Sunday, August 12, 2018

In support of her brother

Yesterday's post dug into the Civil War pension application for John N. Newman. Newman claimed that he had a disability from his time as a prisoner of war in 1863-1864. The 1880 US Census entry supports his disability, he marked "sore eyes" in the Health column on the census. Yet he continued to work as a brick mason providing for his family.
Source: Ancestry. 1880 US Census, Jefferson County, Tennessee.
John's sister Mary A. Newman provided an affidavit in support of her brother's condition and character. The document is dated 3 July 1895, and at the time she was 54 years old.
Deposition of Mary Newman. US National Archives.
Signature of Mary Newman.
Mary is interesting for another reason. A few weeks ago, I saw a tree on Ancestry that had Mary listed as a wife of John A. Thornhill. As far as I know, Thornhill never married. This tree showed that Mary had a son, Arthur A. Newman. I wrote to the owner of this tree to ask about the connection and what she knew about Mary Newman.

Mary Ann Cynthia Newman

According to her death certificate, Mary Ann Cynthia Newman was born on 15 January 1842 in Jefferson County, Tennessee. She passed away on 1 January 1925. Her parents were Blair Newman and Margaret Caldwell. Blair Newman was a constable in Jefferson County. In the 1850 US Census, she was living in the house of her parents, with her siblings, including brothers John N. and Henry.
Source: Ancestry. 1850 US Census, Jefferson County, Tennessee.
By 1860, she was still living with her parents and siblings, and she was 18 at the time.
Source: Ancestry. 1860 US Census, Jefferson County, Tennessee.
In response to my query about Mary Ann Newman, the owner of the tree replied that while there is no hard evidence, the story told to her was that her great-grandmother was Arthur Newman's daughter. The story that she told and almost everyone alive at the time had the same consistent story: "Henry Newman, Mary Ann Newman's brother, was friends with John Thornhill and also served in the military with him. He was interviewed during the trial of the murder for Thornhill. The story that has always been told was that John Thornhill came to the Newman family home before he was murdered and well Mary Ann got pregnant. It was said that the Thornhill family was not told of the baby (Arthur) because Mary Ann knew they would take him away from her. So they kept it a secret for a long time. I do not know if the Thornhill family was ever told about Arthur honestly."

Arthur was born on 3 February 1866. It is certainly possible Mary Ann got pregnant during the late Spring/early Summer 1865 while Thornhill and his men were active in Jefferson County.

In the 1870 US Census, Mary Ann was still living in the home of her parents, and Blair Newman was still the constable of the county. Arthur is listed as a four-year old in the household.
Source: Ancestry. 1870 US Census, Jefferson County, Tennessee.
By 1880, Arthur was no longer in the household of Blair and Margaret Newman, but Mary Ann was still there, listed as single.
Source: Ancestry. 1880 US Census, Jefferson County, Tennessee.
Arthur was living in the household of John N. Newman in 1880 (see first image in this post above).

Later in life Mary Ann lived with her son Arthur and his family in Jefferson County. She never married.

Arthur died on 9 October 1848, a retired farmer with a large family.

I believe Arthur was a son of John Thornhill and Mary Ann Newman. It would be really cool to see if any of Newman's descendants match up as AncestryDNA connections to the Thornhill family.

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