Honoring a Union Spy, Pryce Lewis

I am writing another book, Civil War Rogues, Rascals, and Rapscallions, in which I have written short bios of people who fit into those categories.  However, I have stretched the definition of rogue a bit, citing some people as being “positive rogues” for going off on their own to accomplish things for the good.  For instance I categorize George Custer as a “charming rogue” who made many positive contributions to the Union war effort while, as the saying goes, “marching to his own drummer.”

Another positive rogue was Pryce Lewis, a Welshman who became a Union spy.  Working with Alan Pinkerton, Lewis provided critical intelligence early in the war which helped lead to Union control of western Virginia as it transitioned to becoming West Virginia.  In writing his bio, I discovered that he lived until 1911, but that he had committed suicide that year after a long decline into poverty.  He was then buried in an unmarked grave in Torrington, Connecticut.

In 2014 the Connecticut Civil War Round Table, http://www.ctcwrt.org/ raised funds and placed a granite headstone at the gravesite site at ceremonies in 2014.  One of its members, Wilber Runk, a local history teacher, had re-enacted and portrayed Lewis during Civil War activities.  He died in 2012, and the group, led by Blair and Mary Lou Pavlik, decided to honor him and Lewis with the headstone.  Here is a link to the article in the local paper about the ceremonies and the background:

Union spy honored in Torrington

Below are pictures of Runk, of the ceremonies, and of the biography of Lewis.

Rebecca Runk is escorted back to her seat during a dedication ceremony for a headstone on what is believed to be the grave site of Pryce Lewis. Runk's late husband, Wilber


Author: geneofva

Author of "Citizen-General: Jacob Dolson Cox and the Civil War Era," and of seven more Civil War books -- with more to come!!

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