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John F. Lewis

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John F. Lewis

John Francis Lewis
9th and 14th Lieutenant Governor of Virginia
In office
January 1, 1882 – January 1, 1886
Governor William E. Cameron
Preceded by James A. Walker
Succeeded by John E. Massey
In office
October 5, 1869 – January 1, 1870
Governor Gilbert Carlton Walker
Preceded by Leopold C. P. Cowper
Succeeded by John Lawrence Marye, Jr.
United States Senator
from Virginia
In office
January 26, 1870 – March 4, 1875
Preceded by Lemuel J. Bowden
Succeeded by Robert E. Withers
Personal details
Born (1818-03-01)March 1, 1818
Lynnwood, Virginia
Died September 2, 1895(1895-09-02) (aged 77)
Lynnwood, Virginia
Political party Republican

John Francis Lewis (March 1, 1818 – September 2, 1895) was an American plantation owner and politician from Rockingham County, Virginia. He served two terms as the ninth and 14th Lieutenant Governor of Virginia and represented Virginia as a Republican in the United States Senate during the Reconstruction period after the Civil War.


John F. Lewis was born on the "Lynnwood" plantation in rural Rockingham County, Virginia, a son of Samuel Hance Lewis (1794–1869) and Nancy Cameron Lewis (1795–1841). He attended an old field school and engaged in agricultural pursuits as a young adult. He married Serena Helen Sheffey (1823–1901) in October 1842, and they raised six children.

He was a delegate to the Virginia secession convention in 1861, but refused to sign the ordinance of secession. He was the only member from east of the Allegheny Mountains that refused to endorse the document.

Lewis was an unsuccessful Union Party candidate for Congress in 1865. He was elected as Virginia's lieutenant governor in 1869 and served from October 5th of that year until January 1st, 1870. Upon the readmission of Virginia to representation in the U.S. Congress, Lewis was elected as a Republican to the United States Senate and served from January 26, 1870, to March 4, 1875. He served on the Committee on the District of Columbia in the Forty-third Congress. He was not a candidate for reelection as the Republicans had already become a minority party by 1874[1] and wouldn't control either house on their own in Virginia for the rest of the 19th century.

He returned home and was appointed by Presidents Ulysses S. Grant and Rutherford B. Hayes as the United States Marshal for the western district of Virginia 1875-1882, when he resigned. Lewis was again elected lieutenant governor in 1881, alongside Readjuster Party candidate William E. Cameron, and served with him from 1882 to 1886. After his term, no Republican served as Virginia's lieutenant governor until John N. Dalton served from 1974 to 1978.

He retired from politics after his term and resumed his agricultural pursuits. He died at Lynnwood in Rockingham County, Virginia. He was buried in the family burial ground on the plantation.


  1. ^
  • biographic sketch at U.S. Congress website

External links

  • brief biography of Lewis
  • New York Times, obituary for John F. Lewis, September 3, 1895
  • Encyclopedia Virginia entry on the Lieutenant Governorship
Political offices
Preceded by
Leopold C. P. Cowper
Lieutenant Governor of Virginia
Succeeded by
John L. Marye, Jr.
Preceded by
James A. Walker
Lieutenant Governor of Virginia
Succeeded by
J. E. "Parson" Massey
United States Senate
Preceded by
Lemuel J. Bowden
U.S. Senator (Class 1) from Virginia
January 26, 1870 – March 4, 1875
Served alongside: John W. Johnston
Succeeded by
Robert E. Withers
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