Lewis Tyree was a member of the Washington and Lee law school faculty only from 1919 to 1927, but his attachment to Lexington, Virginia was lifelong. At W&L he taught mostly commercial classes -- Contracts, Sales, Bills and Notes, Chancery Practice, and Business Associations -- but taught Evidence and Legislation, as well. He was known as an impressive presence in the classroom and a strict grader.
Tyree was granted leave in 1925 to do graduate work at Columbia University in New York City. While there he taught part time in the New Jersey Law School at Newark (later the University of Newark, now Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.) Tyree was offered a permanent position at that school, but was obliged to return to W&L for a year. Thus, during the 1926-27 academic year, Tyree taught at both Washington and Lee and at the New Jersey Law School, commuting by train weekly between Lexington and Newark. In the fall of 1927 Tyree became permanently affiliated with the Newark school, where he taught until 1957.
While in Lexington, Tyree acquired Mulberry Hill, a Lexington mansion built in 1793. When he left to teach in Newark, his family remained at Mulberry Hill. Tyree’s home during the academic year was also historic. He lived in a house constructed during the Revolutionary War at Paulinskill Lake, near Newton, New Jersey. Tyree spent his summers, Christmas, and other vacations at Mulberry Hill.
Born in Salem, Virginia in 1892, Tyree received both A.B. and M.A. degrees from the University of Virginia in 1912. After a year as dean at Fork Union Military Academy, he attended Washington and Lee’s School of Law from which he received his LL.B degree in 1915. After two years of practice in Richmond, Tyree served in the U.S. Navy from 1917 to 1919. He then began his career as a legal educator which was interrupted only for World War II service with the Office of Price Administration.
At Newark, Tyree continued his interest in commercial courses, but gained recognition in the field of evidence. He was held in high regard as a teacher. Twice, volumes of essays on evidence were published in his honor and The Legacy, the New Jersey Law School annual, was dedicated to him in 1930. He was scheduled to retire following the 1956-57 academic year, but died at Mulberry Hill after a short illness on January 27, 1957. Dr. Francis Pendleton Gaines, President of Washington and Lee, preached the sermon at his funeral.