Biography of Captain William Mitchell Lewis
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Captain William Mitchell Lewis has established and promoted in Racine, one of the largest manufacturing enterprises of this character in the United States. The development of the trade in the last few years has been so great as to seem almost magical, but back of this are the well defined and carefully executed plans of Captain Lewis and his associate officers of the Mitchell-Lewis Motor Company. Racine claims him as a native son, for he was here born on the 25th of February, 1869, his parents being William T. and Mary (Mitchell) Lewis. At the usual age he became a public school pupil and afterward entered Yale University at New Haven, Connecticut, where he was graduated on the completion of a law course with the class of 1891. During his college days he was much interested in athletics and played at center on the famous Yale eleven of 1890.
With his return to Racine in 1891, Captain Lewis engaged with the Mitchell-Lewis Wagon Company, but all personal and business considerations were put aside at the time of the outbreak of the war with Spain, when he volunteered for service at the front and was commissioned captain of Company F, of the First Wisconsin Infantry. He saw active service under Major General Fitzhugh Lee in the Seventh Army Corps and was’ stationed at Jacksonville, Florida.
When he again came to Racine, Captain Lewis entered its business circles as general manager of the Wisconsin Wheel Works, a concern which was engaged in the manufacture of bicycles, the industry being at that time at its height. With the invention of the automobile and its perfection for practical use the Wisconsin Wheel Works was converted into a plant for the construction of motor cars and the name was changed to the Mitchell Motor Car Company, with Captain Lewis as the active manager of the business. A magnificent plant was erected and in 1910 the Mitchell Motor Car Company and the Mitchell-Lewis Company were consolidated under the name of the Mitchell-Lewis Motor Company. The increasing popularity of the automobile and the excellent car which they put out at moderate prices led to the rapid growth of business, which developed almost by leaps and bounds, making theirs one of the important industrial enterprises of the city.
On the 27th of October, 1892 occurred the marriage of Captain Lewis and Miss Edith F. Rose, of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, and they have four children: Katharine Rose, William Tumor, Gordon Sinclair and Mary Virginia. Captain Lewis has been a recognized leader in republican circles in the state for a number of years and in 1910 was the candidate of the Republican Party for governor. Fraternally he is connected with the Masons and the Elks, having in the former gone up through both routes, being now a Knight Templar and Consistory Mason. The interest which he displayed in athletics during his college days has been continued in more recent years and he is a ready supporter of clean sport in all of its forms. He has been interested in the extension of playgrounds and in the promotion of outdoor facilities for the use of the younger generation and for this purpose has given to Racine the athletic field and playground known as Lewis Field. He is very prominent in the club circles not only of Racine but of the state. He has been president of the Racine Country Club, belongs to the Milwaukee Press Club and has been received into the Order of Knights of Bohemia, an inner circle of the Milwaukee Press Club, this being recognized as a distinctive honor His intellectual training, resulting in an alert mental development, makes him ready for any duty or for any emergency.