Monday, January 10, 2011
A steel driving man they say bigger than life. He was said to weld a 30 or 40 lb hammer as he raced along side steam powered drills. He and others like him used hammers and other tools to forge through mountains and rock. He died doing what he did best. Driving Steel!!!
This leads me to another John Henry. John Henry Lewis!. This one is from Phoenix Arizona. He did not forge through mountains and tunnels to build the railroads but he used his hard as a rock fists to pound through opponents and fight his way to become the Light heavy weight Champion.
The family moved to Phoenix Arizona from Los Angeles when he two years old. At the age of four John Henry already had a pair of special made gloves to fit his hands.
After school they would rush home so they could box and train with their dad. People in the industry were amazed with John Henry's boxing skills as well as his brother Christy.
Listed below is the 1920 census when the family lived on East Washington Street. John Henry's father is listed as a barber and actually learned his trade from his father Nathaniel (click to enlarge)
In 1930 the family was still living on East Washington but without father John. (click to enlarge)
As John Henry matured he won fight after fight after fight as shown in this Pittsburg Courier news article in October 1932
His fathers uncle was Tom Molyneaux who won his freedom by fighting and eventually fought for the championship in England.
One of his other uncles, John Lewis of Youngstown Ohio, was considered one of the greatest fighters to ever come out of Ohio.
Although this next fighter is not from Arizona, it is worth the mention that Lewis and Louis both were fighters. He was born May 14th,1914,the same month as John Henry Lewis.