Biography of Col. Jason W. Newell of Marion Township

Col. Jason W. Newell, born in 1834 in Utica, Oneida County, N.Y., was a farmer in Marion Township, Dade County, Mo. Son of Rev. Jeffrey and Christina (Traver) Newell, he moved west with his family, settling in Springfield, Ill., and later in Calumet County, Wis. A machinist and engineer by trade, Newell enlisted in the Union Army during the Civil War, achieving the rank of Captain. Post-war, he moved to Dade County in 1879, served as sheriff in Wisconsin, and was elected to the Missouri Legislature in 1884 and 1886. Married to Lydia I. Lee, he was an active member of the Christian Church and the G.A.R.

Col. Jason W. Newell, farmer, of Marion Township, was born in Utica, Oneida County, N.Y., in 1834, and is the son of Rev. Jeffrey and Christina (Traver) Newell, the former born in Stockbridge County, Vt., about 1785, and the latter born on the Hudson River, N.Y., being six years her husband’s junior. They were married in New York, and lived there until 1849, when they removed to Springfield, Ill., and in 1851 to Calumet County, Wis., where Mr. Newell died in 1867. Mrs. Newell died during the war. Mr. Newell was a minister in the Christian Church and preached the doctrines of that church for over fifty years with great success. He was of English origin, but his people had lived in America for probably 250 years. Col. Jason W. Newell is next to the youngest in a family of thirteen children, seven sons and six daughters. He received a good academic education, finishing in Calumet County, Wis., and came West with his parents. When a boy he learned the machinist and engineering trade, which he followed until the breaking out of the war, and was engineer on the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railroad for some time. In 1854 he married Miss Lydia I., daughter of William and Lydia Lee, natives of New York and Vermont, respectively. Mrs. Lee died in 1859, and was a member of the Christian Church, and Mr. Lee died at the home of his son-in-law, Col. Newell, in 1872. He was a sailor nearly all his life, was at the battle of Trafalgar, and saw Napoleon while he was crossing the Alps. His father was a native of Ireland, but he knew very little about his parents, as he was kidnapped when six years of age. In August 1862, Col. Newell enlisted in Company E, Twenty-first Wisconsin Volunteer Infantry, was soon made orderly-sergeant, then, in October, was made second lieutenant, and soon after first lieutenant, which position he held until June 1863, when he resigned on account of sickness and losses. In 1864 he removed to Chicago, where he was employed by the Government to erect barracks, etc. In February and March 1865, he organized seventeen companies from the Rebel prisoners at Camp Douglas for frontier service. Seven of these companies were mustered into service, and Col. Newell was made Captain of Company A, after which he crossed the plains to Salt Lake City, etc. He was mustered out at that city in May 1866, on account of disability. He then returned from the West, and since the war has been engaged principally in farming. In 1870 he was elected sheriff of Calumet County, Wis., re-elected in 1872, and served four years, against a Democratic majority of 1,400. He was the only Republican elected, and received 400 majority. In 1879 he came to Dade County, Mo., where he has since lived, and where he has a good farm of eighty acres. In 1884 Col. Newell was elected to the Legislature, and re-elected in 1886, holding the position with distinction and credit. He was reared a Democrat, his first presidential vote being for James Buchanan in 1856, but since the war he has affiliated with the Republican party. He is a member of Lockwood Post No. 325, G. A. R., was the organizer of the same, and was its first commander. Col. Newell and his wife have been members of the Christian Church for twenty-three years, and their two daughters are also members. Their family consists of one son and two daughters. While on the frontier in 1866 he was appointed captain in the United States regimental service, but never reported to the examining board on account of his disability before the board met. His commission as captain of the command on the frontier was one of the very last acts of President Lincoln, being signed by him just the day before his assassination. Col. Newell, as he is familiarly called, is a man of more than ordinary ability and culture. He has spared no pains for the social condition of his family, and has also been active in educational affairs. His eldest child, Perry T., one of Dade County’s well-to-do farmers, is the husband of Miss Sarah Lemon, a native of Missouri, and the father of three children; the second child, Grace, is the wife of W. K. Hulbert, a well-known pioneer of Dade County, and now a hardware merchant of Stockton, Kan.; the third child, Maud, is at home.


Goodspeed, History of Hickory, Polk, Cedar, Dade and Barton Counties, Missouri; Chicago, The Goodspeed publishing co., 1889.

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