ALBERT W. LEWIS,
judge of the first judicial circuit court, Harrisburg, Illinois, looks back to Clinton county Ohio, as the place of his birth, the date being November 30, 1856. His parents, Aquilla and Harriet (Fletcher) Lewis, were both natives of Ohio, the father of Aquilla having at an early day removed from Virginia to the Western Reserve. In 1864 Aquilla Lewis and his family left the Ohio home and came across Indiana and over into Southern Illinois, where he settled on a farm in Saline county, two miles and a half southwest of Harrisburg. Here he devoted his energies to agricultural pursuits for a number of years, until his retirement and removal to Harrisburg, where he died in 1893, at the age of seventy-one years. Politically he was a Republican, and his religious creed was that of the Friends church. His widow survived him six or eight years. Of their three sons and two daughters, Albert W., the subject of this sketch, and the eldest; Clark, for several years a farmer and merchant of Harrisburg, is deceased; Edgar is proprietor of a hotel in Harrisburg, and the daughters, Ella and Eva, the former the wife of John E. Ledford and the latter of Emmett, are deceased.
Albert W. Lewis spent his boyhood on his father's farm. Two years he attended Wilmington College, at Wilmington, Ohio, and at the age of eighteen he began to teach district school. Later he was employed in the Harrisburg school, where he taught two terms, one term being principal. That was in 1881, when the Harrisburg school had only three teachers. Teaching was only a stepping stone to his life work. He took up the study of law at vacation time, and with Mr. Boyer, of the firm of Morris & Boyer, as his preceptor, he pursued his legal studies. In November, 1882, he was admitted to the bar and at once began the practice of law, at first under his own name and later in partnership with William M. Christy, with whom he was associated for four years in general practice. In 1888 he was elected state's attorney, for a term of four years, and it was while the incumbent of this office that the noted Slayton murder case came up and attracted no little attention throughout the country. James C. Slayton, a wealthy farmer, killed one of his tenants, Hugh Morris. Judge Lewis prosecuted the murderer, and he was sent to the penitentiary for a term of thirty-five years. In 1892 Mr. Lewis was honored by election to the lower house of the state legislature, where he served as a Republican in a Democratic body. Two years later he was made county judge for a term of four years. In 1904 he was again elected state's attorney, and when Judge Vickers, of the circuit court, was elected to the supreme bench, the choice fell to Albert W. Lewis as his successor to fill out the term. In 1909 he was re-elected for a full term of six years, which he is now serving. Fraternally Judge Lewis is both a Mason and an Elk.
He has been twice married. In 1883 he married Miss Fannie Baker, a native of Harrisburg and a daughter of the late Dr. Cornelius Baker, of Harrisburg, a veteran of the Civil war, who died in 1880. Mrs. Lewis died in December, 1900, soon after the birth of her youngest son, leaving a family of seven children, as follows: James B., now a member of the law firm of Dorris & Lewis, of Harrisburg; Aquilla Cornelius, a member of the class of 1912 in the law department of the Michigan State University; Edna, of the class of 1912 in the Illinois
State University; Alice, a teacher in the Harrisburg schools; Arthur, William and Frank. In June, 1909, Judge Lewis married his present companion, who was Mrs. Maud Rathbone, widow of the late Walter H. Rathbone.