Lewis, Lambert W.

Pioneer, Clockmaker, War of 1812 Veteran

Birth: 1786?, Southbury, New Haven County, Connecticut
Death: August 16, 1834, Vienna, Trumbull County, Ohio
Burial: Vienna Township Cemetery, Vienna, Trumbull County, Ohio

Military Service: Lambert W. Lewis served from August 24, 1812 to November 11, 1812, in Captain Asa Hutchins' Company, 3rd (Hayes') Regiment, Ohio Militia, in the War of 1812. Capt. Hutchins' company contained many men from Vienna Township, including fellow clockmakers Phineas Deming and Joel J. Hummason, Jr. [1]

An early settler of Vienna Township, Lambert W. Lewis, as L. W. Lewis, manufactured wooden-works clocks in Vienna, Ohio from about 1815 to 1833 taking part in the local clock industry. His factory and residence were located on land he purchased in 1806, on the south side of Warren-Sharon Road, across from the McMaster, Hartson & Company factory. This site offered the water power of Squaw Creek with which to power the machinery. The building, which was later used as a domestic dwelling, was razed in 2011.

According to historian Rebecca M. Rogers, Lewis "was the earliest and larger producer of Trumbull County clocks." He was making 30-hour, tall case clocks. He entered into a partnership agreement with his brother Wheeler (1790-1835) around 1815. Further mortgages over the next decade and a half signal investment in a successful enterprise. According to the 1830 Federal Census, 32 persons were living in the Lewis household, all but six of them likely employees. Other members of the Lewis family involved in this industry include Garry (1801-1862) and Charles (born 1805).[2]

Lewis's career as a clock manufacturer mirrored in many respects those of other Vienna clockmakers. Overextension of credit through mortgages, reduced demand for clocks, and an economic depression in the early 1830s essentially ended the clockmaking "boom" in Vienna and Trumbull County. Lambert W. Lewis spent time in debtor's prison and fighting lawsuits in court before he died in 1834.

Lambert W. Lewis was an original stockholder in the first bank in New Connecticut, the Bank of the Western Reserve, chartered in 1811.[3]

Hollander Stacy C., and Brooke Davis Anderson, with Gerard C. Wertkin, Lee Kogan, Cheryl Rivers, and Elizabeth V. Warren; foreword by Gerard C. Wertkin. American Anthem: Masterworks for the American Folk Art Museum. New York: Harry N. Abrams in association with the American Folk Art Museum, 2001.
Kilby, Janice Eaton, and Veronika Alice Gunter. By Hand: 25 Beautiful Objects to Make in the American Folk Art Tradition. New York: Lark Books, 2001.
Rogers, Rebecca M. Trumbull County Clock Industry, 1812-1825. Dayton, OH : Sterling Graphics, [1991?].

[1] Adjutant General of Ohio, Roster of Ohio Soldiers in the War of 1812 (Columbus, Ohio: Press of the Edward T. Miller Co., 1916).
[2] Rebecca M. Rogers, Trumbull County Clock Industry, 1812-1825 (Dayton, OH : Sterling Graphics, [1991?]), pp. 19-21; quotation at 19.
[3] Harriet Taylor Upton, History of the Western Reserve (Chicago and New York: Lewis Publishing Company, 1910), Volume I, pp. 135-137. The Bank of the Western Reserve was dissolved in 1863.

Updated dates of clock factory operation contributed by Rebecca Rogers, September 2017.