AZARIAH LEWIS, a prosperous and influential farmer of Cass county, Illinois, residing in township 18, range 9 west, was born in Washington county, Kentucky, March 15, 1813, and is a son of William and Elizabeth (Burns) Lewis. The Lewis branch of the family is of Welsh ancestry, while that of Burns descended from German ancestry. The father of our subject participated in the war of 1812, for which he also received a pension and a soldier's warrant, which were continued to his widow. He was born in Virginia, and accompanied his parents to Kentucky at an early day. He continued to reside in the latter State until 1828, and then, with his wife and seven children, started for Illinois, at that time the extreme frontier. They made the journey with a two-wheeled cart, which was drawn by a pair of small oxen, preceded by horses. They were four weeks on the journey, and most of the family came on foot. They were among the very earliest settlers of Illinois, the country being then wild and abounding with game. On their arrival in Morgan (now Cass) county, they had only fifty cents between them; and all who were able went out to work by the day and month--worked on farms, split rails, and did whatever they found to do. The honest, hard-working father was finally enabled to enter forty acres of Government land, in Mason county, where he built a small cabin, in which he resided until his death in 1844, at the age of fifty-five years. His devoted wife survived him many years, dying at the age of seventy-eight years, on the original forty acres which she had assisted in reclaiming from a wilderness. By her careful management she had accumulated a nice little property. She was the mother of eleven children, of whom, as far as known, five now survive.
The subject of this sketch attended a subscription school for a short time in his youth, but owing to his father's limited means and the scarcity of schools he had but few educational opportunities. He continued to reside at home until his marriage, working on farms in his vicinity by the day and month. After his marriage, he settled on a farm in the eastern part of Cass county, which he rented and worked on shares by the month, where he continued for four or five years. He then bought forty acres of fertile farming land, on which he built a log cabin, 16 x 16 feet, into which he and his family moved. Here he continued to live and industriously improved his farm, for two years. At the end of this time, he sold out and again rented land, on which he lived for about five years. He then bought forty more acres of partly improved land, which he continued to work for seven or eight years, when he again sold out and bought 110 acres in the immediate vicinity. On this latter place, he continued to live until 1856, at which time he purchased his present farm. Here he now has 120 acres, which he has carefully cultivated to mixed farming, besides which he has made a specialty of stock-raising, having now some very fine specimens of cattle. By unremitting industry, able management and careful economy, he has prospered, and is now virtually retired from active business, and is enjoying in comfort the fruits of his early toil.
Mr. Lewis first was married in February, 1832, to Miss Sarah Graham, an intelligent lady, who was an orphan, and a native of Green county, Kentucky. By this marriage, there were seven children, five of whom are yet living: the elder, Elizabeth, is married and has seven children and ten grandchildren; Nancy Jane W. is married and has eleven children and sixteen grandchildren; Mary A. married, has four children and two grandchildren; Caroline, married, has five children and one grandchild; Kilbourn, married, has eight children. The devoted wife and mother died in 1863, aged forty-six years, leaving her family and many friends to mourn her loss.
October 4, 1864, Mr. Lewis was again married, his second wife being Mary E. Clark, an estimable lady, who was born in Marietta, Ohio, August 28, 1823. Her parents were John S. and Mary E. (Pearse) Clark, both natives of Ohio. Grandfather Pearse was a brave soldier in the Revolutionary war, and drew a pension for his services in that struggle. Her father was born in Cincinnati, and was an old sailor and river boatman. In 1826 he brought a boat load of salt to Illinois, landing at Beardstown. Thence he proceeded to Morgan county, where he settled on a farm, on which he continued to live until three years previous to his death. He then sold out and bought property in town, whore he resided, retired from business pursuits, until his death, at the age of seventy-three years. He was a very energetic man and was popular among his associates, being widely known throughout this State. His wife died at the same place as her husband, aged sixty-five years. She was an intelligent woman of kindly impulses, and much beloved by those who knew her. They were the parents of fourteen children, of whom, as far as known, three or four now survive. By the second marriage Mr. A. Lewis has one son, Charles, born July 4, 1868, who is now married and has one child.
Whatever success has blessed Mr. Lewis' efforts is entirely due to his own persistence and intelligence, and he richly deserves the prosperity which he now enjoys.
Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler and Brown Counties, Illinois, Biographical Review Publishing Co., Chicago, 1892, pages 222-223.
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