LEWIS, Morgan [1754-1844] -- American statesman
He was born in New York city, Oct. 16, 1754; son of Francis and Elizabeth (Annesley) Lewis. He attended the public school at Elizabethtown, N.J., and was graduated from the College of New Jersey, A.B., 1773, A.M., 1776. His intention was to devote himself to the ministry, but yielding to his father's wishes he studied law.
In 1774 he joined the Continental army as a volunteer; was subsequently chosen captain of a regiment of New York militia; but upon the organization of the 2d New York militia regiment he was commissioned major. He was appointed chief-of-staff to Gen. Horatio Gates, with the rank of colonel, and accompanied him into Canada, and soon after congress appointed him quartermaster-general of the Northern army. He was prominent throughout the campaign that ended with the surrender of Burgoyne at Saratoga, and in 1775 he planned and executed the night attack on Stone Arabia, and was in command at the battle of Crown Point, where he was accompanied by Governor Clinton.
At the close of the war Colonel Lewis returned to New York, where he was admitted to the bar and practised in New York city. He married Gertrude, daughter of Robert R. Livingston. He was elected a member of the assembly; became one of the judges of the court of common pleas; was appointed attorney-general of the state in 1791; judge of the supreme court in 1792; chief justice in 1793; and was governor of the state, 1804-07.
In 1806 he was defeated for re-election by Daniel D. Tompkins and retired to his estate at Staatsburg, Duchess county, N.Y., where he devoted much of his time to agriculture. Having given up the practice of law, Lewis established a cloth factory and for several years devoted himself to manufacturing. The failure of a mercantile house to which his goods were assigned caused him to discontinue the business.
In 1810 he was elected to the state senate, and he declined the position of secretary of war in President Madison's cabinet in 1812, but accepted the appointment of quartermaster-general of the armies of the United States. He was promoted major-general in March, 1813, and in April repaired to the Niagara frontier. He commanded at the capture of Fort George, and at Sacket Harbor and French Creek. In the summer of 1814 he was in command at New York. He procured the release of the American prisoners in Canada, advancing from his private fortune the money for its accomplishment, and also rewarding his own tenants who had served in or sent sons to the war, by allowing them free rent for the time they served in the army.
He was a Free-mason and was elected grand master in 1831. He was president of the New York Historical society, vice-president-general of the Society of the Cincinnati, 1829-39, and president-general, 1839-44; president of the council of the University of the City of New York, 1831-34, and a trustee of Columbia college, 1784-1804.
He died in New York city, April 7, 1844.
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- Circular Circular. New York. March 14, 1804. Sir. The General committee of Republicans in the City and County of New York, having appointed the subscribers a committee to correspond with our republican fellow-citizens in different parts of the state, in favour of the election of Morgan Lewis, as Governor, and John Broome, as Lieutenant-Governor, we have the liberty of communicating with you on this important subject ... [New York, 1804].
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- Brigadier General Morgan Lewis - Quartermaster General 1812-1813
- Complete List of NYS Attorneys General Morgan Lewis succeeded Aaron Burr
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- Encyclopedia.com - Results for Lewis, Morgan
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- Memorials, tributes, shrines
- The Political Graveyard: Index to Politicians: Lewis, K to N
- Governors' Names Perpetuated naming of cars of the new Empire State Express
- NY ALHN, Lewis County named for our Morgan Lewis
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- LEWIS MSS. at Indiana State University
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- Hudson Valley Network - Historic Houses The 1,600 acre estate at Staatsburg was purchased in 1792 by Mrs. Mills's great-grandfather, Morgan Lewis.
- The American Experience | The Duel | People & Events | James Cheetham and the New York Governor's Race Lewis wins governorship over Aaron Burr in nasty contest