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Picture: Helen Selina Lewis King, painted by WH Huddle in Austin, TX in 1877 (Courtesy of Sugar S. Glaspy.)

Carola Lillie Hartley
Publisher and Contributing Writer

As we continue to celebrate the women of Opelousas during National Women’s History Month, today we focus of a woman from the 19th century.

The daughter of Seth Lewis Jr. (d. 1835) and Mary H. Carson, Helen Selina Lewis (b. 1833-ca. 1914) was born in St. Mary Parish in 1833. She was the granddaughter of Hon. Seth Lewis, Sr. (d. 1848), one of the first territorial district judges in Louisiana. When her father died at a young age, the children were disbursed among relatives and she and her brothers were sent to live with their paternal Lewis uncles in Opelousas. She lived with Thomas Hardeman Lewis, a well-respected citizen of Opelousas. Her brothers live with William Brent Lewis.

Helen Selina Lewis married Dr. Valentine Overton King (1833-ca 1914) son of Valentine King and Nancy King, and grandson of Hon. George King, also from St. Landry Parish. George King was a parish district attorney, a district Judge, an associate justice of the Louisiana Supreme Court and a member of the state legislature during his lifetime. Valentine King, her father-in-law, was one of the first leaders of Opelousas when it was incorporated in 1821. He was elected to the Louisiana House of Representatives and served until 1822 when he was elected to the State Land Office that was in Opelousas, a position he held for thirteen years. He also served as the president of the Opelousas Board of Police for some years starting in 1828.  

Note one: Much of this information was sent to St. Landry Now by Sugar S. Glaspy, the great, great, great granddaughter of Helen Selina Lewis and Dr. Valentin Overton King. For over 60 years she researched the fascinating lives of the Lewis-King families. According to Glaspy, Helen Selina and Valentine Overton King lived in Opelousas and later in New Orleans. They left Louisiana from New Orleans and went to Texas around 1877. They also traveled extensively during their lifetime and published as well.

Note two: Portraits of Helen Selina and Valentine Overton King, painted by WH Huddle in Austin, TX in 1877, used with this article, are courtesy of Sugar S. Glaspy.

Dr. Valentine Overton King (1833-ca 1914) (Courtesy of Sugar S. Glaspy)