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History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925
William Ebenezer Lewis

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[This information is from Vol. IV, pp. 52-55 of History of the Mohawk Valley: Gateway to the West 1614-1925, edited by Nelson Greene (Chicago: The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1925). It is in the Reference collection of the Schenectady County Public Library at R 974.7 G81h. This online edition includes lists of portraits, maps and illustrations. As noted by Paul Keesler in his article, "The Much Maligned Mr. Greene," some information in this book has been superseded by later research or was provided incorrectly by local sources.]

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Portrait of William Ebenezer Lewis

Portrait: William Ebenezer Lewis

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William Ebenezer Lewis, who has been an active representative of the legal profession in Utica during the past forty-six years, from 1900 to 1919 practiced as a member of the firm of Lewis, Watkins & Titus, which has long enjoyed an enviable reputation as one of the strongest law firms of the Mohawk valley. In 1919 he became a member of the firm of Lewis, Pratt and Fowler. In addition to his professional activity he has been officially identified with various important corporate interests, including financial institutions and public utility corporations. He was born in Greenwich Village of the city of New York, on the 26th of November, 1851, his parents being Ebenezer and Anne M. Lewis.

The preliminary education of William Ebenezer Lewis was supplemented by a course of study in Whitestown Seminary and his professional training was received in Hamilton College, which he entered in 1872 and which conferred upon him the degree of LL. B. four years later. He continued his preparation for practice in the office of Congressman Spriggs of Utica until admitted to the bar in 1876 and was subsequently employed as clerk in the law office of Charles M. Dennison, until he opened an office of his own in Utica in 1878. The same year he was appointed assistant district attorney of Oneida county under William A. Matteson, which position he filled most acceptably for six years. It was in 1886 that Mr. Lewis became a member of the firm of Everett & Lewis, and after several changes the firm of Lewis, Watkins & Titus was organized in 1900, and in 1919 he became a member of the present firm of Lewis, Pratt & Fowler. During the long period of his connection with the Utica bar Mr. Lewis has handled considerable important litigation with marked success and ability. His mind is analytical, logical and inductive. With a thorough and comprehensive knowledge of the fundamental principles of law, he combines a familiarity with statutory law and a sober, clear judgment which make him a formidable adversary in legal combat. His services as attorney have been given to the New York Central Railroad, the West Shore Railroad and the Bleecker Street Railroad.

The cooperation and counsel of Mr. Lewis have been sought in the management and control of important business affairs and he has made wise investments in various profitable projects. He became a director of the Utica Electric Light Company at its organization in 1888 and a director of the Utica Electric Manufacturing & Supply Company two years later. In 1899 these two corporations united with the Trenton Falls Electric Light & Power Company in forming the Utica Electric Light & Power Company, of which Mr. Lewis was made president. Three years later the Equitable Gas & Electric Company and the Utica Electric Light & Power Company merged to form the Utica Gas & Electric Company, of which Mr. Lewis became a director and for some time served as vice president. He is now the president of the Quigley Furniture Company of Whitesboro, New York, and a director of the First National Bank, the Farmers & Mechanics Bank of Cobleskill, New York, the Bank of Richmondville, New York, and for many years the Citizens Trust Company of Utica, which he assisted in organizing in 1898.

On the 26th of September, 1888, Mr. Lewis was married to Miss Minnie A. Foster of Richmondville, Schoharie county, New York, who died on the 7th of August, 1892, leaving a daughter, Laura Foster Lewis. In politics Mr. Lewis has long taken an active part as a stanch supporter of the republican party. He served for four years as president of the police and fire commission of Utica and has ever exerted his influence in behalf of all movements and measures looking toward civic improvement and the promotion of the general welfare. Mr. Lewis belongs to the City Club, the University Club, the Arcanum and Fort Schuyler Clubs of Utica and also to the University Club, the Transportation and National Republican Clubs of New York city. He likewise has membership connection with the Adirondack League Club and has gained a wide and favorable acquaintance in both professional and business circles of his native state, while his personal characteristics are such as commend him to the confidence and esteem of all with whom he comes into contact.

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