General Lewis Inn
The General Lewis Hotel now the General Lewis Inn, was established in the 1920s by the Hock family. The property was originally a private residence owned by John Withrow and then his daughter, Lettie Ford. The original brick home is still incorporated in the architecture of the hotel, and the other structures on the property were liquidated and used as materials for the Inn. . Other amenities on the property include a reflection pool and a pergola that were added recently. Also noteworthy, is the Yellow Buckeye tree in front of the inn. At over 100 feet tall, it is the largest recorded Yellow Buckeye in West Virginia. Today the Inn is owned by the Aaron and Sparrow Huffman.
Backstory and Context
The original brick house was built in 1834 and was occupied by John Withrow before becoming a hotel, and was later inherited by his daughter Lettie Ford. John Withrow was a slave owner, and the log slave quarters still exist behind the original 1834 portion of inn. One of Withrow’s slaves, “Uncle Reuben” was hanged on June 28, 1861, for reportedly conspiring a slave revolt that never happened. The “rise” Uncle Reuben was allegedly planning was scheduled for April 9th, 1861, and would include the massacre of white people in Lewisburg after the departure of Confederate soldiers. The same cabin that was once the slave quarters also was the Confederate line in the Battle of Lewisburg in 1862.
The eastern side of the General Lewis Inn was once an early brick residence. In 1928, the property was sold by Lettie Ford to a hotel corporation. After the transfer of ownership, the old brick house residence was utilized as the end wing of the hotel, a new central portion was built, as well as a corresponding brick wing on the other end. The eastern part of the building, including the dining room, kitchen, and the suite of rooms on the first and second floors were originally part of the brick house. Walter Martens, who also designed the Governor's mansion in Charleston, WV, designed the rest of the house including the western wing, as well as the main portion of the Inn. Inside in the dining room and lobby are hand carved mantels and the registration from the resort hotel in Sweet Springs.
Until August 2014, the General Lewis Inn was owned and operated by the Hock family that owned the inn for three generations. Aaron and Sparrow Huffman are now the current owners of the 24-room Inn, Many people have claimed that the General Lewis Inn is haunted. The current new owners have not experienced any activity as such, but many of the older employees can tell you some stories. A quick search on the internet will reveal quite a few ghastly tales, including a little girl who reportedly will frequently join you for a cup of tea or a Confederate soldier who can be heard walking along the upstairs hallway.
Woods Dayton, Ruth. Greenbrier Pioneers and Their Homes. Charleston, WV: WV Publishing Company, 1942.
Woods Dayton, Ruth. Lewisburg Landmarks. Charleston, WV: Education Foundation, Inc., 1957.
Greenbrier County Bicentennial 1778-1978. Lewisburg, WV. Greenbrier County Bicentennial Committee, 1978.
Historical Booklet Greenbrier County 160th Anniversary 1778-1938.
Information provided by the General Lewis Inn's Website Coordinator.