Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Early Newmans

The Early Newmans

Isaac Newman was the son of Thomas Newman and Mary (maiden name unknown at this time). Isaac was born in Botetourt County, Virginia on July 7, 1775. His father was born in England and died in Nelson County, Kentucky. It is not proven that Thomas Newman ever lived in Muhlenberg County, though early census records indicate that he did. However, it must be remembered that anyone owning land in an area prior to 1800 was listed as a citizen of that area. Perhaps, Thomas, like his son, Isaac, owned Muhlenberg County land, but did not live here. Possibly, however, he did. Another possibility is that the Thomas Newman, who was listed in Muhlenberg County, was the brother of Isaac Newman.

Just prior to 1800, the great western movement swept a vast number of Virginians, North Carolinians and Pennsylvanians toward Kentucky and Tennessee. The wilderness west of the Appalachian Mountains was not tamed. The Newmans were among those who came during this historic westward movement. In 1785 the movement began in Brothers Valle, Pennsylvania and spread through Virginia and North Carolina, bringing more than 80 families involved in spell out in the 1962 publication "Two Centuries of Brothers Valley" by H. Austin Cooper.

The 1799 tax list of Muhlenberg County did not list any Newmans. However, in 1800 the tax list showed both Isaac Newman as paying taxes, but listed no acreage or family size. Isaac was surely a resident, and Thomas may have been. Isaac was in Logan County prior to the formation of Muhlenberg County, and paid his taxes there prior to 1800.

There seemed always from the start, to be a close tie between the Newman family and the early Welborn family. Their lands adjoined in south Muhlenberg County and there were several marriages recorded between members of the two families.

For some reason, Otto Rothert, in his history of Muhlenberg County, does not deal heavily with the pioneer Newman and Welborn families. However, in a very detailed account, he repaints the brutal murder of Elizabeth Reid Newman, the young wife of Thomas Charles Newman Jr., grandson of Isaac. The younger Newman is a product of one of the Newman-Welborn marriages.

For at least the first 50 years of the existence of Muhlenberg County, the only Newmans were those descended from Isaac.

In 1810, the only "Newman" listed was Isaac Numan, who with his wife, Rachel (Rhoads), had six small children. In 1820, he said Rachel had seven children. There was also a household headed by Thomas Newman, which surely was Isaac's older son. He had a wife and one child.

Another son, Jacob, joined the heads of households in 1830. Isaac was listed, with his second wife, Nancy (Unsell) and seven children. Thomas and Jacob were nearby. Each had a wife and four children. These were the sons of Isaac and Rachel.

The year 1840 was the last federal census which did not list the wives and children of the head of households. In this, Isaac and his family, now totally 11, were still recorded. Also the son Thomas was recorded with nine in his family. A widow, Elizabeth, appeared for the first time with nine in the family. She was the widow of Isaac's son Jacob, who died in early 1840. A new name was added, this of W. Y. Newman, who later was prominent in the tabacco industry in Greenville. He was the son of Thomas Charles Newman, Sr. and Lennie Welborn, and the grandson of Isaac.

Thus, with the coming of the more detailed 1850 census, the early Newmans were now fixtures of Muhlenberg County for more than 50 years. From their earliest in the County's southern portion, the Newman clan was now beginning to move to other areas of the County, becoming especially prominent in the Greenville area, as well as at Penrod, Belton, Beech Creek, Drakesboro and other communities already established, or just waiting to appear on a map.

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