Francis Newman
1759 - 1818*

 Relationship to me: Great Great Great Great Uncle Gen -5

Portrait of Francis Newman
as Colonel John Francis Newman
from Jerry Gandoflo (USA)
(see note below)
 Born 1759, at Hinckley in Leicestershire  
 Died died 5th March 1818 according to Cliff Ranson; buried in Port Tobacco, Maryland, USA (*1817 per Jerry Gandolfo)
 Age 58 or 59  
 Father:      Henry Newman c1726-1798
 Mother: Ann Underwood  
 Brothers: Edwin Sandys Newman c1762-1836
 Sisters:   None  
 Married: (1) Frances Charlotte Newman, his first cousin, eldest daughter of his
uncle Francis
d.Piddletrenthide Dorset 1834
  (2) Lydia Sheridan (née Ferguson) c1754 - 1796 died in USA
  (3) Elizabeth Hannah Friers c1780 - 1855
 Children: (1) Francis, born May 1779, died June 1779. Buried North Cadbury (see note below)
  Henry, stillborn December 1780. Buried North Cadbury 26th Dec 1780.
  Frances Charlotte married Robert Albion Cox c.1805 1784 - c.1846
  Augusta Catherine, born Nov. 1785. Buried at North Cadbury Church May 28th 1786. Francis claimed that Augusta was not his. 1785 - 1786
  (2) Jean Elisabeth Francois Georges Newman 
alias (Captain) Francis Newman
1786 - 1851
  (3) Elizabeth Rachel Newman m. Woodyear & Larnded (had no children) 1799 - 1855
  John Francis Newman (# had children) c.1800
  Francis Hollis Newman (# had children) c 1805 - c1870
  Emily Newman married Dr. James Thomas Johnson (# had 2 or 3 children) died between 1850 and 1856
  Susan Bird Newman married McClintock Young died suddenly before 1850
  Francis Olis (or Hollis) Newman (# not mention in mother's will) may have died before 1850

Introductory Notes

This page is in the process of a complete and long overdue reconstruction.

Francis Newman

Francis Newman and his disreputable uncle Frank are with little doubt the two most colourful characters in this family tree. Francis's dramatic life story is still unfolding, but it may be simplest to first summarize it in the following time-line:

Francis Newman Chronology (including dates of historical importance):

Jan: Francis's grandfather Charles Newman dies.
Charles's widow Hannah Sandys dies leaving her 10 year old son Henry orphaned. Henry is then raised by his paternal grandmother, Eleanor Newman, (née Mompesson), widow of Francis Holles Newman [unsourced information].
Francis's great-grandfather Eleanor Newman dies. Henry is now 15 years old.
  Lydia Ferguson was born (precise date not known)
Start of the Seven Years War between England and France (later joined by others).
October 12: Henry Newman and Ann Underwood, parents of Francis Newman are married at Shepton Beauchamp, Somerset and/or Hinkley, Leicestershire.
William Pitt (the elder) forms government in partnership with Duke of Newcastle
July: The Siege of Louisboug in Canada in which the Commodore Marquis des Gouttes was taken prisoner, possibly, by the British naval commander, Edward Boscawen. During this engagement, the British ship, "Prince of Orange," was commanded by Captain John Ferguson.
  Birth of Frances Charlotte Newman, eldest daughter of Jane and Francis (Frank) Newman.
Francis Newman born at Hinckley in Leicestershire, England where his mother's family lived. Christened at Shepton Beauchamp, Somerset, England.
King George III comes to the throne
October: William Pitt resigns from leadership of the British government
Edwin Sandys Newman born: younger brother to Francis Newman.
Feb 10: Treaty of Paris: France gives up eastern half of Louisiana, Canada, and the Ohio Valley. Spain trades all the Floridas to Britain for the return of Havana.
First Newcomen steam engine introduced, marking the start of the industrial revolution
Captain Cook discovers Australia and claims it for the British crown.
Dec 16: Boston Tea Party brought about by Britain imposing taxes on tea exported to the American colonies
April: Battles of Lexington and Concord mark a de facto state of war between the American colonies and Britain.
July 4: United States of America declares independence from Britain.
18 year-old Francis transfers from Rugby School to Cambridge University (England) - unverified information
Feb 6: The United States and France sign a treaty making them allies against Britain.
(date unknown) Francis, aged 19, marries his 20 year-old cousin Frances Newman
May: Francis Newman (Francis and Frances's first son) is baptized, but is buried in June

Jun 21: Spain, allied to France, declares war on Britain.

Henry Newman, Frances's second son, is baptized, then buried in December.
Apr 15: The Treaty of Paris ends the American Revolution.
Cliff Ranson reports that Francis was jailed for debt and released when his wife Frances raised money by mortgaging the (Cadbury?) property. Not verified
Mar: 24 year old William Pitt the Younger becomes Britain's youngest and second-longest-serving Prime Minister

Apr 7: birth of Frances Charlotte Newman who was baptized 9th May (see Newman-Rogers' Bible). At the time of the birth, her parents were living at Fursdon House in the Parish of Cadbury, Devonshire (not be confused with the village of Cadbury in Somerset).

May: Francis abandons his wife Frances and begins his affair with Lydia Sheridan (see Chancery Proceedings C12/629/31 pages 43/44)
  Oct: Francis and Lydia living together (with a servant) in Lowerbank’s Hotel in St. James’s Street, London
  Nov: Francis and Lydia they rented rooms at the house of Mrs Barker in Green’s Row Chelsea. Francis meets his wife Frances in London around this time - see Chancery Proceedings C12/629/31.
  Dec: Francis and Lydia moved into Osborne’s Hotel at the Adelphi (not far from the Strand) .
  Feb: Francis and Lydia moved back to Mrs Barker in Green’s Row Chelsea.
29th Apr: Francis and Lydia move to France as man and wife, settling into Château le Riau near Dornes, (see summary of the trial of Lydia Sheridan).
Nov: Augusta Catherine Newman was born to Frances Newman, and baptized 17 Nov at North Cadbury and died May 1786. Francis claimed that the child was not his.
Aug 16: Jean Elisabeth Francois Georges Newman was born to Lydia Ferguson at Château le Riau, with Mrs Barker in attendance.
Oct: Frances travelled to Wales to settle her husband's affairs, claiming expenses of £16/13/11 (see Chancery Proceedings C12/629/31).

23 Nov - A Bill of Complaint (amended 24 Jan 1789 and 14 Jan 1790) against Francis was lodged by his Frances, her daughter Frances Charlotte and her father Francis. It concerns the Lease and Release of parts of the South Cadbury and Sparkford estates and non-payment of £100 annuity - ref C12/629/31.

  Feb 10: Jean Elisabeth Francois Georges Newman is baptized at Moulins, France with Marquis des Gouttes acting as godfather.
  Feb: Mr William Loveridge, solicitor acting on behalf of her husband Henry Sheridan, hands a summons to Lydia to initiate divorce proceedings.
  Oct: Francis, Lydia and child returned to England (date given in C12/629/31), taking lodgings at a house in Brompton Row, Hyde Park.
  Feb: Francis and Lydia's presence in London was "discovered" by a Mr Brewer acting on behalf of Henry Sheridan.
  May: Lydia attends court to answer a charge of adultery. Henry Sheridan granted a divorce plus damages of £2000 against Francis Newman .
  March: House of Lords confirms Lydia's divorce - see British History OnLine's website.
June 14: Storming of the Bastille in Paris marks beginning of the French Revolution.

Sep 16: Francis was in Bath, Somerset, answering his wife's Bill of Complaint to the Chancery court - ref C12/629/31.

  Francis mortgages the manors of North Cadbury and Sparkford and the advowson of Sparkford through a deed of arrangement arising out of his inheritance Ref DD\SOG/177
  Oct: Town and Country Magazine published an article about Francis and Lydia titled "The Female Deserter" and "The Chemical Lover".
  29 Jan: Francis answered a bill of Complaint by James and Catherine Rogers (see C12/178/26) relating to deeds for South Cadbury Court.
  8 Aug: Thomas Alves published a statement in the London Gazette dissolving a partnership with a Francis Newman which had traded as Francis Newman and Co.
  26 Nov: Francis lodged a Bill of Complaint against James Rogers (see C12/184/20). Francis was living at Shudy Camps, Cambridge, "late of Broad Street, London"
  Francis (of Shudy Camps, Cambridge. ) signs a 1 year lease of manors of North and South Cadbury and Sparkford, the advowsons of South Cadbury and Sparkford etc. Ref DD\SOG/178
21 Jan: Louis XVI, King of France, is executed.
1 Feb: France declares war on Great Britain.
  5 Feb: Francis makes out a Will, signed and witnessed in London, probably in anticipation of his forthcoming voyage to America.

Francis, Lydia and Jean Elisabeth Francois Georges set sail for the USA, purchasing La Grange estate at Port Tobacco, Maryland, soon after their arrival.

  8 Aug: Lydia Sheridan buried in Baltimore, Maryland

date unknown: Frank Newman dies at West House, Piddletrenthide (or Cerne Abbot - ref C12/204/33) in Dorset. Francis's ex-wife Frances lives on at the house until her death in 1834.

  1 Mar: Francis's father, Henry Newman, died.
  39 y.o. Francis married 18 y.o. Elizabeth Hannah Friers of Rhode Island. [Note: Cliff Ranson had the date as 1799 and the spelling of his wife's name as 'Fryers']
9 Nov: Napoleon Bonaparte comes to power in France.
Treaty of Amiens brings temporary peace between Great Britain and France
  25 Jan: 16 y.o. Jean Elisabeth Francois Georges Newman is commissioned a Second Lieutenant in artillery of the U.S. Army.
18 May: War renewed between France and Britain. Britain fights alone.
30 Dec: 17 y.o. Jean Elisabeth Francois Georges Newman is among the American military contingent, commanded by General James Wilkinson, that formally receives the Colony of Louisiana from the French Republic at New Orleans, Louisiana.
Start of the War of the Third Coalition - Austria, Portugal, Russia, and others join Britain in war against France
21 Oct: French and Spanish fleets destroyed at Battle of Trafalgar removing risk of a French invasion of Britain.
2 Dec: Napoleon's victory at Austerlitz ends the War of the Third Coalition.
Jan: Britain's Prime Minister, William Pitt the Younger, dies.
25 Mar: William Wilberforce finally achieves abolishion of the Slave Trade
  Francis becomes involved in a criminal hearing in which he gave surety for a John Campbell . The case dragged on till 1820 or beyond - see Reports of cases argued and adjudged in the Court of Appeals ..., Volumes 9-10 pages 62 - 65.
20 Jan: Served on Charles Co. Maryland agricultural board with a Mr. Robert Ferguson formed on 20 Jan 1808.
Francis initiated Chancery Court hearing complaining against actions of Frank Newman dating back to 1783 - see also summary of the case. Wins case in 1811.

19 Jun: War of 1812: United States Declaration of War against Britain.

13 Dec: Francis Newman appointed tax collector for the 6th Collection District of Maryland
21 Aug: British Army units land in Maryland and attack Washington, DC, burning the White House. Francis Newman may have gained his rank or title of "colonel" from serving in this war. When the British marched through Maryland, they may have gone through area of Port Tobacco where Francis Newman might have participated in the campaign to deny them access to Baltimore.
14 Oct: 28 y.o. Captain Jean Elisabeth Francois Georges Newman is put in command of Fort Petite Coquilles (until 13 March 1815).
8 Jan: The British Army is routed at Chalmette, La. (The Battle of New Orleans), causing the British Navy and Army withdraw from Louisiana. Capt Francis Newman participates in the battle against the British.
15 Feb: Treaty of Ghent is ratified, ending the War of 1812.
18 June: Napoleon defeated at Waterloo, ending the Napoleonic Wars.
date unknown: Charles Bird King, a portrait painter and Francis's brother-in-law produced the portrait of "Colonel" Francis Newman above.
  Francis instructs his son, Jean Elisabeth Francois Georges Newman, to purchase land in Huntsville, Alabama on his behalf. He died before moving there, but his widow Elizabeth, and Jean Francois Newman moved onto onto the property which eventually became Oaklawn Plantation.
  13 Jan: La Grange and Benfield Estates sold under government auction pursuant to an act of Congress passed on the 9th day of January, 1815 (for the recovery of taxes collected by Francis Newman).
  21 Jan: Francis (at his special instance and request) signs a 12 month $250 lease with Mr Stoddert over the Mont Bleak estate. The lease payment was never paid. See here
  5 Nov (or 1st Feb): Francis died; Buried at Stone Street Newman Cemetery, Port Tobacco, Maryland, near Washington, DC.
  Mr Stoddert sues Elizabeth Newman for non-payment for lease over Mont Bleak estate - see here.
  $5,302.89 Judgment against Elizabeth Newman in relation to taxes collected by Francis Newman.
  Elizabeth Newman sought an abatement of interest due on tax payments withheld by Francis Newman
  Secretary of the Treasury abatement of interest owed by Elizabeth Newman on tax payments withheld by Francis Newman
  23 Jun: London Gazette reported on the case of Newman vs Newman which involved five creditors of Francis Newman including C.H. Payne and representatives of the late Thomas Alves.
  Elizabeth Newman died in Washington D.C.


29 Jan 1791: Francis answered a bill of Complaint by James and Catherine Rogers (see C 12/178/26) relating to deeds for South Cadbury Manor. It appears that James Rogers refused to pay Francis an amount of £6,922 for the properties of Sparkford and Cadbury that Francis would inherit on the death of his uncle (Francis Newman the elder), because of fraudulent misrepresentation by Francis Newman relating to concealment of encumbrances on the properties!

Note: the library of University of North Carolina contains a memoir about Rev. Josiah Henson (the man who inspired Harriet Beecher Stowe to write her novel "Uncle Tom's Cabin) stating that: "Josiah Henson was born into slavery on June 15, 1789, in Charles County, Maryland, on a farm belonging to Francis Newman. Francis was in England at that time, so either the date is wrong, or else he bought the farm some years before setting sail to America.

The story told is an ugly one .... "Henson is born on the farm of Francis Newman, to whom his mother had been hired out and to whom his father was enslaved. Henson's first significant memory is of his father returning home "with his head bloody"—in fact his ear severed—"and his back lacerated," having been whipped severely for defending his wife from a white overseer's rape attempt (p. 14). When his father is sold and taken to Alabama, his mother's master, Dr. Josiah McPherson, reclaims her and her six children. McPherson dies two or three years later, and his slaves are sold. Henson and his mother are briefly separated, but after he nearly dies, his new master sells . . . him cheap to Isaac Riley, the man who has bought his mother. Henson grows up on Riley's farm." An even uglier version of the story is told on Wikipedia.

Francis Newman was born in 1759 at Hinckley in Leicestershire, England where his mother's family lived. His father Henry was rector of both Shepton Beauchamp and Sparkford, both villages in South Somerset. His father's elder brother Francis had inherited the Newman estates and advowson rights at Cadbury and Sparkford. In

I will present it largely in the order of my discoveries about him (for which I take no credit, and for which I thank those who have provided me with information about him, whose names are mentioned in the text below):

Until Feb 2002 my knowledge of Francis was summarized as follows:

This was the man that lost the Newman family's fortune and its North Cadbury estate. I don't know much more than what is said on earlier family trees - that he was "committed for crime to the High Court, found guilty and migrated to America where he died in 1817 without male issue". The North Cadbury estate was sold in 1799 to James Bennett of London to pay Francis's debts. Bennett subsequently caused all Newman memorials in North Cadbury church to be expunged, and I believe he also had all traces of the Newman family removed from Cadbury Court.

However in Feb 2002, Jerry Gandolfo from New Orleans, Louisiana, USA provided me with a much fuller and more interesting story about Francis as follows:

Francis and Lydia's first home in the USA: Le Grange Estate, MarylandSpeaking of Francis Newman, (brother of Edwin Sandys Newman), you state, he “migrated to America where he died in 1817 without male issue.” No doubt, this Francis Newman was colorful character. In 1786 he appeared in France with a Nioman Furgusson [or Lydia Ferguson ] where the two did have a son, Jean Elisabeth Francois Georges Newman! Francis Newman, with Lydia, moved to, and purchased, the La Grange Estate, Maryland, USA around 1796 (photo right). She died shortly thereafter. [Note: the words of his Will indicate that Francis continued to live at The Grange until his own death in 1817.]

Francis Newman then married Elizabeth Hannah Friers with whom he had eight more children, including four more males (including one named Francis Hollis Newman).

His first son, also called Francis Newman, became an artillery officer in the U.S. Army. When the U.S. purchased the colony of Louisiana from Napoleon (1803), he moved with the army to New Orleans. There he married twice, to cousins, both members of a prominent Spanish Creole family (Ronquillo y Solís). During the War of 1812 he commanded Fort Petit Coquilles and participated in the repulse of the British invasion of Louisiana in 1815. (Family history holds this act, bearing arms against Britain, was the reason the family was cut off from any English inheritances.) He had thirteen daughters and two sons. (He died in New Orleans in 1851.) One son, also named Francis Newman, became a Captain in the rebel (Confederate) army during the American Civil War and was killed in battle at Vicksburg in 1863. Before he died, he married a French Creole, the granddaughter of a French Privateer, Ezilda M. Daubert. They had several children including one named Hollis Louis Newman. Hollis Newman married Elena Ford-Rely and lived in New Orleans where his daughter Norita D. Newman was born. She married Andrew [André] A. Massicot (great-grandson of another French Privateer). Norita Newman became the family historian and wrote a book, “The Beast, The Sheep, and The Chariots,” (semi-factual, semi-fictional) about her great grandfather, Francis Newman (brother to Edwin Sandys Newman). Norita and Andrew Massicot’s daughter, Ynola Lucille married Charles Bradley Gandolfo in 1934. These were my parents. There are related Newmans all over the USA (especially Maryland, Louisiana, Alabama and Ohio).

Jerry wrote to me again in March 2002 with further information relating to Francis Newman as follows:

Alias: Colonel John Francis Newman, Sir John Francis Newman, Francis Newman: (It appears that Francis Newman acquired his titles or rank as well as his estates in England by virtue of the marriage to his cousin, Frances Newman.) In any case, the Newman Baronetcy became extinct in 1747 and was actually associated with Sir Richard Newman of Fifehead Magdalen. The rank of Colonel is more of a mystery. Could it be inherited from Colonel Richard Newman, surveyor-general to King Charles I and II, and veteran of the Battle of Worcester (1651)? Or, was it simply an honorary title often associated with men of social rank in America? Was he a British Colonel, an American Colonel, or maybe even a French Colonel? Or, is there another answer?) [Note: there is another answer - he aggrandized himself by assuming titles that were not his - including "Sir Francis Newman", "Sir John Francis Newman", "F. Newman, Sir and Baronet" etc. Colonel Francis Newman is likely to be similarly fictitious.]

Born: 1759; Christened: 1759 at Shepton Beauchamp [source: Ancestry.Com but not referenced]. Attended: Rugby then Cambridge, 1777 [source: Ancestry.Com but not referenced]

Moved to North America: After some period of time, and/or excursions to France, Newman appears to have migrated to Maryland, USA about 1793*. (This was 10 years after the end of the American Revolution, 1775-1783.) He obtained and lived at two estates or, plantations, called Benfield and La Grange. The latter, located in Port Tobacco, Maryland (a few miles east of Washington, D.C. along the Potomac River) is most closely associated with him. The La Grange plantation has two interesting footnotes associated with it. First, the evil overseer of the novel, "Uncle Tom's Cabin," is said to have been based on a real overseer from La Grange. Second, while Admiral Bird is given credit for being the first man to reach the North Pole, many now accept it was a Negro who accompanied him, Matthew Hanson, who was actually first. Matthew Hanson was also originally from the Newman estate at La Grange. Francis Newman may have worked as some sort of tax collector in Maryland and may have had some problems associated with his accounting. (His son, Captain Francis Newman, also worked as a collector in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA). [* The date of Francis' emigration to Maryland must have been later than this, since his first will was signed in London on 5th Feb 1794 (see note below).]

Death and Estate: Francis Newman apparently (sic) died in Maryland in 1817. He is buried in Port Tobacco, Maryland. In 1794 he wrote a will which after his death was probated, amended, nullified and reprobated. The book, "British Roots of Maryland Families," states of his will, "He mentioned estates in Great Britain…" The original will from 1794 essentially recognizes Lydia Ferguson and their son (Captain) Francis Newman as heirs. It starts out, "The last will and testament of me, Francis Newman, of Hoadley Park in the County of S'ants Esquire…" The aforementioned book identifies Colonel Newman of Headley Park, Hampshire, and Cadbury Castle, Devon, but late of La Grange. After directing his estate to settle his debts and funeral expenses, Francis Newman essentially bequeathed the rest to Mrs. Lydia Ferguson and their son, John Elizabeth Francis George Newman. His executors were instructed to invest his liquid holdings and provide an annuity from the dividends and interest derived therefrom. Appointed executors were Lydia Ferguson, Sir Robert Sloper, Thomas Jones and James Meadowcroft. The will is dated 5 February 1794 and witnessed by J. Meadowcroft, Bedford Row, George Owen, Grays Inn Lane and Charles Few, 7 Theobald's Road. [Note - these addresses are all clustered in North London, just north of Chancery Lane.] The will was amended on 12 September 1820 after neither the widow of Francis Newman nor James Meadowcroft responded to a citation to appear for the probate. The amended will granted limited rights to Frances Charlotte Newman Cox, Francis Newman's daughter by his cousin, Frances Newman. Then in August 1822 the will was nullified by a new will produced by attorneys for Francis Newman's 3rd wife, Elizabeth Hannah Friers Newman (presumably the same as the copied version of Francis' Will dated Sept 1817.) The two sources I have seen on this item must be from a common source since there is no further mention in either as to what the estate consisted of, or how its final distribution was allocated.

Subsequently, in July 2002, I received information from Cliff Hanson, another descendant of Francis, who has pieced together another part of Francis's life. He wrote as follows:

Captain Francis Newman was born Jean Elisabeth Francois Georges at the château de Dorne in France in 1780. His father was the notorious Francis Newman in your tree, who was born at Hinckley in Leicestershire, England. His father was Rev Henry Newman who was the Vicar of Sparkford in Somerset. The Vicars brother was Sir Francis Newman of North Cadbury Court. The latter had three daughters - the eldest, Frances Charlotte - married her first cousin, Francis Newman,the notorious. They had four children, three of whom died in infancy, and the fourth, Frances Charlotte, married a surveyor of London.

Francis the notorious deserted his wife and went to France where his son was born. When the French Revolution started, Francis returned to London with his "wife" and child, and later went to live in Cambridgeshire. During this time charges were being brought against the notorious Francis by his uncle, Sir Francis and his wife Frances Charlotte in the Chancery Court, which dealt with squabbles between families where large estates were concerned. I have copies of the proceedings. The problems mainly arose because the young Francis was trying to pre-empt his future inheritance and also used this to borrow money which eventually ended with his incarceration for debt. Strangely enough it was his wife Frances who raised a mortgage on her father's estate which rescued him from debtors prison.

When Francis, the notorious, was free he sailed to America with his "wife" Lydia and his son. He lived firstly in Baltimore and then acquired the plantation at Port Tobacco. where he lived as Colonel Newman until his death on 5th March 1818. Lydia died in Baltimore in 1796.

Frances Charlotte died at Piddletrenthide in Dorset, England in 1834. There is no record of any divorce, and it may have been assumed after a long separation.

Colonel Francis next 'married' Elisabeth Hannah Friers of Virginia in 1799. They had five children - two boys and three girls.

In Jan 2003, Jerry Gandolfo followed up with a good deal of further information which I will quote verbatim as follows (first repeating the statement copied above relating to the military uniform worn in the portrait of Francis:

"I have a couple of interesting details to share with you regarding Francis Newman of Cadbury (who came to Maryland, USA). First of all, using the portrait I sent you, I've finally been able to identify his uniform. It is of a US Army Infantry officer from the War of 1812 (1812-1815). I'm sending an attachment with the portrait inset into a 1898 print from the US Army Ordinance service which illustrates the official US Army officer uniforms for that period. Note the uniform is a match. The silver epaulettes are distinct to the Infantry service. Also, the portrait painter, Charles Bird King was active in the Washington, DC area (La Grange at Port Tobacco, Maryland is on the outskirts of Washington) beginning in 1816. Francis Newman died in 1818. The war, which lasted from 1812 to 1815 was fought mainly in Canada, Maryland and New Orleans. Hence, I now feel safe to conclude that this Colonel Newman was a Colonel in the US Army in the War of 1812 (also lesser known as the Second American Revolution or the War with Great Britain).

Meanwhile, I've become acquainted with another Francis Newman of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA (another fourth or fifth cousin). He has hired one Charles Dagenais, a genealogist in Paris, to find out what Francis Newman of Cadbury was doing in France in 1786 when Jean Elisabeth Francis Georges Newman was born. Dagenais has noted that the godfather on the younger Newman's French baptismal certificate was Jean-Antoine de Charry, marquis des Gouttes. Des Gouttes was a French Admiral who was defeated by the British Admiral Edwin Boscawen in 1758 at the Battle of Louisbourg in Canada during the Seven Year War. Boscawen would have, as was the custom at the time, have taken des Gouttes as prisoner and put him under house arrest with a family of suitable and equal status in England.  Earlier, Boscawen had been sent to India with a Major John Mompesson (see my notes on the Mompesson family). Also, as Francis Newman of Cadbury's mother died early, I've learned from Lydia Consiglio (another Newman cousin and certified genealogist, deceased) that he was raised by his grandmother, the former Miss Ellinor Mompesson. Francis Newman of Cadbury meanwhile was born in 1759, about the exact time des Gouttes would have been under "gentleman's" arrest in England. Dagenais' theory is that there is a connection here.

Meanwhile, this made me look for Francis Newman's wife "Mrs. Lydia Ferguson." If she was "Mrs." Ferguson, her maiden would have been something else. Thanks to Francis Rivet, another Newman cousin, I've seen papers that suggest Lydia Ferguson was born Lydia Jennings of a very rich family in the colony of Virginia (immediately across the Potomac River from Port Tobacco, Maryland). Turns out, not only was there an English colonial governor of Virginia named Jennings; there were also governors named Sandys and Payne! I haven't had the time to pursue this yet, but these familiar names do add intrigue to the mystery of Francis Newman's relation to Lydia Ferguson and his ultimate immigration to North America.

Jerry followed that up with the following:

There is an adage in the US, a sort of warning about doing geological research; it goes something to the effect, "don’t be surprised if you find a horse thief." Most people who came to America two and three hundred years ago did so under desperation. The popular story is that they were pioneers seeking freedom and opportunity. The truth was, most were running from something. There was really no good reason to leave the relative comfort Europe if you were safe, secure, and innocent in exchange for the unmapped, hostile wildernesses of North America. At least it appears Francis Newman was at worst an adventurer, opportunist, and Casanova with "joire de vivre" (lust for life), rather than merely a fugitive running from a dull and indicted past.

In New Orleans there was a system up until about a hundred years ago called the "placage." This is a French word from the verb placer, meaning to place. In the days when a family’s wealth was split every time a parent died and offspring married, marriage was in itself a financial tool. Marriages were arranged to either obtain replacement wealth and estates from the new brides dowry or inheritance, or marriages were kept with in the family (between cousins) in order to keep the wealth in the family. Gentlemen of mean could expect (as could their unfortunate wives) to be contracted into arranged marriages having nothing to do with any personal attraction. There developed a class of women of mixed African/European descent called "les sirens." There women were world renowned for their beauty and charms. They attended balls where they met the better gentlemen of the city, and if an attraction of the heart ensued, a match was made. Since interracial marriage was at the time illegal, and since these men understood their fate was to become grooms in an arranged marriage, they developed a system whereby the lady was "placed" into an apartment and the two formed a lifelong loving relationship. The system was the "Placage" and the ladies were called "placées." The personal misfortune of arranged marriages of course was not unique to New Orleans and no doubt, I suspect, played a determining role in Francis Newman’s marriage to his cousin Frances Newman. His relation to Lydia Ferguson, while not exactly a "placage" may well have represented the same need to form a union of the heart, in spite of the pre-existing union of the family and the estate.  It often appears throughout history, including the very recent history of persons blessed by fortunes of birth but cursed by the same status, that a more intimate and satisfying, if unofficial, relationship occurs. Perhaps this is some of the things you found to be true in your recent reading about the early genealogical studies and practices of the past centuries.

As far as Francis Newman becoming a Colonel the US Army, given the possibility that Lydia Ferguson, (as well as his third wife Elizabeth Friers), was from a well to do American family, this is very possible. The "regular" American army was not a reality until 1802 with the founding of the US Military Academy at West Point. Even after this event, while the "regulars" provided the cadre for the military, the vast bulk was made of militias and volunteers. Militia units were self-formed in times of war, and elected their own officers. Often rank was determined by an individual's social, or economic, or political status rather than any military reason. Individuals who recruited their own units and outfitted then could often commission themselves to any rank they desired. During times of war, ranks are rapidly elevated. Often the simple skill of literacy was sufficient to earn one an officer’s commission in the militia (as this was would have been a desirable, if not necessary skill among officers). Staff officers, were most likely to achieve higher ranks (such as colonel), and were almost always awarded on the bases of education, social rank and political connections. (Consider when the Marquis de Lafayette arrived during the American Revolution at the age of 19 to support the rebels, George Washington immediately put him on his staff with the rank of Major General. Also, Alexander Hamilton, whose face is on the US ten dollar bill, was made a Major General on Washington’s staff at age 24). Francis Newman’s son, Francis Newman (the one born in France) was commissioned a Lieutenant in the "regular" army in 1800 and by his retirement in 1815, in spite of constant duty and combat service, was only then a Captain. The neighborhood, in which La Grange (the Newman plantation in Maryland) existed, clearly indicates his neighbors, and hence his social circles, were among the most influential in the US at the time.

The War of 1812 (1812-1815) is not well known. The US used the distraction of the Napoleonic wars and the excuse of British impressing US citizens on the high seas into the British navy as an excuse to declare war. This was the second war between the US and Britain; the first having been the American Revolution ( 1776-1783). Most historians now agree the real motivation for the war was a desire to invade and annex Canada. The US attempted the invasion but failed. In the meantime Napoleon and Britain reached a short period of peace leaving the full might of the British army to turn its attention to North America. In 1814 British forces landed in Maryland, marched on Washington, DC and burned the Capital and the White House. Next, they turned towards Baltimore (Maryland) to rid it of its nest of privateers. Attacked by both land and sea, Baltimore held out and the British then deiced to redirect their interest towards the conquest of New Orleans. It is probably during this 1814 campaign in Maryland that Francis Newman obtained his rank. When the British forces came to New Orleans, Newman’s son, Captain Francis Newman, was commander of Fort Petit Coquilles and fought in that campaign. The war ended in 1815 with a return to the status quo in effect before the war.

The Battle of Louisburg in Canada occurred in 1758 in the Seven Years War between England and France. (The US did not exist then.) This was the event in which Admiral Edward Boscawen captured the Marquis des Gouttes. Des Gouttes signed the younger Francis Newman’s baptismal certificate as godfather at Moulins, (about 200 kilometers south of Paris in central France, just north of the infamous town of Vichy (of WWII collaborationist fame) France in 1786.


In January 2005 I received further information from French researcher Charles Dagenais who undertook the original research into Francis's sojourn in France. Charles corrected many spellings and clarified several points including:

Theories and Facts

Charles believes unequivocally that Francis did not meet Lydia in France or live with her there, but that the couple left England with the intention of emigrating to America but were forced to stop in France because the pregnant Lydia became ill. Charles goes on: "This info about the accidental arrival in France of Francis Newman and Lydia Ferguson was handed to me by my client at the very beginning of my research on a photocopied typewritten report done decades earlier by a now deceased American genealogist based on two elements a) an old familial testimony of that interrupted trip (including a mis-transcription of the phonetics of "Caen" which turned into "Cannes", totally misleading me through unexplainable absurd mediterranean itineraries until I cleared it up) and b) an English translation of their son's baptism record.

Besides the unexpected (and mis-transcribed) french port, the ports in UK and New-England were mentionned but my archives are unreachable at the moment, and I rely only on my memory. Lydia fell ill shortly after departure, the captain refused to sail back to England but, instead, consented to sail to the nearest French coast which happened to be the major port of Caen, famous at the time for its trade with England. No exact dates were given, but learning that Lydia Ferguson's ailing pregnancy was the cause of this stop-over and knowing the baby's birthday and discounting the estimate duration of the medical stabilization in Caen and the subsequent weeks of travelling to Moulins, the sum provides us with a fairly plausible speculation for a time frame.

Meeting Lydia: I'll state my conclusion first, and then defend it afterwards. Both Lydia and Francis were unhappy within their respective couples, Lydia Ferguson née Jennings, born in USA in a family of numerous sisters (or only sisters), returned to England, met Francis, and the couple decided to live their new life together in USA which was familiar to her but new to him. The medical incident on board the ship sailing to America postponed their plans, they returned to England after the French episode, he managed to escape some judicial difficulties and they resumed their original plan to settle in America. The "Lydia is a Jennings from an american family without brothers, settling back in England" statement is an old familial testimonial record brought to my knowledge by Jerry Gandolfo, if my memory is right. However it is my finding, simply on an online genealogical website, of a record showing a chronologically-fitting family Jennings (in Virginia, I think) with many daughters, one of them, Lydia, some brothers although dead in infancy and/or childhood, and documenting only their births, no dates of marriage, no dates of death, a sign of a family that didn't stay long enough in USA to have further administrative processes to record. The judicial difficulties have been documented by other researchers, you have to take into account that all of this pre-France and post-France periods of Francis Newman's life are beyond the scope of my initial mandate with my client, although some crucial answers to questions pertaining to "my" period laid outside those fences.

Accommodation around Moulins: You are right to say "Anyway, it is probably that I've simply misinterpreted its meaning since 'lived at the Chateau Dorne' could simply mean that Francis stayed there while he was visiting France" . It's exactly what happened. In my desperate quest for a valid reason explaining why would a British couple end up in the middle-of-no-where in France (which Moulins still is today, if I may) before I settled for the curative water theory, I checked whereas Lydia had local relatives. In spite of a handful British immigrants involved in either steel or silk pre-industrial workshops, nothing could sustain that hypothesis. The Newmans really arrived unexpected and their accommodation at the château of Dorne (a few miles around Moulins on the way to Nevers, although considerably closer to Moulins) proves it. It belonged to the marquess of Verneuil, who purchased it a few decades earlier (documented by me, National Archives of France) and never cared to reside in it but rather left it to the questionable management of a live-in caretaker (judicial squabbles about his dishonest management are documented). The highly probable picture is that the caretaker turned a wing of the château into a rental gimmick, and the Newmans were his clients at that period of time: needless to say to that they never met the owner, and the owner never saw the color of their money!!! Cliff Ranson's quotation is just his interpretation of the basic info contained in the baptism record of 1787, the château of Dorne is mentionned as the birth place (and a first unreliable christening performed in Dorne is also mentionned, thus this current more formal "second" ritual many months later performed in downtown Moulins); I am not at the source of his info, he just read the same document we all know and which is translated more than once on your website. Another factor sustaining that the Newmans were unexpected in Moulins is that des Gouttes (do I remember that he is something like the governor of the city?) and the Rector of the College, father Berrut, also signing the baptism certificate, are the usual socialites of Moulins, always involved in any administrative act of importance. The same two men also are mentionned in Adam Smith's book on his economics studies on pre-Revolution France, when he stopped for a few nights in Moulins in 1789.

You said: "In any case, why would "owing their status to a catholic king" support your theory that the Newmans were freemasons?" Actually, I don't know either, it is those knowledgeable friends' conviction that there would be a cause-to-effect relationship in being likely an English freemason when one mingles in political/historical areas where both anglican/catholic religions intertwine. This needs further explaining, I have to ask them. About the Newmans owing their status to the favors of a catholic king, I admit you certainly know more on that subject than I do, but I have to get the accurate info in order to validate some aspects pertaining to the Newman's journey in France.

1787, 1789, is France a dangerous place for (foreign, English) aristocrats to travel?  I know that I have a clear opinion expressed by a contemporary on that subject, I have to look up. The answer is yes and no, even my aforementioned English entrepreneurs in steel/silk in Moulins had their fair share of problems (ended up temporarily in prison, managed to save their head...) during Revolution but I can bring some clear documentation on it.

Mompesson-Boscawen-des Gouttes
The link between Mompesson and Boscawen is documented, so is the one between Boscawen and des Gouttes. I think I found them on the net actually, although I also spent some time at the library for details. I can look up what I have in my archives. And, as I mentionned in a recent e-mail, I just found a link between Moulins-Somerset-Boscawen (since he was the grand-son of that british lady who gave birth to a royal bastard in Moulins-BLA).

OAKLAWN PLANTATION: 2709 Meridian Street, Huntsville, Alabama

One of the most outstanding homes in Huntsville is Oaklawn Plantation, located on Meridian Pike. Its spacious rooms, fifty-foot halls, and superb view of the city places it among the most beautiful buildings in Madison County [Alabama].

The property was deeded to John W. Walker, president of the [Alabama] Constitutional Convention which met in Huntsville in 1819. John Robinson is given credit for building the mansion around 1844, although the structure may have been started earlier by John F. Newman**, William Fleming or Lemuel Mead, all previous owners of the property. John Robinson's sister-in-law, Mrs. William Robinson, built neighboring Quietdale.

Bricks for the house are believed to have been made of clay from nearby pits. The floors are of wide boards, and the doors are more than five feet wide. After John Robinson moved into the home with his wife Carolyn J. Otey, the grounds were landscaped with boxwood, holly and other shrubs. He built servant's quarters, stables and carriage sheds, and lived there as one of the wealthiest plantation owners in the country.

During the Civil War, Oaklawn was used as Federal officers' quarters and, therefore, remained undamaged throughout the conflict. Unfortunately, Forest Field, home of Jim Robinson, brother, of John, was destroyed by fire during this period. In his book, Forest Field, Robert Bentley substituted a photograph of Oaklawn because the two houses were so similar in design.

After the death of the Robinson, their children, John J. and Carrie Robinson, continued to live on the plantation. Later, Mary L. Windham acquired the property. After being vacant for a number of years, the house was used as a hospital during the Spanish-American War [1898].

The house was then acquired by Alberta C. Taylor, followed by Elizabeth C. Newman [E.N.H.* hand note, "I don't know."]. Around 1919, after a long period of vacancy and neglect, the house was deeded to Mr. and Mrs. W. P. Dilworth who refurbished the home. The plantation again took on the splendor of former days.

[Hand Note Added] "By sheer coincidence, I breakfasted this morning with a granddaughter of these Dilworths and with the widow of George Newman Robinson, Jr. - E.H.N. 2/9/02."

* E.N.H. = Eleanor Newman Hutchens, of Huntsville, Alabama, (descendant of Dr. Francis Hollis Newman, whose step-niece, Eliza Newman [Francis Newman and Barbara Ronquillo y Solís; parents], married Dr. P.B. Robinson of Huntsville.)

** John F. Newman is the brother of Francis Hollis Newman, and half-brother of Captain Francis Newman. John and Francis Hollis Newman were born, probably, in Port Tobacco, Maryland [Colonel Francis Newman and Elizabeth Hannah Friers; parents]. Captain Francis Newman was born in château de Dorne, France [Colonel Francis Newman and Lydia Ferguson; parents]. Captain Francis Newman appears to have gone to Huntsville, Alabama shortly after the War of 1812 and the Battle of New Orleans [1815] to purchase what may be this property on behalf of his father, Colonel Francis Newman, who was still in Maryland.

Colonel Francis Newman died in 1818 and eventually, John F. Newman assumed the family's role in relation to property in Huntsville. After returning to Louisiana, by 1823, there is a record of Captain Francis Newman selling some slaves he acquired in Alabama. For more details of the Newman's real estate ventures in Huntsville, see the document in the "File" section of the Group for Madison County, Alabama.

Source: Transcribed from a photocopy, page 73, from an unknown publication, provided by the courtesy of Eleanor Newman Hutchens.

Last Updated: 20th Oct 2008 - Information about Elizabeth Rachel Newman added. Also estimated date for Francis Newman's departure to the USA put back to sometime between Feb 1794 and August 1796.
Updated: 14rd Jun 2005 -
Links to a copy of Francis Newman's Will added.
Updated: 27rd Jan 2005 - Charles Dagenais's name corrected and email address added. Spelling of Marquis des Gouttes's name corrected in several places.
10th Feb 2005 - spellings of La Grange and chateau do Dorne corrected.
12th June 2005 - notes added about Newman-Rogers' Bible which includes references to Francis and his (English) family