Eldon McKinley Lewis was born in Tuscumbia, Franklin County, Alabama, October 29, 1833. He was the son of John McClanahan Lewis, Sr., and Susan Madison Bowyer. His brother was John McClanahan Lewis, Jr.
John M. Lewis, Sr., served as Franklin County Representative in the Alabama State Legislature from 1828 to 1829.
After moving to Montgomery County, Texas, he was elected to the House of Representatives of the Republic of Texas, and served from 1844 to 1846 in the 8th and 9th Congresses of the Republic. He was Speaker of the House of Representatives in the Ninth Congress
The Lewis family migrated from the Tuscumbia area of Alabama to Montgomery County, Texas, in 1842, where John, Sr., was elected to the House of Representatives in 1843. He built a large plantation home, Elmswood, near the present town of Willis.
Eldon is enumerated with his family in Montgomery County in the census of 1850. On 24 December 1857, he was married to Fannie (Frances A.) Arnold of Montgomery by Elder D. B. Morrill, Minister of the Gospel. She was the daughter of Dr. Epaphrus J. Arnold, who migrated to Texas from Connecticut in about 1837, and his wife, Ann Warner. Dr. Arnold established the school and Masonic Lodge #25 in Montgomery.
Eldon and Fannie had at least one child, a daughter named Fannie, born in 1862.
Eldon joined the Danville Mounted Riflemen, the local militia, some time after September, 1861. He was listed on the muster roll of February 14, 1862, as a private.
He then joined Second Texas Lancers (Company B, 24th Regiment Texas Cavalry) at Danville on March 29, 1862. He enlisted as a private, and gave his age as twenty-seven. It was fifty miles from his home to place of rendezvous, which was Camp Carter at Hempstead. He mustered in at Camp Carter on April 28th. He rode to Arkansas with the other troops and was dismounted there with the others.
Eldon fought in the Battle of Arkansas Post and was captured by Union Troops on January 11, 1863. He was sent to prison at Camp Butler, Illinois, where he was on the Roster of Troops Captured at Arkansas Post and on the Roll of Prisoners of War. He was paroled and exchanged at City Point, Virginia, after his release from prison.
There was a notation on his muster roll of August, 1863, that there was pay due him for the hire of his horse for one month and for mileage to place of rendezvous at ten cents per mile.
On the 17th of August, he finally received his pay.
Eldon was counted present on the muster rolls through the first part of 1864, indicating that he fought in the Tennessee and Georgia campaigns.
After the battles of Lookout Mountain, Missionary Ridge, and Ringgold, Eldon’s brother, John M. Lewis, wrote a letter home to Danville describing the battles. It was published in a Houston newspaper in January, 1864, and mentioned that "E. was wounded at Ringgold, though not disabled from duty except for a day or two."
In March and April of 1864, there is a notation that he was Absent, sick in hospital.
In Volume III of Their Last Full Measure, the author published casualty lists of the 24th and 25th Texas Cavalries from the 10th of August to the 8th of September, 1864, including the Battle of Jonesboro, Georgia; these lists were published in the Galveston Tri-Weekly News on Wednesday, November 9, 1864.
Private Eldon Lewis is listed as having received a severe wound in his right thigh on August 31, 1864.
This occurred when General Patrick Cleburne's forces were sent to drive the Federals back. They engaged the Union Army at Jonesboro, twenty-six miles south of Atlanta, on August 31. The Confederates are said to have routed the Federals, but Eldon suffered a serious wound and was sent to the hospital for the long term.
There is no further record of Eldon, and there is no mortuary receipt in his file. However, the Lewis website states that he died at Culbert [sic.] Georgia; no date is given. An attempt to find a list of Confederates who were buried in Cuthbert cemeteries was unsuccessful; however, it is known that twenty-four Confederates who died in Cuthbert hospitals were buried at Greenwood Cemetery there.
Receipt Roll for Clothing
A receipt for clothing issued shows Edwin Lewis at Hill Hospital, Cuthbert, Georgia, in December 1864.
In 1865, General Lewis is said to have arranged to have Eldon’s body returned to Danville, engaging Benjamin F. (Doc) Cheshire to accompany the body. Cheshire had immigrated to Danville from Stewart County, Georgia, and was to return home for a visit. Whether the body was returned is unknown. However, there were graves under the cedar trees at the front of the property, which is now under a power plant lake.
After Eldons death, Fannie married Jacob McNair Fullenwider on 16 November 1868. They are enumerated in the 1870 census of Montgomery County. He was the son of Rev. P. H. Fullenwider and Selinda McNair.
Fannie died in Palestine, Texas, on June 29, 1921 (Texas Death Certificate #15520). She is buried, along with Jacob, in the East Hill Cemetery.
Further information on Dr. Arnold may be found in this article on Texas Pioneers.
For further information and records of all Confederate soldiers of Montgomery County, Texas, as well as histories of the regiments they served in, see Montgomery County, Texas, CSA by Frank M. Johnson. The book may be purchased by visiting Frank's website at frankmjohnson.net or by contacting Frank at email@example.com.
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