14 January 2011

John Bearse Newcomb (1824-1897)

B.M. Newcomb wrote:

Mr. Newcomb emigrated with his parents to Illinois when he was thirteen years old, arriving 11 July 1837 at Joliet. For the next three years they resided upon a farm in what is now the town of Franklin, later called Naansay, in Kendall County, about four miles southwest of the village of Plainfield. His parents died in 1840, leaving him an orphan at the age of sixteen. He then moved to Elgin, in Kane County, which continued to be his residence, with the exception of a few short intervals.

Mr. Newcomb was a pioneer in educational work, beginning in 1844 in a brick school house which is probably still standing. From 1851 to 1853 he taught in West Elgin in a frame building, still in existence. In 1854 he opened a private school in the Methodist Church, where he taught for two years. In 1856 he became assistant principal of the Academy. In 1860 he was elected superintendent of Elgin public schools, which position he held until 1866. During this time he was examiner for the northern part of the county. By municipal election in April 1873, he became a member of the board of education, was re-elected in 1874, and served until 1877. He was secretary of the board.

On 2 March 1864, John B. Newcomb was elected a corresponding member of the New England Historic Genealogical Society at a meeting held in Boston. On 4 March 1896, he was elected a member of the Society of Mayflower Descendants. He was meteorological observer for the Smithsonian Institution from 1858-1861; city sexton of Elgin cemetery from 1865-1869 and 1885-1889; member of the Association of American Cemetery Superintendents, 1881-1891. He was the author of Genealogical Memoir of the Newcomb Family, 1874. No one, unless he has during a long period of years endeavored to assemble genealogical data with very little material in hand to start with, is able to appreciate the effort of Mr. Newcomb, nor the inestimable service thus rendered to the Newcombs for all time.

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