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Encyclopedia Dubuque


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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.

LEWIS, Warner

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Family History: http://wc.rootsweb.ancestry.com/cgi-bin/igm.cgi?op=GET&db=oneperkinsfamily&id=I19674

Warner Lewis

LEWIS, Warner. (Goochland Co., VA, Nov. 28, 1804--Dubuque, IA, May 4, 1888). MAYOR. At the first session of the Wisconsin Territorial Legislature, Lewis served as chief clerk of the House of Representatives. Upon the creation of Iowa Territory in 1838 he was elected to the Council of the First Legislative Assembly where he took a prominent part in framing the first laws. In 1841 he was again a member of the Assembly and was chosen Speaker of the House.

In April, 1849, Warner Lewis became mayor and city government was faced with old and new issues. In May three causeways were ordered built on Bluff street at First, Second and Third streets. The council bought fifty barrels of lime for distribution in view of the appearance of CHOLERA here in 1849. Drs. Boone and Holt were hired as a board of health. A house for cholera patients was rented of B. Rupert for $4 a month. A house owned by T. Davis was also occupied. The council bought from Smith & Co. their interest in the powder magazine for $425. John Stafford was permitted to mine on Third Street, the city to receive one-fifth of the mineral raised. (1)

In June, 1849, the plan for a Dubuque harbor, which seemed most likely to be best, was to build a levee out to the main CHANNEL and fill in the sloughs. MINERS' EXPRESS (THE) of June 13, 1849, said:

                      Already the largest town west of the Mississippi and north of St. Louis, 
                      situated precisely at the point of latitude at which the railroads extending 
                      west from the towns upon the lakes must strike the river; surrounded by a 
                      country on all sides, almost illimitable in extent and inexhaustible in its 
                      agricultural and mineral resources — it requires no gift of prophecy to 
                      foresee that Dubuque is destined to become and to remain the great commercial 
                      city of the Northwest. (2)

Main street was improved — bumps were cut down and hollows filled. Many shade trees were planted in Dubuque in 1849; it was almost a "fad" at this time. In March, 1849, the public was given notice of the approaching charter election and of the fact that voters would be required to decide whether the city should borrow $7,000 for public improvements, etc.. and for establishing a free ferry. (3)

In 1850 Lewis was elected to the State Senate where he served four years. He was appointed by Governor Lucas Major-General of the Iowa militia and assisted in its organization. In 1845 he was appointed Register of the United States Land Office at Dubuque. In 1853 he was appointed by President Pierce Surveyor-General for Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota and at the expiration of his term was reappointed by President Buchanan. He served twenty-four years as recorder of Dubuque County. (4)

Christ and the Children, a Tiffany window, was installed in ST. LUKE'S UNITED METHODIST CHURCH at the request of Mrs. Jennifer Lewis Wales for her parents, General Warner Lewis and his wife, Carolina



1. Oldt, Franklin T. and Patrick J. Quigley, The History of Dubuque County, Iowa. Chicago: Goodspeed Historical Association, p. 85

2. Ibid.

3. Ibid.

4. The Iowa Legislature. https://www.legis.iowa.gov/Legislators/legislatorAllYears.aspx?PID=5974