Biography of John B. Lewis

The late John Bower Lewis, a member of the House of Commons at the time of his death, was a very prominent man in Ottawa for many years, and a book of this kind would be imperfect without some mention of him. Though without French blood, he was born in France, March 18, 1817, being the eldest son of Capt. J. B. Lewis, of the 88th light infantry, known as the “Connaught Rangers. The family came to Canada in the early youth of our subject.

He studied law at Toronto; was called to the Bar at the Easter term in 1840; settled at Ottawa in 1841; was created a Queen’s Counsel in 1867, and elected a Bencher of the Law school of Ontario in 1871.
Mr. Lewis was president of the Ottawa Agricultural Society at one period; was recorder of Ottawa until the extinction of that office, and mayor of the city two or three years. He was closely identified with the interest of this place, and cheerfully lent a helping hand in various enterprises of importance to its welfare.

Mr. Lewis was returned to Parliament by acclamation in 1872, and died on the 24th of January following, much lamented by his fellow citizens, and the great Canadian body of legislators. His death created a felt vacuum in politics, yet very independent, frank, and outspoken in his views; conscientious and honest in all his acts. He had no patience with dissemblers and tricksters. His politics were Conservative.

Mr. Lewis was an. Episcopalian, a member of Christ church, and for many years a warden of the. same. He lived a blameless life, and at his demise, the poor lost their best friend.

Mr. Lewis was first married in October 17, 1840, to Anna, daughter of Capt. Eccles, of Toronto, she dying in February, 1841; the second time, to Helen, daughter of Capt. Benjamin Street, of the Royal Navy, August 31, 1843, she dying May 2, 1856, being preceded by two of her children, and leaving four, three of whom are yet living; the third time, to Elizabeth Susan, daughter of Hugh Wilson, Esq., of Gloucester, Canada, October 14, 1856, having by her five children, all yet living. Of his three children still living, by the second wife, Olivia Henrietta is the wife of Dr. K. B. Hunter, of Chicago, Ill.; William H. Lewis is connected with the Public Works department of the government at Ottawa, and Bower Lewis is in a wholesale store at Montreal. The children of his third wife are, Anna Eva, Hugh Bower, Lillian Mary, Charles Albert and Winifred Miriam.

MLA Source Citation:

The Canadian Biographical Dictionary and Portrait Gallery of Eminent and Self Made Men, Ontario, Volume 1. Toronto: Toronto American Biographical Pub. Co. 1880. Web. 20 December 2014. - Last updated on Aug 6th, 2012


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