The Newtons

By John Limmer

As stated earlier, the positioning of pioneering families in this book is more or less random in nature, based primarily on when, and if, information was received from one or more descendants with a given surname. Having said that, we wish to thank Weldon H. Newton for responding so promptly to our request for information on his family, and supplying the following.

The Cross Cut Newtons trace their direct American lineage to William Newton who was born in Ireland in the last quarter of the 1700's, and came to the east coast circa 1800. Other British Newtons, probably relatives, preceded William as early as 1690 when Newton, Massachusetts was named for some of them. By 1750, other Newton townships were named in New Jersey and North Carolina. Records list Newtons as fighting in the American Revolution, (possibly beside young William Pentecost) so undoubtedly many more were in America prior to 1776.

William Newton migrated from the east coast to Tennessee where his son, John Issac was born. John was thus the first American-born, direct ancestor of the Cross Cut Newtons. Upon moving to Texas in 1860 (one year after the first McPeeters/Byrd train and one year before George Washington Lewis and family arrived on the bayou), John was also the earliest direct Newton ancestor to reside in Texas.

JOHN ISSAC NEWTON (December 25,1810 -) married LYDIA MEREDITH (November 11, 1809- ). John and Lydia had five children while living in Tennessee: Anderson, Issac, George W., Lucreta B. and Mary E.

John and Lydia moved from Tennessee to Clark County, Arkansas in 1839 and had four additional children before Lydia’s death sometime between 1848, the birth of Nancy, and the Newton’s migration to Texas in 1860. Those children were Willis, Sara, Jasper and Nancy.

Anderson Newton, John and Lydia’s first-born, married Amanda Caroline Crow in Clark County, Arkansas on October 28, 1852. While living in Arkansas the couple had four children: James W. (October 12, 1854) John P. (1856) Henry A. (1858) and William W. (1860)

 In 1860, Anderson, Caroline and their four children joined Anderson’s youngest brother, Willis, his new bride, and their father, John, in a move to Texas after selling their Arkansas farm and mills. But they did not move to Cross Cut. Instead they settled for awhile in what is now Williamson County, north of Austin near Georgetown. While there Caroline maintained her two year birth cycle by giving birth to Jefferson (1862-1864) and twins – Sara J. (Sallie) and Mary A. in 1864.

But the Newtons had not yet found what they were looking for. Apparently, they

still had "itchy feet". In 1865, a west-bound wagon train passed through the area and they loaded up again and fell in line. Eight months later, on January I, 1866, they unhitched their teams in sunny Downey, California. The trip proved a lesson in endurance.

The trek they joined was a thousand-plus miles of hardship and deprivation: broken wagons, lack of grass and water for the animals, hunger and thirst for the humans, marauding Indians and Mexican banditos, illness, and 2 Yz ear old Jesse falling from and being run over by a wagon. Thankfully, he and his fellow travelers survived to see the Pacific. It would appear John Newton prospered in California, as evidenced by his purported acquisition of 40 acres in what is now downtown Los Angeles. And Anderson and Caroline were still busily procreating. Their newborn native Californians included Emily California (a little strange for a name, but geographically accurate) in 1867, Lewis D. (1869-71), Nara B.(1871-72), and Oscar B, in 1873.

After the loss of two children and the birth of Oscar B.. Anderson and Caroline started back to Texas with their eight surviving children and Anderson's father, John, in 1873. Either Willis liked California just fine, or the memories of the trip out were still too fresh in his mind, but in either case, he waved good bye and wished his father and big brother a safe and successful journey. Successful it was, safe it wasn't. Caroline fell from a runaway wagon and suffered a back injury that left her stooped and partially disabled for the remainder of her life.

Still the group did not go to Cross Cut, but meandered through and lived briefly in Collin, Wise and San Saba Counties before finally coming to rest on the W. B. Travis Survey in Northwest Brown County. The year was 1877. Poor Caroline, back injury not withstanding, gave birth to the last of Anderson’s twelve children, Frances Etna, in either Wise or San Saba County in 1876. Undoubtedly to Caroline’s delight, they had finally reached what appears to have been the magic number for that era: one dozen.

Anderson and Caroline’s household was home to all nine surviving children and Anderson’s father, John, until his death on February 19, 1897. John died just five months prior to Caroling Pentecost Elsberry’s demise and the ensuing establishment of the Cross Cut Cemetery.  He was buried in the Pioneer Cemetery, the closest one available, and was joined later by Anderson and Caroline on March 10, 1910 and March 15, 1916, respectively.

The nine surviving children of Anderson and Caroline Newton  all married Cross Cut residents whose families were to play prominent roles in  its history and would become familiar names to succeeding generations. Their marriages and spouses are:

JAMES W. (Jim) (1854- 1948) married MARY JANE CRUME (1870- 1949) on May 11, 1890. Jim and Mary had five children, all were born in Cross Cut.

Annie J. (1891 -1988) married Porter J. Davis (1888- 1970), Lewis E. (1894 - 1995) married Ina Lizette Chambers (1900- 1978), Lelia C. (1898-1959) married Cecil Walker and Howard Pope, Ross J. (1902- 1985) married Mary Louise Watts (1905 -), and Anderson J. (1892- 1963) married Etta Davis (1894- 1970).

Annie and Porter adopted two children: Kent and Delia, Lewis and Ina had five children: J. W., Ferrell, Imogene, Anita, and Weldon, Anderson and Etta had four children: Felicia, Nada, Helen, and A. J.

JOHN P. (1856-1939) married IRENE M. (Rena) GAINES (1860 -1955) on April 3, 1877.







Note: The graves of Charles James (Pop) Newton (1879-1968) and his wife Lola Lenorah (1885-1967) are located in the Newton family plot in the Cross Cut Cemetery , but no information is available as to their connection with the Cross Cut Newtons.

It is appropriate to close this chapter with excerpts from the narrative supplied by Weldon Newton. "Jim and Mary Jane Newton (Weldon's grandfather and grandmother) were prominent figures in the Cross Cut community from 1890 until their deaths in 1948 and 1949, respectively. They are buried in the Cross Cut Cemetery within a few hundred yards of their home. Jim accumulated considerable property and amassed modest wealth from his land, cattle, and mineral royalties during his 3/4 of a century in the Cross Cut area.

As of this writing in 1997, all of the five children of Jim and Mary Jane are deceased, as are three of the children's spouses. Four of the five children, and two of the spouses are buried in the Cross Cut Cemetery -Annie and Porter Davis, Lewis and Ina Newton, Lelia Pope; and Ross (Louise survives). Anderson I. and Etta are buried in the Bangs, Texas cemetery.

During their lives, three of the five children lived primarily in the Cross Cut community -Lewis, Ross, and Lelia. Anderson made his home in the Thrifty community of Brown County, and Annie lived in Cross Plains and Brownwood. Ross and Louise retired from Cross Cut to Brownwood in their senior years. Louise is, as of 1997, the only survivor of American generation five (5), and Texas generation four (4) of this line of Newtons.

Ties to the Cross Cut community remain strong in the Newton family. The five children of Lewis and Ina all attended the Cross Cut School. The family home where Lewis and lna spent their married life, and where their five children were reared, is within 1/2 mile of where Lewis was born and buried. To have been born, to have lived his life, and to be buried in such close proximity is a rare and notable phenomenon.

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