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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


Charles H. Lewis

As one of the successful ranchers in the vicinity of Petaluma, Sonoma county, C. H. Lewis is sustaining his part in the upbuilding of the community in which he has made his home for over thirteen years. As are many of the men who have come to this section of the country and made a name and place for themselves, at the same time assisted in building up the locality along substantial lines, Mr. Lew is a native of the east, his birth having occurred in Van Rensselaer county, N. Y., in 1841. The westward trend of immigration in the early ‘50s witnessed the removal of the Lewis family to Wisconsin, and the town of Racine was the scene of a happy home life for many years thereafter. There it was that the son, C. H., grew to a stalwart young manhood, strengthening his muscles in working as a farm hand in the vicinity of his home when not attending school.

Striking out in the world on his own behalf, Mr. Lewis went to Dane county, Wis., where he put his knowledge of faring to a practical test for two years, at the end of which time he removed to Mount Vernon, same county, and there started in the hotel business, a line of occupation for which he was so well fitted by a happy combination of personal qualities. Subsequently he removed to Brodhead, Green county, and there, too, he opened a hotel in the maintenance of which he was no less successful than in his former location. Each removal tended to bring him a little nearer to his final goal, and his stay in Chillicothe, Mo., whither he went from Brodhead, Wis., proved his starting point for the far west, coming here in 1897, from which year also dates his residence in Petaluma, Sonoma county. Here in the years that have since intervened he has won a place in the hearts of the citizens among whom he settled, for in him they have recognized a man of genuine worth and unimpeachable character. Since coming to California Mr. Lewis has followed the business with which he first became familiar as a boy, tilling the soil. Here he is superintending the ranch of his son-in-law, Dr. Bennett, comprising one hundred and sixty acres near Petaluma, devoted to the raising of hay and grain.

While a resident of Dane county, Wis., in 1874, Mr. Lewis was united in marriage with Miss Mary E. Wright, who was a native of that state, born in Waukesha county in 1855. One daughter, Grace, was born of this marriage, and she is now the wife of Dr. E. G. Bennett, of Petaluma. If Mr. Lewis may be said to possess a hobby, it is for the accumulation of Indian curios, and the visitor to his home is highly entertained in viewing the collection and listening to the owner’s comments thereon. In the list may be counted sixty-five mortars and several hundred pestles of the old style, six matates, five flat and one on three legs; twenty-four stone axes, of which two are double grooved, and as an evidence of the rarity of the latter, it may be said that when Mr. Morehead, the well-known writer, viewed the collection, he made the statement that in all his life he had seen but four others besides those in Mr. Lewis’ possession. The collection also includes an obsidian knife ten inches long; a bow and arrow which is a relic of the Modoc war and is supposed to be one hundred and fifty years old; two thousand arrow heads made of flint, some of which are barbed some with serrated edges like a saw, and still others are beveled; one hematite axe made by the Missouri Indians; twenty-four old hand-made candle-holders of brass and iron; and fifteen Indian baskets, water-tight, which were made by the Indians in Modoc, Siskiyou and Del Norte counties. It was while living in Wisconsin that Mr. Lewis joined the Odd Fellows order, and he has been affiliated with the order ever since.

History of Sonoma County, California
Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified With Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present
History By: Tom Gregory
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1911)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011