Lewis, Garry

Early Settler, Clock Industry

Birth: 1800, Connecticut
Death: July 29, 1862, Montrose, Lee County, Iowa

Garry Lewis traveled from Connecticut to Warren, Ohio in 1816 where he became involved in the local wooden works clock industry. He was the son of Beach and Dianna (Wheeler) Lewis. His brothers, also clockmakers, were Charles (b. 1805), Wheeler (b. 1790), and Lambert W. Lewis.

Although the evidence is lacking that Lewis had a factory or produced his own movements, he had clocks produced with "G. Lewis" and "Garry Lewis" as the signature. He was known to be a financier and an agent for peddlers by supplying them with clocks from Trumbull County clock factories. His signed clock dials noted both "Vienna" and Warren" on them, likely because he contracted clocks that were produced in both places.

Lewis also provided timber for clock parts; poplar for clock faces and cherry for clock wheels. The timber was given to brother Lambert W. Lewis as a partial payment for common clocks. Garry Lewis made an agreement with a Samuel Moore in 1826 for 6000 feet of cherry lumber, which could produce thousands of clock wheels.

Garry Lewis clock warranty.This warranty also included directions on how to set the clock.From the Vienna Historical Society's collection.

By the 1830s the wooden works clock industry was on the decline. This was evident in 1832 as Garry Lewis returned most of a 500-clock order back to brother Lambert W. Lewis after two of the top peddlers in Trumbull County, Levi and Calvin Sutliff, could not sell the clocks on the Ohio River due to poor quality of the clocks.

Lewis moved to Montrose, Lee County, Iowa in 1835, but he did return to Trumbull County several times to sort out his financial issues and debts. In November of 1835 and January of 1836, the Western Reserve Bank and Pittsburgh merchants sued Lewis for $7,217. These debts were closely associated with the businesses of his brothers Lambert, Wheeler, and Charles Lewis, Ansel Merrell, and with merchandise for a store in Warren he once owned.

Garry Lewis lived out the rest of his days in Montrose, Iowa. A grave for him has not been located. It was concluded that he was one of the many early settlers of that river-side town whose graves were lost to Mississippi River flooding.[1]

Note that Garry Lewis and his family were not related to Abraham and Levi Lewis. However, they were possible cousins of Thomas Lewis. Garry Lewis's other siblings included Philo Lewis (b. 1784) and Beech Lewis III (b. 1795). [1]

For more information on the local wooden works clock industry, click here.

Updated 4/12/2021
Entry adapted from Rogers, Rebecca M. Trumbull County Clock Industry, 1812-1825. Dayton, OH: Sterling Graphics, 1992. Updated and original footnotes included in The Cog Counter's Journal, No. 37, Summer 2015, pp. 33-57.
[1] Information contributed by Bruce Paulson, relative of Thomas Lewis.