Photo courtesy of Anthony Doubek
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.
JimLewis 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
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 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.
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
Austen Henry Furse, Jr., a Texas attorney and
thirty-six year resident of Austin, died Tuesday, February 16,
2010. He was 87 years old.
Bay City Tribune, Published February
Copyright 2014 -
Present by the Lewis Family
Mar. 12, 2014
Mar. 25, 2014