James T. Lewis

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James Taylor Lewis
James T. Lewis Cropped.jpg
9th Governor of Wisconsin
In office
January 4, 1864 – January 1, 1866
Lieutenant Wyman Spooner
Preceded by Edward Salomon
Succeeded by Lucius Fairchild
4th Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin
In office
January 2, 1854 – January 7, 1856
Governor William Barstow
Preceded by Timothy Burns
Succeeded by Arthur MacArthur, Sr
Secretary of State of Wisconsin
In office
January 6, 1862 – January 5, 1864
Preceded by Louis Harvey
Succeeded by Lucius Fairchild
Member of the Wisconsin Senate
Member of the Wisconsin State Assembly
Personal details
Born James Taylor Lewis
(1819-10-30)October 30, 1819
Clarendon, New York, U.S.
Died August 5, 1904(1904-08-05) (aged 84)
Columbus, Wisconsin, U.S.
Resting place Hillside Cemetery, Columbus
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Orlina M. Sturgis Lewis
Profession Lawyer

James Taylor Lewis (October 30, 1819 – August 5, 1904) was an American lawyer and politician who served as the ninth Governor of Wisconsin.[1]

Early life[edit]

Lewis was born in Clarendon in Orleans County, New York, the third son of Shubael Lewis, a farmer and colonel in the New York State militia after the War of 1812, and Eleanor Lewis (Née Robertson). He had three brothers, William L. Lewis, Shubael R. Lewis, and Hiram W Lewis.[2]


He taught school briefly in the district schools around Clarkson. In 1842, he began the study of law with former New York lieutenant governor Henry R. Selden.[2] In 1845 he moved to what is now Columbus, Wisconsin, where he was admitted to the bar.

Between 1846 and 1852, Lewis held the positions of district attorney and county judge and was elected to terms in both the Wisconsin State Assembly and the State Senate. He was also a member or the Wisconsin Constitutional Convention of 1847–1848, representing Columbia County. Lewis was a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows in Columbus (Columbia Lodge #40)[citation needed] and served as Noble Grand of the Lodge in 1851. He also served as the fourth Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin from 1854 to 1856, Wisconsin secretary of state from 1862 to 1864.

Nominated by the Union Republicans for governor, Lewis was elected and served as Governor of Wisconsin from January 6, 1864 until January 5, 1866. He was the last Wisconsin governor to hold the office during the Civil War.[3] and was concerned during his tenure with providing sufficient troops for the Civil War and helping to protect them and their dependents. He visited troops in the field and helped establish hospitals in Wisconsin for the care of the wounded. Refusing renomination in 1865, he was offered a diplomatic post by President Lincoln, but chose instead to return to his law practice in Columbus.

Death and legacy[edit]

Lewis died in Columbus, Wisconsin, on August 4, 1904. He is interred at Hillside Cemetery, Columbus, Columbia County, Wisconsin. His former home, now known as the Gov. James T. Lewis House, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.[4]

Family life[edit]

Lewis married Orlina M. Sturgis and they had four children.


  1. ^ White 1904, p. 75.
  2. ^ a b Sobel & Raimo 1978, p. 1727.
  3. ^ "Lewis, James Taylor 1819 – 1904". 
  4. ^ "Homes of Governors". Archived from the original on May 27, 2014. 

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Timothy Burns
Lieutenant Governor of Wisconsin
Succeeded by
Arthur MacArthur, Sr.
Preceded by
Louis Harvey
Secretary of State of Wisconsin
Succeeded by
Lucius Fairchild
Preceded by
Edward Salomon
Governor of Wisconsin
Succeeded by
Lucius Fairchild