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Newbold, Joshua G.
(May 12, 1830–June 10, 1903)

—farmer, educator, businessman, state representative, lieutenant governor, governor, and mayor of Mount Pleasant—was born i n Fayette County, Pennsylvania, the firstbor n child of Barzillai and Catherine (Houseman) Newbold. His ancestors are listed among th e first settlers of New Jersey. Quaker in faith, the Newbold family remained aloof from th e American Revolution.

    In 1840 the Newbold family left Fayette County for Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. There Joshua began his formal education in a common school, later enrolling in a select school taught by Dr. John Lewis, physician and educator who settled in Grinnell, Iowa, in 1878.

    Joshua returned with his family to Fayette County in 1848. There he taught school, assisted his father in running a flour mill, and began studying medicine. His study of medicine was short-lived. Two years after returning to Fayette County, Joshua married Rachel Farquhar on May 2, 1850. Five children were born to that union. Only two daughters and one son lived to adulthood.

    In March 1854 the Newbolds moved to Iowa, settling on a farm near Mount Pleasant in Henry County. A year later they moved to Cedar Township, Van Buren County, where Newbold became involved in merchandising and farming. Five years later he returned to Henry County, locating in Hillsboro, continuing in the same fields of labor, and expanding to include stock raising and dealing. During that time, additional Newbold family members migrated to Iowa, including Newbold's parents and his uncle Joshua, who served as pastor of the Hillsboro Free Baptist Church.

    When President Abraham Lincoln issued a call in 1862 for 600,000 men, Newbold joined the Union army as a captain, leaving his farm in the hands of his family and his store in the hands of his partner. Newbold served for nearly three years as captain of Company C, 25th Regiment, Iowa Infantry, organized at Mount Pleasant and mustered in on September 27, 1862. Newbold saw action at Chickasaw Bayou and Vicksburg and was part of Sherman's March to the Sea. Captain Newbold served his last three months as judge advocate at Woodville, Alabama, leaving the army due to a disability just prior to the end of the war.

    Upon returning to Iowa, Newbold re claimed his standing in the Hillsboro community and became involved in politics as a state representative for Henry County, serving in the 13th, 14th, and 15th General Assemblies (1870, 1872, 1874). Newbold chaired the School Committee in the 14th session and the Appropriations Committee in the 15th. During the 15th session, he also served as temporary Speaker of the House when the House of Representatives deadlocked during its organization. Elected lieutenant governor on the Republican ticket with Samuel J. Kirkwood in 1875, he became Iowa's ninth governor when Kirkwood resigned on February 1, 1877, to run for the U.S. Senate. Newbold served out Kirkwood's unexpired term, facing such issues as an ever-increasing floating state debt and the inequality of personal property valuations among the counties.

    By 1880 Newbold and his wife, Rachel, both age 50, were back in Mount Pleasant, with Newbold running a dry-goods and grocery store. Politically a devoted Republican, Newbold's spiritual affiliations varied. Born and raised a Quaker, he spent the greater part of his life as a Free-Will Baptist. In later life, he and his wife joined the Presbyterian church in Mount Pleasant; as chair of the building committee, he was actively involved in the construction of the First Presbyterian Church in 1897. Elected mayor of Mount Pleasant in 1900, he served until his death in 1903 (he had earlier served as mayor in 1883). Newbold was interred at Forest Home Cemetery in Mount Pleasant.
Sources include The History of Henry County, Iowa (1879); Portrait and Biographical Album of Henry County, Iowa (1888); and The United States Biographical Dictionary and Portrait Gallery of Eminent and Self-Made Men, Iowa Volume (1878).
Contributor: Joy Lynn Conwell