R. Frank Lewis
City of Troy

This biography is from Troy and Rensselaer County, New York, Volume III, by Rutherford Hayner, Lewis Historical Publishing Company, Inc., New York and Chicago, 1925. It was submitted by Debby Masterson.

R. FRANK LEWIS, formerly engaged in the hardware business as proprietor of a store on Main street, Berlin, New York, is now the owner of a mill at Berlin, where he carries on the business of manufacturing spools and wooden novelties. He was born at Berlin, October 25, 1872, son of William H. and Theodocia (Adams) Lewis. He is one of a family of four children, the others being: William E., of Buffalo, New York; Charles H., of Peekskill, New York; and Ida Rebecca, of Center Berlin; all of whom are living, the father being a tinsmith by trade.

Mr. Lewis received his education in the public schools of Berlin, where he completed his preliminary studies. He then proceeded to the night school of Pratt Institute for a while and began his business career as general manager of the Springer-Torsion Balance Company, of Jersey City, New Jersey, which connection he maintained for five years. During this association he acquired practical business experience and also met with great success in his capacity as an executive. At the end of this time however, his health declined and he was obliged to give up his position and to return to Berlin in order to take a much needed rest. In 1895, his health being completely reestablished, he decided to invest his capital in the hardware business. He built a block on Main street where he established a high-class hardware, tinning and plumbing store, meeting with so much success in this venture that he, with his father, continued to conduct it for fifteen years under the firm name of W. H. Lewis & Son. He then, in 1915, decided to associate himself in business with his brother, Charles, in the manufacture of wooden novelties in Peekskill, New York. Accordingly he disposed of his business to great advantage, his father retiring and he moving to Peekskill where he found the manufacturing business both interesting and agreeable. He remained with his brother for five years, to whom he then sold out his interest, and then spent a year and a half in Buflfalo, in the manufacture of candy. He being one of the stockholders and directors in the Emerick Candy Company. He subsequently returned to Berlin, and after careful consideration he purchased the Frary Spool plant, which he equipped in a thoroughly up-to-date manner, and where he carried on the business of manufacturing spools and wooden novelties. In 1923 Mr. Lewis sold his spool and novelty plant to J. D. Rogers Company, and is now managing the Hardwood Products Company's toothpick factory, at Guilford, Maine.

Mr. Lewis has taken an active interest in politics, and was collector of the town of Berlin for two terms. He is a Republican in his political affiliation, and is a constructive and far-sighted citizen, taking the most active interest in all civic matters that tend to the prosperity or the increased welfare of the community. He was one of the pioneer movers with ex-Assemblyman Tracy D. Taylor in installing a lighting system and putting in the present Berlin electric light plant, all the construction work having been under Mr. Lewis' direction. Mr. Taylor and Mr. Lewis also put in the electric water power plant at Oakwood Cemetery, Troy, New York. Mr. Lewis' father, who is alive to-day to see this progress of his native town, at the age of eighty-two years, witnessed the first train of cars that ran from Buffalo, New York, to Erie, Pennsylvania, being then a pupil at school. In 1900 Mr. Lewis built a one-third mile banked bicycle track near Berlin, known as Echo Park, for the borough, where ball games and races were held every Saturday and holidays, expert riders being attracted from various points and the track being considered the best in that section of the State. He was also interested in baseball, he being manager, and A. C. Niles, captain, of the Berlin team, and champion in 1890 of Rensselaer County. For years at one time Mr. Niles and Mr. Lewis were the best battery in this section. Later he played as "catcher," going to Bennington, Vermont, where he played as a professional baseball player for several years. Mr. Lewis belongs to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, was formerly treasurer; he also belongs to the Maccabees, in which he is a member of the Berlin Lodge. In religious faith he is a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and takes an active interest in the various humanitarian movements conducted by that body.

Mr. Lewis married (first), on December 24, 1901, at Berlin, Mary E. Yerton, daughter of Casper and Amelia (Brough) Yerton, who died in the spring of 1918, in Peekskill, New York. They were the parents of three children: Irene, who married H. O. Crooker, of Buffalo, New York, and they have one child, Mary Jane; Norma, who married Dr. L. D. Greene, of Petersburg, New York, and they have a daughter, Elizabeth; and Rollin, who is in his second year at high school (1923). Mr. Lewis married (second), in the fall of 1921, Selma Yerton, a sister of his first wife.

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