|Birth: ||Apr. 11, 1825|
|Death: ||Mar. 5, 1885|
"Another well-known Citizen Gone.
Mr. Lewis P. Firey, formerly a resident of this county, but recently of Kansas, died last Thursday at the residence of his brother, Rev. Samuel Firey, at Roanoke, Va., aged about sixty years. He had been in poor health for some time and to recuperate had been visiting in this section for the past several months. He had never been married. His remains were brought to this city on Friday morning and taken to the residence of Philip H. Wingert, Esq., his brother-in-law, from whence the funeral took place at 8 o'clock last Saturday morning. The services were conducted in St. Paul's church on the turnpike, east of Clearspring, and the interment was in the graveyard adjoining, where his ancestors have been buried for several generations past.
Mr. Firey was identified with and prominent in some of the most stirring scenes ever witnessed in this county and State. He was born on what is known as Firey's inheritance in Clearsping district on the 11th of April, 1825, and in boyhood attended the district school. His father was an ardent advocate of education for the masses, a warm supporter of the public school system, and contributed much to the establishment in that district of one of the best schools in the county.
While yet under 21 years of age, Lewis Firey taught a school at Beaver Creek for a year and met with much success, numbering among his scholars many who are now the leading men of that community. After this he entered Pennsylvania College, at Gettysburg, Pa., but only remained there two years, as his health failed and he was unable to continue his studies. While at the college he acquired considerable reputation, as a close student, an excellent speaker and a keen and ready debater.
After leaving College he returned to his father's farm and was engaged in his duties there until 1850, when without his knowledge he was nominated as a candidate for the State Convention, which was to be held in 1851. At first he declined the nomination, but being pressed to accept it by some of the most prominent men of this county, consented to stand and was elected. He was the youngest man in the Convention (being only 25 years of age) but took an active part in all its proceedings and was recognized as one of the ablest debaters and the peer of any of its members, though it contained some of the best talent then in the State, ex-Governors, ex-Senators and ex-members of the House of Representatives. He drafted a bill upon the subject of representation in the State Legislature, in which he provided that the negroes in the State should be counted the same as they were for Representatives in Congress (each negro to county three-fifths of a man) but it was defeated on the final vote. Ex-Governor William Grason, however, took the same bill and amended it, by providing that after 1860 the negroes should count the same as the whites in proportioning representation to the counties, and this was adopted, the contest then being between the eastern and western shores of the State, as to which should secure the larger representation in the Legislature.
After his service there he again returned to the farm and remained in private life until 1855 when he was nominated, without his seeking it and elected to the State Legislature, where he took a leading part in all the proceedings and was considered one of the ablest members of the House of Delegates.
He again returned to his farm duties and pursued the even tenor of his was as a good citizen until the time of the Rebellion, when he at once announced himself as uncompromisingly in favor of the preservation of the Union and took the stump in advocacy of his opinions. He and the late Col. Wm. H. Dellinger addressed the first Union meeting held in this county in Clearspring and did much to build up and solidify the sentiment, which kept the State in the Union and prevented the Rebel element in it from taking it over to the Southern Confederacy. Previous to this Mr. Firey had been an ardent and active whig, and he now became a Union man and Republican and was always thereafter an active and earnest member of that party.
In February 1861, as will be remembered by many of the older citizens, a largely attended Convention met in this city to consider the situation of affairs. A minority of the Convention, under the leadership of those who sympathized with the Rebels in the South, got the control of it and succeeded in electing the chairman, who persistently ruled in their favor. Mr. Firey then sprang to his feet, waved his hat, and called upon all who were in favor of maintaining the Union and supporting the Government at Washington in its intention to crush the Rebellion to follow him to the Public Square. He then left the Convention and was followed by a large majority of those present. He proceeded to the Square, being joined by the late lamented Judge Weisel on the way, and there amid a heavy snow storm organized a Union meeting, the crowd remaining, notwithstanding the cold and disagreeable weather, for more than three hours to listen to him and others speak in favor of the preservation of the Nation's life and the crushing out of the treasonable attempt, which had been made to destroy it. At that time there was a vacancy in the county's representation in the Legislature, occasioned by the disqualification of one of the members elected, and Mr. Firey was elected to fill the vacancy and took part in the ever-memorable session held at Frederick City, where the project to carry the State out of the Union was defeated. Among the members of the Legislature were some of the most talented lawyers of the State, but Mr. Firey never quailed before them in debate and was always equal to any emergency in the heated forensic contests, which marked that eventful epoch. Afterwards when the members of that Legislature were arrested and imprisoned by the United States authorities, such was their confidence in his integrity that they applied to him to forward to their families there letters and he, with the magnanimity which ever characterized him, engaged to do it, only stipulating that they should pledge their words that the letters should contain nothing but what related to personal and family matters.
At the next election he was sent to the State Senate and in that body was conspicuous as a warm advocate of all measures tending to the upholding of the National Government. During his term in the Senate he became personally acquainted with President Lincoln and was numbered among his friends.
After his term of office was completed he bought a farm in Anne Arundel county, near Annapolis and settled there. He, however, only remained there a few years as his health again failed him and he left that locality shortly after the war ended and removed to Kansas and since then has spent his time partly in that State and partly in this county. In early manhood he became a member of the Lutheran Church and was always a warm supporter of the church and a consistent and fearless Christian. He was largely interested in the building of a Lutheran Church at Topeka, Kansas, and contributed liberally to its erection and support. He was frequently a delegate to the General Synod of the Church. He was always in the front rank on all questions affecting the welfare, both moral and temporal, of his fellow man, such as temperance, education, &c, but during the last few years of his life his health was so bad that he made no public speeches, except addresses to Sunday Schools and in Church meetings.
Mr. Firey was a man of warm and generous impulses, a firm friend, a loving and affectionate son and brother and after the death of his father (never having married) devoted much of his time and means to caring for the younger members of the family. He was left the record of a life well spent and his departure will be mourned by many."
From the Herald and Torch Light, March 12, 1885.
[A follow-up to this followed on March 26, 1885]
"MR. EDITOR. In your paper of the 12th inst., I read the obituary notice of the late Hon. Lewis P. Firey. Having been acquainted with him for many years, I think it was a truthful history of his public and private life. There was, however, one of his public acts omitted (probably it was over looked) which I think should have been mentioned. When in the State Senate he originated the project for the establishment of Antietam Cemetery on the battlefield in this county and secured the passage of a bill to accomplish it. He was also upon the committee appointed by the Legislature to visit the battlefield and select a position for its location. Always generous and liberal in his views, he, in conversation with the writer, remarked that he could see no objection to setting apart a place in the Cemetery for the burial of the Confederate dead; that if we wished to preserve the Union we must try to conciliate rather than irritate the two sections.
We now have a Cemetery that will not suffer in comparison with any in the Country. One that is a credit and an honor to the State. In speaking of it, too much credit can not be given to Dr. A.A. Biggs, its first superintendent, for the permanent manner in which the work was executed, its tasty arrangement and beautiful appearance. May it be preserved and perpetuated, that it may help to inspire future generations with a love of Country and patriotism sufficient to embrace the whole Union.
*Though not mentioned above, Lewis Firey was selected as major of the 1st Potomac Home Brigade Infantry, but remaining dedicated to his political office, did not muster.
Henry Firey (____ - 1861)
Martha Miller Firey (1801 - 1871)
John S. Firey (1822 - 1899)*
William F. Firey (1823 - 1896)*
Lewis P. Firey (1825 - 1885)
Julia E. Firey (1828 - 1863)*
Eliza Jane Fiery Wingert (1833 - 1910)*
Samuel M. Firey (1836 - 1906)*
Milton J. Firey (1840 - 1908)*
Saint Pauls Lutheran Church Cemetery
Created by: Cenantua
Record added: Feb 17, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 48248797