Creed O. Newlon (1851-1924)

Source: The History of West Virginia, Old and New and West Virginia Biography
The American Historical Society, Inc., Chicago and New York, 1923
Volume III, pages 100-102

CREED O. NEWLON is one of Grafton's veteran business men. He has been in the city and its business life more than forty years. His individual activities serve to emphasize the record of a family that for four or five generations has borne its share of business, civic, political and military duty in old Virginia and West Virginia. The family history, though it can be told only briefly, is a record of more than ordinary experience and achievement.

The record may properly start with the great-grandfather of the Grafton business man. His name was William Newlon. In 1799 he moved with his family from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, to Fauquier County, Virginia. He married a Miss Martin, probably a native of Lancaster County. They had six children: James, whose record follows; Elijah, who died near Bentonsport, Iowa; William, who died in Loudoun County, Virginia; John, who never married and died in Loudoun County; Tamer, who probably never married; and Debbie, who married Mr. Carter and spent her life in Loudoun County.

James Newlon, representing the next generation, was born at Shepherdstown, Maryland, August 14, 1782. On March 1, 1807, in Fauquier County, Virginia, he married Jane Adams, and for a number of years they lived near Culpeper Court House. In 1824 they came to West Virginia, locating in what was then Harrison County, now Taylor County, and near Pruntytown. After his son Charles went to Webster to take charge of a mill and store, James Newlon purchased his son's home in Pruntytown, and they lived there the rest of their days. He died March 29, 1867. His wife was born in Fanquier County in February, 1791, and died February 12, 1882.

Charles Washington Newlon, son of James and father of Creed O., was born near Culpeper Court House, Virginia, in 1816, and was about eight years of age when the family came to the frontier community of Pruntytown and to the farm on Fairmont Pike. Charles W. Newlon acquired a limited education and as a youth learned the tailor trade. By self study he educated himself far beyond the point to which his school advantages took him, and he exercised the qualities of a fine mind by acquiring wide information on many subjects and developed great fluency as a public speaker. He became prominent in polities and public affairs. He was the second clerk of Taylor County, and he held the offices of Circuit and County Court clerk. About 1856 he was elected to the Virginia Senate, being chosen on the democratic ticket, and remained a member of the Virginia government through a portion of the war. He was opposed to secession, but when Virginia went out of the Union he declared himself a loyal citizen like General Lee and other strong men of the town. One service he performed during the war was securing the exchange of Maj. Nathan Goff, a Union officer held by the Confederates as a hostage for Major Armsey of the Southern army, and that possibly saved the lives of both of these officers. After the war he seems to have retired from politics for some years. Later he was elected mayor of Grafton, and in 1876 was chosen to the West Virginia Senate. He remained loyal to the democratic party after the war, and in spite of this handicap he defeated the republican nominee and served one term in the Senate of the new state. He really possessed the qualifications of a safe leader in politics and affairs. About the close of his term in the Senate he gave up his business as a merchant at Grafton and moved his family to Buckhannon, where he helped organize the Buckhannon Bank and was its cashier until his death in February, 1889. Before the Civil war and while a resident of Taylor County he joined, in the spring of 1859, David Elliott and G. H. A. Kunst in the co-partnership of Elliott, Newlon and Company. This firm erected a four-story flouring mill and sawmill in Webster, and with the management and conduct of this and his mercantile business Charles W. Newlon was connected until the outbreak of the war.

Charles W. Newlon was a church worker, probably never missed a church service, and he and F. M. Durbin and John W. Hull promoted and organized the First Methodist Protestant Church in Grafton. He was licensed to preach, but probably never officiated in this capacity with the exception in the absence of the pastor. He was never at a loss to make a good speech, and had a large vocabulary and a very fine diction. He joined the church when about sixteen years of age, and probably as a consequence of his devotion to church he never became a member of any fraternity.

Charles W. Newlon married Christina Margaret Earl. The home of the Earl family was Randolph County, Virginia, at Beverly, where her father, Archibald Earl, was an extensive landowner and farmer and justice of the peace. Archibald Earl was born at Winchester in the Valley of Virginia and was a strong Southern man over the issues of the Civil war. He married a Miss Buckey, of Beverly. Christina Margaret was one of eleven children, the others being: John, Elias, Jefferson, Archibald, Creed, Mrs. Lurinda Leonard, Mrs. Anzina Crawford, Mrs. Sallie Ann Harper, Mrs. Maria Ward and Mrs. Elizabeth Barlow. Mrs. Charles W. Newlon died at Buckhannon two years after the death of her husband, at the age of seventy-three. Her children were: Doctor Granville A., who practiced his profession in the vicinity of Buckhannon, where he died; Doctor Charles W., Jr., who died at Grafton; Jefferson Earl, who was a merchant and died at Buckhannon; Creed Owens; James Lee, who died at Grafton while a Baltimore and Ohio Railway conductor; and Ida, who resides at Parkersburg, wife of Charles W. McCormick.

It now remains to take up the individual record of Mr. Creed O. Newlon. He was born at Pruntytown, Taylor County, February 17, 1851. He was about ten years of age when the Civil war broke out. At that time his parents followed the Southern army from Fetterman south, and though but a child he witnessed with them the first battles of the Civil war fought in West Virginia, these battles being at Philippi and Rich Mountain. He received his first schooling in his native community, and during the war attended the Rock Bridge Academy, Brownsburg, Virginia. The close of the war found the family living at Bock Bridge Baths on North River. Soon afterward his father returned to Western Virginia, to take possession of what remained of his property, and after disposing of his interests he gathered his family together and took them to Texas. The trip southwest was made by railroad to Parkersburg, by boat to New Orleans, thence by another boat up Red River to Jefferson. Texas. While in New Orleans his father purchased a Wheeling made wagon and at Jefferson, Texas, bought a pair of horses and harness and drove two hundred miles west into Texas to Fort Worth. He remained there about a year, and in the meantime became convinced that he was in a country too wild for permanent habitation, and accordingly traded his team and some other property for land in Randolph County, West Virginia. The party with whom he made the trade conveyed the family as far as Millican, then the terminus of a railway, and from there they traveled by train to Houston, by steamboat down Buffalo Bayou to Galveston. and thence by boat over the Gulf to the mouth of the Mississippi River and up that river two hundred and ten miles to New Orleans. Here another boat received the family of eight Newlons, and they came up the Mississippi and Ohio through Cincinnati, where they transferred to another boat bound for Parkersburg. Leaving the river, they traveled by train to Grafton, having been absent only a year, but having had experiences of travel and change that would hardly be forgotten by a boy of fourteen or fifteen years. From Grafton the family went on to Volga, Barbour County, by wagon, remained at old Burnersville a year and then returned to Grafton.

In the meantime Creed O. Newlon had picked up considerable knowledge of mechanical trade, did work as a carpenter, was a merchant for a brief time at Grafton, and then took up the plumbing business and performed the first public plumbing job in the city. He now ranks as the oldest plumber of Grafton. For over nineteen years he was manager of the Grafton Gas and Electric Light Company. He then resumed business for himself, operating a foundry and machine shop, and in connection doing business in electrical and plumbing goods. He continued the machine shop until 1919. and he is still active in business on Latrobe Street handling plumbing supplies and mining and machine supplies.

Mr. Newlon was chairman of the Water Commission that installed the first water system of Grafton, and he was formerly a member of the School Board. He has rather avoided politics beyond voting as a democrat, and he claims to have profited from his father's long experience in public affairs to the extent of steering clear of political burdens.

October 29. 1873, at Grafton, Mr. Newlon married Miss Katie B. Barbee, a native of Grafton and daughter of Joseph and Jackalina (Smith) Barbee. Mrs. Newlon died in August. 1898. She was the mother of six children: Owen E., a plumber at Marietta, Ohio; Floyd A., master mechanic of the Texas and Pacific Railway at Big Springs, Texas; Ethel N., of Columbus, Ohio, widow of T. Prank Cotton; Bertha K., wife of Allen T. Hodges, of Elkins, West Virginia; Ella May, wife of Everette McDaniel, of Columbus, Ohio; and Albert Joseph, a machinist of Marietta, Ohio.

The soldier representative of the family in the great war is Owen E. Newlon, who volunteered in April, 1917, giving up a high salaried position and declaring that he was volunteering for the emergency of the war, and at the termination of which ho wished to be discharged so as to re-enter civil life. He was assigned to Battery O of the Seventy-sixth Field Artillery of the Third Division, was trained at Fort Ethan Allen, Burlington, Vermont, and at Camp Shelby, Hattiesburg, Mississippi, went overseas from New York and was on the front line at the Battle of Chateau Thierry and until the close, being never absent from his post of duty an hour. He was cited at Mousay, France, for distinguished service, was promoted to sergeant of his company, and the morning following the signing of the armistice he and his regiment started with the Army of Occupation for the Rhine. The people of Coblenz declared that the Seventy-sixth Field Artillery was the finest body of men they had ever seen. When he went into the service Owen Newlon knew personally the one hundred ninety-eight men of his battery, and when the war ended there were only thirty-five of his old acquaintances left in the active personnel.

October 1, 1901, Mr. Creed Newlon married Miss Katie B. Miller, of New Hope, Kentucky, where she was born, daughter of William B. and Mollie Miller. She is the oldest of a family of five daughters and one son. Her father was a farmer and is now deceased, and her widowed mother occupies the old home farm with her unmarried son and two unmarried daughters, William B., Jr., and Misses Sallie and Florence Miller. The married daughters besides Mrs. Newlon are Mrs. Sudie Peterson and Mrs. Lula May.

Mr. Creed Newlon has become affiliated with all branches of Masonry, being active in the Royal Arch Chapter, the Knights Templars Commandery and the Mystic Shrine, and has served as secretary of his lodge for twenty-two years. He is a past chancellor of the Knights of Pythias, and is a Grand Lodge representative and deputy grand chancellor of that order. He is a member of the Presbyterian Church.

Death Certificate - Creed O. Newlon

Find A Grave Memorial - Creed O. Newlon


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