This volume recounts some of the family history of Mr. Lewis on both parent's sides and the salient events in Lewis' own life up to 1893.
Lewis' maternal great-great grandfather was Elisha Battle (b. 1720, d. d. 1799) who was a state legislator, representative at various conventions during and after the American Revolution, and chairman of the Committee of the Whole at the State Convention on the Federal Constitution.
His paternal great-grandfather was Col. Exum Lewis, a commander of a regiment during the American Revolution.
Members of both sides of the family were prominent in the law, business and medical fields.
Lewis' father, John Wesley Lewis, was a doctor who practiced in Edgecombe County, Raleigh and Warrenton. He died in 1843 in Raleigh leaving Mrs. Lewis to care for the family of six children.
Lewis attended a Mr. Lovejoy's military school in Raleigh, the University of North Carolina, and the University of Pennsylvania Medical Department. He describes life at all of these.
He mentions matters of interest in his youth such as militia musters and the visits of Henry Clay in 1843 and Daniel Webster in 1846 to Raleigh. He also mentions the Millerite ascension of 1843 or 1844 when the Millerites stood in the street waiting for the second coming.
Lewis taught and practiced medicine before the Civil War. He was also a militia captain. Prior to the outbreak of hostilities he had a disagreement with Gov. Ellis who apparently wanted him court-martialled, but was dissuaded by Col. D. H. Hill and other officers. Illness kept Lewis out of the war with a partial loss of sight which he later recovered.
Lewis subsequently returned to teaching and taught in Henderson County, Wake County, Kinston, and Hendersonville. He was president of Kinston College and briefly of Judson College in Hendersonville.