Biography of James B. Newman
Napa County, CA Biographies





JAMES B. NEWMAN.
An expert stone cutter may be as truly an artist as he who paints a canvas or composes a symphony, and in James E. Newman is found one whose abilities along this line have gained him widespread recognition, for over a period of years he has successfully executed some of the most notable ornamental stone and marble work that has been erected in central California. Not only has he gained distinction in his special line of work, but as a man and citizen he has won the unbounded respect and esteem of the entire community honored by his citizenship and is therefore eminently entitled to specific reference in the permanent record of the annals of his locality.

James B. Newman was born in Essex, England, on the 21st day of September, 1851, the son of John Newman. He attended the public schools of his native land and then learned the trade of stonecutter. In 1872, the year in which he attained his majority, Mr. Newman came to the United States, locating first in Chicago, but the following year he came to California and obtained employment with Lasner & Sherron in San Francisco. Later he assisted a Mr. Donnelly in the construction of the monumental work in the Tulocay cemetery in Napa, and then, in association with Messrs. Wing and Rogers, took the contract to cut stone for the windows of the Napa State Hospital. Later Mr. Newman was employed on the stone carving for that same building. In 1875 he and others formed a company to quarry stone in the hills east of Napa for paving the streets of San Francisco. They received one hundred dollars per thousand for these paving blocks and furnished about two hundred thousand of them in four years. In the meantime he had formed a partnership with H. W. Wing and established a granite and marble works in Napa, an association which continued until 1900, when Mr. Newman became the sole owner of the business.

During the many years of his operation of this business Mr. Newman has furnished the cut stone for most of the public and business structures of this section of the state, executing all kinds of special designs in ornamental carving for the best buildings in San Francisco and other cities of the coast region. He has also built a great many of the stone bridges in Napa county. During later years Mr. Newman has specialized in monumental and mortuary vault work and has executed some large and expensive contracts along that line. His skill as a technical workman has long been generally acknowledged and as a designer he is both artistic and original, his designs being the equal of any found throughout this section of the country. Honest work has characterized his performance of all his contracts and he is painstaking and reliable in handling any job entrusted to him. His plant, at Third and Brown streets, Napa, is fully equipped for handling the work and he takes a justifiable pride in turning out good work quickly. Mr. Newman has always supported the republican party and has taken a good citizen's interest in local public affairs, having served as a member of the board of school directors and on the city council. He is a member of Yount Lodge No. 12, Free and Accepted Masons; Napa Chapter No. 30, Royal Arch Masons; Napa Commandery No. 30, Knights Templar; Napa Lodge No. 18, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, in its several branches, and is a past patriarch, and was district deputy; the Daughters of Rebekah, of which order he instituted the lodges of St. Helena and Sonoma; and was a charter member of the Napa Lodge, Benevolent Protective Order of Elks. For twenty seven years he was the financial secretary of the Odd Fellow lodge.

In 1888 Mr. Newman married Miss Minnie Mitchell, who was born and reared in California, and they became the parents of two sons, Raymond Webster and Harold Merritt, the latter of whom died at the age of eleven years. Raymond W. Newman is a bacteriologist and during the World war he was sent by the government to Yale University for special study and research work. He is now a bacteriologist for the state of California. Mr. Newman's life has been one of untiring activity and has been crowned with an abundant measure of success, while at the same time he has won and retains the confidence and esteem of all who know him, because of his clean life and his fair dealing with his fellow men in all the relations of life.

From:
History of Solano County, California
BY: Marguerite Hune
and Napa County, California
BY: Harry Lawrence Gunn
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Co.
Chicago 1926


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