It is a fact, and one which cannot but be regretted by every deepthinking mail, that the majority of historiographers of the present age are in the habit of overlooking, whether by accident or design, the class of citizens who devote their lives to agricultural and commercial enterprises, while they give prominence to lawyers, doctors, statesmen, and others whose paths in life he in the learned professions. This is a grievous oversight, and one that should be rectified at the earliest moment. There is surely no class of citizens more worthy of the respect and esteem of their fellows than those who labor so earnestly and uninterruptedly to improve agricultural methods, commerce and manufactures. It is a well known fact. one which has been proven by centuries of experience, that all the prosperity of a country depends upon the good results achieved from a careful and progressive method of tilling the soil, and improving the breeds of domestic animals. One of the most successful and progressive men engaged in this indispensable and honorable pursuit is Alfred George Lewis, president of the White Springs Farm Dairy Company, and closely identified with a number of other financial. commercial and agricultural enterprises.
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George Howard Lewis, father of the above mentioned, was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. in 1840, died October 2. 1897. He was a coal dealer in Buffalo, New York. and in Pennsylvania. and was the president of the Bell-Lewis & Yates Coal Mining Company, who were the largest shippers of coal in their time. Mr. Lewis was the leading spirit in this corporation, and a large part of the success of the firm was due to his personal efforts. He was as noted for his charities as for his unusually brilliant business qualities. In his last will and testament he devised the sum of four thousand dollars to charitable purposes, and during his life he had always been a liberal contributor to benevolent undertakings. He married Katherine, daughter of Alfred Bell, of Rochester, New York. In 1898 she purchased a farm of three hundred and fifty acres, which adjoins that of her son, and is living there at the present time during the summer months, spending her winters in Buffalo. She makes a specialty of importing and breeding Shropshire sheep, and has been very successful in this enterprise. Mr. and Mrs. Lewis had but one child.
Alfred George, only child of George Howard and Katherine (Bell) Lewis, was born in Buffalo, New York, July 5, 1879. His school education was acquired in his native city, and in 1898 he and his mother removed to Geneva. New York. They purchased a farm of two hundred and sixty acres of land adjoining the city limits of Geneva, and to this Mr. Lewis has added by subsequent purchase until he had a plot of six hundred acres, all in one piece with the exception of seventy-five acres of woodland. This farm, known as the White Springs Farm, was formerly the property of James O. Sheldon, and the name dates back to the old Indian days. There is an Indian burying ground on the place, which is visited by many people and is a place of historic interest. When the farm came into the possession of Mr. Lewis he immediately proceeded to make a number of improvements. He erected a large and commodious brick house, which is supplied with all modern improvements and is a model of comfort in every direction. Seven magnificent barns were also constructed, a manager’s house, a boarding house, and four houses for the use of tenants. In addition to keeping his farm in a high state of cultivation. Mr. Lewis is a famous importer and breeder of Guernsey cattle. He has an average of two hundred and fifty [lead of Guernsey cattle the year round, and an annual public sale of the same. At the last public sale, held in June. 1909. the amount realized was twenty-nine thousand dollars. He has beaten the world’s record for auction sales by an amount of two thousand dollars. Also the world’s record for a public sale, the average price realized per head for ninetytwo head in 1909 being three hundred and eighty-one dollars and fifty cents. His private sales are also enormous ones, amounting to about two hundred head annually, and these go to all parts of the United States and Canada. He employs thirty-five men the year round, and the monthly farm pay roll is about one thousand and three hundred dollars. Seven pairs of horses are required for the farm work, which is carried on in an extensive manner. Mr. Lewis organized the White Springs Farm Dairy Company in 1905, and is the president of the company, as above stated. The company was incorporated for the sum of thirty-five thousand dollars, and the daily output of milk is about two thousand quarts. The milk is pasteurized, aerated and bottled, and the plant is equipped with the latest and most improved machinery, and is conducted in the most sanitary manner.
In spite of the manifold demands made upon his time by these pursuits, Mr. Lewis manages to give considerable attention to a variety of other interests. He is a stockholder in the Geneva Automobile Company, which was incorporated in 1906, with a capital stock of fifteen thousand dollars, and is at present president of the company. He is a director of the First National Bank of Geneva; trustee in the Geneva Savings Bank; member of the board of control of the New York Stab, Experiment Station at Geneva; trustee of the Young Men’s Christian Association; treasurer of the Public Health Association and one of the directors of the Chamber of Commerce of Geneva. He is a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, Kana Club of Geneva, Geneva Country Club, Genesee Valley Club of Rochester, Saturn Club of Buffalo, and a life member of the American Guernsey Cattle Club, Hackney Society, Geneva Free Library and the Buffalo Free Library. He is independent in his political views, and is a member of Trinity Church.
Mr. Lewis married, September 29, 1903, Agnes, born in Geneva. New York, May 27, 1878, daughter of Harry Slawson, of Geneva, who died in the fall of 1903. She is a woman of fine character and great intellectual ability, and a member of a number of associations. Am-,n.; these are: The Equal Suffrage Society, Ontario County Women’s Suffrage Association, and at present its vice-president, third vice-president of the Geneva Political Equality Club, and a member of the Geneva Choral Society. Mr. and Mrs. Lewis have children: Katherine Bell. born July 18. 1904, and Alfred George Jr., born January 9, 1908. Like his father, Mr. Lewis is of a very charitable disposition. He is remarkably unselfish and helpful to all in need of assistance, and his character is a most happy combination of strength and gentleness. He has never sought for political preferment, and is modest and retiring in character, vet takes a foremost place in any plan which tends to the betterment of the community in which he dwells.