Biography of Robert S. Lewis of Fargo North Dakota

Robert S. Lewis, born August 15, 1856, in Tennessee, served as lieutenant governor of North Dakota and vice-president of the State National Bank in Fargo. Raised in Minnesota, he began his banking career in Fargo in 1882, eventually becoming president of the bank. Lewis married Alice Carpenter in 1879, and they had three children: Roy C., Olive M., and Alice. An active Republican, he served in the state senate and contributed significantly to education and agriculture. Lewis also owned over 7,000 acres of farmland, highlighting his prominence in both finance and farming.

Robert S Lewis
Robert S Lewis

Robert S. Lewis, lieutenant governor of North Dakota and vice-president of the State National Bank in Fargo, is one of the few men who, despite adverse circumstances in life, has risen through his own perseverance from poverty and obscurity to wealth and social prominence. The “North Dakota Magazine” states that he has achieved prominence by attending to his own affairs and practicing the strictest honesty in word and deed.

He was born in Tennessee on August 15, 1856. His parents were Josiah and Mary (Steele) Lewis, with his father being a native of Massachusetts and his mother of Louisiana. His father was a college professor and was associated with the state female seminary. Together with his parents, he moved to Minnesota in 1868, where his father served as the county superintendent of schools of Wright County for many years. Both parents passed away in Minnesota.

Robert S. Lewis was raised and educated in Minnesota. He began his career as a clerk in Minneapolis, where he worked for one year. In 1882, he moved to Fargo and started working as a clerk at the Red River National Bank. After a year and a half, he was promoted to the position of teller, which he held for two years. He was then further promoted to assistant cashier and eventually became cashier in 1891. He held the position of cashier until 1897 when he was elected vice-president. He served in that role until 1902 when he became the president of the institution. When the bank liquidated, he became a director of the First National Bank, which merged with the former.

Lieutenant Governor Lewis got married in Minnesota in 1879 to Miss Alice Carpenter, a native of that state. They have three children: Roy C., who graduated from the academic department of Columbia University in 1905 and completed a law course in June 1906, Olive M., and Alice.

He has been actively involved in educational matters and has served as the president of the board of education and as a member of the board of directors of the Agricultural College. He is a member of various fraternal orders, including the Knights of Pythias, and has attained the 32nd and Scottish Rite degrees of the Masonic order. Politically, he is a Republican and takes an active interest in all public matters. He has been a member of the state convention several times. In 1900, he was elected as a member of the state senate and served as an efficient and active member for four years. He proved himself to be a valuable member and authored several important measures that later became state laws.

He is one of those men who is interested in the advancement of everything beneficial to his city and the state in which he resides. His prominence as a financial businessman is evident from his position as the president of the Fargo Commercial Club, a role he has held for two terms. He also owns and operates over 7,000 acres of land, making him one of the leading farmers in the northwest territory. In 1906, he was nominated and elected as lieutenant governor, a position for which he is eminently qualified. Since his inauguration, he has earned the confidence of his associates and the esteem of all members of the senate, which he presides over.


C.F. Cooper & Company, History of the Red River Valley, Past And Present: Including an Account of the Counties, Cities, Towns And Villages of the Valley From the Time of Their First Settlement And Formation, volumes 1-2; Grand Forks: Herald printing company, 1909.

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