Civil War Wiki

Edward Parke Custis Lewis (February 7, 1837 – September 3, 1892) was an American Army colonel, lawyer, legislator, and diplomat who served as United States Minister to Portugal from 1885 to 1889.


Lewis was born at Audley, his family's plantation in Clarke County, Virginia, in 1837. He was the son of Lorenzo Lewis (1803–1847) and Esther Maria Coxe Lewis (1804–1885). His paternal grandparents were Lawrence Lewis, a nephew of George Washington, and Eleanor Parke Custis Lewis, a granddaughter of Martha Washington.[1] His maternal grandparents were Dr. John Redman Coxe, a Philadelphia physician who was a pioneer in vaccination, and Sarah Cox, whose sister Rachel Cox married the inventor John Stevens.[2]

Lewis was educated at the University of Virginia and studied law, but pursued life as a planter at his Virginia estate. During the Civil War, he joined the Confederate States Army, eventually rising to the rank of Colonel. He served as aide-de-camp under General John R. Chambliss and as brigade inspector under General William Henry Fitzhugh Lee (his second cousin, since Lee's maternal grandfather George Washington Parke Custis was his great-uncle). He was captured and made prisoner of war twice, confined for a total of fifteen months at Fort Delaware and Camp Chase. After the war, he returned to his Virginia plantation.[3][4]

Lewis was first married on March 23, 1858 to Lucy Balmain Ware (1839 – September 1866) of Berryville, Virginia, and they had five children, though only one, Lucy Ware Lewis (born 1866), survived past infancy. After the death of his first wife, he moved to Hoboken, New Jersey and opened a law office, which he maintained until his death.[1]

On June 1, 1869 in Baltimore, Maryland, he married his second wife, Mary Picton (Stevens) Garnett (May 19, 1840 – September 21, 1903), the widow of Virginia politician Muscoe Russell Hunter Garnett and daughter of Edwin Augustus Stevens. (She was his second cousin, since her paternal grandmother, Rachel Cox, was the sister of his maternal grandmother, Sarah Cox. Also, her brother Edwin Augustus Stevens, Jr. later married Lewis's niece, Emily Contee Lewis, in 1879.) They had four children, including Edwin Augustus Stevens Lewis (born 1870), who carried on his father's legal practice in Hoboken, and Esther Maria Lewis Chapin (born 1871), a prominent socialite.[1]

Lewis was elected as a Democratic member of the New Jersey General Assembly from Hudson County in 1878. He was also a delegate to the 1880 Democratic National Convention and a member of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee in 1884, when he was active in the presidential campaign of Grover Cleveland. After the election of Cleveland, Lewis was appointed Minister Resident/Consul General to Portugal on April 2, 1885. He served until June 14, 1889, when he returned to Hoboken to resume his legal practice.[1][3]

In 1892, Lewis died of heart disease at his Hoboken residence at the age of 55.[5] He was buried at Princeton Cemetery in Princeton, New Jersey.[6]


External links[]

Template:Start box |- ! colspan="3" style="background: #FACEFF;" | Diplomatic posts

|- style="text-align: center;" |- style="text-align:center;" |width="30%" align="center" rowspan="1"|Preceded by
Lewis Richmond |width="40%" style="text-align: center;" rowspan="1"|United States Ambassador to Portugal
1885-1889 |width="30%" align="center" rowspan="1"| Succeeded by
George B. Loring |- |}