Sir Samuel Lewis served his people well and honorably, and when Freetown became a municipality in 1865, he was the obvious choice for Mayor. In 1896, he was made a knight the first West African to achieve such an honor. Like most pioneers, Sir Samuel's ideas were far in advance of his times. At a time when most settlers saw people of the hinterland as heathen strangers, he called for the annexation of the interior so that peace could be maintained in those areas and the Krios of the Colony could benefit through commerce and the development of the natural resources of the interior. He blamed much of the misunderstanding between the people of the Colony and those of the then interior on the lack of communication and contact between the two.
He therefore advocated for improved communications between the Colony and the hinterland so that there could be better understanding of the interior and greater opportunity to explore the many possibilities it offered. In perceiving the possibility of harmonious, purposeful and beneficial relations between people of different cultures and regions, Sir Samuel Lewis left his mark as one of the first men to envision a united Sierra Leone.