Alexander Lewis

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Alexander Lewis
Mayor of Detroit
In office
Preceded byHugh Moffat
Succeeded byGeorge C. Langdon
Personal details
BornOctober 4, 1822
Windsor, Ontario
DiedApril 18, 1908 (1908-04-19) (aged 85)
Detroit, Michigan
Spouse(s)Elizabeth J. Ingersoll

Alexander Lewis (October 4, 1822 – April 18, 1908) was a wholesale goods, insurance, and real estate businessman and mayor of Detroit, Michigan.

Early life[edit]

Alexander Lewis was born on October 4, 1822 in Windsor, Ontario (then called "Sandwich"), the son of Thomas and Jeanette Velaire Lewis.[1] Alexander Lewis came to Detroit on May 1, 1837, to work as a clerk at E. W. Cole & Co.[1] He remained at E. W. Cole & Co. for two years, then spent two years at the druggists G. & J. G. Hill, and then moved to Pontiac, Michigan. Lewis returned to Detroit in 1843 to start a forwarding and commission service with his brother Samuel and Horace Gray.[1] In 1845, Lewis started another forwarding and commission service with H. P. Bridge under the name of Bridge & Lewis.[1]

Business and politics[edit]

Lewis remained with Bridge & Lewis until 1862, when he established a flour and grain business.[1] This he built into one of the largest and most prosperous enterprises in the city.[2] Lewis retired in 1884 to look after his various property interests and real estate.[1][2] Lewis was also a director of the Detroit Fire & Marine Insurance Company, a director of the Detroit National Bank, president of Detroit Gas Light Company, and in 1862 president of the Detroit Board of Trade.[1]

Lewis served as Police Commissioner from 1865 to 1875 and was elected mayor of Detroit in 1876 as a Democrat.[1] He was also a member of the Detroit Library Board of Commissioners from 1881 - 1888,[2] and, with Thomas W. Palmer, established the Michigan Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.[3]

Family and later life[edit]

Lewis married Elizabeth J. Ingersoll in 1850; the couple had 13 children, of which 8 lived into the 1890s: Ida Frances (Lewis) Healy, Edward L. Lewis, Josephine (Lewis) Carpenter, Hattie I. (Lewis) Currie, Harry B. Lewis, Julia Velaire (Lewis) Penrose, Marion Marie (Lewis) Muir, and Alexander Ingersoll Lewis.[1]

Around 1900, Lewis built a home in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan, which is now the parish house for the Saint Paul Catholic Church.[4] The complex was designated a Michigan State Historic Site in 1992[4] Alexander Lewis died on April 18, 1908.[2]

Political offices
Preceded by
Hugh Moffat
Mayor of Detroit
Succeeded by
George C. Langdon


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Silas Farmer (1889), THE HISTORY OF DETROIT AND MICHIGAN, pp. 1040–1047, 1048
  2. ^ a b c d Compendium of History and Biography of the City of Detroit and Wayne County, Michigan, Henry Taylor & Co, 1908, pp. 249–251
  3. ^ Michigan Humane Society (2002), Michigan Humane Society: animal welfare in Detroit, 1877-2002, Arcadia Publishing, p. 16, ISBN 0738520284
  4. ^ a b "Saint Paul Catholic Church Complex". Michigan State Housing Development Authority: Historic Sites Online. Archived from the original on June 6, 2011. Retrieved March 13, 2010.