The Lewis Family in Slidell, Louisiana
As posted previously, the children of Richard and Sarah (Betts) Lewis, Jess, Bert and Bessie, were all born in Pardoe, Pennsylvania. At the time, Richard worked for the Shenango and Allgheny Railroad and the affiliated Mercer Mining and Manufacturing Company. The Shenango and Allegheny ran into financial difficulties and was eventually taken over by the Pittsburgh, Shenango, and Lake Erie Railroad Company in 1888. At about that time, the Lewis family moved south from Pennsylvania to Slidell, Louisiana.
The reason for the Lewis family move is unknown; possibly Richard lost his job with the mine and railroad, or he could have lost an investment in the county. Perhaps better oppertunities were available in the South. It is worth noting that both of Richard’s parents, David and Hannah (Jenkins) Lewis, died in the spring of 1888 in Trevorton, perhaps freeing Richard to move away from Pennsylvania. Richard’s cousin Susanna, with her husband John Jones and family, moved from Pennsylvania to McComb City, Mississippi at about this time.
Slidell was founded in 1882, when the railroad established a building camp on the first high ground north of New Orleans along Lake Pontchartrain*. The town grew rapidly after the completion of the New Orleans and Northeastern Railroad in 1883, and the Slidell was officially incorporated in 1888.
In Slidell, the Lewis family lived on a ranch. It is not clear if Richard took up farming or cattle raising, or simply lived there while working as an engineer. (According to Richard’s alumni directory, at one time he held the position as principle Assistant of the Mexican Pacific Railroad. It is unclear if this was before or after the move to Slidell.)
After about three years in Slidell, in 1891, the Lewis family abruptly pulled up roots again and moved to Carbonado, in the mountains near Tacoma, Washington.
• Louisiana in 1896
• Google Map
Links: Slidell History
• City of Slidell
• Slidell Chamber of Commerce
• St. Tammany Parish
• Slidell Magazine
Links: Louisiana Railroad History
• Crescent City Choo Choo: history of railroads in New Orleans
• The old railroad is now the Tammany Trace trail.
* The Slidell are was severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
• High resolution post-Katrian aerial views