Edward Parke Custis Lewis (1837 – 1892)

LEWIS, Edward Parke Custis, soldier and diplomat, was born at Audley, near Berryville, Clarke co., Va., Feb. 7,1837, son of Lorenzo and Esther Maria (Coxe) Lewis. The first of his family in America was Robert Lewis, who received a grant of 33,333 acres of land from Charles I, and emigrated from Wales to Virginia in 1635. The line of descent is traced through his son John, who married Isabella Warner; their son John, who married Elizabeth Warner; their son John, who married Frances Fielding; their son Fielding, who married Elizabeth Washington : and their son Lawrence, who married Eleanor Parke Custis, and was the grandfather of the diplomat. His great-grandmother was the only sister of George Washington, and married Gen. Fielding Lewis, quartermaster-general of the Virginia militia during the Revolution, and their son Lawrence, married Eleanor Parke Custis, a granddaughter of Martha Washington through her first marriage, who was adopted by Gen. Washington after the death of her father, Col. John Parke Custis, at Yorktown.

The subject of this sketch received his early education at Alexandria and Staunton, Va. He afterwards entered the University of Virginia, and was graduated in 1858. He studied law in the offices of Hon. Reverdy Johnson and S. T. Wallis of Baltimore, Md., but was compelled by ill health to retire to his estate at Berryville. Va. Though opposed to secession, he joined the fortunes of his native state upon the outbreak of the civil war, and enlisted in the Confederate army. He was one of the organizers and commander of the famous Clarke cavalry. After serving under Stonewall Jackson, he later acted as aide-decamp to Gen. J. E. B. Stewart, and as brigade inspector under Gen. William H. F. Lee. Rising to the rank of colonel, he fought at Bull run, the second Manassas, Antietam, Gettysburg, and Chantilly, and being twice captured, he spent a long period in both Camp Chase, and Fort Delaware, Ohio. During 1869-75 he traveled abroad, and in the latter year settled at Hoboken, N. J. Two years later he was elected to the New Jersey assembly as an independent Democrat. In 1884 he was a delegate to the Democratic convention that nominated Grover Cleveland for the presidency, and upon the latter’s election was appointed minister resident and consul general to Portugal, where he served until 1889. After spending a year in Switzerland, he returned to Hoboken in 1890. He was a director of the Hoboken Ferry Company, a member of the Manhattan and Southern clubs of New York, and of the Maryland Club of Baltimore. For many years he served as a vestryman of the Trinity Episcopal Church, Hoboken. Col. Lewis was married, first to Lucy Ware, of Berryville, Va., and second, in 1869, to Mary P., widow of Hon. M. R. H. Garnett, and only daughter of Edwin A. Stevens, founder of Stevens Institute, Hoboken, by whom he had one son and three daughters. He died at Hoboken, N. J.. Sept. 3. I892.

Source:  The National Cyclopedia of American Biography, Vol. 13, James T. White & Company, New York, 1906, page 596


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