah Fake
Box 1:5

John B. Lewis to Elizabeth Lewis 1849 February 22

Scope and Content Note

Original letter is not in the papers
Box 1:6

John B. Lewis to Elizabeth Lewis 1849 March 7

Scope and Content Note

Original letter is not in the papers
Box 1:7

John B. Lewis to Elizabeth Lewis 1849 March 21

Scope and Content Note

Original letter is not in the papers
Box 1:8

John B. Lewis to Elizabeth Lewis 1849 April 7

Scope and Content Note

Original letter is not in the papers
Box 2:51

John B. Lewis to Elizabeth Lewis 1849 August 30

Box 2:52

Catherine and William B. Bement to Elizabeth Lewis 1850 October

Box 2:53

Catherine Bement to Elizabeth Lewis circa 1850 October-December

Box 2:54

John B. Lewis to Elizabeth Lewis 1851 April 29

Box 2:55

John B. Lewis to Elizabeth Lewis 1851 May 14

Box 2:56

John B. Lewis to Elizabeth Lewis 1851 May 30

Box 2:57

Jane Cowles to John B. Lewis [1851?] September 30

Box 2:58

John B. Lewis to Margaret Roberts 1853 November 29

Scope and Content Note

Original letter is not in the papers
Box 2:59

Augustus Bodwell to Elizabeth Lewis 1856 January 12

Box 2:60

M.H. Humphreys to Elizabeth Lewis 1856 February 17

Box 2:61

Elizabeth Lewis to John B. Lewis 1857 May 27

Box 2:62

Elizabeth Lewis to John B. Lewis 1857 June 2

Box 2:63

Elizabeth Lewis to John B. Lewis 1857 June 19

Box 2:64

Elizabeth Lewis to John B. Lewis 1857 July 3

Scope and Content Note

Original letter is not in the papers
Box 2:65

Elizabeth Lewis to John B. Lewis 1857 July 17

Box 2:66

John B. Lewis to Elizabeth Lewis 1857 July 19

Scope and Content Note

Original letter is not in the papers
Box 2:67

Elizabeth Lewis to John B. Lewis 1857 August 3

Box 2:68

Elizabeth Lewis to John B. Lewis 1857 September 2

Box 2:69

Elizabeth Lewis to John B. Lewis 1857 September 20

Box 2:70

Elizabeth Lewis to John B. Lewis 1857 October 6

Scope and Content Note

Original letter is not in the papers
Box 2:71

Elizabeth Lewis to John B. Lewis 1857 October 19

Box 2:72

John B. Lewis to Elizabeth Lewis 1857 October 19

Scope and Content Note

Original letter is not in the papers
Box 2:73

Elizabeth Lewis to John B. Lewis 1857 November 4

Box 2:74

Elizabeth Lewis to John B. Lewis 1857 November 19

Box 2:75

Elizabeth Lewis to John B. Lewis 1857 December 3

Box 2:76

Elizabeth Lewis to John B. Lewis 1857 December 18

Box 2:77

Elizabeth Lewis to John B. Lewis 1858 January 3

Scope and Content Note

Original letter is not in the papers
Box 2:78

Elizabeth Lewis to John B. Lewis 1858 January 17

Box 2:79

Elizabeth Lewis to John B. Lewis 1858 February 4

Box 2:80

Elizabeth Lewis to John B. Lewis 1858 February 18

Box 2:81

John B. Lewis to Elizabeth Lewis 1858 March 1

Scope and Content Note

Original letter is not in the papers
Box 2:82

Elizabeth Lewis to John B. Lewis 1858 March 18

Box 2:83

Elizabeth Lewis to John B. Lewis 1858 April 3

Box 2:84

Elizabeth Lewis to John B. Lewis 1858 April 18

Box 2:85

John B. Lewis to Jane Cowles 1867 February 2

Scope and Content Note

Original letter is not in the papers
Box 2:86

Charles W. Lewis to John B. Lewis 1868 March 16

 

Series 6 Ephemera 1893-1909

Arrangement

Arranged chronologically.
Box 2:87

Drawing of floor plan circa 1846-1848?

Box 2:88

Lock of hair from Julia Lewis at age 7 1893 June 14

Box 2:89

Certificate of promotion for Julia Lewis from first grade to second grade 1894 June 29

Box 2:90

Newspaper clippings on John B. Lewis 1909; undated