Influential Austin county resident John Bell Lewis (1845-1920) was born on a plantation near Coffeeville, Alabama. His grandmother Betty Washington Lewis was George Washington's sister. Lewis grew up near present Winedale, Texas, and served the Confederate army in several major Civil War battles. During Reconstruction Lewis served as sheriff of Austin County and helped restore law and order to the area. While performing the sheriff's duties as county tax collector, he saw the need for a local bank. He helped found Bellville First National Bank and Austin County State Bank. When Lewis heard that Gulf, Colorado and Santa Fe Railroad planned to bypass Bellville, he persuaded landowners to donate right-of-way for the line and was instrumental in getting the railroad through Bellville. Lewis acquired this property about 1874. The next year, architect J. J. Stopple built this home which displays a transitional style between the Greek Revival and the more ornate Victorian. Lewis shared the residence with his widowed sister and her son. In 1879 Lewis married Mollie Bell Ervin and their children grew up here. Lewis is buried in Oak Knoll Cemetery, Bellville. (1979) Recorded Texas Historic Landmark - 1979
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