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Richard H. Lewis (1850-1926, Raleigh, NC)


Richard H. Lewis

LEWIS, Richard Henry, Raleigh, N.C., son of Richard Henry and Martha Elizabeth (Hoskills) Lewis, was born February 18, 1850, near Falkland, N.C. He received his academic education at the primary school of Mr. and Mrs. Owen, in Tarborough, [sic] N.C., the Tarborough [sic] Male Academy, the High school of the late R.H. Graves, Sr. in Granville County, and at the University of North Carolina, 1866-'68, through the sophomore year, receiving first distinction in scholarship. This university having been broken up by a political change, he continued his academic studies at the University of Virginia for another year, obtaining diplomas in French and Moral Philosophy. In the Medical Department of the latter university, he began the study of medicine in 1869, taking one course there. His second year was spent at the University of Maryland, where he was graduated M.D., March 1, 1876 Upon his graduation he was elected assistant resident physician, and, one year later, resident physician, of the University of Maryland Hospital. In 1873 he settled in Tarborough [sic] as a general practitioner of medicine, but after four months there he decided to take up the specialty of the eye and ear. Upon the completion of his special studies, which were prosecuted in this country and abroad, he located in Savannah, Ga., where he practised, [sic] with gratifying success, for fifteen months, occupying while there the chair of diseases of the eye and ear in the Savannah Medical College. Marrying in Raleigh, N.C., in 1877 he removed to that city and has since continued in practice there as a strict specialist in disease of the eye, ear, and throat.

Dr. Lewis is a member of the Raleigh Academy of Medicine and was president of the same in 1887; Medical Society of the State of North Carolina and its president in 1891; State Board of Health, of which he has been secretary and treasurer since the death of the lamented Dr. Thomas F. Wood, in 1892. He was a member of the North Carolina Board of Medical Examiners' 1880-'84, and has labored to secure legislation for raising the standard of medical education demanded of those proposing to practice in that state. He occupies the chair of diseases of the eye, ear and throat in the Leonard Medical School, Raleigh, is surgeon for the diseases included in his specialty to the hospital of that institution, and to the Rex Hospital, and ophthalmologist to the state institution for the Blind.

His contributions to medical literature include papers on "How We See: With Some Account of the Errors of Refraction;" "Ophthalmia Neonatorum;" "Care of the Eyes and Ears," a popular treatise written at the request of the state board of health and published by it, an extra edition of ten thousand copies being ordered by special act of legislature, for general distribution, particularly to the public school teachers of the State; "Some Practical Reflections on Foreign Bodies in the Ear;" the alumni address before the Association of the University of Maryland in 1889; on "Higher Medical Education, and How to Secure It;" a paper on "Glaucoma," and one on "Drinking Water in its Relation to Malaria Diseases." The last named was first published in the Sanitarian for December 1894, and has since, with additions, been reprinted, in pamphlet form, by the state board of health for general distribution; the others in the transactions of the state medical society and the North Carolina Medical Journal.

Dr. Lewis has always taken an active interest in matters looking to the improvement and upbuilding of the community in which he lives. He was at one time a member of the board of aldermen of the city of Raleigh, and while serving as chairman of the street committee of that board purchased the first improved road machine ever brought to North Carolina, so far as he can ascertain. In the capacity of chairman of the committee on country roads of the Raleigh Chamber of Commerce and Industry, he prepared a bill, and secured its passage through the legislature, for the permanent improvement in stone of the roads of Raleigh Township. He is, and has been for years, a member of the School committee of Raleigh Township; of the board of trustees of the University of North Carolina, being one of the executive committee of the same; and of the executive committee of the North Carolina Agricultural Society. He has a special fondness for agriculture, and was one of the pioneers in the introduction of ensilage into practical use in his state, and was also the first, by two years, to use a centrifugal cream separator. His farm, "Cloverdale," near Raleigh, makes, from pure-bred and high grade Guernseys, [sic] between 5, 000 and 10, 000 pounds of butter per annum, for which four first premiums have been received at the State Fair.

Married, first, Feb. 13, 1877, Miss Cornelia Viola Battle of Raleigh, N.C. She died Oct. 13, 1886, leaving four children, viz: Richard Henry, Martha Battle, Kemp Plummer and Ivey Foreman. Married, second, April 16, 1890, Miss Mary Long Gordon, of Albemarle County, Va. They have one child, Cornelia Battle.

Transcribed from:
Physicians and Surgeons of America: A Collection of Biographical Sketches of the Regular Medical Profession. Edited and compiled by Irving A. Watson. Concord, N.H.: Republican Press Association, 1896.