Charles Harrison Newton, 1830-1897, George R. Tarbox and the Importance of the FAN Club

INTRO: Sometimes, blog posts take on a different life of their own in terms of direction away from an original goal. My primary intent in telling the story of Charles Harrison Newton was and is to find a descendant who would love to have this original photo of him, as he is not related to me.

However, as I researched for information about Charles – I knew he was a business partner of my 3X great grandfather, George Rogers Tarbox, and that they owned a plaster and a granite company in Red beach, Maine, the discovery of the detailed biography in a county mug book in 1898 reinforced the importance of researching an ancestor’s FAN (Family, Associates, Neighbors) club. In the transcription, I’ve highlighted in blue all the details about their business that told me so much more than I knew about George’s businesses beforehand.

It definitely pays to take the time to research the FAN club!


Charles Harrison Newton

Charles Newton is another photo in my family collection of a person who is not related to me, but thanks to all the information coming online, I know exactly who he is and how his photo came to be in my possession.

Charles Harrison Newton was born in Templeton, Worcester, Massachusetts to Horace Newton and his wife, Abigail Burrage, the last of four children. Horace and Abigail had married in Templeton on 1 October 1818.

  1. Frederick William, born 14 October 1819; died 16 January 1875
  2. Henry Sawyer, born and died 10 March 1825
  3. Abigail, born 21 February 1826
  4. Charles Harrison, 5 August 1830

Charles and his siblings reached adulthood before their parents died, but both died at relatively young ages. Horace, passed away first on 29 August 1847, aged just 50 years. Abigail survived Horace, by only three years, dying on 28 September 1850, aged 54 years. Both died in Fitchburg, Worcester, Massachusetts, where the family lived after removing from Templeton.

The following article found in the Biographical Review: Containing Sketches of Leading Citizens of Somerset, Piscataquis, Hancock, Washington and Aroostook Counties, Maine, pages 257-258, published the year after his death in 1898 filled in much of the detail of Charles’s life:


Source: Internet Archive

Charles Harrison Newton was for many years one of the foremost business men of Calais, Washington County. Born in Templeton, Mass., August 5, 1830, he was a son of Horace and Abigail (Burrage) Newton. the father, a native of Hubbardston, Mass., spent the great part of his life in Fitchburg, where he carried on a hardware business for many years, and was also interested in an iron foundry. He was prominently identified with the town government, serving as Selectman, Deputy Sheriff, Justice of the Peace, and Trial Justice, the duties of which last named office he performed until his death. In politics he was a Whig. His wife, Abigail, who was a native of Templeton, became the mother of several children, three of whom lived to maturity, namely: Frederick, who is no longer living; Abby, now a resident of Worcester, Mass., the widow of Aaron K. Litch, late of Fitchburg; and Charles H., the subject of this sketch. The father was a Unitarian and the mother a Congregationalist in religion.

Charles Harrison Newton acquired a public-school education. After clerking in Fitchburg in a store for a year, he went to Boston, where he obtained employment in the same capacity. Some time later he took a position as clerk and book-keeper in Portland, Me., but soon after returned to his former employer in Boston. The firm for which he worked was obliged to take a plaster mine in Calais as payment for a debt. Mr. Newton, in company with Henry A. Willis, George R. Tarbox (now deceased), and a member of the firm, made a survey of the property at Red Beach. They were so favorably impressed with what they saw then, that they purchased the estate, and started in business under the firm name of George R. Tarbox & Co., At that time prices were high with a strong demand, a fact that warranted the starting up of business upon an extensive scale. A misrepresentation in regard to the water-power, however, proved a serious detriment to their plans. In 1858 the Red Beach Plaster Company was organized, with Mr. Newton as manager. He was later appointed the treasurer, and made the president of the company in 1878, which position he held until his death. His executive ability and sound judgment were instrumental in building up the business to its present magnitude. The firm turns out one hundred thousand barrels of plaster annually, requiring a force of seventy-five men to handle. The discovery of red granite upon the property at a time when that kind of stone was becoming popular caused them to develop the quarry, and in 1875 the Maine Red Granite Company was organized, with Mr. Newton the treasurer. This concern is producing stone of a superior quality, which is extensively used for columns, wainscoting, etc. They have the best equipped polishing plant in New England. Recently they filled a contract for the new wing of the Metropolitan Museum in New York City. Mr. Newton was also a director of the Calais National Bank for eighteen years, and he was elected the president of that institution about two years ago.

For about ten years in all Mr. Newton served in both branches of the city government of that institution. In 1888 he was elected to the State legislature. During the two years he spent there he was the chairman of the House Committee on finances. His death, which occurred December 2, 1897, was deeply regretted by the entire community as the loss of an honorable, enterprising, and public-spirited citizen. By his marriage with Miss Elizabeth S. Lee, daughter of Joseph A. Lee of this city, he had three children – Mary L., Helen L. and George E. Newton – all of whom survive him. George E. is a graduate of Amherst College, class of 1897. Mr. Newton was a members of the St. Croix Club. He attended and helped to support the Congregational church. Mrs. Newton and her family also attend the same church.

In 1858, the Red Beach Plaster Company was organized and Charles Newton, along with Henry Willis and George R. Tarbox, my 3X great grandfather, were business partners and owners of the plaster company. That is how the photo came to be in the Tarbox family picture collection. Charles was George’s business partner.


Source: St. Croix Historical Society

I’ve been to Calais once and the little city park has two items – a war memorial statue and a fountain – both made with granite from their company.


Sources: Personal Photo Collection

By 1860, Charles Newton was doing very well for himself in Calais:

He was boarding with Charles and Mary Kay, no known relation, but the value of his real estate was recorded as $20,000 and personal estate at $16,000. $20,000 in today’s dollars is equal to about $550,000.

Charles married Elizabeth Lee on 11 April 1863 in Calais, Maine. She was born c1840, Maine; died after 1920, possibly in Boston where she lived with extended family members. Charles and Elizabeth became the parents of three children:

  1. Mary L., born November 1865; died after 1930, possibly in South Orange, New Jersey; unmarried
  2. Helen Louise, born 6 April 1872; married William Belmont Parker, 29 May 1906, Calais, Maine. William was born c1872, England. Both died after 1930.
  3. George Eager, born 24 August 1875; married Evelyn Agnew, 17 September 1902, Calais, Maine

William and Helen Parker were the parents of four children:

  1. Newton Belmont, born 26 February 1907, New York; died 9 February 1993, Claremont, Los Angeles, California; (1) reportedly married Mary Godfrey Pepper. She was born c1909; died 1966, but they may have divorced. (2) Cary Blunt Millholland, a noted landscape architect, in 1954. She was born 11 December 1902; died 21 January 2001, Pomona, California. It doesn’t appear that Newton had any children.
  2. Barrett P., born 12 October 1908, New Jersey; died 21 February 1998; married Pamela M. (MNU). She was born 1921; died 2010. Both are buried at St. Paul’s Memorial Garden in Brunswick, Maine. Barrett was a World War II veteran.
  3. William J., born c1913, New Jersey; died after 1930
  4. Elizabeth L., born c1915, New Jersey; died after 1930

William Parker died c1934. However, neither wife Helen nor any of their children has been found in the 1940 census. There are numerous ship’s passenger lists for this family and it is possible they were out of the country at the time of the census.

George Eager and Evelyn (Agnew) Newton were also the parents of four children:

  1. Charlotte E., born c1904; died after 1940, when she lived in Calais with her parents; married George Sutherland Douglas, 25 October 1920, St. George, Charlotte County, New Brunswick, Canada. He was born 12 June 1899, Rumford Falls, Maine; reportedly died c1924. However, they divorced and Charlotte apparently never remarried nor had any children.
  2. Charles Harrison, born c1906; died 23 January 1942 while serving in the Merchant Marine aboard the ship Venore. The ship was hit in Torpedo Alley, off the coast of North Carolina, and sunk by a German U-boat. No evidence has been found that he ever married.
  3. Richard Billings, born 11 May 1907; died 27 September 1907.
  4. Mary L., born 13 December 1908, Robbinston, Maine; died after 1930, when she lived at home with her parents.

I would really, really like to return my photo of Charles Harrison Newton to a descendant. If there are any living today, they would be descended Barrett P., William J. or Elizabeth L. Parker or from Mary L. Newton, who possibly married between 1930 and 1940. It is possible that Mary might have married in Elmira, New York, as city directories show George and Evelyn living there in the late 1930s.

If anyone recognizes any of these people and can provide details about them after 1930, it would be much appreciated.

2 thoughts on “Charles Harrison Newton, 1830-1897, George R. Tarbox and the Importance of the FAN Club”

  1. I believe Charles Harrison Newton is related to me. My Grandfather was William Belmont Parker. He was Married to a Newton from Calais.
    My family for sometime owned some of the Red Beach site (plaster mill). We gave the St croix island to the State in late 60’s.
    My name is Hugh Parker and I now live in West Bath, Maine.

  2. Hi there,

    Thank you for posting this article. I am doing some research about the home I grew up in on Hinckley Hill. Charles H. Newton was the original property owner of this home in Calais, Maine.

    I see that you wrote a lot about his father and him. It gave me some insight into his life. It made sense that Mr. Newton was the president of the local bank–that’s probably why my family and I found bookkeeping of receipts and transactions in the attic. I would like to get more information about him and his family.

    I am curious about the home because there were claims of paranormal activity. My mother saw two children upstairs in the hallway. I just want to see if there was anything that happened in the home. It would be nice to see who all lived in there or if the home was used anything else rather than a residential occupancy.

    Sincerely,

    Shannon

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