28 December 2010

Rose or Alma Newcomb

Charles Dwight Newcomb (b. 1861) married Ida Holbrook (b. Jul 1868) in 1885 (they eventually divorced). They had four daughters. According to B.M. Newcomb, the oldest was named Rose. But an examination of the census records indicates that her name was Alma, and that her husband's name was Rose (or possibly Ross) Williams.

21 December 2010

Charles Benjamin Newcomb (1845-1922)

B.M. Newcomb wrote:

Mr. Newcomb was for a time in company with his father in the commission business, Boston; in 1869 removed to St. Paul, Minn. where he was president of the Union Improvement and Elevator Co.; in 1884 resided Philadelphia; in 1892 retired from business and returned to his old home in Boston, where he became a writer and lecturer on metaphysical subjects. He wrote "All's Right With the World", "Discovery of a Lost Trail", "Principles of Psychic Philosophy". His wife, Katherine H., wrote "Helps to Right Living", "Steps Along the Path". Both Mr. and Mrs. Newcomb engaged in the work of metaphysical healing.

14 December 2010

Arthur William Newcomb (b. 1873)

B.M. Newcomb wrote:

Mr. Newcomb attended Ripon Preparatory School and graduated, A.B., from Ripon College, 1896. He was Educational Director, Blackford School of Character Analysis, New York City. In 1904 he made a world tour as correspondent for several publications; editor of "Science of Business Building," by A.F. Sheldon, 1909-10; managing editor, "The Business Philosopher", 1910-13; editor, "The Science of Personal Efficiency", by Harrington Emerson, 1912-13; author of "The Questions of Socratic" series in Business Philosopher, 1909-13. Advertising writer and advisor from 1897 to 1914.

07 December 2010

Jesse Smith Newcomb (1826-1907)

B.M. Newcomb wrote: Jesse S. Newcomb was educated in the public schools of Haverhill and at Atkinson NH. During his youth he made two sea voyages on his father's vessel. Upon return he devoted attention to farming on the homestead. He learned the trade of shoemaking and established a successful retail shoe business. He devoted considerable attention to and invested in real estate, later in partnership with his brother Simon, under the firm name of J.S. and S. Newcomb. He devoted much time and thought to the welfare and development of his native town; acquired a considerable fortune. He was generous and had the reputation of being a model landlord. He was a republican in politics, and a member of no church, society, or club.

04 December 2010

Lorry/Laura (Newcomb) Baker

A reader named peggy wrote:

Lorry (Laura) Baker is buried in Dodge Grove Cemetery, Mattoon, Coles Co., IL (age 71, died 2-24-1885; tombstone: Feb 14, 1814-Feb 22, 1885). Her husband Michael Baker buried there also (age 79, died 9-30-1881; tombstone: Jan 14, 1807-Sept 29, 1882). I am interested in any information about their daughter Josephine Baker b 16 Mar 1838 Columbus, Ohio, m Mahlon Votaw 25 Jan 1855, Greenup, Cumberland Co., IL, died 6 Dec 1858 Greenup, Cumberland Co., IL. Ch: Otis (1855-1856) and Francis Marion (1857-1925). Thank you.

30 November 2010

Jane Ranlett

Jane Ranlett (b. 27 Nov 1852) married Alfred Newcomb (b. 15 Mar 1840, BMN #837). The old Newcomb books state she died in 1896. However, she was still alive and listed in the census (living with her son Alfred Roscoe Newcomb) in 1930.

28 November 2010

Harris Alexander Newcomb

Harris Alexander Newcomb (b. 24 Nov 1858) was married first to Hattie Estelle Lee and second to Mary Clista Randall. B.M. Newcomb said that Harris's first wife, Hattie, died in 1896, and that he had five children with her, the last being Roxie, born in 1895. According to BMN, Harris had three children with his second wife, Mary, the first being Charles, born in 1898. However, the 1900 and 1910 censuses both indicate that Harris and Mary were married around 1888, and that she was the mother of seven of his children, starting with Mabel, who was born around 1888.

21 November 2010

Harry Turner Newcomb (1867-1944)

B.M. Newcomb wrote:

Mr. Newcomb is a lawyer; received his collegiate education at Ludington, Mich., 1873-81, after which he entered the law department at Columbian (now George Washington) University and received the degree of LL.B. in 1891, and LL.M. in 1892.

In 1882, he entered the railroad service with Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad, as clerk in general offices; was with the Interstate Commerce Commission 1888-95; chief transportation section, division statistics, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1895-99; expert chief, division of Agriculture, U.S. Census, 1899-1901; editor "Railway World", 1901-02; lecturer on Statistics, Columbian University, 1896-1901; on counsel for Philadelphia and Reading Coal & Iron Co. before Anthracite Coal Strike Commission, 1902-03, and was employed by Commission on Interstate Commerce of U.S. Senate to digest testimony taken by the Commission prior to enactment of Hepburn Law and report on points not covered by testimony; senior member of law firm, Newcomb & Frey, 1907-22; General Solicitor for the Delaware and Hudson Co. 1922-; fellow A.A.A.S., Am. Statis. Assn., Royal Statis. Soc.; member Am. Soc. Internat. Law, Am. Econ. Assn., Am. Acad. Polit. and Social Science, Am. Polit. Science Assn.

Mr. Newcomb was the author of "Railway Economics", 1898, "The Postal Deficit", 1900; also many articles on legal questions, railways, trusts, public ownership, labor problems, civil service, etc., in leading magazines and reviews.

From <i>Colonial Families in the U.S.</i>:

Harry Turner Newcomb was educated at Ludington, Mich.; graduate of the Law Dept. Columbian Univ. 1891 LL.M.; with Chi. Mi. & St. Paul R.R. 1882; Interstate Commerce commission 1888-95; U.S. Dept. Agriculture 1895-99; Expert Chief Div. of Agriculture U.S. Census 1899-1901; Editor "Railway World" 1901-02; lecturer on Statistics, Columbina Univ. 1896-1901; Counsel for Phila. & Reading Coal Co. before Anthracite Coal Strike commission 1902-03; Fellow (formerly V.P. Sect. Social Econ. Science) A.A.A.S.; Fellow Am. Statist. Soc., Royal Statist. Soc.; member Council Am. Econ. Assn., Am. Acad. Polit. and Social Science.

14 November 2010

Irving Newcomb (b. 1872)

Irving Newcomb (BMN #2972) was born 11 Nov 1872 in Iowa, the son of Edgar Enos Newcomb. B.M. Newcomb said that Irving died in 1916, but he was still alive for the 1930 census.

06 November 2010

John Virgil Newcomb

John Virgil Newcomb was born 12 Feb 1914, the son of  Cleveland Guy Harrison Newcomb (b. 8 Nov 1892, BMN #3063) and Josephine Collins. The old Newcomb books state that his parents were married in December 1914. The Social Security Death Index  states he was born in February 1914. It is highly unlikely he was born a few months before his parents' marriage. These dates need to be checked.

31 October 2010

Lucy Merrill

Lucy Merrill (b. 8 Apr 1835) married Joseph L. Newcomb (b. 1840, BMN #1312) in 1867. Her obituary in the Boston Globe indicates that her first husband's name was McGee, whereas the old Newcomb books give it as McPhee. More research is needed.

27 October 2010

Joseph or Josephine Stubinger

Samuel Newcomb (BMN #296) was born 4 May 1775, the son of Cyrenius Newcomb (BMN #116, b. 15 Jan 1749). The old Newcomb books say Samuel's wife was Joseph Stubinger, but I wonder if  she was really named Josephine.

21 October 2010

Frank Turner Newcomb (1861-1930)

From Commemorative Biographical Record of Tolland and Windham Counties Connecticut (Chicago IL, J.H. Beers & Co., 1903):

FRANK TURNER NEWCOMB, who is a man of prominence and influence in both financial and political circles, was born Nov. 21, 1861, in Tolland, Conn., where the family had lived for several generations.

Cordial Newcomb, the great-grandfather of Frank T., was born in Tolland, and was a life-long farmer. His reputation as a man of an exacting conscience survives in the tradition that under no consideration would he accept more than twelve cents a dozen for his eggs. In 1824, 1826, and in 1835, he was a member of the General Assembly, and for many years was a selectman in the town. He married Mary Deming, and by her had the following family: William C., Eliza, Albert, Charles, Laura, Ralph, Samuel, and Henry.

William Crocker Newcomb, son of Cordial, was born in Tolland, Conn., Oct. 24, 1806, and he died there Feb. 4, 1864. In his younger days he was a school teacher, and he lived on the Willimantic river until 1838, when he removed to the Lord farm. An active and enthusiastic Democrat, he represented the town in the General Assembly in 1842 and 1843, and was senator from the old 20th district in 1859. For many years he was first selectman, and from time to time held various town offices. In 1807 [sic] he married Maria Trumbull Merrick, a daughter of Samuel and Olive (Greenslit) Merrick, of Willington. They had the following children: (1) William Burt, who became a prominent lumber and brick merchant in St. Paul, Minn., where he was associated with the firm of Griggs, Newcomb & Hills, married Emily Brown, and died in St. Paul in 1872; (2) John Mortimer, died in infancy; (3) Trumbull, born Nov. 4, 1833, died in Rockville, Sept. 5, 1881, where he was in business as a hardware merchant; he married Jane E. Keeney, a native of Rockville; (4) Loren is mentioned below.

Loren Newcomb, son of William Crocker and father of Frank Turner, was born June 5, 1836. He acquired his education in the district school, and remained on the homestead farm until the spring of 1865, when he settled on the old Paulk homestead, located about a mile and a half south of the Centre, and there he lived until the spring of 1901. The farm contained 144 acres, and Mr. Newcomb carried on in connection with his general farming, a dairy establishment, selling his milk during that time to the Vernon Creamery. Mr. Newcomb is a Democrat and cast his first vote for Stephen A. Douglas in 1860, but he is not a silver Democrat. He has served on the board of selectmen three years, and was assessor several terms. For one term he was on the board of relief, for two years held the office of constable, and he has also been justice of the peace and collector of taxes. In 1868 and again in 1883 he was a representative in the General Assembly, serving on the Prison committee in both terms. He was also a member of the Constitutional Convention of 1902. On March 5, 1857, Mr. Newcomb was married to Anna Turner, who was born Aug. 7, 1838, a daughter of Orrin and Lydia (Edgerton) Turner, of North Coventry. They were parents of three children: Frank Burt, born Aug. 18, 1858, died Feb. 7, 1860; Frank Turner and Anna T., born Sept. 10, 1867. Mr. Newcomb and his family attend the Congregational Church.

Frank Turner Newcomb was born in Tolland and received his education in the district school and in the Brookdale Academy, finishing in the Rockville high school. At the age of seventeen he began teaching in the 7th and 9th Districts, which were combined, where he was employed during the winter term of 1878. Then having opportunity to enter the Tolland County National Bank, he left the schoolroom to become the teller of the Bank. This was in 1878, and in 1884, he was made cashier of the Tolland County National Bank, and treasurer of the Savings Bank of Tolland, the two banks being conducted in the same building. Two years later the Tolland County National Bank suspended business, and since that time Mr. Newcomb has continued to be the treasurer of the Savings Bank of Tolland, which was given by the Legislature the privilege of doing a checking business, and is the only one in the State doing business on that basis. Mr. Newcomb has been an official of the bank for twenty-four years, acting first as teller and then as treasurer.

In 1887 Mr. Newcomb purchased the old Elijah Stearns homestead on Tolland Street, and here he has since made his home. The farm buildings and the family residence have been greatly improved, and the acreage increase by purchase, until now Mr. Newcomb owns 293 acres, having at his first purchase only thirty acres, but in 1902 he purchased all the real estate in Tolland formerly owned by Charles Underwood. He started a creamery in the fall of 1898, in connection with his farm, keeping about forty cows and shipping his produce to the Vernon creamery. On his farm is transacted a general farming business of considerable magnitude, and it is said that he raises more corn than any two other men in Tolland; he has the largest herd in this section of the county, having in addition to the cows above mentioned about thirty-five head of other stock. With his family he attends the Congregational Church of Tolland.

Politically Mr. Newcomb is a Democrat, and devoted to Jeffersonian principles as enunciated by that great leader. In 1884 he was appointed a notary public by Thomas M. Waller, Governor of the State. He was appointed county treasurer in 1887 by a board of Republican commissioners and has been re-appointed each time by a like board, with an exception of the year 1895, when the board was Democratic, and he is still holding that position. The same year he was appointed town clerk and treasurer to fill an unexpired term, and he has been elected to that position continuously since that time. He has also acted as school visitor and has been treasurer of the school deposit fund since 1888. He was appointed postmaster of Tolland by President Cleveland, but resigned after a three years' term on account of pressure of private business. In 1886 and 1887 he represented the town in the State Legislature, where he served on the committee on Banking. Mr. Newcomb has been chairman of the Democratic town committee since he was twenty-two years of age, or since 1883.

On Jan. 27, 1886, Mr. Newcomb was married to Addie L. Millard, a daughter of Milo and Lucy A. (Chapman) Millard, of Mansfield, Conn. They are the parents of the following children: Harry Arthur, born Dec. 8, 1886; Philip Trumbull, born July 3, 1888; Pauline Louise, born May 3, 1891; and Lilla Adelaide, born Nov. 1897.

Mr. Newcomb has been one of the most successful men of Tolland of later years, and he is in every sense self-made.

14 October 2010

Charles Henry Newcomb (1874-1947)

Reported by B.M. Newcomb and the Trapshooting Hall of Fame:

He started competing in 1901 and became one of the most prominent clay-target shooters in the early part of the 20th century, collecting over 1,000 prizes during his career.

1907, Member of winning team at Pennsylvania state championship; 1910,  World’s Championship Cup in Atlantic City; 1914, Indoor Championship, Madison Square Garden; 1915, Clay Target title at the Grand American in Chicago; 1915 and 1918, singles championship at Pennsylvania state tournament; 1917, Canadian National Exhibition champion; 1931 and 1933, doubles championship at state tournament; 1933, Pennsylvania state champion. He held the high state singles averages six times from 1913 to 1922; his 1913 average of .9527 was second in national ranking. Newcomb also led singles averages in the Philadelphia Trapshooting League four years between 1905 and 1915. He was average leader at several tournaments and clubs, including the Pinehurst Midwinter. Eastern Handicap, Westy Hogans, Southern Handicap, Boston Athletic Club, Quaker City GC, Penn Athletic Club and two state shoots. He was active in the Pennsylvania State Sportsmen’s Association and was one of the founders of the Quaker City Gun Club of Philadelphia in 1920.

Newcomb set two world records. In 1914 he broke 494x500 during a three-day tournament in Pittsburgh; and on July 7, 1916, he was part of a record-setting squad of 497x500, one better than the previous record set in 1907.

He was inducted into the Pennsylvania Trapshooting Hall of Fame in 1991, and the National Trapshooting Hall of Fame in 1999.

Newcomb was also a talented basketball player. He was a guard on the Camden Electrics team in the National League, the first organized professional basketball league.

09 October 2010

Gardner D. Newcomb

A reader named axybob wrote:

Gardner D Newcomb. He is my great grand father on my mother's side. Born in Maine, went to Ohio, enlisted in Co. 1, 62nd Regiment Ohio Volunteers, December 1861. Was wounded Fort Wagner S.C., honorably discharged August 24, 1865. I have copies of all of his military commissions as well as a photo of him. If anyone is interested to receive copies, I am happy to send through. His son was George Newcomb of Creston, Iowa. The only pharmacist in town.

06 October 2010

Fay A. Newcomb

Fay A. Newcomb (BMN #2586a) was born 27 Apr 1884, according to his WWI draft registration (which gives his middle name as Alva). According to B.M. Newcomb, he was born 25 Apr 1889, in Carrollton MO, the son of Matthew Dickey Newcomb (b. 12 Oct 1847, BMN #1518) and Aurilla Moulton (b. 29 Jul 1859).  However, he does not appear with them in the 1900 census, when he would have been between 11 and 16 years old. Their other children are listed. The 1900 census does list Alva F. Newcomb, born Apr 1888, living with his divorced mother, Ida M., in Carrollton, living with her family, the Chapmans. Missouri marriage records show a marriage between Matthew D. Newcomb and Ida W. Chapman 5 Aug 1877 in Carroll MO. The 1880 census shows Matthew D. and Ida M. Newcomb in Carrollton with their child Ona (one of the children BMN listed with Matthew and Aurilla) and an infant son. Were there two different Matthew D. Newcombs in the same area at the same time, both of whom happened to have a child named Ona, thus confusing B.M. Newcomb? Or did Matthew have two wives (possibly marrying one before divorcing the other)?

01 October 2010

Charles Newcomb (1818-1899)

B.M. Newcomb wrote: Soon after his father's death, Mr. Newcomb went to live with his aunt, Joanna (Newcomb) Jones of Holden ME. He moved to Orrington in 1837; in mercantile business for twenty-five years, following successful lumber business at E. Orrington; in 1861 moved to Brewer, where in partnership with Mr. Robinson he had extensive grocery and ship chandler business under firm name Charles Newcomb and Co. He retired in 1883 and returned to E. Orrington. In 1870 he represented the towns of Orrington and Brewer in Legislature of Maine.

27 September 2010

John Knight Newcomb

John Knight Newcomb (b. 10 Oct 1809, BMN #922) married Julia Ann Enock (b. 17 Apr 1814).  B.M. Newcomb said that John and Julia were married in Apr 1833 and that their son William was born in Jan 1833. This is extremely unlikely. In the 1830's in a respectable, middle-class family, a couple would manage to get married before the birth of the child.

20 September 2010

Perry Winfield Newcomb

Perry Winfield Newcomb (b. 5 May 1881, BMN #2621) married Estherline C. Adams (b. May 1879).  B.M. Newcomb gave their marriage date as 18 April 1901, but they were already married a year at the time of the 1900 census, and had been married 11 years at the time of the 1910 census.

14 September 2010

Thomas Newcomb (1843-1906)

B.M. Newcomb wrote:

Mr. Newcomb received his education at Punahou College, Sandwich Islands; Poultney Academy, Vermont; and at the College of California. He mastered several branches of business to qualify himself for his later position. He was a good chemist, practical assayist, and skillful telegraph operator. For a time he devoted himself to the study of law in its several departments, and made himself practically acquainted with stock operations on the Pacific coast. He became city editor of the San Francisco Morning Call, circulation 30,000, and was one of the finest writers in his special department in the state. As a caricaturist he achieved a reputation second only to Nast. He was first president of the Bohemian Club, San Francisco, organized 1872. Residents of California who were graduates from colleges and universities formerly met annually at Oakland, organized into an alumni society with historian, poet, etc. In 1872 Mr. Newcomb was named poet.

In 1880 Mr. Newcomb was made notary or appointment clerk in the executive chamber, Albany, by Governor Cornell, a position which he held through the different administrations until that of Governor Odell in 1903, when he was transferred to the Adjutant General's office. At the time of his death he was secretary to the Governor of New York. He was a member of the Fort Orange Club of Albany. "Thomas Newcomb was a man of ability and genius. Naturally of a keen intellect, his education developed him into a humorist of the most pleasing, refined type. His lyrics were models in composition and his prose was cleancut and of the purest diction. He was equally as clever at delineation with his pen as he was in composition and many excellent examples of his talent are cherished by those fortunate enough to possess them. His reputation as a newspaper writer was known from the Atlantic to the Pacific."

06 September 2010

Norman Newcomb

Norman Newcomb (BMN #2020) was born 16 Mar 1852, the son of Ebenezer Newcomb (b. 30 Nov 1819, BMN #984). He married a woman named Emma (b. Feb 1853), possibly Emma Hinman. BMN did not provide much information about Norman and appears to have confused him with a different Norman Newcomb, who may or may not have been a son of Frank P. Newcomb (BMN #1360).

According to BMN, Norman #2467 was born around 1873. However, if his father was Frank P. Newcomb, this would have been impossible, since Frank was born in 1870.

31 August 2010

Mary J. Young

Mary J. Young (ca 1837) married Obadiah William Newcomb (b. 23 Dec 1834, BMN #1046) in 1856.  The old Newcomb books say she died 24 Jun 1880 in Kansas, but she was listed in the census 28 Jun 1880 in Iowa.

28 August 2010

Joseph Warren Newcomb (1833-1866)

B.M. Newcomb wrote:

Mr. Newcomb was educated at a scientific school, Cambridge; was connected with the "Press" and "Courant" of Hartford, Conn., and the "New Haven Palladium"; he contributed largely, in prose and poetry, to the "Knickerbocker", "Atlantic", "Harper" and "Our Young Folks".

21 August 2010

Charles King Newcomb (1820-1894)

B.M. Newcomb write:

"Graduated at Brown University, 1837; intended, when a youth, to become a minister, 'but soon found it impossible to be a sectarian;' has been engaged many years in literary pursuits; served 3 months, in 1862, in 10th R.I. Inf. Vols.; now in Europe; unmarried."

From the "Amos Bronson Alcott Network":

Charles King Newcomb was a New England Transcendentalist poet who, at Ralph Waldo Emerson’s behest, contributed to the Dial and published “The Two Dolons.”  From May 1841 until December 1845 he boarded at George Ripley’s Brook Farm at West Roxbury, Massachusetts, though he never became an official member of the commune.  In 1865 he moved to Philadelphia, where he composed over 1000 erotic poems, and he spent the last two decades of his life in Europe.

From Early Letters of G.W. Curtis:

While at Brook Farm, Curtis was on intimate terms with most of the persons there. He greatly admired Mr. and Mrs. Ripley, and he frequently wrote to Mrs. Ripley and made of her a sort of mother-confessor. He also highly appreciated the scholarly qualities of Charles Dana, and his capacity as a leader. In his letters he frequently mentions "the two Charleses," who were Charles Dana and Charles Newcomb. The latter has been described by Dr. Codman as "the mysterious and profound, with his long, dark, straight locks of hair, one of which was continually being brushed away from his forehead as it continually fell; with his gold-bowed eye-glass, his large nose and peculiar blue eyes, his spasmodic expressions of nervous horror, and his cachinnatious laugh." Newcomb was for many years a resident of Providence, afterwards finding a home in England and in Paris. He was early a member of Brook Farm--a solitary, self-involved person, preferring to associate with children rather than with older persons. He read much in the literature of the mystics, and was laughingly said to prefer paganism to Christianity. He had a feminine temperament, was full of sensibility, and of an indolent turn of mind. Emerson was attracted to him, and at one time had great expectations concerning his genius. His paper, published in The Dial, under the title of "The Two Dolons," was much admired by some of the Transcendentalists when it was printed there; and it is referred to by Hawthorne in his "Hall of Phantasy." In June, 1842, Emerson wrote to Margaret Fuller: "I wish you to know that I have 'Dolon' in black and white, and that I account Charles N. a true genius; his writing fills me with joy, so simple, so subtle, and so strong is it. There are sentences in 'Dolon' worth the printing of The Dial that they may go forth." This paper was given him for publication at Emerson's urgent request, and it is not known that Newcomb has published anything else. In 1850 Emerson said he had come to doubt Newcomb's genius, having found that he did not care for an audience.

14 August 2010

Warren Alfred Newcomb (1894-1960)

Warren Newcombe was a set designer for 175 Hollywood films between 1925 and 1957, including "Tortilla Flat" (1942), "Easter Parade"' (1948), "An American in Paris" (1951) and "Singin' in the Rain" (1952). He received two Academy Awards for Special Effects, for Special Effects ("Green Dolphin Street" and "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo"). He was Director of Set Painting for "The Wizard of Oz".  He also produced many paintings and lithographs which are in public and private collections.

07 August 2010

Eliza Hickey Newcomb (b. 1838)

B.M. Newcomb wrote:

While on a visit to her son at Sedro, Skagit Valley, Washington state, 1896, she established St. Elizabeth Hospital, thus meeting a great need; the first institution of the kind there. She is very versatile: artist; musician; literary; patented household conveniences; philanthropist; has collection of art objects from foreign lands.

01 August 2010

Simon Newcomb (1835-1909)

B.M. Newcomb wrote:

Mr. Newcomb came to the United States in 1853; taught school 1854-56 in Maryland; graduated from the mathematical department of Cambridge (Mass.) Scientific School in 1858, and assisted in the preparation of the American Nautical Almanac. In 1861, he was appointed Professor of Mathematics and Astronomy in the United States Navy; was employed in the Naval Observatory at Washington until 1877, having been sent by the government, in 1870, to note the sun's eclipse in the Mediterranean. The degree of L.L.D. was conferred upon him by Columbia University in 1874, the same degree by Yale in 1875, and by Harvard in 1884, also by the University of Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1891. In 1875, he received the degree of Ph.D. from the University of Leyden, Holland, and the same degree from the University of Heidelberg, Germany, in 1886. In 1892, the University of Dublin, Ireland, conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Sciences.

From 1877 to 1897, Mr. Newcomb held the position of Senior Naval Professor and Superintendent of the American Ephemeris and Nautical Almanac Office, navy Department, Washington DC, and from 1884 to 1894 was professor mathematics and astronomy in Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md. In 1869, he became a member of the National Academy of Sciences and was its Vice-President from 1883 to 1889, and in 1904 was president of the World's Congress of Scientists at the St. Louis Exposition. He belonged to the highest scientific societies of Europe and America and received gold medals and other honors from foreign governments. As a mathematician and astronomer, he had no superior, if, indeed, an equal, in America, and but few in Europe. A complete list of his scientific papers would include about fifty titles and references, the following being numbered among them: "On the Secular Variations and Mutual Relations of the Orbits of the Asteroids", "An Investigation of the Orbit of Neptune with General Tables of its Motion", "An Investigation of the Distance of the Sun". His best known books are: "Popular Astronomy (1877), "School Astronomy (1879), and a series of Mathematical text books (1881-87).

Mr. Newcomb was also a political economist and wrote "Principles of Political Economy" (1886), "ABC of Finance" (1877), and "A Plain Man's Talk on the Labor Question" (1866).

He was buried with military honors at Arlington national Cemetery in 1909.

From Biographies of Notable Americans:

NEWCOMB, Simon, astronomer, was born in Wallace, N.S., March 12, 1835; son of John Burton and Emily (Prince) Newcomb, and a descendant of Elder Brewster of the Mayflower. He attended the school kept by his father, came to the United States in 1853, and taught school in Maryland, 1854-56. He attracted the attention of Professor Henry, secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, and was appointed a computer on the Nautical Almanac at Cambridge, in 1857. He was graduated from the Lawrence Scientific school, Harvard, B.S., in 1858; was a graduate student there, 1858-61, and was appointed professor of mathematics in the U.S. navy and assigned to duty at the U.S. naval observatory in 1861. He was married, Aug. 4, 1863, to Mary Caroline, daughter of Dr. Charles A. Hassler, U.S.A. At the close of the Franco-Prussian war, 1870-71, he went to Paris during the time of the Commune, examined the records of the observations and brought to light many astronomical observations back through a period of 200 years. He supervised the construction of the 26-inch equatorial telescope at the U.S. naval observatory and planned the dome in which it was mounted. He was secretary of the U.S. transit of Venus commission, 1871-74; organized astronomical expeditions for the U.S. government, and visited the Saskatchewan region in 1860, and Gibraltar in 1870, for the purpose of observing eclipses of [p.55] the sun. He had charge of a party which took observations of the transit of Venus at the Cape of Good Hope in 1882. He left the observatory in 1877, and directed the American Ephemeris and Nautical Almanac until 1897, when, having reached the age of sixty-two, he was retired from the navy. He acted as professor of mathematics and astronomy at Johns Hopkins university, 1884-94, and for his services in mounting the great telescope ordered by the Russian government, the Pulkowa observatory in the name of the Czar presented him with a magnificent vase of jasper mounted on a marble pedestal. He also took part in planning the telescope for the Lick observatory. He received the honorary degree of LL.D. from Columbia, 1874, Yale, 1875, Harvard, 1884, Columbia, 1887, Edinburgb, 1891, Johns Hopkins, 1902; that of Math. and Ph. Nat. D. from Leyden, 1875; that of Ph.D. from Heidelberg, 1886; that of S.D. from Dublin, 1892, and that of Phil. Nat. D. from Padua, 1892. He was also made a member of the important scientific societies in America, and an honorary or corresponding member of most of the academies of science of Europe. He was awarded the gold medal of the Royal Astronomical society, 1874, being the second American to receive that honor; received the cross of the Legion of Honor of France, and was made an associate of the Institute of France, being the first American since Franklin thus honored. He also received the flint gold medal from the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, the Huygens medal, given only once in twenty years for the best astronomical work during those years, and numerous ether honors. In 1899 the University of Japan presented him with two vases of their finest workmanship. He edited the American Journal of Mathematics, 1888-94, and is the author of: A Critical Examination of our Political Policy during the Rebellion (1865); The A.B.C. of Finance (1877); Popular Astronomy (1877); a series of text books comprising Algebra (1881); Geometry (1881); Trigonometry Logarithms (1882); School Algebra (1882); Analytic Geometry (1884); Essentials of Trigonometry (1884), and Calculus (1887); A Plain Man's Talk on the Labor Question (1886); Principles of Political Economy (1886); Elements of Astronomy (1900); The Stars (1901); His Wisdom the Defender (1901), and many papers on astronomical topics.

28 July 2010

Edgar Allen Poe Newcomb

He designed the Frank Pierce Carpenter House at 1800 Elm St, Manchester NH, which is on the National Register of Historical Places, Building  #94000168.  He and his father designed the Portland Savings Bank at 88-89 Exchange St., Portland OR.

B.M. Nedwcomb wrote:

He traveled extensively and was for several years a member of the "Artists' Colony" in Paris where he studied the works of both old and new masters of the art of designing. Among his most important architectural works were: The Carpenter Memorial Library, Manchester NH, First Baptist Church, Haverhill, Mass., the high altar in Albany Cathedral, Albany NY, besides a number of buildings in Honolulu. In addition to his architectural ability, Mr. Newcomb was a writer of some note, having written a number of poems which were set to music, and an opera, "The Maid of Marblehead", which was staged with success.

21 July 2010

Anna Josepha Newcomb (b. 1871)

B.M. Newcomb wrote:

Mrs. Whitney [she married Edward Baldwin Whitney] received her early education in Europe, mainly at Geneva, Switzerland and Berlin, Germany, where she won several honors. In 1885, she returned to Washington and graduated from the McDonald-Ellis School at the head of her class. She also studied at the art Students' League and showed great talent in painting. After her marriage and removal to New York City, she continued her art work there at the Art Students' League.

14 July 2010

William Crocker Newcomb

William Crocker Newcomb, son of Cordial, was born in Tolland, Conn., Oct. 24, 1806, and he died there Feb. 4, 1864. In his younger days he was a school teacher, and he lived on the Willimantic River until 1838, when he removed to the Lord farm. An active and enthusiastic Democrat, he represented the town in the General Assembly in 1842 and 1843, and was senator from the old 20th district in 1859. For many years he was first selectman, and from time to time held various town offices. He married Maria Trumbull Merrick, a daughter of Samuel and Olive (Greenslit) Merrick, of Willington. They had the following children: (1) William Burt, who became a prominent lumber and brick merchant in St. Paul, Minn., where he was associated with the firm of Griggs, Newcomb & Hills, married Emily Brown, and died in St. Paul in 1872; (2) John Mortimer, died in infancy; (3) Trumbull, born Nov. 4, 1833, died in Rockville, Sept. 5, 1881, where he was in business as a hardware merchant; he married Jane E. Keeney, a native of Rockville; (4) Loren.

07 July 2010

Thomas Newcomb (1806-1849)

B.M. Newcomb wrote:

Mr. Newcomb became a merchant's clerk when twelve years old, continuing in that occupation until the age of twenty-two, when he went to sea. He soon became master of a West India schooner; followed the sea for several years. once, when returning from the West Indies his vessel capsized and he was fifteen days on the wreck at sea without food.

In 1832, after acquiring a good education, he commenced the study of law at Amherst N.S., and received his diploma as barrister from Judge Halliburton. in Oct. 1839, in the same vessel with his brother Simon, he moved to Texas and settled at Victoria, then a frontier settlement. Before leaving Nova Scotia, Capt. Newcomb had taken a prominent part in politics and was well known throughout the province. He arrived in what was then the Republic of Texas during hard times, at the close of the struggle with Mexico. He endured many dangers and hardships; acquired a large practice as a lawyer, standing among the first in the country; served a while as district attorney. "He died in the prime of life, with a brilliant prospect for wealth and position before him; he was in every sense one of nature's noblemen -- a man of genius, eloquence and courage."

02 July 2010

Simon Newcomb (1779-1870)

B.M. Newcomb wrote:

Simon Newcomb began his life's career in the stormy days of the Revolution, and the firm decision, stern integrity, and unostentatious dignity of those times seem to have been inherited by him, and were the prominent traits of his character through life. To attempt a sketch of Dr. Newcomb's history would be to write a volume, for he was prominently identified with professional, financial, political and religious life for more than seventy years.

During his infancy, his father moved to Pittsdown, Rensselaer County; he spent most of his days in that vicinity. The longest day of his life he counted as 11 April 1796, which is scarcely surprising, as he has commenced to teach a district school, although not quite seventeen! The school was in Millertown District, now North Pittstown. He spent the proceeds of his summer's labor the next winter for board and clothing while attending school. In the spring he returned to the same place and taught two years.

In February 1798, he listened to powerful discourses by the eccentric Lorenzo Dow and Timothy Dewey, and was so affected by them that he always attributed his attachment to the Christian faith to their evangelical labors. He joined the M.E. Church the following month, and remained an honored member of the church for the rest of his life.

In the spring of 1799 he set out on foot for Alford, Massachusetts. He was disappointed in his business anticipations, changed his plans, and began studying medicine with Dr. John Hurlbert, remaining one year. He studied subsequently with Drs. Nehemiah King, Ezekiel Baker, and David Doolittle, four years in all. He commenced practice in May 1802. Through professional skill, promptness, and an honest endeavor springing from conscientious convictions to do all the good possible, he arose to eminence in his profession and secured a competence for himself and his family.

After his marriage, he lived at Pittstown, a little village one mile northeast of Tomhannock. Through his influence, a minister was secured, a church organized, and a house of worship built.

He was the first postmaster of Tomhannock and at Prospect Hill, now Johnsonville, and held the office twenty-seven years. He was a justice of the peace for twelve years, supervisor three years, U.S. assessor two years. He was for many years school commissioner, trustee, overseer of poor, town clerk, commissioner of deeds, master in chancery, class leader, church trustee, merchant, and farmer. Although occupying numerous situations of trust in political life, he was never charged, even by his opponents, with a dereliction of his official duties.

In 1814, at the invasion of Plattsburgh, he volunteered under col. William Knickerbacker in the brigade company commanded by Gen. Gilbert Eddy.

The father of Dr. Newcomb's second wife was a wealthy and influential citizen of Pittstown. The year following his marriage, he sold his farm at Tomhannock and moved to Prospect Hill, where he purchased a farm and resided for ten years. Afterward he moved to the upper end of Schaghticoke, where he remained for eleven years; from there he returned to Tomhannock, where he lived until 1853, when he moved to Lansingburgh.

Dr. Newcomb had in his possession the family bible of his grandfather, Thomas Newcomb. It was printed in London in 1812 by the assignees of Thomas "Newcome" and Henry Hill, deceased. He also had his grandfather's old account book. His great-grandfather, Simon Newcomb, had one hundred and thrity-nine grandchildren bearing the name of Newcomb; Dr. Newcomb was the last survivor of this large number.

Dr. Newcomb's social qualities, even in advanced years, endeared him to the young as well as to the aged; and all who came in contact with him were made wiser and better by his genial and intelligent conversation. Ever true to his country, his bounty flowed to the deserving but destitute defenders of its liberties, and many cases might be cited of his patriotic devotion and practical benevolence extended to the wounded and suffering soldiers of the War of 1812.

The following extract is taken from an obituary notice which appeared in the New York Christian Advocate.

"In many respects Dr. Newcomb was a remarkable man. First, as to his great age. He lived to within eight years of a century, twenty-two years beyond the time allotted to man in the earthly pilgrimage. He was older than the nation, knew Washington, Franklin, and the elder Adams, and was familiar with the passing events of our national history, from the signing of the Declaration of Independence down to the issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation. He retained in a wonderful degree his mental faculties to the last, discussing the live issues of the day in Church and State with the fluency and sagacity of his earlier manhood.

"His Christian career was remarkable in its consistency as well as in its duration. For seventy-two years he sought to magnify that grace which called him into the service of his Divine Master."

28 June 2010

Roland Bradford Clark Newcomb

B.M. Newcomb wrote:

In 1843 Mr. Newcomb went to Madison, Oh.; graduated, 1848, from Starling Medical College, Columbus, Oh., and began to practice the same year in Palmyra, Mich. The year of his marriage he settled at Blissfield, Lenawee Co., Mich., where he had a large practice and where he continued to reside until his death. For several years Dr. Newcomb was a public school officer; winter of 1864-65 member of Michigan Legislature; elected to State Senate in Nov. 1876 by 911 majority; State Senator 1877; held other public offices.

From <i>Medical History of Michigan</i>:

Dr. Roland B. C. Newcomb, born in Williamston, Vermont, September 25, 1882, taught school in Madison, Ohio, in 1843; graduated at Starling, Columbus, in 1848, and located in medical practice at Palmyra, Michigan.  Dr. Newcomb emigrated to Ohio in 1843, and studied in the Western Reserve Teachers’ Seminary at Kirtland. He had no means, studied first with a doctor in Madison, then in 1847 with Dr. Howard of Columbus, for whom he did the chores and took care of the horses. He was graduated at Starling in 1848, located in Palmyra, and in 1851 moved to Blissfield.  He was sometime township school inspector, trustee of the school board, supervisor of Blissfield, member of the House of Representatives and of the State Senate of Michigan, was a temperance man, a prominent politician and a Republican after 1854.

21 June 2010

Wealthy N. Newcomb

A reader named marie pittier wrote:

Am searching for Wealthy N. Newcomb, b.1779  d.1841 buried Israel Angell burial ground, Johnston, Rhode Island. Wealthy m. Kenyon L. Lillibridge. Daughter Laura DeLacy Lillibridge Dingley, b. 1827, Plainfield, RI. Was sent to be raised by an uncle according to family remembrances.

Wealthy's gravestone states: Wealthy N. Lillibridge twin of Amos Nucomb and Delase b. 1797-1841. She is my great-great Grandmother.


Harrison Romanso Newcomb (1844-1910)

B.M. Newcomb wrote:

In 1863 he graduated from Hiram College, Ohio; was a teacher. In 1870 engaged in the lumber business in company with his father; afterward became a banker and was prominently connected with the financial affairs of Cleveland until his death. The last few years of his life he was president of the largest banking institution between New York and Chicago.

14 June 2010

Alexander Huntington Newcomb (1824-1888)

B.M. Newcomb wrote:

In Toledo, in company with his son, was produce and commission merchant, dealer in flour, feed and provisions. In 1860 he was Mayor of Toledo; in 1874 Grand Master of Masons in Ohio. For four years was deputy collector of the 10th collection district of Ohio; 1857-60 justice of the peace.

From <i>Biographical Encyclopedia of Ohio</i>:

Alexander H. Newcomb, ex-Mayor of Toledo, was born, August 6th, 1824, in Waterloo, New York. In 1835 he removed with his parents to Toledo, Ohio, where he has since made his home. His father, Eleazer Newcomb, was a soldier in the war of 1812, his grandfather was a soldier in the Revolution, and his great-grandfather, Captain Bayes Newcomb, fought in the French war of 1757. His paternal ancestors came to this country from England, in about 1650, and were among the early settlers of New England. His maternal grandfather, Walter Taylor, was a captain in the revolutionary army. In 1856 Mr. Newcomb lost his right hand by the premature discharge of a cannon, at a Whig mass-meeting. When the Whig party ceased to exist, he naturally found a political home in the Republican party, to which he still belongs. He is a prominent and zealous Free Mason, having been made in Toledo Lodge in March, 1851. In December of 1854 he was elected Worshipful Master of his lodge, in which capacity he served for twelve years. For thirteen years he was Grand Lecturer for the Third Ohio District. In October of 1867 he was elected Grand Senior Warden of the Grand Lodge of Ohio, being re-elected in the following year. In October of 1869 he was elected Grand Master, and served as such for three consecutive terms. During Mr. Newcomb's administration as Grand Master, the Earl De Grey and Ripon, Grand Master of England, visited Washington on business for his government. A banquet of unusual elegance was given by the Masonic fraternity to the Earl De Grey and Ripon, and at this Grand Master Newcomb was present by invitation. Mr. Newcomb is a member of Fort Meigs Chapter, Toledo Council, Royal and Select Masons, and of Toledo Commandery, No. 7, Knights Templar. He was a Justice of the Peace from 1857 to 1860, when he was elected Mayor of Toledo. Mr. Newcomb has seen Toledo grow from a small village into a busy, thriving city of sixty thousand inhabitants--a growth in which he has borne a creditable part.

07 June 2010

Daniel Tobias Newcomb (1794-1870)

B.M. Newcomb wrote:

Daniel Newcomb was born at the old homestead of his parents, and his youth and early manhood were spent on his father's farm in his favorite pursuit, agriculture. In 1822, at the age of twenty-eight, he located in Essex County, New York, with a view to the cultivation of a large tract of land which he owned there, situation in what is now the town of Newcomb. The town was named after him, incorporated in 1928; he was the first supervisor.

After his marriage, they resided in Essex County, then a wild region of the Adirondacks, for four or five years, when they returned to Pittstown. He great ambition was to become a large agriculturist. He decided, therefore, to explore the "Great West". Early in January 1837, he left his home and traveled alone on horseback (the snow in many places two feet deep) through New York, Upper Canada, Michigan, Indiana and Illinois, to the Mississippi River, crossing the river into what is now Iowa (then Wisconsin Territory). After his explorations he decided to settle on the west side of the "Father of Waters".

In September Mr. and Mrs. Newcomb, with her parents, emigrated to Iowa, arriving 10 November 1837. They located in a beautiful part of the country, on the Mississippi River, about fifteen miles below Rock Island, where they took possession of a log cabin. There were at the time but two counties in what is now Iowa, Dubuque and Des Moines. For several years they endured the labor, fatigue and privations incident to settling and opening a farm in a new country. The proceeds and profits of Mr. Newcomb's estate, under his wise management and untiring industry, accumulated into a large fortune.

At an early day, seeing that the location of the site of the present town of Davenport was surpassingly beautiful, even in its natural state, he decided to make it his future home. According, in 1853 he moved to Davenport and erected a fine residence, known as the "Newcomb Mansion", on spacious grounds. In this lovely home, which commands a charming view of the Mississippi River and Rock Island, he spent the remainder of his days, dispensing the same generous hospitality that he had in this cabin in the country.

Mr. Newcomb was a man of little of no personal pretentions, unusually retiring, remarkable for sound judgment and close observations, his uprightness unquestionable, correct in all his dealings, so generous to the needy and kind to the poor that he was often called "the poor man's friend". The law of his life was the Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you would have other do unto you." No man could with truth charge him with injustice of oppression in a business transaction, and all trusts committed to him were scrupulously performed. The sternness of his character was equaled only by his goodness, temperance and integrity.

Though never a member of any Christian denomination (his sympathies were with the old-school Presbyterians), he always entertained a profound respect for religion and its ordinances, and manifested his sense of duty by an habitual attendance at the house of worship. He lived and died in the assurance of a blessed immortality. He often said his hope of heaven was unclouded, and that death to him had not terrors, the silent grave no gloom. No words more fully represented his feelings than the following: "I know that my Redeemer liveth," a sentiment expressed a short time previous to his death. His character may thus be briefly summed up: to a sound judgment and uprightness of heart and life he united great energy and untiring industry in all affairs of business.

Mrs. Newcomb's long devotion to her husband and to his memory were not more marked than her benevolence in every good work about her by which the happiness or well-being of others might be promoted. She united in her character those qualities which have ever rendered a woman a blessing to the world. She erected to her husband's memory the Newcomb Memorial Chapel at Davenport. In 1875-76 she gave a lot from her homestead, valued at $5,000, to the Davenport Academy of Sciences; she also presented to the Society five large oil paintings, set in rich frames, of herself and husband, together with a copy of the "Newcomb Genealogy" bound in Morocco. She also gave the ground upon which stands the Presbyterian Church and other religious and educational institutions, was chief patron of the public library, and gave $25,000 to found the Old Ladie's Home at Davenport.

From <i>Iowa Biographical Dictionary</i>:

Daniel Tobias Newcomb, son of Daniel and Elizabeth nee Wallace Newcomb, was born in Pittstown, Rensselaer County, New York, on the 25th of July, 1794.

His grandfather, Zaccheus Newcomb, was the fifth in descent from the original Captain Andrew Newcomb, a native of the West of England, who was among the earliest settlers of New England, being of Puritan stock, and the founder of the family in America. The first mention which we find of him is dated in the year 1663, in Boston, Massachusetts, at which place he died in 1701.

He descendants in America are quite numerous, and are represented in most of the states of the Union, embracing some of the foremost names in various learned professions, as well as law-givers, scientists, scholars, merchants, agriculturalists, and mariners; it has also furnished a large number of deacons as well as clergymen to the church.

The Newcombs were largely represented in the revolutionary war, in the war of 1812, and in the Florida, Black Hawk and Mexican wars, and also in the late war of the rebellion; to the latter struggle we have ascertained that it sent no less than two hundred and twenty-five members to fight for the Union.

The youth and early manhood of the subject of this sketch were spent upon his father's farm in his favorite pursuit, agriculture. In the war of 1812 he served under General Eddy during the invasion of Plattsburgh, September 1814. In 1822, at the age of twenty-eight, he located in Essex County, New York, with a view of cultivating a large tract of land which he owned there, situated in what is now the town of Newcomb, so named after him, incorporated in 1828, and of which he was the first supervisor.

On first 13th of July, 1825, he was married to Miss Patience Viele, eldest daughter of Abraham I. and Hanna (Douglass) Viele, of Pittstown, where she was born on the 5th of February, 1804, and sister to Hon. Philip Viele.

Soon after their marriage, Mr. and Mrs. Newcomb removed to Essex County, then a wild region of the Adirondacks, where they resided some four or five years, when they returned to Pittstown. Mr. Newcomb's ambition was to become an extensive agriculturalist, and he therefore decided to explore the great west. Leaving his home in January 1837, he traveled alone on horseback, with the snow in many places two feet deep, through western New York, upper Canada, Michigan, Indiana and Illinois, crossing the Mississippi River into Iowa (then Wisconsin Territory) and deciding to settle on the west side of the "Father of Waters". In September of the same year Mr. and Mrs. Newcomb removed to their western home, accompanied by Mrs. Newcomb's parents and other members of the family. They located in a beautiful part of the country on the Mississippi River, about fifteen miles below Rock Island, and took possession of a log cabin. At that time there were but two counties in Iowa (being then about twenty-five miles wide): Dubuque and Des Moines. Here they resided several years, enduring all the labor, fatigue and privations incident to frontier life in the west. Here Mr. Newcomb found ample scope for the gratification of his ambition, and became the owner of large tracts of land in Iowa. He operated one farm in Iowa containing a field of twelve hundred acres, all enclosed by a substantial fence, and which in one year produced the enormous hundred of thirty thousand bushels of grain. He was one of the first Iowa farmers who used agricultural machinery in the state. The profits and proceeds of his estate, under his judicious management and untiring industry, in due time accumulated a large fortune.

At an early day, seeing that the present site of the city of Davenport was surpassingly beautiful, even in a state of nature, he decided to make it his future home; accordingly in 1842 he removed to that locality, and in after years erected a splendid residence on spacious grounds, now well known as the Newcomb mansion. In this lovely house, which commands a charming view of the Mississippi River and Rock island, he spend the remainder of his days, dispensing the same generous hospitality that he had done in his log cabin in the country. he died of apoplexy, on the 22nd of December, 1870, leaving no issue, beloved and respected by all who knew him.

Mr. Newcomb was a man of little of no personal pretentions, unusually retiring, remarkable for sound judgment and close observation, upright, unquestionable and correct in all his dealings, and so generous to the needy and kind to the poor that he was often called "the poor man's friend". The golden rule, "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you", was the law of his life, and no man could with truth charge him with injustice or oppression in any business transactions, and all trusts committed to him were scrupulously performed. The sternness of his character was fully equaled by his goodness, temperence and integrity.

Though a member of no church, his sympathies were with the old-school Presbyterians, and he entertained a profound respect for religion which was manifested by  an habitual attendance at the house of worship. He lived and died in the assurance of a blessed immortality, often saying his hope of heaven was unclouded, and that death to him had no terrors, the silent grave no gloom. No words more fully represented his feelings than the sublime oracle of Job, so familiar to Christian ears: "I know that my Redeemer liveth." He repeated this sentence as his own experience a short time before he died. His character may thus be briefly summed up: to a sound judgment and uprightness of heart and life he united great energy and untiring industry in all business affairs.

His remains rest in the family grounds in Oak Dale cemetery, Davenport.

01 June 2010

Theodore Newcomb (1903-1984)

He founded the University of Michigan's social psychology department and was the author of several textbooks.

28 May 2010

Richard Fairchild Newcomb (1913-2004)

Mr. Newcomb was the author of six books, two of which become best sellers; "Abandon Ship!" in 1958 and also 2001, and "Iwo Jima" in 1965.  He served in the U.S. Navy during WW II, and received a Purple Heart.

21 May 2010

John Young Newcomb (1762-1856)

The "John Newcomb House", also called the "Wellfleet Oysterman House", built by John Young Newcomb, is at Williams Pond, Wellfleet, Barnstable Co., Massachusetts. It is listed by the National Register of Historic Places. The house is privately owned.

Henry David Thoreau wrote about John Young Newcomb as the "Wellfleet Oysterman" in his book "Cape Cod". The visit took place around 1849, but the book was not published until 1865. I have included a slightly edited version of the oysterman chapter here:

These houses were on the shores of a chain of ponds, seven in number, the source of a small stream called Herring River, which empties into the Bay. There are many Herring Rivers on the Cape; they will, perhaps, be more numerous than herrings soon. We knocked at the door of the first house, but its inhabitants were all gone away. In the mean while, we saw the occupants of the next one looking out the window at us, and before we reached it an old woman came out and fastened the door of her bulkhead, and went in again. Nevertheless, we did not hesitate to knock at her door, when a grizzly-looking man appeared, whom we took to be sixty or seventy years old. He asked us, at first, suspiciously, where we were from, and what our business was; to which we returned plain answers.

"How far is Concord from Boston?" he inquired.

"Twenty miles by railroad."

"Twenty miles by railroad," he repeated.

"Didn't you ever hear of Concord of Revolutionary fame?"

"Didn't I ever hear of Concord? Why, I heard the guns fire at the battle of Bunker Hill. I am almost ninety; I am eighty-eight year old. I was fourteen year old at the time of Concord Fight,-and where were you then?"

We were obliged to confess that we were not in the fight.

"Well, walk in, we'll leave it to the women," said he.

So we walked in, surprised, and sat down, an old woman taking our hats and bundles, and the old man continued, drawing up to the large, old-fashioned fireplace,-

"I am a poor good-for-nothing crittur, as Isaiah says; I am all broken down this year. I am under petticoat government here."

The family consisted of the old man, his wife, and his daughter, who appeared nearly as old as her mother, a fool, her son (a brutish-looking, middle-aged man, with a prominent lower face, who was standing by the hearth when we entered, but immediately went out), and a little boy of ten.

While my companion talked with the women, I talked with the old man. They said that he was old and foolish, but he was evidently too knowing for them.

"These women," said he to me, "are both of them poor good-for-nothing critturs. This one is my wife. I married her sixty-four years ago. She is eighty-four years old, and as deaf as an adder, and the other is not much better."

He thought well of the Bible, or at least he spoke well, and did not think ill, of it, for that would not have been prudent for a man of his age. He said that he had read it attentively for many years, and he had much of it at his tongue's end. He seemed deeply impressed with a sense of his own nothingness, and would repeatedly exclaim,-

"I am a nothing. What I gather from my Bible is just this: that man is a poor good-for-nothing crittur, and everything is just as God sees fit and disposes."

"May I ask your name?" I said.

"Yes," he answered, "I am not ashamed to tell my name. My name is --. My great-grandfather came over from England and settled here."

He was an old Wellfleet oysterman, who had acquired a competency in that business, and had sons still engaged in it.

Nearly all the oyster shops and stands in Massachusetts, I am told, are supplied and kept by natives of Wellfleet, and a part of this town is still called Billingsgate from the oysters having been formerly planted there; but the native oysters are said to have died in 1770. Various causes are assigned for this, such as a ground frost, the carcasses of black-fish, kept to rot in the harbor, and the like, but the most common account of the matter is,-and I find that a similar superstition with regard to the disappearance of fishes exists almost everywhere,-that when Wellfleet began to quarrel with the neighboring towns about the right to gather them, yellow specks appeared in them, and Providence caused them to disappear. A few years ago sixty thousand bushels were annually brought from the South and planted in the harbor of Wellfleet till they attained "the proper relish of Billingsgate"; but now they are imported commonly full-grown, and laid down near their markets, at Boston and elsewhere, where the water, being a mixture of salt and fresh, suits them better. The business was said to be still good and improving.

The old man said that the oysters were liable to freeze in the winter, if planted too high; but if it were not "so cold as to strain their eyes" they were not injured. The inhabitants of New Brunswick have noticed that "ice will not form over an oyster-bed, unless the cold is very intense indeed, and when the bays are frozen over the oyster-beds are easily discovered by the water above them remaining unfrozen, or as the French residents say, degèle." Our host said that they kept them in cellars all winter.

"Without anything to eat or drink?" I asked.

"Without anything to eat or drink," he answered.

"Can the oysters move?"

"Just as much as my shoe."

But when I caught him saying that they "bedded themselves down in the sand, flat side up, round side down," I told him that my shoe could not do that, without the aid of my foot in it; at which he said that they merely settled down as they grew; if put down in a square they would be found so; but the clam could move quite fast. I have since been told by oystermen of Long Island, where the oyster is still indigenous and abundant, that they are found in large masses attached to the parent in their midst, and are so taken up with their tongs; in which case, they say, the age of the young proves that there could have been no motion for five or six years at least. And Buckland in his Curiosities of Natural History says: "An oyster who has once taken up his position and fixed himself when quite young, can never make a change. Oysters, nevertheless, that have not fixed themselves, but remain loose at the bottom of the sea, have the power of locomotion; they open their shells to their fullest extent, and then suddenly contracting them, the expulsion of the water forwards gives a motion backwards. A fisherman at Guernsey told me that he had frequently seen oysters moving in this way."

Our host told us that the sea-clam, or hen, was not easily obtained; it was raked up, but never on the Atlantic side, only cast ashore there in small quantities in storms. The fisherman sometimes wades in water several feet deep, and thrusts a pointed stick into the sand before him. When this enters between the valves of a clam, he closes them on it, and is drawn out. It has been known to catch and hold coot and teal which were preying on it. I chanced to be on the bank of the Acushnet at New Bedford one day since this, watching some ducks, when a man informed me that, having let out his young ducks to seek their food amid the samphire (Salicornia) and other weeds along the river-side at low tide that morning, at length he noticed that one remained stationary, amid the weeds, something preventing it from following the others, and going to it he found its foot tightly shut in a quahog's shell. He took up both together, carried them to his home, and his wife opening the shell with a knife released the duck and cooked the quahog. The old man said that the great clams were good to eat, but that they always took out a certain part which was poisonous, before they cooked them. "People said it would kill a cat." I did not tell him that I had eaten a large one entire that afternoon, but began to think that I was tougher than a cat. He stated that peddlers came round there, and sometimes tried to sell the women folks a skimmer, but he told them that their women had got a better skimmer than they could make, in the shell of their clams; it was shaped just right for this purpose.-They call them "skim-alls" in some places. He also said that the sun-squawl was poisonous to handle, and when the sailors came across it, they did not meddle with it, but heaved it out of their way. I told him that I had handled it that afternoon, and had felt no ill effects as yet. But he said it made the hands itch, especially if they had previously been scratched, or if I put it into my bosom, I should find out what it was.

He informed us that no ice ever formed on the back side of the Cape, or not more than once in a century, and but little snow lay there, it being either absorbed or blown or washed away. Sometimes in winter, when the tide was down, the beach was frozen, and afforded a hard road up the back side for some thirty miles, as smooth as a floor. One winter when he was a boy, he and his father "took right out into the back side before daylight, and walked to Provincetown and back to dinner."

When I asked what they did with all that barren-looking land, where I saw so few cultivated fields,- "Nothing," he said.

"Then why fence your fields?"

"To keep the sand from blowing and covering up the whole."

"The yellow sand," said he, "has some life in it, but the white little or none."

When, in answer to his questions, I told him that I was a surveyor, he said that they who surveyed his farm were accustomed, where the ground was uneven, to loop up each chain as high as their elbows; that was the allowance they made, and he wished to know if I could tell him why they did not come out according to his deed, or twice alike. He seemed to have more respect for surveyors of the old school, which I did not wonder at. "King George the Third," said he, "laid out a road four rods wide and straight the whole length of the Cape," but where it was now he could not tell.

Our host took pleasure in telling us the names of the ponds, most of which we could see from his windows, and making us repeat them after him, to see if we had got them right. They were Gull Pond, the largest and a very handsome one, clear and deep, and more than a mile in circumference, Newcomb's, Swett's, Slough, Horse-Leech, Round, and Herring Ponds, all connected at high water, if I do not mistake. The coast-surveyors had come to him for their names, and he told them of one which they had not detected. He said that they were not so high as formerly. There was an earthquake about four years before he was born, which cracked the pans of the ponds, which were of iron, and caused them to settle. I did not remember to have read of this. Innumerable gulls used to resort to them; but the large gulls were now very scarce, for, as he said, the English robbed their nests far in the north, where they breed. He remembered well when gulls were taken in the gull-house, and when small birds were killed by means of a frying-pan and fire at night. His father once lost a valuable horse from this cause. A party from Wellfleet having lighted their fire for this purpose, one dark night, on Billingsgate Island, twenty horses which were pastured there, and this colt among them, being frightened by it, and endeavoring in the dark to cross the passage which separated them from the neighboring beach, and which was then fordable at low tide, were all swept out to sea and drowned. I observed that many horses were still turned out to pasture all summer on the islands and beaches in Wellfleet, Eastham, and Orleans, as a kind of common. He also described the killing of what he called "wild hens" here, after they had gone to roost in the woods, when he was a boy. Perhaps they were "Prairie hens" (pinnated grouse).

He liked the Beach-pea (Lathyrus maritimus), cooked green, as well as the cultivated. He had seen it growing very abundantly in Newfoundland, where also the inhabitants ate them, but he had never been able to obtain any ripe for seed. We read, under the head of Chatham, that "in 1555, during a time of great scarcity, the people about Orford, in Sussex (England) were preserved from perishing by eating the seeds of this plant, which grew there in great abundance on the sea-coast. Cows, horses, sheep, and goats eat it." But the writer who quoted this could not learn that they had ever been used in Barnstable County.

He had been a voyager, then? Oh, he had been about the world in his day. He once considered himself a pilot for all our coast; but now they had changed the names so he might be bothered.

He gave us to taste what he called the Summer Sweeting, a pleasant apple which he raised, and frequently grafted from, but had never seen growing elsewhere, except once,-three trees on Newfoundland, or at the Bay of Chaleur, I forget which, as he was sailing by. He was sure that he could tell the tree at a distance.

At length the fool, whom my companion called the wizard, came in, muttering between his teeth, "Damn book-peddlers,-all the time talking about books. Better do something. Damn 'em. I'll shoot 'em. Got a doctor down here. Damn him, I'll get a gun and shoot him"; never once holding up his head. Whereat the old man stood up and said in a loud voice, as if he was accustomed to command, and this was not the first time he had been obliged to exert his authority there: "John, go sit down, mind your business,-we've heard you talk before,-precious little you'll do,-your bark is worse than your bite." But, without minding, John muttered the same gibberish over again, and then sat down at the table which the old folks had left. He ate all there was on it, and then turned to the apples, which his aged mother was paring, that she might give her guests some apple-sauce for breakfast, but she drew them away and sent him off.

When I approached this house the next summer, over the desolate hills between it and the shore, which are worthy to have been the birthplace of Ossian, I saw the wizard in the midst of a cornfield on the hillside, but, as usual, he loomed so strangely, that I mistook him for a scarecrow.

This was the merriest old man that we had ever seen, and one of the best preserved. His style of conversation was coarse and plain enough to have suited Rabelais. He would have made a good Panurge. Or rather he was a sober Silenus, and we were the boys Chromis and Mnasilus, who listened to his story. "Not by Haemonian hills the Thracian bard,  Nor awful Phoebus was on Pindus heard  With deeper silence or with more regard."

There was a strange mingling of past and present in his conversation, for he had lived under King George, and might have remembered when Napoleon and the moderns generally were born. He said that one day, when the troubles between the Colonies and the mother country first broke out, as he, a boy of fifteen, was pitching hay out of a cart, one Doane, an old Tory, who was talking with his father, a good Whig, said to him, "Why, Uncle Bill, you might as well undertake to pitch that pond into the ocean with a pitchfork, as for the Colonies to undertake to gain their independence." He remembered well General Washington, and how he rode his horse along the streets of Boston, and he stood up to show us how he looked.

"He was a r-a-ther large and portly-looking man, a manly and resolute-looking officer, with a pretty good leg as he sat on his horse."-"There, I'll tell you, this was the way with Washington." Then he jumped up again, and bowed gracefully to right and left, making show as if he were waving his hat. Said he, "That was Washington."

He told us many anecdotes of the Revolution, and was much pleased when we told him that we had read the same in history, and that his account agreed with the written.

"Oh," he said, "I know, I know! I was a young fellow of sixteen, with my ears wide open; and a fellow of that age, you know, is pretty wide awake, and likes to know everything that's going on. Oh, I know!"

He told us the story of the wreck of the Franklin, which took place there the previous spring: how a boy came to his house early in the morning to know whose boat that was by the shore, for there was a vessel in distress, and he, being an old man, first ate his breakfast, and then walked over to the top of the hill by the shore, and sat down there, having found a comfortable seat, to see the ship wrecked. She was on the bar, only a quarter of a mile from him, and still nearer to the men on the beach, who had got a boat ready, but could render no assistance on account of the breakers, for there was a pretty high sea running. There were the passengers all crowded together in the forward part of the ship, and some were getting out of the cabin windows and were drawn on deck by the others.

"I saw the captain get out his boat," said he; "he had one little one; and then they jumped into it one after another, down as straight as an arrow. I counted them. There were nine. One was a woman, and she jumped as straight as any of them. Then they shoved off. The sea took them back, one wave went over them, and when they came up there were six still clinging to the boat; I counted them. The next wave turned the boat bottom upward, and emptied them all out. None of them ever came ashore alive. There were the rest of them all crowded together on the forecastle, the other parts of the ship being under water. They had seen all that happened to the boat. At length a heavy sea separated the forecastle from the rest of the wreck, and set it inside of the worst breaker, and the boat was able to reach them, and it saved all that were left, but one woman."

He also told us of the steamer Cambria's getting aground on his shore a few months before we were there, and of her English passengers who roamed over his grounds, and who, he said, thought the prospect from the high hill by the shore "the most delightsome they had ever seen," and also of the pranks which the ladies played with his scoop-net in the ponds. He spoke of these travellers with their purses full of guineas, just as our provincial fathers used to speak of British bloods in the time of King George the Third.

In the course of the evening I began to feel the potency of the clam which I had eaten, and I was obliged to confess to our host that I was no tougher than the cat he told of; but he answered, that he was a plain-spoken man, and he could tell me that it was all imagination. At any rate, it proved an emetic in my case, and I was made quite sick by it for a short time, while he laughed at my expense. I was pleased to read afterward, in Mourt's Relation  of the landing of the Pilgrims in Provincetown Harbor, these words: "We found great muscles (the old editor says that they were undoubtedly sea-clams) and very fat and full of sea-pearl; but we could not eat them, for they made us all sick that did eat, as well sailors as passengers, ... but they were soon well again." It brought me nearer to the Pilgrims to be thus reminded by a similar experience that I was so like them. Moreover, it was a valuable confirmation of their story, and I am prepared now to believe every word of Mourt's Relation. I was also pleased to find that man and the clam lay still at the same angle to one another. But I did not notice sea-pearl. Like Cleopatra, I must have swallowed it. I have since dug these clams on a flat in the Bay and observed them. They could squirt full ten feet before the wind, as appeared by the marks of the drops on the sand.

"Now I am going to ask you a question," said the old man, "and I don't know as you can tell me; but you are a learned man, and I never had any learning, only what I got by natur."-It was in vain that we reminded him that he could quote Josephus to our confusion.- "I've thought, if I ever met a learned man I should like to ask him this question. Can you tell me how Axy is spelt, and what it means? Axy," says he; "there's a girl over here is named Axy. Now what is it? What does it mean? Is it Scripture? I've read my Bible twenty-five years over and over, and I never came across it."

"Did you read it twenty-five years for this object?" I asked.

"Well, how is it spelt? Wife, how is it spelt?"

She said: "It is in the Bible; I've seen it."

"Well, how do you spell it?"

"I don't know. A c h, ach, s e h, seh,-Achseh."

"Does that spell Axy? Well, do you know what it means?" asked he, turning to me.

"No," I replied, "I never heard the sound before."

"There was a schoolmaster down here once, and they asked him what it meant, and he said it had no more meaning than a bean-pole."

I told him that I held the same opinion with the schoolmaster. I had been a schoolmaster myself,  and had had strange names to deal with. I also heard of such names as Zoheth, Beriah, Amaziah, Bethuel, and Shearjashub, here-abouts.

At length the little boy, who had a seat quite in the chimney-corner, took off his stockings and shoes, warmed his feet, and having had his sore leg freshly salved, went off to bed; then the fool made bare his knotty-looking feet and legs, and followed him; and finally the old man exposed his calves also to our gaze. We had never had the good fortune to see an old man's legs before, and were surprised to find them fair and plump as an infant's, and we thought that he took a pride in exhibiting them. He then proceeded to make preparations for retiring, discoursing meanwhile with Panurgic plainness of speech on the ills to which old humanity is subject. We were a rare haul for him. He could commonly get none but ministers to talk to, though sometimes ten of them at once, and he was glad to meet some of the laity at leisure. The evening was not long enough for him. As I had been sick, the old lady asked if I would not go to bed,-it was getting late for old people; but the old man, who had not yet done his stories, said,

"You ain't particular, are you?"

"Oh no," said I, "I am in no hurry. I believe I have weathered the Clam cape."

"They are good," said he; "I wish I had some of them now."

"They never hurt me," said the old lady.

"But then you took out the part that killed a cat," said I.

At last we cut him short in the midst of his stories, which he promised to resume in the morning. Yet, after all, one of the old ladies who came into our room in the night to fasten the fire-board, which rattled, as she went out took the precaution to fasten us in. Old women are by nature more suspicious than old men. However, the winds howled around the house, and made the fire-boards as well as the casements rattle well that night. It was probably a windy night for any locality, but we could not distinguish the roar which was proper to the ocean from that which was due to the wind alone.

The sounds which the ocean makes must be very significant and interesting to those who live near it. When I was leaving the shore at this place the next summer, and had got a quarter of a mile distant, ascending a hill, I was startled by a sudden, loud sound from the sea, as if a large steamer were letting off steam by the shore, so that I caught my breath and felt my blood run cold for an instant, and I turned about, expecting to see one of the Atlantic steamers thus far out of her course, but there was nothing unusual to be seen. There was a low bank at the entrance of the Hollow, between me and the ocean, and suspecting that I might have risen into another stratum of air in ascending the hill,-which had wafted to me only the ordinary roar of the sea,-I immediately descended again, to see if I lost hearing of it; but, without regard to my ascending or descending, it died away in a minute or two, and yet there was scarcely any wind all the while. The old man said that this was what they called the "rut," a peculiar roar of the sea before the wind changes, which, however, he could not account for. He thought that he could tell all about the weather from the sounds which the sea made.

Being on another part of the coast one night since this, I heard the roar of the surf a mile distant, and the inhabitants said it was a sign that the wind would work round east, and we should have rainy weather. The ocean was heaped up somewhere at the eastward, and this roar was occasioned by its effort to preserve its equilibrium, the wave reaching the shore before the wind. Also the captain of a packet between this country and England told me that he sometimes met with a wave on the Atlantic coming against the wind, perhaps in a calm sea, which indicated that at a distance the wind was blowing from an opposite quarter, but the undulation had travelled faster than it. Sailors tell of "tide-rips" and "ground-swells," which they suppose to have been occasioned by hurricanes and earthquakes, and to have travelled many hundred, and sometimes even two or three thousand miles.

Before sunrise the next morning they let us out again, and I ran over to the beach to see the sun come out of the ocean. The old woman of eighty-four winters was already out in the cold morning wind, bare-headed, tripping about like a young girl, and driving up the cow to milk. She got the breakfast with despatch, and without noise or bustle; and meanwhile the old man resumed his stories, standing before us, who were sitting, with his back to the chimney, and ejecting his tobacco-juice right and left into the fire behind him, without regard to the various dishes which were there preparing. At breakfast we had eels, buttermilk cake, cold bread, green beans, doughnuts, and tea. The old man talked a steady stream; and when his wife told him he had better eat his breakfast, he said: "Don't hurry me; I have lived too long to be hurried." I ate of the apple-sauce and the doughnuts, which I thought had sustained the least detriment from the old man's shots, but my companion refused the apple-sauce, and ate of the hot cake and green beans, which had appeared to him to occupy the safest part of the hearth. But on comparing notes afterward, I told him that the buttermilk cake was particularly exposed, and I saw how it suffered repeatedly, and therefore I avoided it; but he declared that, however that might be, he witnessed that the apple-sauce was seriously injured, and had therefore declined that. After breakfast we looked at his clock, which was out of order, and oiled it with some "hen's grease," for want of sweet oil, for he scarcely could believe that we were not tinkers or pedlers; meanwhile he told a story about visions, which had reference to a crack in the clock-case made by frost one night.He was curious to know to what religious sect we belonged. He said that he had been to hear thirteen kinds of preaching in one month, when he was young, but he did not join any of them,-he stuck to his Bible. There was nothing like any of them in his Bible. While I was shaving in the next room, I heard him ask my companion to what sect he belonged, to which he answered:

"Oh, I belong to the Universal Brotherhood."

"What 's that?" he asked, "Sons o' Temperance?"

Finally, filling our pockets with doughnuts, which he was pleased to find that we called by the same name that he did, and paying for our entertainment, we took our departure; but he followed us out of doors, and made us tell him the names of the vegetables which he had raised from seeds that came out of the Franklin. They were cabbage, broccoli, and parsley. As I had asked him the names of so many things, he tried me in turn with all the plants which grew in his garden, both wild and cultivated. It was about half an acre, which he cultivated wholly himself. Besides the common garden vegetables, there were Yellow-Dock, Lemon Balm, Hyssop, Gill-go-over-the-ground, Mouse-ear, Chick-weed, Roman Wormwood, Elecampane, and other plants. As we stood there, I saw a fish-hawk stoop to pick a fish out of his pond.

"There," said I, "he has got a fish."

"Well," said the old man, who was looking all the while, but could see nothing, "he didn't dive, he just wet his claws."

And, sure enough, he did not this time, though it is said that they often do, but he merely stooped low enough to pick him out with his talons; but as he bore his shining prey over the bushes, it fell to the ground, and we did not see that he recovered it. That is not their practice.

Thus, having had another crack with the old man, he standing bareheaded under the eaves, he directed us "athwart the fields," and we took to the beach again for another day, it being now late in the morning.

It was but a day or two after this that the safe of the Provincetown Bank was broken open and robbed by two men from the interior, and we learned that our hospitable entertainers did at least transiently harbor the suspicion that we were the men.

14 May 2010

Harvey Newcomb (1803-1863)

His books are of interest to collectors, and some have been reprinted in recent years. Copies of the originals can sometimes be found online or in used book stores, and range in price from $15 - $1000 depending on title and condition.

B.M. Newcomb wrote:

Mr. Newcomb moved to Alfred NY in 181; he taught school for eight years. He learned the printing business; owned, edited and published the Western Star at Westfield NY 1826-28; edited the Buffalo Patrio, an anti-Masonic paper 1828-30; Pittsburgh Christian Herald 1830-31; and the next ten years wrote Sabbath-school books, a part of his voluminous authorship.

Some of Mr. Newcomb's works have had a large circulation. According to a calculation made several years before his decease, there had been circulated of all of his works nearly sixty-five million pages. He wrote 178 volumes, mostly for children, among them fourteen volumes of church history. In 1849 he was assistant editor, Boston Treveller; 1850-51, of the New York Observer; a regular contributor to the Boston Recorder, 1837-42, and to the Youth's Companion for a much longer period; also contributed to the Puritan Recorder and New York Evangelist. In 1853 appeared his "Young Ladies' Guide"; in 1842, "Four Pillars, or the Truth of Christianity Demonstrated", later, "Manners and Customs of the north American Indians" in two volumes and "Pastor's Life". His largest work was "Newcomb's Cyclopedia of Missions" in 1855.

In 1836 he moved to Massachusetts and resided near Boston. In 1840 he was licensed to preach; in 1844 in charge of West Roxbury, Mass., Congregational Church; afterward in charge at Needham and Grantville, Mass. He preached some time at Park Street Mission Church, Brooklyn NY, where he established many mission schools. In 1859 he took charge of the church at Hancock PA, seeking in the quiet of the country to regain is failing health. With difficulty he preached for two or three years, then returned to Brooklyn, where he died after a year and a half of suffering. he left an interesting autobiography.

From <i>Biographies of Notable Americans</i>:

NEWCOMB, Harvey, editor and author, was born in Thetford, Vt., Sept. 2, 1803. His parents removed in 1818 to western New York, where he worked on the farm and taught school in winter. In 1826 he entered journalism, and in 1831 was editing the Christian Herald, Pittsburg, Pa. He wrote and edited over 150 books for the American Sunday School Union, 1831-40. He was licensed to preach in 1840, and held pastorates in West Roxbury, Mass., and elsewhere in New England. He was an editor of the Traveler, Boston, 1849, and assistant editor of the Observer, New York city, 1850-51. In 1850 he took charge of the Park Street mission church, Brooklyn, N.Y. He is the author of: Manners and Customs of North American Indians (2 vols., 1835); Young Lady's Guide (1839); How to be a Man (1846); How to be a Lady (1847); Cyclopedia of Missions (1854). He died in Brooklyn, N.Y., Aug. 30, 1863.

07 May 2010

Daniel Webster Newcomb/Gayette Landon

Daniel Webster Newcomb (BMN #1845) was born 15 May 1838 or 1840. the old Newcomb books state that he married Gayette Landon. But in the census records, his wife's name is always Samantha.

01 May 2010

Frank Hamilton Newcomb (1846-1934)

The Navy destroyer USS Newcomb was named after him. In 1900 he received a Congressional Gold Medal.

B.M. Newcomb wrote:

Mr. Newcomb served in the U.S. Navy during the Civil War; was appointed mate Nov. 1863; resigned 6 May 1865. In 1873 he was nominated by the President as 3rd Lieutenant in the Revenue Marine; in 1877, was Lieutenant on the Revenue Cutter "Johnson" stationed at Milwaukee, Wis. As commander of the tug "Hudson" in the Spanish War, he distinguished himself in the battle of Cardenas and was awarded a special gold medal by Congress. He later became a Captain and retired with rank of Capt. Commandant U.S. Coast Guard.

28 April 2010

Dan Newcomb (b. 1829)

J. B. Newcomb wrote:

Studied medicine, graduated in 1852 at Berkshire Medical College at Pittsfield, Mass., as physician and surgeon. He settled in Bangor NY, 1852; removed to Cabot, Vt., 1855; Atchison, Kan., 1857; Palatine, Ill. 1860, and in 1868 to Park Ridge (formerly Brockton), near Chicago. He was register of deeds at Atchison. He was the author of several medical works; was director in University Publishing Co., Chicago.

21 April 2010

William Kendall Newcomb

B.M. Newcomb wrote:

Mr. Newcomb was a physician and surgeon. His early education was received in the public schools of McLean Co., Ill., after which he taught school in the same county. he then completed a course in the Gem City Business College in Quincy, Ill. In 1882, he completed a course in Rush Medical College in Chicago and soon after commenced practice at Fisher. In 1896, he sold his practice at Fisher and spent a year abroad, studying in Vienna, Berlin, Paris and London. He returned in 1897, and in July of that year opened an office in Champaign.

While at Fisher, Mr. Newcomb was surgeon for the Illinois Central Railway, and a member of the National Association of Railway Surgeons.

In 1899, he was chosen counselor or executive member of the State Medical Society of Illinois, a position which he held for twelve years, and in 1911 was made president of that organization. On the day he was stricken with his last illness, he was received into the American College of Surgeons, an honorary organization whose members are selected from among the foremost physicians and surgeons of the country, and which corresponds to the Royal Society of England.

Dr. Newcomb was also prominently identified with local charities and public movements; was one of the founders of the school of nurses at the Burnham hospital; was also one of the founders and a director in the Anti-Tuberculosis Health League; was trustee of the Garwood Old Ladies' Home, and executive committee member and one of the organizers of the United Charities, and was a prominent member of the Chamber of Commerce; served as master of Fisher Lodge A.F. and A.M.; was a member of Champaign Commandery Knights Templar and the Modern Woodmen. He was an active member of the Methodist Episcopal Church for many years.

14 April 2010

Zilpha Fletcher

Zilpha Fletcher (ca 1848) was the daughter of John Fletcher (1805-1861) and Emeline Newcomb (1815-1895). Zilpha married Gideon Gerow (or Gero) 3 Oct 1872 in Seneca Co. OH. B.M. Newcomb said that Zilpha's second husband was Herman Fletcher and that she died 27 Mar, 1914, in San Diego. However, in the 1880 census, her first husband, Gideon is listed as a widower, living with the family of her brother Myron.

07 April 2010

Abner B. Woodworth

Abner Woodworth (b. 10 Mar 1879) was the son of  Phebe Newcomb (b. 27 Aug 1833) and Buell Woodworth (b. 29 Jan 1831). He married Hazel Beers (ca 1822) in 1909. B.M. Newcomb said that they had no children, but they had two children, Doris and Buell, in the 1920 and 1930 censuses.

02 April 2010

James Pearson Newcomb

B.M. Newcomb wrote:

Mr. Newcomb emigrated with his parents to Texas when two years of age, settling at Victoria. Before he was twelve, he had already acquired a fair English education, and had some acquaintance with the classics. After his father's death he served four years in a printing office. In 1854, when seventeen years of age, he started a newspaper at San Antonio, Texas, and made it a success; he sold out in 1856.

He went to Vermont University at Burlington to acquire a collegiate education; he entered college, but remained only part of a term, being called home to attend to his father's estate. He again began the newspaper business, and published, at San Antonio, the Alamo Express, which rapidly rose to be one of the principal papers in the city, where it combated secession with undying vigor in the midst of enemies. On 13 May 1861, four days after the surrender of Col. Reeve's command of United States troops to Van Dorn's force, Mr. Newcomb issued an "extra", giving an account of the surrender and some strictures on the perfidy of the transaction. At midnight the same day a mob of "Knights of the Golden Circle" and Rangers broke open his office, destroyed his press and material, and set fire to the building. The alarm of fire was given; the city engines and people turned out, but to no purpose. The morning light displayed the charred ruins of the Alamo Express, the last Union paper in Texas. This caused great excitement, and for fear of retaliation the secession offices were guarded. Immediately after, a plot for the hanging and banishment of 150 of the most prominent Union men was discovered.

The day after the destruction of his office, Mr. Newcomb became a refugee. He left the city for the Rio Grande and passed into Mexico, then organized a party at Monterey to cross the country to the Pacific, thence to California. The journey was successfully performed amidst many dangers and hardships, the party arriving at San Francisco in February 1862.

He volunteered to accompany the Union forces then organizing for a campaign across Arizona to Texas, and served as a scout for the army in its march from San Pedro, California. He was discharged at his request after the army went into permanent quarters, and returned to San Francisco, where he printed, in 1862, a "History of Secession Times in Texas, and Journal of Travel from Texas through Mexico to California", an octavo pamphlet of thirty-three pages. He was also editor of the San Jose Tribune.

He was mining in Arizona during 1864, making and losing a fortune. In the spring of 1867 he returned to San Antonio, again engaging in the editorial profession. He served with honor as a member of the Constitutional Convention in 1868-69, which gave the state its reconstructed government, being elected by the people by a large majority. He was nominated by the Governor and confirmed by the State Senate as Secretary of State under Governor Davis, serving from 1870 to 1874. In 1874, he was editor and proprietor of the State Journal, the central organ of the Republican party in the state. In 1877 he was admitted to the bar, but never practiced law to any extent. In 1897 he began the publication of the Texas Sun, a newspaper devoted to the subject of immigration, and later edited the Evening Light, which is still published as the San Antonio Daily Light.

In later years, Mr. Newcomb held various public positions, among which was that of postmaster during President Arthur's administration. He was considered one of the most active politicians and one of the best newspaper writers in Texas, continuing his editorial work up until the time of his death. He was man of untiring energy and varied accomplishments, ardent and warm-hearted, whose will and pen were always enlisted in the cause of truth and right. He had hosts of warm friends, both personal and political, and many political enemies. His engagement in politics did not arise from a love of political life, but from a desire to see good government firmly planted in his state. His prominence came to him without his seeking. He passed through many trials and emergencies, and was thoroughly acquainted with the history and men of his time. Having a deep love for nature, he moved with his family, in 1904, to his farm, Great Oaks, ten miles from San Antonio, where he continued his writing.

In July 1906, he received an injury in a runaway accident, which resulted in a cerebral hemorrhage and caused his death more than a year later. He was possessed of such a wonderful constitution and such marvelous vitality of mind and body that, even after the second serious attack of hemorrhage, he drove back and forth to town attending to business and getting the cotton crop to market. At this time he also wrote a sketch of the Republican Governor of Texas, E.J. Davis, for a book on the Presidents and Governors of Texas. His body rests in the Masonic Cemetery, San Antonio.

27 March 2010

Wayland Clarence Newcomb and Gurtha Laura Kelley

Wayland Clarence Newcomb was born 7 Jun 1875. He married Gurtha Luara Kelley (b. 26 Oct 1868) in 1889. They had four children: Gladys, Beryl, Elmo and Leola.  B.M. Newcomb listed a fifth child, Edwin, but there is no indication of him in the census, and in the 1910 census, Gurtha is listed as the mother four children, all living.

21 March 2010

Mertie Newcomb and Charles Cox

Mertie Newcomb (b. 8 Sep 1874) was the daughter of Arthur Gilman Newcomb (b. 10 Apr 1851, BMN #2953). She married Charles Cox (b. Jan 1872). According to B.M. Newcomb, Charles and Mertie were married in 1903. But in the 1900 census they had already been married seven years and had two children.

14 March 2010

Wesley Newcomb (1808-1892)

B.M. Newcomb wrote:

Mr. Newcomb received an academic education at White Plains Academy, Westchester County, from John A. Gillett, his private tutor in mathematics, and Prof. Amos Eaton in science. He graduated in medicine from Vermont Medical Academy at Castleton, being one of three valedictorians. During his term of three years' study he took courses of lectures in New York and Philadelphia, and spend some time in France. He then became house surgeon of the hospital department of the Albany almshouse, where he remained one year. He opened an office in the city of Albany, and became connected in practice with Dr. Henry Van Antwerp. Subsequently, he formed a partnership with his brother-in-law, Thomas W. Newcomb, in the wholesale drug business at Troy.

Dr. Newcomb was always a close student, with a penchant for scientific research. Believing that to understand geology in the later formations required a knowledge of the fossil contents of the rocks, he early directed his attention to the study of conchology as the alphabet of palaeontology, a branch of science which has changed the whole character of geology and reduce it to a more perfect science. He was at the time the most distinguished conchologist in America. Upon his second visit to Europe he was cordially received, and even feted, by some of the most celebrated savants of London and Paris.

During a residence of five years in Honolulu he enjoyed facilities for collecting the land shells of the entire group. As one result of these labors may be mentioned his description of over one hundred new species of the genus Achatinella, the larger part published in the Zoological Lyceum of Natural History of New York, Tyron's Conchological Journal, and in Proceedings of California Academy of Natural Sciences. In his various explorations in Europe, the West Indies, South America, Central America and Mexico, he has added much to knowledge in many departments of Natural History. His vast acquisitions obtained by dredging, employing divers, and by personal search on the shores of different countries were placed in the museum of Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.

For four years Dr. Newcomb was connected with Cornell, where he filled more than 20,000 tablets with the shells of molluscous animals carefully named and classified. He also added many thousand specimens from the radiata, articulata and vertebrata. The collection occupied over 2,000 square feet of surface and was purchased for about $20,000. The mineral and geological collection was also greatly enriched by additions from South America and especially from the state of Nevada.

In 1857 Dr. Newcomb established himself in the practice of his profession at Oakland, California. During the twelve years he spent there he described many of the helices of California, also fresh water and marine species, and delivered a course of lectures on natural history in what was at that time called California College (later the University of California).

In 1870 he accompanied the Santo Domingo commissioners as sanitary expert. During the expedition he discovered the previously unknown locality of La Marck's helicina viridis, and his collection of new species were described in the Journal de Conchologie, Paris.

In 1871 Dr. Newcomb was appointed by the President of the United States as one of three commissioners to investigate the Sutro Tunnel, a mining project of great important, leading from Carson Valley to Virginia City; their report met with the approval of the government.

He passed the winter of 1872-73 in south Florida, making explorations and adding to his collection in zoology and botany, now to be seen in many collections, both public and private, in Europe and America.

In his numerous expeditions he was accompanied, except in two or three instances, by his wife, whose skill in delineating delicate and perishable specimens with her pencil was of great service, as well as her aid in preserving specimens.

From Biographies of Notable Americans:

NEWCOMB, Wesley, conchologist, was born in Pittstown, Rensselaer county, N.Y., Oct. 20, 1808; son of Dr. Simon and Sarah (Follett) Newcomb; grandson of Simon and Sarah (Mead) Newcomb, and of William and Lois (Burnham) Follett, and a descendant of Capt. Andrew Newcomb, an English mariner who settled in Boston, Mass., probably before 1663. He was a student at White Plains academy and at the Vermont Medical school at Castleton; attended medical lectures in New York and Philadelphia, and visited hospitals in France. He practiced medicine in Albany, N.Y., with Dr. Henry Van Antwerp. He was married, Feb. 20, 1838, to Mrs. Helen H. Post, daughter of Eliphalet and Hannah (Swift) Wells of Manchester, Vt. He became one of the most distinguished conchologists in America, residing at Honolulu five years, where he collected the land shells of the entire group and described over 100 new species of the genus "achatinella," published in scientific magazines and in the proceedings of various scientific societies of America and Europe. He made explorations in Europe, the West Indies, South America, Central America and Europe; practiced medicine in Oakland, Cal., 1857-69, where he described many of the helices of that state, also fresh water and marine species, and delivered courses of lectures on natural history at Mills college, Oakland. He accompanied the Santo Domingo commissioners as a sanitary expert in 1870, and discovered the locality of La Marcke helicina viridis; was appointed in 1871 one of the three commissioners to investigate the Sutro Tunnel, and spent the winter of 1872-73 in Florida. His famous collection of shells was purchased by Ezra Cornell for Cornell university in 1869, and occupied the top floor of the university museum in the McGraw building. He served as curator of the collection, 1869-92, and as instructor in conchology, 1886-88. He died in Ithaca, N.Y., Jan. 27, 1892.