John Calhoun Lewis
Terryville Walking Tour
Saturday, May 11, 10 a.m.
Note: References for this
article include Francis
Atwater’s History of the
Town of Plymouth, 1895,
and the National Park
Service’s report on the Terryville
Water Wheel for the
National Register of Historic
Places. Both sources
can be found at www.plymouthhistoricalsociety.
John Calhoun Lewis and
his family are buried in
the Old Terryville Cemetery
on South Main
Street. Lewis was born
in Cornwall, CT in 1800,
and moved to Terryville in
1835. He ran a dry goods
store and was also a postmaster in town. He must have
been quite a go-getter because he soon became involved
in the lockmaking business. He was a partner in Lewis, McKee, and Company, composed of himself, William
McKee, and Eli Terry, Jr.
In 1841, Eli Terry, Jr. died, and the business became
Lewis and Gaylord. Under their management, the manufacture
of cabinet locks in this country first became prominent.
In 1849, John Lewis died, and the surviving partner,
Sereno Gaylord, carried on.
In 1851, the company became the Lewis Lock Company,
with the stock owned by Gaylord, the heirs of John Lewis,
and a few others. Also in 1851, the factory was completely
destroyed by fire and immediately rebuilt, presumably including
the iron parts of the current Water Wheel.
In 1854, the Lewis Lock Company consolidated with the
James Terry Company to form the Eagle Lock Company.
wal king tour
On May 11, there will be a free walking tour of downtown
Terryville. Meet at the Terryville Library at 10am. The
walk includes the Water Wheel, the Time in History Mural
at the Library, the Lock Museum, the Old Terryville Cemetery,
and the Dorence Atwater monument in Baldwin Park.
To register, call the library at 860-583-4467 or stop by the
Visit www.plymouthhistoricalsociety.org. The Society’s
meetings are generally on the last Saturday of each month
at the Museum at 572 Main Street and are open to all.
2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of the
Plymouth Historical Society. There will be an Open House on
June 8 where some new interesting items will be on display.
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