William D. Lewis

Submitted by
Valerie Crook
September 12, 1999

The History of West Virginia, Old and New
Published 1923, The American Historical Society, Inc.,
Chicago and New York, Volume III,
pg. 223
Kanawha County

WILLIAM D. LEWIS, wholesale merchant and banker of
Charleston, is a successful business man who has pursued
a well balanced purpose in his achievements. Mr. Lewis in
later years has given generously and has been in fact pri-
marily responsible for the success of Charleston’s unique
institution, the Union Mission. The Union Mission stands
out as perhaps the most original organization of its kind
in the country. It is a centralized agency, both religious
and philanthrophic, wherein are concentrated the means and
the influences for the alleviation of hardship and suffer-
ing in the community. It performs the work performed in
many other cities by the Associated Charities, but is even
broader in scope than those worthy organizations, and it
has been conducted so efficiently as to win the confidence
of men like Mr. Lewis, who alone, it is said, has contributed
many thousands of dollars to the Mission, and it consti-
tutes his largest interest and pride outside his business and
personal affairs.

William D. Lewis was born near Maiden in Kanawha
County, June 21, 1850, son of John D. and Betty (Darneal)
Lewis. He is of Scotch-Irish ancestry. His great-grand-
father, Charles Lewis, was a native of the Shenandoah
Valley, served as a colonel in the Indian wars, and was
killed at the battle of Point Pleasant, in what is now West
Virginia. His son, Charles Lewis, Jr., subsequently settled
in the vicinity of Point Pleasant, on the Ohio Biver, and
was a farmer there. John D. Lewis, father of the Charles-
ton business man, was born in 1800, and was reared in
Mason County and later settled on the Kanawha River,
where he was a pioneer in the salt industry, and at one time
owned 70,000 acres of land covered with timber and under-
laid with coal. He was a man of wealth, a large slave
owner, served in the Legislature, and was widely known for
his blameless character and philanthropic impulse. He was
a whig and later a democrat, was a member of the Episcopal
Church, and died at the age of eighty-two, in December,
1882. Betty Darneal, his third wife, was born in Kentucky
and died in 1851, leaving two children, Julia D. and
William D.

William D. Lewis, though his boyhood was spent in the
Civil war period, acquired a liberal education, graduating
from Washington and Lee University at Lexington, Vir-
ginia. He has kept in close touch with his alma mater, arid
in 1907 was elected a trustee of that institution. After
leaving university Mr. Lewis entered the lumber industry,
managing his father’s timber lands and manufacturing
lumber for a number of years. Since retiring from the
lumber industry he has been active in business organizations
at Charleston, where he is president of the Hubbard Gro-
cery Company and a director of the Kanawha National
Bank. Mr. Lewis is an elder in the First Presbyterian
Church of Charleston, and politically has always been
aligned with the democratic party.

He married Miss Jennie G. Stanley, who is a native of
Kanawha County, daughter of Joel Stanley. Mr. and Mrs.
Lewis have five children: William D., Jr., Mrs. Lynn Hol-
derness, John D., Captain Brown and Julia V. Red.