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William Lewis Lockwood
Oct. 31, 1836 to Aug. 17, 1867
William Lewis Lockwood
Painted from Life by
Arvin Nyholm, 1927
William Lewis Lockwood, the only one of the seven founders who was not a member of DKE, was born in New York City and was 18 years old at the time of the founding of Sigma Chi. He is best remembered as the “businessman” or organizer of the group and for bringing the element of cultural refinement. His organizational skills were largely responsible for the survival of the young Fraternity.
Of him, Runkle recalled, “He was different from each of the others. The difference was hereditary and was sharpened by environment. He was cultured and had been partly educated in the East. He was a slender, fair-haired youth with polished manners, and was always dressed in the best of taste. When he first came to Miami, wondrous tales were told of his wardrobe, of his splendid dressing gowns and the outfit of his quarters. He was refined in his tastes. He knew something about art and some understanding of the fitness of things genteel. We welcomed him into our circle. He could bring to our ambitious little band some things, mental and spiritual, that were sorely needed. He came to us, brought us all he had, and divided even his wardrobe, which seemed to be unlimited. Lockwood knew, instinctively, the value and power of money. He was treasure and managed the business of the Fraternity. He furnished the business spirit to the little band, and without it we must utterly have failed. He shared our love while living, and tender memories follow him to the brighter world.”
After graduation, Lockwood returned to New York, and studied law. He was admitted to the bar in 1860 and formed a law partnership with a friend. The outbreak of the Civil War found the two recruiting a company of volunteers among their friends, in which company Lockwood became First Lieutenant, later Captain. He frequently used his own resources to provide for men who were sick and in need, a trait later recognized by the men in presenting to him the Tiffany Sword. During the furious assault on Fort Wagner on July 18, 1863, he received a serious shoulder wound from which he never fully recovered.
He was honorably discharged in 1864 because of disabilities stemming from his original wound. He returned to Usquepaugh, Rhode Island, with his wife and son Frank (named for Frank Scobey). Unable to practice law because of his poor health, he bought the local woolen mills and formed the firm of Lockwood, Alpin and Company. Although the business was a great success, his health failed constantly. In 1867 he became the first of the Founders to enter the Chapter Eternal and is buried in Greenwood Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York.