John M. Lewis
Mr. John Madison Lewis was born on April 15, 1842 in Alabama and from 1855 until his death, resided in Forney.
He served as a Private in the Civil War under Company A of the Sixth Texas Calvary. Upon his return to Kaufman County in 1865, Mr. Lewis gathered bois d’arc seeds, which were sold for planting as hedges.
In 1867, Mr. Lewis married Leona Augusta Dunnica, who taught at the frontier Union School where he was previously a student. The Lewises raised eight children: Edward C., Emma, Jennie, Frank, Kate, Jessie Mae, John and Fred.
Beginning in 1875, Mr .Lewis became instrumental in building the first recorded schools in Forney for his children and others to attend. His son Edward Lewis, in the fall of 1894, opened the private school Forney Academy, which was renamed Lewis Academy.
In 1921, John and Leona Lewis donated land they owned to Forney ISD as a site for a high school campus. This school was named Lewis High School in their honor and was completed in 1922.
In addition to his educational achievements, Mr. Lewis served as a county commissioner, was elected to Forney’s first City Council and attended Forney Methodist Church.
John Madison Lewis died in October 1927 while attending the State Fair of Texas.