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California Genealogy and History Archives

Sonoma County


Edward Newburgh

Although eighteen years have passed since the death of Mr. Newburgh, time has not effaced from the memory of those who knew him the effect of his life and accomplishments in the city which was his home for so many years. Not only is he remembered as one of the pioneer merchants of Petaluma, but a deeper and more personal remembrance is of his kindly, gentle nature, blended with a deep understanding of humanity, all of which attracted him to his fellow men and made bonds which only death could sever.

Edward Newburgh was a native of the Fatherland, born in Heidenheim, Bavaria, November 24, 1828, and he continued a resident of his native land until two years past his majority. Then in 1851, he immigrated to the United States, landing on our eastern shores, and for two years thereafter was engaged in the mercantile business in one of the New England states. This experience proved of incalculable benefit to him in a number of ways, enabling him to obtain a good understanding of the English language and also to gain valuable knowledge concerning business methods. It was with this experience of two years in the east added to his original knowledge and ability that he set out for California by the Panama route in 1853. Interest in the mining possibilities of the state still ran high, and it was not surprising that Mr. Newburgh was attracted by its allurements and made an attempt to find quick wealth in the mines. He followed the shifting fortunes of the miner for a number of years, but finally gave up this speculative existence and turned his thoughts to things more dependable. It was then that he first came to Sonoma county, in 1856, and following this he opened a merchandise store in Freestone which he maintained for a couple of years. Later he established and maintained a similar store in Sebastopol for two years, at the same time being interested in a store in Petaluma. After disposing of his mercantile interests he made a visit to his old home in the Fatherland in 1860. Upon his return to this country in 1861 he again located in Sebastopol as a dry-goods merchant, being associated with his former partner, the firm being known as Bernhard & Co. Business was carried on under this name for some time, when the business was disposed of and Mr. Newburgh located in Petaluma in 1864. Here he again established himself in business, this time alone, and so continued until his nephew and sons grew up and took its cares from his shoulders. From then until his death, October 23, 1892, he lived retired from active business cares, his demise causing general and heartfelt sorrow among those who had been permitted to know him, either in a business or social way. Since the death of her husband Mrs. Newburgh has continued the business, which in 1909 she incorporated as the Newburgh Dry Goods Company, with herself as president and Morris Neuburger as vice-president and manager. The latter gives the business all his attention, and is demonstrating his ability as a merchant, as shown by the success of the business since he undertook its management, and without exception it is the fines store of the kind in Petaluma.

Before her marriage in 1862 Mrs. Newburgh was Miss Fannie Kusiel, a native of Stuttgart, Wurtemberg, Germany, who came to California in 1861 by the Isthmus route. Eight children blessed the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Newburgh, named in the order of their birth as follows: Albert; Augustus, deceased; Theresa, the wife of Leopold Allenberg, of San Francisco; Arthur, city editor of the Petaluma Argus; William; James, deceased; Henry, a lawyer of prominence in San Francisco; and Stella, the wife of S. Suskind, of that city. Albert and William Newburgh are assisting in the store. Fraternally Mr. Newburg was well known and active in the ranks of the Odd Fellows. On a lot in the business portion of town which Mr. Newburgh gave her many years ago, Mrs. Newburgh has recently erected the fine new Swiss-American Bank building which now graces the spot. This is conceded by residents generally to be the finest business block in Petaluma, and besides being an ornament to the town, gives added proof of Mrs. Newburgh’s enterprise and business ability.

History of Sonoma County, California
Biographical Sketches of The Leading Men and Women of the County Who Have Been Identified With Its Growth and Development from the Early Days to the Present
History By: Tom Gregory
Historic Record Company, Los Angeles, California (1911)

Transcribed by Peggy Hooper 2011