William Lewis Dewart (1821-1888)

William Lewis Dewart was born in Sunbury, Pennsylvania on June 21, 1821, the only son of Lewis and Elizabeth Ligett Dewart. His father was an influential railroad director and politician who had been speaker of the Pennsylvania house, congressman from Sunbury, an unsuccessful candidate for governor of the state. William was educated in Harrisburg and at the Dickinson College Grammar School in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. After two years at the school, Dewart entered Dickinson College proper with the class of 1842 in September 1837 but left to enroll at Princeton where he graduated in 1839. He returned to Sunbury to study law and was called to the Northumberland County bar in January 1843.

His father's failing health saw him become both more involved in the family business and tlocal Democrat party politics. He followed the elder Dewart as chief burgess of Sunbury between 1845 and 1846, presided over the school board, and was routinely the delegate from the area to the Democratic national convention from 1852 onwards. He was defeated as a candidate for election to the United States Congress in 1854, after which he and his family spent a year touring Europe. In the next election he did succeed in winning the seat that his father previously held and served till 1858 when he was once again defeated. He returned to Sunbury where he remained active in Democratic affairs and organized a local militia united called the "Sunbury Guards," earning the honorary title of "Major." He, nor the unit, did not serve in the Civil War, however.

Dewart had married Rosetta Van Horn of Williamsport, Pennsylvania on June 21, 1848 and the couple had two sons named Lewis and William. William Lewis Dewart died in Sunbury on April 19, 1888 and is buried in the family vault in Sunbury Cemetery. He was sixty-six years old.

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Dickinson College Archives
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