He appears to have suffered a tragic family event while taking his family west sometime after the Great Chicago Fire which occurred in 1871 as written in our family bible.
My grandmother told me when I was young, that Gilbert T. "disappeared" after the death of his wife Mary J. Bell (listed in bible as born 8 Mar 1842) and placing some of his children in the care of unknown residents in Oxford, Butler County, Ohio. The info written in the bible states that one son (Eugene C Lewis, born about 1877) was taken to Illinois by a certain Mr. Beckett who raised him to adulthood.
I drove to Oxford, Ohio nearly 30 years ago and unsuccessfully attempted to find a very large house with an ornate gate with large columns on each side, possibly with lions topping them as described by my grandmother Mary (Schofield) Lewis (1909-1989). She told me this home was where the children were dropped off after wife Mary J. Bell died, and before Gilbert T. Lewis disappeared.
Eugene C. Lewis is my great grandfather. His son, Gilbert Eugene Lewis (1903-1959), is my dad’s father.
Further below is text transcribed from The Lewis Family Bible (with some formatting and known clarification added), pictures of the bible and scans of portraits pasted in it.
The bio text was written in the bible by Mary Schofield 1909-1989 (my grandmother on father's side) in about 1956. Mary was wife of Gilbert E. Lewis who was son of Eugene C. Lewis. Eugene is the son of Gilbert T. Lewis 1840-Unknown, who is the subject of our mystery.
I would also like to find any info related to great grandfather Eugene C. (b. About 1877) and his wife and daughters:
* Birth and death dates and cemetery info on Eugene, his wife Mary A. Jones and daughters Helen I. and Ruth who was an “invalid who lived for 25 years” according to our bible.
* Info on Mr. Beckett who raised Eugene in Illinois after his mother's death.
* Info on Gilbert E. Lewis' (1903-1959) grocery store (location and dates owned)
If you have any connections to, or knowledge of the persons in this Lewis Family Bible bio please connect with us at:
We would love to hear from you!
Thanks in advance,
Robert Lewis (1963-still kicking)
Partial transcription of bio from our family bible, with added clarification
Were in Chicago, Ill at the time of the Great Chicago Fire. Left for the west with family, crossed Miss. River at Hannibal, Mo. where wifw Mary Bell (school teacher and a graduate of Western College for Woman at Oxford, Ohio) died of pneumonia.
Brought children & body of wife back across the Miss. river in a rowboat. Buried wife in family Bell plot in Oxford, Ohio cemetery.
Gave his children out for adoption, all stayed in Ohio except Eugene C. who was taken to Illinois by a Mr. Beckett who reared him to manhood.
Married Mary A. Jones where Gilbert E. Lewis was born on 40 acres in Noble, Illinois.
Moved to Princeton, Indiana where Helen I. was born. Moved to Bicknell, Indiana where Ruth was born (an invalid, lived 25 years).
(Eugene C. Lewis) Worked as:
* Fireman on Chicago and Eastern Illinois Railroad
* Western Union Telegraph in Cleveland, Ohio
* Cab (horse) driver in Princeton, Indiana
* Engineer in Bicknell, Indiana
* Water Works Engineer (where he lost part of right hand)
(Eugene C.) Retired early in life and led a full life of retirement. Died at 80 of heart trouble after a full life. Married over 50 years and owned his own home over 40 years.
(The following are events in Eugene's son Gilbert E. Lewis' life)
Sent son Gilbert E. to the University of Indiana for 2 years. He (Gilbert) was in business (grocery) for himself for 8 years in Bicknell, Indiana. Worked for Firestone Tire Co. in office (Akron, Ohio) 1928-1930. (Akron) Beacon Journal Newspaper 1930. A&P Tea Co. as store manager, 1 year. Now (1956) at Babcock & Wilcox Co. as office manager in Barberton (Ohio) Plant.
After dad died (Eugene C.) mother (Mary A. Jones) made many trips to Akron to visit us, last one Nov 8, 1957. Helen Lewis Smith living in Lincoln, Nebraska 1958. One son Gary - member of Chicago Cubs farm team.
CLICK THE BELOW IMAGES FOR A HI-RESOLUTION VERSION
Mary J Bell's Grandfather?
An unknown person in our family bible
Frank Lewis, probably Gilbert Taylor Lewis and Mary J Bells son
Picture has Dora and Gib (Gilbert) written on it
A picture developed in Missouri ~4 years after "disappearing"
Gilbert T Lewis with two other men
Likely Gilbert Taylor Lewis
Likely Gilbert Taylor Lewis