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W. P. A. History of Pontotoc County, Mississippi


Pioneer Families

Miss Asie L. Hicks, prominent educator in Pontotoc County has contributed to the following history to the NEWELL FAMILY, of which she is a descendant: The ancestors of the Newell family who with their descendants have formed so influential and potent a factor in the life and development of Pontotoc c County for almost a century, came to this country from Ireland. They were of that fine old Scotch-Irish Presbyterian stock which has infected its strength and its virtue into the civilization and the moral and religious life of this country, to such a marked degree and is a pedigree of which any one might justly be proud. Three generations of this name in America preceded the one that settled in this country in the early part of the last century.

First Generation: William Newell from Ireland migrated to Pennsylvania from whence he moved to Virginia and then to North Carolina and fought with distinction in the Revolutionary War. He was buried in Rocky River Church Cemetery, Cabarras, North Carolina. He was the father of two sons, Francis and William.

Second Generation: Francis Newell was born in Cabarras County, North Carolina. He was married twice, first to a Miss Nisbet and then to Miss Jane Bigger. There were two sons, half brothers, and four daughters. The sons were William and David.

Third Generation: William Newell was born in 1781 in the same community as his father and grandfather. He married Miss Jane Caldwell White in 1807. He died in 1849 in North Carolina. His wife familiarly known as Aunt Jennie Newell came to Mississippi after his death, to make her home with her sons. She died near Holly Springs in 1862 and was buried in the cemetery of Philadelphia Presbyterian Church in Marshall County, Mississippi.

Fourth Generation: S. W. Newell was born in 1808 near Charlotte, North Carolina where he lived until young manhood and where he married Miss Hannah Bernice Phillips. She died in 1875 and he followed ten years later in 1885. They rest in the cemetery near the spot where once stood the church in which they worshipped and loved so dearly.. They came to Mississippi from North Carolina and settled in the old Monroe Church community where they resided for a few years. Later they moved to their plantation about three miles southeast of this spot where they spent the rest of their days. Too much cannot be said in praise of the life and works of this noble couple. They were pioneers in the early history of Pontotoc County in those good old days when man trusted man and treated him as his brother. They were identified with every movement, political, social, and religious, and for the spiritual and intellectual uplift of its citizenship. He was intensely patriotic, bravely loyal to his convictions, and always found fearlessly championing the right in every question of moment. It was said of S. W. Newell, that if all men were of his character, there would be no need of courts and prisons.

He was a refined, high-toned Christian gentleman of the old type, his love for his master and his trust in him were akin to that of the patriarchs or old. He also loved humanity with all his great heart and had faith in men. He set a high standard for living and devoted his life to helping men and women reach that standard. He was a friend to the needy, a father to the orphan, a comforter to the sorrowing, and a brother and counselor to a host of friends, by whom he was fondly known in his declining years as "Uncle Sammie" Newell. In those days when Doctors were few and there were no phones with which to call he often gave first aid in many emergency cases, binding up wounds and administering to the sick until medical aid could be provided. Truly could it be said of S. W. Newell that in imitation of the Heavenly Master, he went about doing good, and verily was the world made better by his having passed this way. He was a devoted member of the Presbyterian church and was an elder in Oak Forrest Church, in which he was a moving spirit from the time of its organization until his death.

His wife was a strong character, a gentle, refined Christian lady and a helpmate in the true sense of the word. Although deprived of her eyesight in the latter part of her life, she continued her work of ministering to those who needed her. Such were the characteristics of the grandparents of many men and women who have become useful citizens of this and other states. As far as we can trace the history, these traits of character have been typical of the Newell family through the generations.

To Mr. and Mrs. S. W. Newell were born four worthy daughters and three noble sons. The daughters were Mary Elizabeth, born, 1831, and married to N. G. Patterson; Harriet Jane, born, 1836, and married to H. Jernigan; Susan E., born, 1841, and married to M. Hicks, 1859; Frances Ann, born 1847, and married to George Jernigan, 1866. The sons were: Samuel Lafayette, born, 1834, and married to Mary Jane Mooney, 1859; Nathaniel Marvin, born, 1839, who lost his life on the Mexican Border after serving through the War Between the States; and William Josiah, born, 1845, and married to Sarah E. Furr, 1868. All three of these sons did valiant service during the entire period of the War Between the States. Two of the sons were severely wounded in the conflict. These sons and daughters reared in the love and adoration of the Lord, reflected credit on their noble parents. They have all been gathered to their fathers, save one couple, W. J. Newell and his dear wife, better known as Uncle Bill and Aunt Sallie, who have been graciously spared as a blessing to their community and to a host of friends and loved ones.

They all reared families in this country and most of them in this immediate community where they have become worthy and influential citizens. The lives of these men and women most of whom have passed to the great beyond within the last two decades, and those of their children and grandchildren who live in our midst, are open books that may be known and read by all men.(1)

(1) Asie L. Hicks, Pontotoc, Miss.

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