Martin Baty Lewis (1806–1884), soldier and county official, was born in Clark County, Indiana, on January 13, 1806, the eldest son of Sally (Lemasters) and Samuel S. Lewis, who also served at the Siege of Bexar. He married Nancy Moore 1825 in Indiana and they had eleven children.
He emigrated to Texas in January 1830, with his family following in March 1832. He settled first on Ayish Bayou in what is now San Augustine County. They then moved to Indian Creek near Bevil’s Settlement in what is now Jasper County. His league of land is located on the east bank of the Angelina River, adjoining William Jourdan on the north and his father, Col. Samuel S. Lewis on the west.
In August 1832 Lewis was a sergeant major in the battalion commanded by James Whitis Bullock, and he participated in the battle of Nacogdoches. In November and December 1835 he was captain of a company of East Texas volunteers that took part in the Siege of Bexar. In July 1836, when a Mexican incursion into Texas by Gen. José Urrea was feared, Lewis raised a company of Jasper volunteers and marched to join the Army of the Republic of Texas on the Coleto. He resigned this command in August 1836.
Lewis served as county surveyor of Jasper County from its organization in 1836 until 1845. In 1844 he was also chief justice of Jasper County. In 1845 he patented title to 2,958 acres of land in Jasper County. Lewis Ferry on the Neches River is believed to have been named for him. He also presided over the organization of Newton County when it and Jasper were divided. He ordered Newton County’s first elections.
In 1847 he was a sergeant in the Texas Cavalry under Capt Veatch & Lt. Col. Bell in the Mexican-American War. He left Texas for California for the gold rush of 1849, and in 1863 he settled at Millertown, Fresno County, California where he served as surveyor and a judge. In 1851 he served as an Adjutant with the Mariposa Battalion under the command of Maj. James Savage, and took part in the discovery of Yosemite National Park.
He died March 1884 in Madera County, California.