John Woodruff Lewis, a brother of "Leon" Lewis (q.v.) and generally known as "Juan" Lewis, was born in Southington, Connecticut, May 27, 1835. Like his brother, he was a poet and a novelist, although not so well known nor so prolific.
During the Civil War he was a colonel in Company D, 9th Regiment. Afterwards he went to Philadelphia and began writing for various periodicals, and later was chief of the editorial department of the Philadelphia Commercial List and Price Current. In 1870, Saturday Night(1) stated, in announcing a new story by him, that he had been writing for years under an assumed name. What that pen name was is now unknown, but later he used "Juan Constellano." Besides writing for Saturday Night, he was also writing for the Family Story Paper in 1876, and for Frank Leslie's Popular Monthly in 1877. His wife, of Spanish descent, founded Woman's Words(2) in April, 1877, and was its editor.
From July, 1878, to March, 1879, Mrs. Sara Andrews Spencer, the well-known reformer, was part owner and co-editor of Woman's Words, and the editorial offices were located in both Philadelphia and Washington, the latter the home of Mrs. Spencer. In 1879 Mrs. Lewis purchased her partner's half interest in the journal, and edited it alone until it ended in 1882. Apparently the Lewises had removed to Washington about the time this transfer was made, for Juan is listed in the Washington City Directory from 1880 to 1908. He had become an examiner in the Patent Office, but for a time was also chairman of the Lewis Printing Co.
After the death of his wife, and owing to poor eyesight, Juan sold his home in Brookland, D.C., about 1908, and retired permanently to Bakerville, Connecticut, where his brother Leon lived, and where Juan had some years before purchased a cottage for a summer home. He died in Bakerville, August 18, 1919.
Beneath his name in the by-line of one of his novels, he is credited with "Trust Her Not,"(3) "The Swamp Fox," "The Sorcerer's Victim," "My Quaint Familiars," "The Skeleton Hand," "Life against Tide," etc. "The Eye of Fate" appeared in Saturday Night in 1870, and "The Quaker Wife; or, The Demon of Jealousy," in the Family Story Paper, III, June 12, 1876. A book of poems entitled "The Forging of the Sword and Other Poems" was issued in Washington in 1891, and in it is a poem commemorating his brother's wife, Harriet Lewis.
REFERENCES: Woman's Words, II, May, 1879, 378; April, 1877; July, 1878, and March, 1879; T. W. Herringshaw's Encyclopedia of American Biography of the Nineteenth Century, Chicago, 1906, 585, with portrait; John C. Proctor, Washington, Past and Present, New York, 1930, II, 628; J. T. Scharff, History of Philadelphia, III, 2045; Philadelphia Directory, 1881; Washington, D. C. Directories, 1880 to 1908; letter from Mrs. Leon Lewis, Jr., wife of Juan Lewis' nephew, April 16, 1943; Saturday Night, VII, April 16, 1870, July 30, 1870.
Half-Dime Library. No. 22, 1128
Waverley Library (quarto). No. 65
Waverley Library (octavo). No. 49
Pocket Library. No. 98
|1||Saturday Night, in 1870, published his "The Eye of Fate."|
|2||Women's Words. An Original Review of What the Sex is Doing. Vol. I, No. 1, Philadelphia, April, 1877. Edited and published by Mrs. Juan Lewis, 625 Walnut St., Philadelphia.
The July, 1878, number announced the editors as Theresa Juan Lewis and Sara Andrews Spencer, publishers, and the place of publication as simultaneously in Philadelphia and Washington, D. C.
|3||This title also appears among the novels of Arabella South-worth and of Margaret Leicester. They have not been compared.|