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.

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