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John F. Lewis

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 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, the son of T. Samuel Hance Lewis and Anna Maria (Lomax) Lewis. He attended an old field school and engaged in agricultural pursuits as a young adult. He married Serena Helen Sheffey 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 of that year until January 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 3, 1875. He served on the Committee on the District of Columbia in the Forty-third Congress. He was not a candidate for reelection.

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 and served until 1886.

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.


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Political offices
Preceded by
Leopold C. P. Cowper
Lieutenant Governor of Virginia
1869 - 1870
Succeeded by
John L. Marye, Jr.
Preceded by
James A. Walker
Lieutenant Governor of Virginia
1882 - 1886
Succeeded by
J. E. "Parson" Massey
United States Senate
Preceded by
Lemuel J. Bowden
United States Senator (Class 1) from Virginia
January 26, 1870 - March 3, 1875
Served alongside: John W. Johnston
Succeeded by
Robert E. Withers


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