8/23/2004

Loren Walton Lewis

Lewis, Loren Walton
born – Feb.5, 1845; died – Dec.23, 1914.
USA, 84th Illinois Infantry, Co.E, Corporal.
Duncan cemetery (section 7, lot 117, space 5)

Loren Walton Lewis was born near Payson in Adams County,
Illinois (the extreme west central portion of the state).
He was one of the younger of twelve children born to his
parents, nine of whom lived to adulthood.

Sixteen-year old, dark-haired, blue-eyed, five foot, nine
inch tall L.W. lied about his age in order to enlist in
the Union Army on July 25, 1862, stating that he was
eighteen years of age. Being mustered into service on
Sept.1, 1862, L.W. went on to serve for the duration of
the war, being mustered out of service with the rest of
his regiment as a Corporal in Co.E of the USA, 84th
Illinois Infantry Regiment on June 8, 1865.
(www.itd.nps.gov/cwss/soldiers.htm)

The 84th IL didn’t have to wait long for it’s first taste
of combat – The Battle of Perryville (Oct.8, 1862) – just
five weeks to the day after the regiment was mustered into
service (www.illinoiscivilwar.org/cw84-dyer.html). At
Perryville, the 84th was a part of Gross’s 10th Brigade
(a part of W.S. Smith’s division, Crittendon’s corp;
www.pathsofthecivilwar.com/Pastfinder/PCWsummaryALL.asp?battleclass=A&locationID=KY009). Perryville was the
largest Civil War battle to take place in Kentucky and
the importance of this battle to the overall outcome of
the war has rarely been noted (www.perryville.net/history.html;
www.civilwaralbum.com/misc/perry1.htm).

The 84th certainly saw its share of combat throughout the
war, as reflected by the names inscribed on the regiment’s
battle flag - Perryville, Stone River (aka: Murfreesboro;
www.civilwarhome.com/stonesriver.htm; where it lost 228 men
killed or wounded out of a total of 350 engaged), Woodbury,
Chickamauga, Lookout Mountain, Missionary Ridge, Ringgold,
Dalton, Buzzard Roost, Resaca, Burnt Hickory, Kennesaw
Mountain, Smyrna, Jonesboro, Lovejoy Station, Franklin
and Nashville. (www.rootsweb.com/~iladams/military/84e.htm)

Following the war, in Deerfield, Kansas, on March 31, 1891,
L.W. married Mary A. Keep (born- June 25, 1864; died - Feb.15,
1935). He and Mary had seven children. Though raised on the
farm as a youth, he worked as an interior decorator following
the war.

His gravestone is perhaps the most unusual in the county,
shaped in the form of a tree stump with an open book (Bible?)
on the top of the stump. The dates of his birth, marriage,
wife’s name and death are recorded on the book which is turned
to a page entitled “Family Record.” There is no indication of
his military service recorded on his gravestone. According to
cemetery office records, the owner of the plot was the “First
Baptist Church of Duncan."
“Loren Walton Lewis was born near Payson, Adams Co., Illinois in 1845. Was one of a family of twelve children, nine of whom lived to be grown and seven are still living, he being one of the younger children. He served during the Civil War while still a boy under the flag which he always revered and which was draped over his body as it was borne to his last resting place. He was married at Deerfield, Kansas, in 1891 to Mary A. Keep. To them were born seven children, six of whom are still living: Mrs. J. J. Coone of Chickasha, Elma, Robert Loren, Mercer, Chester and Forrest, all of whom were with him at the last. He was a life-long member of the Baptist church, always retaining his membership in the church at Payson. He was a member of the W.O.W. and K. of P. lodges for over twenty years. A kind husband, father and fellow citizen, always seeing the good in all, his death came as a severe blow to family and friends.” (Obituary; Duncan Banner; Jan.1, 1915).