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Family of

James Claire and Meta Hawkins Lewis




Descendants of J. C. Lewis stand in front of one of the trees from the first J. C. Lewis oak tree sale,
to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the sale in 2014.  


Left of tree, (left to right)
(front row) Frank Lewis, Janet Lewis Peden, Meta Lewis Hausser.
(back row) Austen (cq) Furse, Janie Furse, John Peden.
  Rt of tree (left to right)
Jim Lewis, Mary Furse Friedman, Margaret Lewis Furse,
Maredith Friedman  and ZZ Friedman.  

Photo courtesy of Anthony Doubek

James Claire Lewis Family

James Claire "Jim" Lewis was born in Payne's Store, Hunt County, Texas, on November 28, 1891. He was the son of Emma Lee Hawthorne and John Floyd Lewis. Jim Lewis began work for the Bay City National Bank when he was seventeen, later worked for the Eagle Lake and Markham banks, and then returned to Bay City to become cashier at the First National Bank. He became President of the First National Bank in 1944, and on January 9, 1962, he was made Chairman of the Board.

Jim Lewis enjoyed the banking business, and preferred to greet his friends and customers in the lobby of the bank rather than from behind his desk. He also operated the Hawkins, Buckeye, and Slough Ranches, and the Matagorda Land and Cattle Company; and had an interest in the Bay City Rice Dryer and the Independent Rice Dryer

Under Jim Lewis' direction, Bay City realized many benefits from the Bay City Gas Company He served as City Councilman for sixteen years, and served as both Mayor and Mayor Pro-Tern. He was a director of the Lower Colorado River Authority for twenty-two years; the local station was named in his honor

Jim Lewis served on the Board of Managers of the Matagorda General Hospital, was President of the Chamber of Commerce, and received citations for meritorious service in the National War Fund in 1943, '44, and '45. He also received the Public Service Award from the Small Business Administration. Following hurricane Carla, his relief operations won him still another commendation. Jim Lewis was Senior Warden of St. Marks Episcopal Church and served for over forty years as President and Director of the Bay City Library Association. As a trustee of the Freeman Estate, he was instrumental in the building of Matagorda House.

In 1962 the coveted Outstanding Citizen of Matagorda County was awarded to Jim Lewis.

James Claire Lewis married Meta Hawkins, eldest daughter of Elmore Rugeley and Frank Hawkins, on October 15, 1917 Their children were Frank Hawkins Lewis and Margaret Hawkins Lewis.

Frank Hawkins Lewis married Florence Virginia Neely and their children were: Frank Hawkins, Jr., Janet Neely, Meta Claire, and James Neely, born on July 7, 1956. Frank Hawkins Lewis was President of the First National Bank and manager of the Hawkins Ranch.

Margaret Hawkins Lewis married Austin Furse. Their children were: Jane Hawkins, Austin Henry, John Lewis, and Mary Elmore.

Historic Matagorda County Volume II, pages 322-323

Dean of Banking, J. C. "Mr. Jim" Lewis, Civic Innovator Dies

Director of the Independent Rice Drying and Warehouse Company, and Director of the Union Warehouse and Elevator Company.

He has served the community in many ways, including 16 years on the Bay City Council. Many of those years he served as Mayor Pro Tem, serving as Mayor for nine months when Mayor Paris Smith was elected to the State Legislature.

Mr. Lewis has served as a trustee of the city gas system for over 30 years and has served as a member of the Board of Trustees for the Bay City Public Library for more than 34 years. In these capacities he was largely instrumental in the creation of the fine new building for the Library.

He has served as a member of the Board of Managers of the Matagorda General Hospital for many years; member and past president of the Chamber of Commerce; member of the Board of Directors of the Lower Colorado River Authority of Texas, serving as Secretary in 1961, and later as Chairman. The LCRA Building was dedicated to Mr. Lewis Feb. 16, 1978.

A member of St. Mark's Episcopal church, he is a Past Senior Warden and member of the Vestry.

In recognition for his countless contributions to Bay City and Matagorda County, he was awarded the plaque for Outstanding Citizen by the Chamber of Commerce in 1962.

He was married to Meta Hawkins on Oct. 15, 1917 who passed away Jan. 7, 1975. She was the eldest daughter of Frank and Elmore Rugeley Hawkins, one of the country's pioneer families.

He is survived by two children: a daughter, Mrs. Austen H. Furse of Austin; a son, Frank H. Lewis, and eight grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held Tuesday, May 2, at 2 p. m. at St. Mark's Episcopal Church with Rev. Melton McWilliams officiating. Interment will be in Cedarvale Cemetery.

Daily Tribune, May 1, 1978

Mrs. Meta Hawkins Lewis

Mrs. Meta Hawkins Lewis passed away at her home on Tuesday, January 7, 1975. Mrs. Lewis was born March 11, 1891 at the Hawkins Lake House. She was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Hawkins and the granddaughter of Colonel and Mrs. J. B. Hawkins, pioneer settlers who came to Texas in the early 1840s.

Mrs. Lewis attended Kidd Key preparatory school in Sherman, Texas, and Chevy Chase College in Washington, D. C. She was a member of the Colonial Dames, Daughters of the American Revolution, and served as County Chairman of the American Red Cross throughout World War II.

Shortly after coming to Texas from North Carolina, her family established a sugar cane and cotton plantation on Caney Creek at Hawkinsville where they built one of the first sugar mills in Matagorda County, and Texas. In later years they turned their attention more and more to cattle raising.

She was a life long member of St. Mark's Episcopal Church where she married James Claire Lewis October 17, 1917.

Mrs. Lewis is survived by her husband, one son Frank Hawkins Lewis, one daughter Margaret Lewis Furse, a sister Mrs. Elmore Hawkins McDonald, and an uncle Rowland Rugeley. Surviving grandchildren are Frank H. Lewis, Jr., Janet N. Lewis, Meta C. Lewis, James N. Lewis, Janie H. Furse, Austen H. Furse III, John Lewis Furse and Mary Elmore Furse.

Services will be held at St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Bay City, Texas, Thursday morning January 9, 1975 at 10:00 a. m., and burial in Cedarvale Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that those who desire to do so send a memorial offering to the Bay City Public Library or to St. Mark's Episcopal Church or any Charity of one's choice.

The Daily Tribune, January 8, 1975

Meta Hawkins Lewis

Meta Hawkins Lewis, 83, of Bay City died January 7 at her home. She was a life-long resident of Matagorda County. A member of the Episcopal Church, the Colonial Dames and U. D. C. Survivors include: husband, J. C. Lewis; daughter, Mrs. Austen Furse of Austen; son, Frank H. Lewis; sister, Mrs. E. L. McDonald, all of Bay City; 3 grandchildren. Funeral services will be held at St. Mark's Episcopal, January 9th at 10 a. m. with Rev. Milton McWilliams officiating. Interment will be in the Cedarvale Cemetery. Pallbearers are W. F. Green, Don Haley, W. M. Penny, Marvin Landry, John H. Wilson and E. M. Landrum. Arrangements with Taylor Bros. Funeral Home.

Frank Hawkins Lewis Sr., 83, of Bay City died at his home June 6, 2003.

He was born January 11, 1920 in Bay City and was a lifelong resident and prominent civic leader in Matagorda County. Mr. Lewis was the son of the late James Claire Lewis and Meta Hawkins Lewis. He was a graduate of Bay City High School, Woodberry Forrest School in Virginia and Princeton University, where he graduated cum laude with a B.A. degree in Economics in 1943.

During World War ll, he served as Captain, Field Artillery in combat in the Solomon Islands and the Philippines. He was also assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division for occupation duty in Japan. After completing four years of military service, he returned to Matagorda County in 1946 and was actively engaged in ranching, farming and banking. During his banking career he held offices of Chairman of the Board, Trust Officer and remained an Executive Officer of The First National Bank of Bay City from 1962 until 1995.

Gov. Dolph Briscoe appointed Mr. Lewis to the Texas Water Quality Board and the Texas Air Control Board where he served as chairman. Mr. Lewis was elected as a Director of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association in 1954, and served as President from 1970 -1972. He served ten years as a member of the Advisory Committee of the Texas A&M University Agriculture Research and Extension Center and as director of the Texas Rice Council for Market Development. He received the Outstanding Cattleman Award of the Bay City Chamber of Commerce, served two terms as president of the Bay City Chamber of Commerce, and was a longtime Board Member of the Bay City Library Association, the Matagorda County Fair & Livestock Association, and the Bay City Cemetery Trust. He was a lifetime member of St. Mark's Episcopal Church of Bay City and served on the Vestry. Mr. Lewis was a past president of the Bay City Country Club, a member of the Argyle Club in San Antonio and a member of Rancheros Visitadores.

Survivors include: two sons: Frank Hawkins Lewis Jr. of Bay City, and James Neely Lewis of Austin; two daughters: Janet Lewis Peden and husband, Scott Peden of Bay City, and Meta Lewis Hausser and husband, Albert Ford Hausser of San Antonio; two grandsons: John Hawkins Peden and Albert Ford Hausser, Jr.; sister: Margaret Lewis Furse of Austin and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. He was preceded in death by his wife Florence Neely Lewis.

Funeral Service will be 11 a.m. Monday, June 9, 2003, at St. Mark's Episcopal Church with the Rev. Bruce Bonner and the Rev. Harley Savage officiating. Interment will follow at Cedarvale Cemetery. Pallbearers will be Scott Peden, John Peden, Albert Hausser, Ford Hausser, Austen Furse, Ill, John Furse and Paul Hemmer. Memorials may be made to the Bay City Public Library, 1100 7th St. Bay City, TX 77414, Matagorda County Museum, 2100 Ave F, Bay City, TX 77414, Texas & Southwestern Cattle Raisers Foundation, 1301 W. 7th St. Ft. Worth, TX 76102-2665 or to a charity of your choice.

The family wishes to extend special thanks to Melba Edison, Charita Preston, Dorothy Allen, Michelle Smith, Yolanda Mitchell, Edna Polk and Edna Dickson for the care, love and companionship. Arrangements with Taylor Bros. Funeral Home. A00014D2003JN08

The Bay City Tribune, Sunday, June 8, 2003

Photo courtesy of Betty Crosby

Florence N. Lewis

Florence N. Lewis, 73, of Bay City, died June 21, 1996 at Matagorda General Hospital.

Mrs. Lewis was born Aug. 2, 1922 in Amarillo, to the late H. t. and Lucile Moore Neely. She was a member of St. Mark's Episcopal Church, a resident of Bay City since 1949, she organized the local chapter of the Junior Service League in 1959 and served as President for the first two years, and she was very active in other various civic organizations.

Funeral services will be 2 p. m. Monday, June 24, 1996, at St. Mark's Episcopal Church with the Reverends Nick Novak and Karl Choate officiating. Interment will be at Cedarvale Cemetery.

Survivors are: Husband, Frank H. Lewis, Sr. of Bay City; two Daughters and Sons-in-law, Janet and Scott Peden of Bay City and Meta and Albert Ford Hausser of San Antonio; two Sons, Frank H. Lewis, Jr. and James N. Lewis both of Bay City; Sister and Brother-in-law, Shirley and Bill Irwin of Amarillo and two Grandchildren, John Peden and Fort Hausser.

In lieu of usual contributions, donations may be made to The Bay City Library, Matagorda Co. Museum or the charity of your choice.

Arrangements are with Taylor Bros. Funeral Home.

Daily Tribune, June 23, 1996

Photo courtesy of Betty Crosby

Austen Henry Furse, Jr.
Feb. 20, 1922 - Feb. 16, 2010

Austen Henry Furse, Jr., a Texas attorney and thirty-six year resident of Austin, died Tuesday, February 16, 2010. He was 87 years old.

Born in Fort Worth on February, 20, 1922, he was the elder son of Lillian Ann Brazile Furse and Austen H. Furse, who had emigrated from England and worked in the west Texas oil business in Eastland, Texas. It was there that Mr. Furse grew up and in 1939, graduated from high school before attending Phillips Academy, Andover, Mass.

Following his post-graduate year at Andover, where his classmates continued his lasting nickname, Fuzzy, he entered Yale University's Class of 1944. He became an English major and a starting player on both the freshman and varsity football teams.

With the outbreak of the Second World War, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps and served as a bombardier in the Pacific theater, including the air offensives of the Philippines and Japan. For his conduct in action he received the Distinguished Flying Cross, as well as the Air Medal with six Oak Leaf clusters and the Asia-Pacific Theater Ribbon with six Bronze Stars.

Discharged as a 1st Lieutenant in late 1945, Mr. Furse returned to Yale to complete his studies and play a final season of football. He then entered the University of Texas Law School where he received his LL.B. degree and was an editor of the Law Review. In 1957 he received his Master of Laws degree from Columbia University.

After law school, he settled in Houston, where from 1950 to 1956 he was an attorney for the Texas Gulf Sulphur Company and later, an associate of Butler, Binion, Rice & Cook law firm. He also lectured on property law at the South Texas School of Law. He subsequently moved to Bay City, Texas to become a partner in the firm of Bell, Camp, Gwin & Furse. In 1967 he was elected County Judge of Matagorda County.

In 1973, Mr. Furse moved to Austin to become an Assistant Attorney General of the State of Texas and Chief of that offices Oil and Gas Division. In the course of his ten years in government, he successfully litigated numerous land and mineral cases on behalf of the state. In 1983, he became a counsel of the General Land Office of Texas.

During their life together, he and his wife, Margaret, traveled throughout the world and often participated in informal courses offered abroad. They were also avid theatergoers with as much appreciation for the American musical theater as for the works of Shakespeare.

Mr. Furse took a lifetime interest in reading the classics, in music of all kinds, in politics, and in the game of football. Quick-witted in conversation, he also had a gift for writing playful verse that delighted his family and friends.

As a result of a fall in August of 2000, he suffered a spinal cord injury, which confined him permanently to a wheelchair. Yet he managed to travel with some frequency to New York and New England to see friends and classmates.

Austen Furse is survived by his wife of 55 years, Margaret Lewis Furse, a past member of the faculties of Rice University and the University of Texas, and by four children and their spouses: Austen H. Furse III and Anne Seel Furse of Houston, John L. Furse and Susanne Nitter Furse of Boston, Jane Furse Friedman and John H. Friedman of New York City, and Mary Furse and Bill McMillin of Austin, as well as by six grandchildren.

A memorial service was held yesterday (Saturday) at the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Austin. A graveside service in Bay City is tentatively planned for April 1.

Bay City Tribune, Published February 22, 2010

Frank Hawkins Lewis Jr.

August 3, 1950January 27, 2016

Frank Hawkins Lewis Jr., 65, of Bay City, Texas died unexpectedly on January 27, 2016.

He was born August 3, 1950, in Bay City, and was a life long resident.  Mr. Lewis was the son of the late Frank Hawkins Lewis and Florence Neely Lewis, and was the grandson of the late James Claire Lewis and Meta Hawkins Lewis, Ted Neely and Lucille Moore Neely. He was a graduate of Blue Ridge School, Midwestern University, where he earned a B.A. degree in Business and the TCU Ranch Management Program.

Mr. Lewis was a long time member and Director of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association.  Some of his passions in life included travel, alligator hunting, family genealogy, TSCRA Directors meetings, card games and telling jokes. He will be remembered for his generosity, sly whit, culinary skills and incredible detailed memory of family history. 

Mr. Lewis is survived by his brother, James Neely Lewis and his husband Paul Gerard Hemmer of Austin; his sisters, Janet Lewis Peden and her husband Scott Peden of Bay City, Meta Lewis Hausser and her husband Albert Ford Hausser of San Antonio; two nephews, John Hawkins Peden of Bay City, and Albert Ford Hausser Jr. and his wife Rachel Holt Hausser of Fort Worth; two aunts, Margaret Lewis Furse of Austin and Shirley Neely Irwin of Amarillo; and numerous cousins.

A memorial service for Mr. Lewis will be Thursday, February 11, 2016 at 3 p.m., at Taylor Bros. Funeral Home in Bay City, Texas.

Memorials can be made to the Matagorda County Museum, 2100 Ave. F, Bay City, Texas 77414; Ranch Management Program, Texas Christian University, TCU 297420, Fort Worth, Texas 76129; Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Foundation, 1301 W. 7th Street, Fort Worth, Texas 76102-2665; or the charity of your choice.

Online condolences may be shared with the family by visiting 

Arrangements are with Taylor Bros. Funeral Home in Bay City, Texas.  979-245-4613.

Bay City Tribune, February 3, 2016

Photo courtesy of Betty Crosby


Copyright 2014 - Present by the Lewis Family
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Mar. 12, 2014
Feb. 16, 2016