The Life and Adventures of David Lewis, the Robber and Counterfeiter: The Terror of the Cumberland Valley. / Edited by C.D. Rishel. For Sale by Publisher, Agents and Booksellers. C. D. Rishel.

The Life and Adventures of David Lewis, the Robber and Counterfeiter: The Terror of the Cumberland Valley. / Edited by C.D. Rishel. For Sale by Publisher, Agents and Booksellers.

Cumberland County, PA: C. D. Rishel, Publisher, 1890. 8vo, printed tan wrappers. 84 pp. Advertisements on both sides of back wrapper.

Scarce account of the life of an infamous Pennsylvania criminal who dodged the law for years and purportedly wrote these stories on his deathbed in jail.

David Lewis, known as "Davy" or "Robber" Lewis (1790–1820), became known as the "Robin Hood of Pennsylvania" for his brand of crime. Born in Carlisle, Lewis cut his teeth as a counterfeiter and later turned to highway robbery. There are countless stories of Lewis 'robbing the rich to give to the poor,' many of which are doubtless more myth than credible history. Nevertheless, there are several contemporaneous newspapers that do portray Lewis as aiding and befriending the downtrodden, who frequently helped him run from the law. Arrested several times, Lewis broke out of jail repeatedly.

This pamphlet begins with historical accounts of Cumberland, Bedford, and Centre counties in Pennsylvania, and describes the various locales where Lewis holed up, such as his famous cave hideouts; a den in Pine Grove Furnace; dwellings on Hanover Street, etc. This is followed by Lewis's own accounts of his exploits—all of which contributed to his legend. The first encounter with the law that Lewis recounts is his trial for desertion from the Army, for which he was sentenced to death. His sentence was later commuted to imprisonment, and his first incarceration was soon followed by his first escape, which he accomplished by sawing through an ankle chain with a 30-pound cannon ball attached to it.

Lewis recounts one particularly successful counterfeiting scheme:

Having procured a stock of paper, made agreeably to the sample furnished, I returned to my comrades in the mountain, where we went to work and struck a number of impressions of different denominations. As is usually done among counterfeiters, we made an equal divide of the false notes, and then separated to pass them off in the exchange of horses and other property. Some of my companions went into the neighboring States of Virginia and Ohio, while I preferred Bedford, Somerset, Uniontown and Brownsville. In these towns, and the counties in which they are situated, I was very successful in passing away and exchanging my bad money, and escaped detention in such a wonderful manner, that made me bolder as I became more guilty and criminal.

Lewis was shot and captured in 1820, and ultimately died from the wound.

REFERENCES: Williams, Blair. "Lewis the Robber" gardnerlibrary.org/encylopedia/lewis-robber

CONDITION: Some loss of paper at spine, contents partially splitting apart, sewing partially deteriorated, upper and lower right corners of front wrapper chipped, with some chipping to succeeding few leaves, light spots and stains, old pencil inscription at top of back wrapper, contents generally clean.

Item #3751

Price: $375.00

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