Iowa County, Wisconsin

In 1878, Harris and his wife Gylda moved to Highland, Wisconsin from Chicago.  They were married in Chicago in June of 1870 where Harris was in the dry goods business.  Gylda was originally from Germany.  Moses joined them in Highland and lived with Harris and Gylda until he returned to Chicago to marry Anna Pearlstein from Germany on March 16, 1884 and bring her back to live in Highland.  Moses, after a while, was called John by the townspeople in Highland.




Harris and Moses had a "Lewis Brothers" dry goods store in Highland until Moses's untimely death at age 44 on August 18, 1901 of a brain hemorrhage.   The store to the left is the first Lewis Bros. Store in HIghland.

It was reported in the June 4, 1886 issue of The Chronicle that a barn was being built behind the store by a Mr. Wallinkamp.


Moses died intestate.  The brothers owned an interest in lead and zinc mines in Highland and Mineral Point, WI.  One of the mines is reported in the Highland Press on May 8, 1906 as following:

    The Highland Security Mining Company was organized under the laws of Wisconsin May 1, 1906.  The new company includes among others, the Kennedy Mining Company.  The officers of the new company are: President, MIchael Lynch; Vice-President, Joseph E. Semrad; Junior Director, Richard M. Kennedy, son of Richard Kennedy, of the original Kennedy Mine; Senior Director, Harris Lewis, identified with mining interests in Highland since 1888.

The miners were paid in a back room of the Lewis Brothers store in Highland.  The following is a photo of the table in the store at which the miners received their pay:

In the following 1890 picture, Highland Mines owner, Harris Lewis, center, with miners, stands before zinc ore crushers.


Here are a couple of pictures of the mine facilities taken about 1912:




The picture to the right shows
the inside of the mine.










In the 1900 census, Moses Lewis gives his occupation as Merchant and Mine Operator, and Harris gives his occupation as Mine Operator.

An August 23, 1901 column in the Dodgeville Chronicle had this to say about the passing of Moses Lewis:

"Our village people were shocked on hearing of the death of Moses Lewis, who, on last Thursday, received a stroke but was thought to be improving until Sunday eve when he expired at 8:30.  He was held in high esteem by all, both old and young, and was a leader in all our village affairs and belonged to the Highland Fire Company, and was one of our leading republicans who took part in all its doings.  He was liberal and generous and was a kind husband and a loving father, and he was only 44 years of age.  He leaves a loving wife and five children, 2 boys and 3 girls, besides 2 brothers, Harris, of this place, and Solomon and 2 sisters of Chicago, and a host of other relatives and immediate friends to mourn his loss.  His remains were taken to Chicago, Monday, and the entire company turned out in full force and accompanied the remains to the outskirts of the village, and about 25 carriages accompanied the remains to Cobb, and saw them and the family off.  The funeral took place in Chicago on Tuesday afternoon.  The family and friends have the full sympathy of all in their sad bereavement."

Harris managed the HIghland Security Mining Company until it was destroyed by fire in 1919.  The mine was a major supplier of lead and zinc to the U.S. Army in World War I.  When the war ended, the price of lead and zinc fell precipitously, and activity at the mine fell accordingly.

Solomon came to America October 15, 1869, settled in Chicago, went into business there, and came to Wisconsin selling goods on the road.   Esther Tobias Schiff from Russia Poland, came to Chicago in 1873, and married Solomon in 1875.  Solomon and Esther then joined Harris and Moses in Highland October 15, 1877.

In HIghland, the three brothers pooled their resources, rented a store building in Linden, WI, and opened a "Lewis Bros." dry goods store;  Solomon and Esther moved to Linden to manage that store.  In 1889, Solomon left the business in LInden and he and Esther and their two children, Charles 3 and Abe 1, moved back to Chicago where Solomon owned and operated a dry goods store, and lived above it, at 37th and La Salle on the near south side.  Solomon became very active in the community; e founded and was the first President of the South Side Hebrew Congregation on 35th St. on the near south side.  He also helped all ten of his children obtain a College education.

At some point, Harris moved from Highland to Platteville WI in Grant County.  He died there on December 14, 1929, at the age of  81.  An interesting point about his will: it was drawn up just a few months before, on August 23rd, and signed in a very shaky hand.  It appears that Harris almost died intestate like his brother Moses.  Harris's picture is at far right.  His nephew, Jacob Lewis, remembers him as "quite a distinguished looking man, rather burly with a neat beard.  He was a quiet, vigorous and capable individual."

(Here is a quote about Harris Lewis from a 1910 newspaper clipping from Iowa County:

Thirty years in Business. Thirty years in business at one stand is quite a long time but with all the vicissitudes of a vigorous life in mining and merchandising during this long period Mr. Lewis still wears the smile that won't come off and in fact is today without a doubt the best judge of clothing, zinc, drybone and lead in this part of the state. Mining, with its outdoor and underground perplexities seems to be preferred by Mr. Lewis to back-of-the-counter work and only in case of sickness or a rush, can be found there. The work of buying the immense quantities of merchandise and its attendant accounting with that of the mines and accounts of miners has devolved for a half dozen years or more on Mr. Abe Lewis, who has proved himself in everyway, capable and competent. Of course due credit must also be given to everybody's friend, Colonel Dan Ford, whom we are sorry to relate, is ill and confined to his home this week with the grippe.

The store above and to the right is the fifth of the Lewis Bros. stores in Highland.  The first four were destroyed by fire or abandoned as being too small.  The gentleman in the fur hat and beard with his hands in his pocket is Harris Lewis.  The gentleman standing on the stoop in front of the closed door is Solomon Lewis.  The man holding the little boy's hand is Moses Lewis (known as John), and the boy is his son, Sam.



The store to the right is one of the Lewis Bros. stores that burned.  It happened on February 20, 1910.







  The store to the left is the first store
  of Sam Lewis, son of Moses Lewis,
  the little boy in the store above





The following Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey map of mines around Highland was found recently by Boyd Geer of the Iowa County Historical Society.  There is no date on the map.  The Lewis Mine is circled on the map.


The following is a description of two trips to Iowa County made by Jacob Lewis, third-youngest son of Solomon Lewis, in 1900 and 1908:

In early summer of 1900, my Mother, Sister Ida, then an infant in arms one year of age, and myself went on a journey to Linden and Highland, Wisconsin. We rode to Mineral Point on the Northwestern Railroad. I can remember the swaying oil lamps which hung from the roof of the cars (guess they could be called ceilings) and the shower of cinders or soot that rained down steadily on :the passengers. When we arrived at Mineral Point, which was in Iowa County in the Southwest corner of the state, we waited for the stage. That was the term used by the natives for the stagecoach. Viola Tredinick of Linden Wisconsin who had helped my mother take care of the members of the family born in Linden, was at Mineral Point to greet us. 

We boarded the stage and the luggage was stowed on the roof and lashed securely by the driver. I rode on the right hand side and could look out the glass in the door. Mother with Ida in her arms was on my left and Viola sat on the cross seat opposite us to my left facing my Mother. We rode over hill and dale, very rarely if ever on roadways. Thus the stage swayed and rolled like a ship at sea. It was remarkable we didn't get seasick from the motion. Once Viola answered a question which I asked her about an odd sound (new to my city ears). "It's a crow," and I, like a city born boy, asked if that was a snake. She said, no, it's a bird. I shall never forget how silly I felt. We finally, after what seemed ages, arrived in Linden. There is little that I can recall of the visit there. 

We visited the store where Father had been in business in the 80's. It was small and had a beating stove in the centre of it. The town men, who were mostly miners in the zinc mines (blackjack the raw ore was called) gathered around the stove on cold days and swapped yarns. Typical of small town life in early days. They were mostly of Cornish (England) or Welsh extraction.

One day a town boy tried to teach me how to smoke corn husk and Viola Tredinick caught me puffing it and gave me a scolding which I never did forget. We visited my father's brothers Harris and Moses in Highland, Wisconsin around the 4th of July. It stands out in my memory as there was a "ragamuffin" parade part of which we saw on our waxy Highland riding in a buggy. We visited their drygoods store and home. While at Uncle Moses' home a violent thunderstorm erupted. And Wisconsin can really get them. 

We were gathered in the kitchen and my Cousin Lena fell off a chair in fright at one heavy clasp of thunder. Lightning had struck a tree right outside the kitchen door. So it seems. All of which can only be guessed at after so many years. We returned to Chicago after a few days. Uncle Moses visited us in Chicago afterward, when I cannot recall. In 1905, I had my Bah Mitzvah at South Side Hebrew Congregation which my Father was President of at the time. Later, while in my second year of high school (1912) I took my brother Ben on a visit to Linden and Highland. The stage had given way to a railway called "The M.P.&N. (Mineral Point and Northern). It has a puffing engine and a car, half baggage and half coach. Very cozy and very sooty.

We were wonderfully well-treated as on the first visit of the Lewis's there. We visited a cheese factory which was a large shed with the cheese vat and a cheese curing room. The man making the cheese had a milk can filed with fresh milk immersed in a barrel of cold well water. He treated us to crackers and cheese and a cup of ice cold milk. All of this was delicious on a hot summer day. The town stores would take no money for candy and such. We were treated royally and never forgot our visit to Linden or Highland. We enjoyed meeting our relatives immensely.

I must return to events which occurred while we visited Highland. One day, Mother and I went with Uncle Harris to visit his blackjack (zinc) mine outside of Highland. We stood at the head of the mine and when the lift came up and I prepared to go down, Mother said, emphatically, "you aren't going down into that mine." Argument was useless and although I was very disappointed, I had to forego the experience. We did get to visit the mill and saw the ore being shaken and separated on the jogger beds (or what­ever they call them). Water ran over these beds causing the heavier ore to fall out.

In WWI, Uncle Harris aided the government in getting supplied with "Galena Lead and Zinc." Uncle Harris was quite a distinguished looking man, rather burly and with a neat beard. He was a quiet and vigorous, capable individual. Unfortunately, all he strived for in worldly goods went down the drain to a great extent in the stock market crash in October of 1929.  His youngest son Gordon once went on a training trip with the Chicago While Sox as a pitcher. He broke his arm which ruined his chances to play on that team. Gordon had played on the Wisconsin University team, and he was its coach in 1912, then in 1914-1917.  He played on the Three I Circuit and was an umpire at times. He loved baseball.

Excerpts from the The Chronicle, Dodgeville, Wisconsin -- The Early Years.



 By calling at Lewis Bros., you can buy a No. 1 sixteen dollar suit for twelve dollars, spot cash.  2.29w4.

 Bear in mind  that you can buy all kinds of good goods at Lewis Bros.’ at very low prices.  Their motto is, live and lot live. 2.29w4.

 Lewis Bros., for the want of room, will sell their stock of men’s and boys’ clothing at a small margin above cost for the next 30 days. 2.29w4.


 Lewis bros. have their foundation laid and are now hauling their lumber.  Joseph Kaiser has the contract for the carpenter work.

 Chicago has a Welsh Blaine and Logan club numbering two hundred members, with Mr. Lewis (“Zacheus”), formerly of Dodgeville, as bard, and Prof. John P. Jones to take care of the music.

 As Benjamin Lewis and Daniel Williams were returning from Arena last Saturday night, when near the residence of E. Roach, they found the creek greatly swollen by the storm of that evening and overflowing its banks.  It was dark and the water was over the bridge, and the horses missing the road went below the bridge, right into the current.  Mr. Williams jumped out and got to land but Mr. Lewis ….


 Call and see Lewis Bros.’ fine stock of novelties and a large and complete stock of the latest styles of dress goods. 9-24m1.

 Lewis Bros. have received the largest stock of ladies’ cloaks, dolmans and circulars that was ever shown in our village, and prices away down. 9-24m1.

 A very large and complete stock of men’s and boys’ clothing has been received by Lewis Bros. , for the fall trade, which will be sold at bed-rock prices. 9.24m1.


 There is no firm in Iowa County that undersells Lewis Bros. on ready-made clothing, and don’t you forget it dear leaders (sic). 12-31

 A large stock of ladies’, misses’ and children’s cloaks and Newmarkets to be closed out at cost at Lewis Bros.  Felt boots arctics and rubbers at reduced prices at Lewis Bros. 12-31.


Harris Lewis of the firm of Lewis Bros. returned from the East last Tuesday night where he has been purchasing goods for the firm.


Great items offered in clothing a1.

Wanted – 10,000 lbs. of wool for which the highest market price will be paid in cash.  5-1. H. Lewis & Bros.


J. W. Gunn and Abe Lewis went Saturday night to Muscoda to witness the big fire at that place.  They say it was a terrible night.

H. Thomas and wife, and W.Mrs. Ben Lewis visited relatives.


Messrs. A. G. Roethe, Abe Lewis, Menj. Cross, J.H. Wall and Dr. J.E. Mahoney of this jplace attended the Redmond dramatic company at Muscoda, Wednesday, of last week.  They report it a No. 1 company.

Lewis of Highland has been here buying sulphur.  The price seems to be gaining.

Mr. J.H. Lewis, general agent for Wisconsin for the Big Tailors of Chicago, is offering some good bargains in tailor-made suits from $12.50 and up; trousers $4, and a fine line of overcoats.  He has a large number to select from and guarantees a fit in every instance.  All in need call on him Friday at Pollard’s hotel.


Charles Lewis and his bride of Chicago visited here last week and were the guests of the Moses Lewis family.


B. Cross, Isaac Lewis, William Sengpiel and the Misses May Hillery, M. Barnette, Stella Norris and Matilda Sengpiel were overr to the Wisconsin river fishing, Monday.


Harris Lewis is at Mineral Point this week on business


Our school will close Friday following roll of high school grads Messrs William Fitzgerald, Chas. Konrad and Samuel Lewis and Misses Lewis Ida Klingele and Louise.

19150605 J. H. Lewis went to Chicago Monday on a few days visit.

19151001 Misses Ethel and Agnes Lewis of Chicago arrived here Thursday for a few weeks’ visit with relatives and friends.  Mamie Jacobs of Linden was an over Sunday visitor at the H. Lewis home.

Barneveld Dept.


Benjamin J. Lewis went to Madison Tuesday on business.


The Misses Edith and Florence Lewis of Chicago visited at the home of Mrs. Baker on Wednesday.


Messrs. Abe Lewis, Harry Fecht and Chas. Noble were in Chicago, taking in the windy city.  Miss Agnes Lewis is at Platteville and will enter the State Normal School this year.


H. Thomas and wife, and W.Mrs. Ben Lewis visited relatives.

Cobb Dept.


Mr. and Mrs. Ben Lewis of Dodgeville were calling here last week.

Lynch and Lewis have put up a six-horsepower gasoline engine in Dry Bone Hollow in this village to be used for their mines