13 September 2009

Bethuel Merritt Newcomb

B.M. Newcomb is well known to family historians as the author of  Andrew Newcomb and His Descendants, his revision of John Bearse Newcomb's original 1874 "Genealogical memoir".

Here is the autobiography he included in his book:

By reason of the death of his father, when Mr. Newcomb was but four years of age, he was early thrown upon his own resources; obtained his education at the public schools, with a few terms at private institutions. At the age of nineteen he passed a successful examination to teach, and taught a winter term in New Gloucester. Upon expiration of the term, he accepted a position with the firm of Woods & Conant, retail grocers, at Belfast; at the end of two years, Mr. Woods disposed of his interest in the firm and Mr. Newcomb was offered and accepted a position with William B. Swan & Co., wholesale grocers and coal and grain dealers, where he remained six years, advancing continuously to bookkeeper and collector, having full charge of the office.

In the spring of 1876 he resigned his position with the intention of going into business in a western state, but was offered a position with the firm of William Pitcher & Son, dealers in hay, grain and coal, where he remained two years.

Early in 1878, he took a course in mineralogy, metallurgy and assaying, removing to Colorado; was one of the early arrivals at Leadville, where he opened a public assay office in July; later superintended the operation and evelopment of mines near Rosita, Silver Cliff and Breckenridge; in 1884, operated a mine in Sonora, Mexico.

In 1886 he was employed by an eastern syndicate to superintend the operation of a large quicksilver mine in California. His management was so successful that, later, several other mines were purchased and placed under his charge. His improvements in mining, transportation and reduction of ores rendered the properties very remunerative to the stockholders, and he became an acknowledge authority, particularly upon the reduction of quicksilver ores, and was rated high among the successful miners of the Pacific Coast.

In 1916, after thirty years association with this syndicate, and after forty years of active mining life, he resigned and retired in order to attend to personal business matters and the completion of his Revised Edition of the Newcomb Genealogy which he began in 1912.

In the Masonic order, Mr. Newcomb was a member of Timothy Chase lodge, Belfast, Me.; Napa Chapter, R.A.M., Napa, Calif.; Napa Commandery Knights Templar; San Francisco Bodies Scottish Rite 32ยบ, and Islam Temple A.A.O.N. Mystic Shrine; other societies, Society of Mayflower Descendants in the state of California, of which he was historian; society of Colonial Wars; Sons of the American Revolution; past president of State of Maine Assoc. in California; life member of the New England historic Genealogical Society; member of Society for the Preservation of N.E. Antiquities; California Genealogical Soc., and many years an active member of American Mining Congress.

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