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Rensselaer Morse Lewis (November 9, 1820 – December 16, 1888) was an American merchant from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin who served a single one-year term in 1873 as a Liberal Reform Party member of the Wisconsin State Assembly from Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin.[1]

Rensselaer Morse Lewis
Member of the Wisconsin State Assembly for Fond du Lac
In office
January 8, 1873 – March 20, 1873
Personal details
BornNovember 9, 1820
Morrisville, New York, U.S.
DiedDecember 16, 1888(1888-12-16) (aged 68)
Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, U.S.
Political partyLiberal Reform Party
Helen Maria Williams
(m. 1845; his death 1888)


Early lifeEdit

Lewis was born November 9, 1820 in Morrisville, New York, the son of Conway Lewis and Adelia (née Curtis) Lewis. He received an academic education and became a grain merchant and wholesaler.


In 1853, he came to Wisconsin, settling in Fond du Lac. He was listed as a produce dealer in 1867.[2] From 1867 to 1869 he served as postmaster of that city. He declared bankruptcy in 1868[3] and his home burned down in 1872.[4]

Legislative serviceEdit

In 1872, he was elected to serve in the 26th Wisconsin Legislature representing the 2nd Fond du Lac County Assembly district (consisting of the City of Fond du Lac itself, and the Towns of Fond du Lac, Lamartine and Oakfield)[5] as a candidate of the newly formed Reform Party, with 1,754 votes to 1,725 for Republican incumbent Elihu Colman. Lewis was assigned to the standing committees on ways and means, and on engrossed bills.[6]

He was not a candidate for re-election in 1874, and was succeeded by Democrat Thomas Weeks (the Reform Party had no candidate in the 1873 race).

Personal lifeEdit

On July 30, 1845, he was married to Helen Maria Williams (b. 1826). In 1859, his wife had her leg broken in a train accident aboard the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad.[7] Together, they were the parents of:

  • Mary Elizabeth Lewis (b. 1846), who married Ephraim Leverett Patch
  • Ella Marie Lewis (b. 1848), who married Kelsey M. Adams.[8]
  • Adelaide Olive Lewis (b. 1850), who married Harvey Bradford Dodd (1849-1916)[9]
  • Carrie Williams Lewis (b. 1856), who married Fred W. Lebrick

Lewis died in Fond du Lac on December 16, 1888.


  1. ^ "Members of the Wisconsin Legislature 1848–1999 State of Wisconsin Legislative Bureau. Information Bulletin 99-1, September 1999. p. 76 Archived 2006-12-09 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "Business and Firms". Semi-Weekly Wisconsin. March 23, 1867. p. 1. Retrieved September 25, 2016 – via  
  3. ^ "Legal Notices: Rensselaer M. Lewis". The Daily Milwaukee News. December 9, 1868. p. 7. Retrieved September 25, 2016 – via  
  4. ^ "State News: Fond du Lac County". Green Bay Weekly Gazette. May 25, 1872. p. 7. Retrieved September 26, 2016 – via  
  5. ^ State of Wisconsin Blue Book. 1879. p. 230. Retrieved 21 November 2017.
  6. ^ Turner, A. J., ed. The legislative manual of the state of Wisconsin: comprising the constitution of the United States and of the state of Wisconsin, Jefferson's manual, forms and laws for the regulation of business; also, lists and tables for reference, etc. Twelfth Annual Edition. Madison: Atwood and Culver, Printers and Stereotypers, 1873; p. 444, 465, 466
  7. ^ "The Accident on the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad". Sacramento Daily Union. 1 December 1859. Retrieved 21 November 2017.
  8. ^ Annual Report of the Adjutant General of the State of Wisconsin. 1866. p. 1131. Retrieved 21 November 2017.
  9. ^ "Harvey Bradford Dodd (1849-1916)". Find A Grave. Retrieved 21 November 2017.