Union and West End Cemetery

The Union and West End Cemetery is located in center city Allentown. The main entrance is on 10th Street at 10th and Chew Streets. The cemetery is mantained by a dedicated group of volunteers. Ten board members (also volunteers) serve the cemetery association and manage the finances, make application for grants, solicit donations and participate in the maintenance of the cemetery.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


Major Arnold C. Lewis

Arnold Colt Lewis was born on 12 August 1827. At age nineteen, Arnold C. Lewis was a second Lt. with the Wyoming Artillery. It is believed that this refers to an artillery unit in Wyoming Valley of Pennsylvania. The Wyoming Artillery and 2nd Lt. Arnold Lewis, participated in the Mexican War. The Mexican War began with a Mexican attack on American troops along the Southern border of Texas on April 25, 1846. Fighting ended when U.S. General Winfield Scott occupied Mexico City on September 14, 1847; a few months later a peace treaty was signed (February 2, 1848) at Guadalupe Hildalgo. In addition to recognizing the U.S. annexation of Texas, defeated Mexico ceded California and New Mexico (including all of present-day states of the Southwest) to the United States.

The above is a brief capsulized version of the Mexican War. In reality, it is much more complicated. President Polk believing in the concept of "Manifest Destiny" sought to acquire the lands to the west and may have taken action to precipitate a war with Mexico.

After serving in the Mexican War, Arnold Colt Lewis was among the first to again here the call and shortly after the outbreak of the "War Between the States," he enlisted for a three-year term of service on August 17, 1861 and was assigned to the forty-sixth Pennsylvania Volunteer Regiment.

Rendezvousing at Camp Curtin, in Harrisburg, the regiment was organized on the 1st of September, 1861, and Captain Lewis was promoted to the rank of Major in the newly formed regiment. Shortly thereafter, the 46th regiment removed to a location just outside Darnestown, Maryland along the Potomac River.

Darnestown, Maryland was settled in the 1750's. Darnestown Road was an old Indian Trail and William Darne of Virginia married Elizabeth Gassaway and they established an Inn and a tavern at the intersection of the Darnestown and Sneca Roads. The area was named Darnestown in 1812 in their honor. By the 1820's the town was the host to a wheelwright, gristmill, a blacksmith, a physician, a post office and a variety of other businesses.

In 1861, the Union Army realized that Darnestown was the natural place from which Washington D.C. could be defended. There were 18,000 troops quartered in Darnestown, Maryland. When the army left, most of the fences had become firewood, and not a single cow, hen or hog remained. Maryland remained in the Union during the War Between the States, but many Darnestown residents fought for the Confederacy.

On 22 September 1861, Major Lewis, while attempting to enforce discipline in a case of insubordination, was shot and instantly killed by a private of company I, who afterwards suffered the extreme penalty of the law for his offense. Captain J. A. Matthews, of company A, was promoted to Major to replace Major Lewis.

Major Lewis, upon his death, left a pregnant wife; his son would be born a short time later. Major Lewis was married to Amanda M. Rohn Lewis. The son, born after Major Lewis' death (March 2, 1862), would be named Arnold Rohn Lewis. Amanda remarried after Arnold's death and was buried, upon her death on March 31, 1915, as Amanda Martin. She had a daughter by the second marriage, Jennie Martin, born about 1867.

Major Arnold Colt Lewis lies in a family plot in the West End section of the Union and West End Cemetery. Lying next to him is his wife and his son, Arnold, who died as a young man of only 18 years of age.

On Major Lewis' stone is engraved the following:

Maj. Arnold C. Lewis

Born August 12, 1827
Came to his death Sept 22, 1861
near Darnestown, Md. at the
hands of a Soldier of his Regiment
who when being arrested
for disobedient conduct cruelly
and unjustifiably shot him.

Major Lewis' widow was apparently quite distraught about the circumstances of her husbands death to have the stone engraved with the full story of his untimely death. It is noted that the stone over Major Lewis' grave is of a different design than those of the other headstones in the family plot. It may have been marking a grave at a different locale.

It is believed that Major Lewis was transported home from Darnestown upon his death under unfortunate circumstances and buried somewhere in Lehigh County. Exactly where, is not known, but one should bear in mind that Major Lewis was killed in 1861; His grave is in the family plot which is located in the West End portion of the Union and West End Cemetery. The West End Cemetery was not chartered until April 1882. Obviously, his body and his stone had to have been moved from some other place of interment at some point after the West End Cemetery was created. Perhaps he was originally buried in the Union Cemetery and moved at a later date. Records are not available that would confirm this.

Major Lewis' headstone shows signs of having been vandalized or broken at some point. Something, it is not known what, sat on top of the original headstone.

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