The Works Progress Administration

Biography of David Lewis of El Monte California

David Lewis was one of El Monte’s earliest settlers, and by his active, honorable life, won the respect and esteem of the entire community; a law abiding citizen, a liberal in religion, unhampered by creeds, just to all men, kind and charitable to the needy.  His life was so well spent that all who knew him felt bereaved at his death.

Mr. Lewis was born and reared in Chemung County, New York, the year of his birth being 1820.  he crossed the plains, deserts and mountains of this state, and located in the vicinity of El Monte in 1851.  He acquired a tract of land two miles southeast of El Monte.  There he engaged in general farming, though in later years he specialized in the culture of hops, and important product at that time.  According to J.A. Wilson, author of a “History of Los Angeles County” published in 1880,”David Lewis of El Monte, in 1867 harvested 30,000 pounds of flax from five acres.”

Mr. Lewis was married in 1852 to Miss Susan A. Thompson, a native of Vermont and daughter of Ira W. Thompson, who came to El Monte in 1851.  A sketch of Mr. Thompson is to be found elsewhere in this volume.  To that union were born eight children, five of whom lived to become men and women.  The names of all the children in order of their birth were:  Isabella, (Mrs. A.T. Garey); Hardy and Chauncey, twins; Ira D., who married Miss Fannie Bunyard, now a resident of El Monte; Abbie H., who became the wife of Albert Rowland; Olive, who was the wife of Charles Blackley, of El Monte; Agnes and Ada, who died in infancy, all of whom are deceased.

Mr. Lewis died January 21, 1885, in his sixty-fifth year.  Mrs. Lewis was remarkable for her business qualities, combined as they were with culture from early educational advantages in the East.  She died in 1920.

Source: C. D. Mayon, F. Brow, L. Stoddard, and C. Mudd; El Monte from the Pioneer Days. WPA Project No. N-5740, 1936. In record 19-187072. (California Historical Landmark No. 765: El Monte). On file at the SCCIC, CSU Fullerton.

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