Burt Newman, a resident of Tazewell County since 1862, was born at South Egremont, Berkshire County, Mass., September 29, 1827. His father was Samuel Newman, a farmer, and his mother’s maiden name was Pamelia Curtis. Until he reached man’s estate Mr. Newman passed his life on the old homestead, being educated in the district schools of his native town, at Great Barrington Academy and the State Normal School at Westfield, Mass.
On the seventh of April. 1855, our subject was married to Abbie A. Fay, at her home in Westboro, Mass., his wife being the daughter of Solomon T. and Achsah Parker Fay. The young couple went at once to Minnesota to reside and Mr. Newman preempted and secured 120 acres of Government land in Scott County. He farmed, and during one winter taught school. In 1856 he was elected as one of the three County Assessors, and the following year assessed one-third of the entire county. In November, 1857, the family, consisting of himself, wife and boy removed to Alton. Ill. In February 1858 he secured a position as principal of one of the city schools of Lower Alton and continued teaching there until the close of the school year, 1861. Owing to the unsettled condition of the country at that time, he made no application for a renewal of his position. Mrs. Newman began teaching in the primary department of the school of which Mr. Newman was principal, in the fall of 1858, and afterward was transferred to the High School. In March, 1862, the family removed to Delavan, where Mr. Newman engaged in farming and Mrs. Newman in teaching. They united with the Delavan Presbyterian Church during that year, by letter.
From 1850 to 1876 Mr. Newman taught throughout most of the winters, some terms being for periods of six months. Since 1862 he has been a firm friend of education and a continuous worker in the cause; in fact both as teacher and farmer, he was fairly successful.
Under Lincoln’s call for 500,000 men, in July, 1864, on September 29th of that year, Mr. Newman enlisted as a recruit to Company B, Seventy-third Illinois Volunteers Infantry, for one year, or during the war. He was with his regiment in the South during the following winter and on the 28th of March, 1865, the command was sent, with other troops, to Blue Springs, East Tennessee, where it remained until after the surrender of Lee, at Appomattox, and Johnston, in Carolina. His command was then sent to Camp Harker, near Nashville, Tenn., and Mr. Newman was mustered out of the service, with his regiment, on June 12, 1865. After the war Mr. Newman continued to farm, until age and disabilities prevented him from engaging in active work. He has been a Republican since the organization of the party in 1856, but has never cared for office. On the 9th of March, 1878, he moved his family to the homestead built by Daniel Cheever, one of the early pioneers of Delavan. The place is still the Newman family home.
Mrs. Newman was educated in the district schools of Westboro, and in the academies of Leicester and Amherst. She taught in Westboro, Amherst, and in the Misses Kellogg’s Female Seminary at Great Barrington, Mass. When coming to Delavan from Alton in 1862, she brought an unsolicited testimonial, with the autograph signature of every member of the Board of Education, declaring her entire success, in each department of the Alton public schools in which she had taught.
For a third of a century Mrs. Newman taught the First Primary grade of the Delavan Public School, receiving her first certificate in Tazewell County from Lemuel Allen, County Superintendent of Schools. She also became a worker in the Presbyterian Church, being the Superintendent of the Sunday School for twenty four years; also choir leader and organist, for seventeen years. In her home were reared five children: Henry P., deceased in 1884; Annie S., Samuel C., Emma (Mrs. Elmer E. Giles), and Fred.
Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Tazewell County - page 1051
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