Born Sam Tietch, Lewis performed as a wrestler and strongman, supposedly wrapping iron bars around his neck and arms, at Coney Island side shows before joining the Eastmans. Following Monk Eastman's imprisonment, he sided with Zwerbach during the struggle for leadership of the gang and, after the murder of rival Richie Fitzpatrick's in 1904, carried out the elimination of the remaining members of the Fitzpatrick faction
As a bodyguard, Lewis became Zwerbach's right hand man during the next four years and was involved in the murder of a gambler known as "The Bottler", a member of the Five Points Gang who operated struss games on Suffolk Street, shooting him twice in the chest in full view of twenty people.
Trouble continued between the Eastmans and the Five Points Gang Until May 14, 1908, when he and Zwerbach got into a fight with Louis "The Lump" Pioggi, a member of the Five Points Gang, over his former girlfriend and dance hall girl Carroll Terry and eventually forced him to jump out the first story window of a Manhattan bar breaking his ankle.
Returning to gang leader Paul Kelly, the two plotted the murder of their rivals and later that night, with several other gang members, Lewis and Zwerbach were ambushed while leaving a Coney Island bar and gunned down, with Zwerbach shot one in the head and Lewis five times in the head and chest.