In the veins of this gentleman flowed sturdy English blood, for in Dorchester, England, he first saw the light of day. In his boyhood he was brought to this country by his father, John Newman, and with him settled in Philadelphia, Pa., where the latter followed the calling of a mechanic, and eventually died.
Thomas Newman attained manhood in the East and then embarked in the battle of life as a railroad engineer, but in 1858 or’59 turned his attention to newspaper work in Kansas, and through its pages advocated the cause of Abolition. After a short time he moved to St. Louis, Missouri, where he became a job printer, but during the war he joined the Missouri State Militia, and was in active service in the State. He was lieutenant of his company and was in a number of the engagements of the Price raid. In 1869 he came to Boone County, Arkansas, and established the first paper in this part of the country, which tool the name of the Boone County Advocate, and which was published with success up to 1876, when The Times took its place. Although he was a strong Abolitionist and Union man, he was a man of Democratic principles and became the first mayor of Harrison. He was a man of jovial and generous disposition, was finely educated, his friends were legion and he was active and pushing in everything to which he gave his attention. He was the first vice-president of the Arkansas State Newspaper Association, and in his branch of human endeavor he did much to mold public thought and to cultivate the taste of the public for the best class of reading matter.
He was married in Philadelphia, Pa., to Miss Elizabeth Carr, who was born in Ireland, a daughter of John Carr, with whom she came to the United States, and she survives her husband, who died in 1884, and makes her home with her son, John R., in Harrison. She is a lady of many accomplishments, is kind, charitable and liberal, and is a leader in the social circles of the county.
Thomas Newman was quite a pedestrian in his young days and often walked from Harrison to Little Rock, and came to this place on foot from Springfield. While he was in the newspaper work in Kansas the publication of his paper came to a speedy termination, for the party that he was opposing threw his machinery and type into the Missouri River. In newspaper work he was far ahead of his time and country, but he left the indelible impress of his work in this section, and his memory will long be treasured.
John R. Newman, his only child, was born in St. Louis, October 19, 1859, and was educated in the public schools of that city. Having a decided talent and taste for music, he entered and graduated from the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, making a specialty of band and orchestra music, with the purpose of becoming a teacher. He left the conservatory in 1877 and was engaged in teaching up to 1879, but in the meantime, in 1878, had taken charge of The Times, and since that time has had its management. He has had about eighteen years’ experience in this work is a worthy disciple of his father and thoroughly understands every detail of the business, having learned the trade of a printer in St. Louis. The Times is an eight-column folio, its circulation extends over about four counties, and it is a welcome visitor in many homes.Mr. Newman is chairman of the Democratic committee, has always been a stanch Democrat, but has never aspired to public office. Socially he is a member of the A. F. & A. M., the I. O. O. F., the K. of P., and the I. O. G. T., and has been presiding officer of all these lodges in Harrison. He is a member of the Grand Lodge of the I. O. O. F. of Arkansas. In 1890 he was president of the Arkansas Press Association, a member of the executive committee of the National Press Association, and has attended a number of the meetings. He is the owner of the building in which his paper is published, owns his residence, is a stockholder in the Boone County Bank, and is to some extent engaged in the real estate business. He is a shrewd and practical man of affairs, is public spirited to a degree and has at all times endeavored to advance and promote the interests of his section. He was married in 1882 to Mary M. Murphy, who was born in Boone County, and they have four children: Mabel, Thomas, Earl and Harry.