William Lewis Lockwood

Founder William Lewis Lockwood, MIAMI (OHIO) 1858, the only one of the seven Founders who was not a member of Delta Kappa Epsilon Fraternity, 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, Founder Benjamin Piatt Runkle, MIAMI (OHIO) 1857, 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 University, 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 had 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 treasurer 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 graduating in 1858, Lockwood returned to New York, studied law and was admitted to the bar. At the outbreak of the Civil War he recruited a company of volunteers, which he later led. He greatly distinguished himself in battle, but was seriously wounded and never fully recovered. He returned to Usquepaugh, R.I., with his wife and son, Frank, who was named in honor of Franklin Howard Scobey. Unable to practice law because of his poor health, he bought the local woolen mills and formed the firm of Lockwood, Alpin and Co.

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 in Brooklyn, N.Y.