Smith K. Lewis was born on August 10, 1830, in Dix (?), Chemung County, New York, the son of Nathaniel and Sophia Fargo (or Perrigo).
Smith left New York and moved west, eventually settling in western Michigan by 1860 when he was a farm laborer working for and/or living with Nelson Stillwell, in Wright, Ottawa County.
Smith stood 5’5” with blue eyes, auburn hair and a fair complexion and was a 28-year-old farm laborer living in Casnovia, Muskegon County when he enlisted in Company H on May 13, 1861. (He was possibly related to John and/or Ezra Lewis, both of whom enlisted in Company H on May 6.) George Lemon of Company H, apparently had little regard for Smith. He reported many years after the war that while the regiment was engaged at the battle of Fair Oaks, Virginia, on May 31, 1862, he heard it said in the company afterwards “that as soon as the fighting began [Smith] left the ranks and went back to where we had camped. There was nothing matter with him at that time that I knew of. I just heard that he went back.”
Lemon remembered that Smith was “delicate in appearance” and “was quite frequently excused from duty. I know that well because my name came just after his in the company roll and the Orderly Sergeant would come to me and say that Smith K. Lewis was excused from duty and that I should take his place for duty. That happened frequently and I remember [him] well as I had to do extra duty on his account.” Lemon also noted that this tended to happen “mostly during the winter months when we were in camp and the weather was bad.”
Smith was serving with the regiment when it participated in the battle of Groveton (or Second Bull Run) on August 29, 1862. On September 6, 1862, J. F. Doud of Dayton, Newaygo County, wrote home to a friend, William Utley, describing the recent action at Groveton and how the 3rd Michigan had been “cut up badly.” He added “that Smith Lewis came up to our regiment to see me. He is the same Smith who was in the fight [at Groveton] and he said he stood behind a stump and fired five shots and he thought he hit some of them [rebels]. That is five more than I gave them. Probably he hit more than I did but they were as close as I ever want them to come.”
Smith was quite sick off and on during the winter of 1862-63. He was admitted to the regimental hospital on January 14 suffering from cephalgia, and returned to duty the following day; admitted on March 5 for influenza and returned on march 6, again admitted for influenza on March 24 and returned to duty on March 26. Sometime in early April he was admitted for diarrhea and returned to duty on April 14.
Smith was shot in the left foot on July 2, 1863, at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, subsequently hospitalized in West’s building hospital, Baltimore, Maryland, and he remained absent sick and wounded in the hospital until he was mustered out on June 20, 1864, at Detroit.
After his discharge Smith returned to Michigan and worked variously as a farmer and lumberman, probably in Casnovia.
He was living in Plainfield, Kent County when he married Indiana native Shelda May Young (1848-1923) on September 30, 1869, in Alpine, Kent County, and they had at least three children: Herbert (b. 1871), Capitolia May (b. 1872) and Dayton L. (b. 1874).
By 1870 Smith was working as a farmer and living with his wife in Casnovia; next door lived one Alonzo Lewis, possibly an older brother. Smith was living in Trent, Muskegon County in December of 1877 when he became a member of the Old 3rd Michigan Infantry Association, and in 1880 was farming and living with his wife and three children in Casnovia, Muskegon County, next door to Alonzo Lewis and his family. He was residing in Trent in 1885 and probably in 1886 when he was granted a pension (no. 679303).
By 1890, Smith was residing in Casnovia. By 1900 Smith and Shelda were living at 522 Lake Avenue in Traverse City’s 4th Ward, Grand Traverse County. He was living at the Michigan soldiers’ Home in Grand Rapids, Kent County, in 1909 and in 1910.
Smith was probably living with his son Dayton at 210 E. 14th Street in Traverse City, Grand Traverse County when he died of heart disease on December 18, 1913 and was buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Traverse City: 1st add. Block 256-02-05. (Note the dates inscribed on the stone are incorrect.)