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Charles L. Lewis, Associate Justice 1900-1912

Charles L. Lewis

Portrait of Charles L. Lewis

Former Justice Charles L. Lewis spent the last fourteen years of his life practicing law in Los Angeles, California.


Charles L. Lewis was born near Ottawa, Illinois, on March 8, 1852. He attended public school in Ottawa, then left home at age sixteen to attend Oberlin College, graduating in 1876. In 1877 he began the study of law in the office of Lawrence, Campbell & Lawrence in Chicago.  He was admitted to the bar in Chicago in 1879, but left that same year for Minnesota, where he was admitted to the state bar and opened a law office in Fergus Falls. About five years thereafter he was elected County Attorney of Otter Tail County, which he ultimately served two terms.  During this time he also married Janet D. Moore of Minneapolis. In 1891 he moved to Duluth, and two years later he was appointed District Judge, Eleventh Judicial District.  Lewis later resigned from this position to return to private practice. He was elected Associate Justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court for term commencing January 1, 1900, and was re-elected in 1906, serving until January 1, 1912.

After leaving the bench, Lewis resumed private practice in Duluth, but soon went to Wisconsin to join his son after he became ill.  He stayed there for three years, but then moved yet again to California in hopes of improving his health. Within the year he again moved, this time to Arizona.  After admission to the Arizona bar he practiced there until 1922.  He then returned to California where he set up a law practice in Los Angeles with another Minnesota transplant.  He continued in this partnership until his death on February 11, 1936 in Los Angeles, California.

This brief biography comes from The Portrait, 3 Minn. L. J. 11 (1895) and the book Testimony: Remembering Minnesota’s Supreme Court Justices.

Portrait of Justice Charles L. Lewis from Hiram F. Stevens’s History of the Bench and Bar of Minnesota (Minneapolis and St. Paul: Legal Publishing & Engraving Co., 1904),

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