Jeffrey Green

Jeffrey is a historian
based south of London

021: Sir Samuel Lewis (1843-1903)

The grave, Acton cemetery, west London

The grave, Acton cemetery, west London


Samuel Lewis was born in Freetown, Sierra Leone, in November 1843. His parents had been rescued from slavery and put down in the colony where they prospered as merchants. He went to local schools and then to England where he qualified as a lawyer in 1871. He was one of the four Africans nominated to the Legislative Council, where he had some imput into colonial affairs and legislation. Freetown became an incorporated town and Lewis was soon to be its mayor.

As a barrister he represented all manner of clients of different backgrounds, and became a wealthy man. He was often in England, and he came to London in May 1903 to seek medical treatment. He died of cancer in July 1903, and was buried in west London. His obituary appeared in The Times 10 July 1903, p 8.

His widow, Edith, whose “memories are treasures none can steal, death leaves a gap no one can fill” is on the gravestone, died in 1941.

A biography was published in 1915, and John D. Hargreaves’ Life in 1958 (Oxford University Press, 120 pages). Lewis has an entry in the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.