September 16, 2012

Lewis Warren Newcomer, Alice Doty's Brother

My great-grandmother, Alice Newcomer Doty, was the child of Jacob and Susannah Overmyer Newcomer.  Her story may be read HERE.  Her parents lost another child in infancy, but her brother, Lewis, born November 6, 1861 survived and became a well-known personage in Monroe County, Michigan.

Lewis married Ada Belle Rauch and together they had five children while they lived in Monroe County.
 This photo shows Lewis and his wife, Ada Belle with their children: Irving Albert standing on the left, Daisy Belle and Edna E. in the front center, and little Susan Mary, sitting high in the center back.  Son, Stanley Jacob, was not yet born.
Since Susan was born in 1891 and Stanley in 1897, this dates this photo between those years.

I think Lewis's story is best told in the long, detailed obituary that was published in the Monroe Evening News on May 23, 1939 on page one.

Pioneer in Paper Industry Here Had Been Ill Several Months
Headed Monroe Bank Since Its Reopening
Co-founder of Binder Board Firm in 1904; Later With Consolidated

One of Monroe's pioneers in the paper industry and a community leader, Lewis W. Newcomer died at 4 a.m. today of myocarditis at his home, 44 East Elm Avenue.  He was 77 years old.  For many years a merchant here and in the county, Mr. Newcomer later helped found a local paper mill, served as treasurer of the Consolidated Paper Company since its formation in 1921, and as president of the Monroe State Bank since its reorganization in 1932.  In addition he was active in the Methodist church and in civic organizations until recent years, and his counsel was widely sought on community affairs.

Since his return from Florida, April 15, Mr. Newcomer had been in failing health.  As had been his custom for the last six years, he had spent several months with Mrs. Newcomer t the family winter residence at Miami Beach.  Death came to him quietly this morning, with members of the family present.  (Funeral service information omitted - dk)

Mr Newcomer's early business experience was gained in the butter and egg produce business which developed into a commission produce business.  Later he became associated in a clothing store business and in 1904 organized the Monroe Binder Board Company with the late L. W. Leathers.  They operated the business until 1921 when it became consolidated with the Boehme and Rauch Company to form the present Consolidated Paper CompanyIn the merger, Mr. Newcomer became treasurer and a director and has served continuously since.

Mr. Newcomer was born in Elmore, Ohio, on November 6, 1861, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Newcomer.  He had one sister, Alice, who became the wife of George Doty of Monroe and the mother of Sheriff Harry Doty.  She is now deceased.  When Lewis was 4 years old, Mr. and Mrs. Newcomer moved their family to Raisinville township where Lewis continued to live until his marriage.  He attended the Raisinville district school no. 8 and then the Monroe high school.  Later, he taught at the Raisinville school for five years.

He married Ada Belle Rauch, daughter of Henry and Mary Rauch of Ida, on October 1, 1884.  Mr. Rauch was in the mercantile business in Ida.  The wedding ceremony was preformed by the Rev. Mr. Gramley, at the time pastor of the First Evangelical Church in Ida.  Mr. and Mrs. Newcomer began their married life in Britton where Mr. Newcomer had purchased a half interest in the general store of his brother-in-law, the late E.C. Rauch, who was president of the Consolidated Paper Company for many years.  Mr. and Mrs. Newcomer lived in Britton slightly less than a year when they came to Monroe and Mr. Rauch and Mr. Newcomer engaged in the butter and egg produce business.

The partnership was dissolved after a short time and Mr. Newcomer owned and operated a general store in Strasburg for ten years before moving to Toledo when he bought the J. M. DeMuth commission and produce business.  A year later, in 1895,when Mr. Rauch became a partner in the Boehme and Rauch Company, Mr. Newcomer purchased his brother-in-law's clothing business in Monroe and maintained branch clothing and shoe stores in Clinton and Dundee for a time.

Nine years after returning to Monroe, Mr. Newcomer and Mr. Leathers formed the Monroe Binder Board Company and his entry into the Consolidated Paper Company followed.
Both Mr. and Mrs. Newcomer have been long active in the work of St. Paul's Methodist Church.  Mr. Newcomer served as presidnet of the board of trustees for many years and Mrs. Newcomer taught a Sunday School class.  Mr. Newcomer is a life member of the Monroe Country Club, though inactive in the club in recent years.  He served as treasurer of the Monroe Industrial Commisssion for eight years.  His lodge affiliation is with the blue lodge F. and A.M.

In addition to his wife, Ada Belle, Mr. Newcomer is survived by five children.  They are:
Irving A. Newcomer of Monroe; Mrs. Jason (Daisy Belle) Saunderson of Sioux City, Iowa; Mrs. Millard (Edna) Toncray of Gross Pointe; Mrs. Melvin (Susan Mary) Hollinshead of New York City and Stanley J. Newcomer of Monroe.  There are 12 grandchildren.

The Newcomer house in Monroe in 1904 was the White residence at the corner of Macomb and Front streets where they lived until October 1914, when they built the present home on East Elm Avenue.  The family also has a summer home at Bolles Harbor."
Four generation photo showing Lewis on the left and his (and Alice's) father, Jacob, on the right.  Lewis's son, Irving, is holding his son, Sheldon.

Two days later, a memorial to his character and a review of the funeral was printed in the Monroe Evening News on May 25, 1939.  His estate was probably considered quite large, especially for the Depression era, as he left personal property valued at $250,000.  But more importantly, he was lauded again and again for his personal service to the community as a man... "who was able to retain his idealism, his love of community, and his regard for all the finer things of life along with his business success...A good life has such a continuing influence.  He was...always helpful, always generous, always willing to give, not only of his means but of his time and thought, to every worthy movement in his city or county."

1 comment:

  1. Very nice and helpful Diane as my wife "Q" Newcomer Huber is in the LWN line like you. Her father was Dr. Sheldon Root Newcomer in the four generations photo you show. That original of that photo is on our wall here at home in Boca Raton, FL as is the big original portrait of her great grandfather LWN at the close of your article from the Monroe Evening News article.

    Call sometime and we can exchange info ... I am currently searching for the first name and precise connection (in great grandmother Ada Bell ( Ms. LWN) Rauch's line) of the Rauch relatives... bro and sis... who visited us for a family picinic in Jackson MI in summer of '60 or '61 at Uncle Lewis and Martha Newcomers (Dr Sheldon N brother) 2,000 acre fruit farm. She was Under Sec Gen of the UN and I was her guest for lunch in the Sec Gen's Dining Room at the UB during my internship study there... I cannot remember her first name???
    Don Huber
    Nice work Diane 561.443.2015