Lewis Relatives in England

(David Lewis)

Wolf Levy, a businessman in London, had a son, David Lewis (1823 - ?), who went to work in dry goods in Liverpool in 1839, and eventually founded his own dry goods store called Lewis’s.  David married Esther Cohen, whose father was the Rabbi of Dover.  David and Esther had no children. 

            (Lewis’s 1864)

 David brought a nephew, Louis Cohen, into the business, and Louis was a major factor in the expansion of the company.  In 1886, Lewis’s was in Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield, Glasgow, Leeds and Leicester 

Louis Cohen had two sons, Harold and Rex.  Rex was knighted Sir Rex in honor of his philanthropy.  A brother of David Lewis had gone to Australia about the same time David went to Liverpool.  He later came back to England to manage David Lewis’s Manchester store.

 The chain of stores which Louis Cohen helped build eventually became Lewis Ltd. in the 1930s, one of the largest chains in the midlands of England.  Lewis Ltd. bought Selfridge’s in 1951.

Solomon, and perhaps Harris and Moses and Esther Schiff, Solomon's future wife, stayed with David Lewis in the late 1860s and early 1870s.  This is pure speculation, but Wolf Levy may have been from Mariampol and the patriarch of the family, and the father of Solomon, Harris, Moses and David.

Solomon Lewis also resided, in 1871, as a lodger in the household of Kenneth Forsyth, in the Parish of Elswick, Newcastle, Northumberland.

There were Welsh miners in the area of the Lewis stores in England, which may relate in some way to the presence of Welsh miners in Iowa County, Wisconsin near the Highland and Linden Lewis Brothers Dry Goods stores that Harris, Moses and Solomon Lewis established. 

 Some of the above information is from “Asa Briggs and Friends of the People (1956),” a copy of which was given to Stan Lewis when he visited the Lewis family in England.  His father, Ben Lewis, son of Soloman Lewis, had been there earlier and was remembered by the David Lewis family.  The rest was told to Stan by his father.  Ben Lewis’s middle name was Wolf.

Solomon Lewis departed Liverpool on the ship, James Foster Jr., and arrived in New York harbor on September 4, 1871; He gave his nationality as English.  Solomon then took the train to Chicago.  There was no way he could know  that thirty-four days later a cow would knock over a lantern and the Great Chicago Fire would devastate the city.