The United States Biographical Dictionary and Portrait Gallery of Eminent and Self-Made Men. Iowa volume.
Unless otherwise noted, biographies submitted by Dick Barton.
Joshua G. Newbold, at the time of writing (October, 1877) in the executive chair of the state, is a native of Pennsylvania, and his ancestors in this country were among the very early settlers in New Jersey. They were Quakers, and consequently none of them figured in the struggle for the independence of the colonies. Governor Newbold is the son of Barzilla and Catherine Houseman Newbold; was born in Fayette county, on the 12th of May, 1830, and reared as a farmer. When he was eight years of age the family moved to Westmoreland county, where he was educated in the common school, and also in a select school or academy, the latter taught by Dr. John Lewis, now of Grinnell, Iowa. At sixteen he returned with the family to Fayette county, where he remained eight years, assisting his father in running a flouring mill, when not teaching. When about nineteen he commenced the study of medicine, reading a year or more while teaching, and then abandoning the notion of being a physician.
In the month of March, 1854, Mr. Newbold removed to Iowa, locating on a farm, now partly in the corporation of Mount Pleasant, Henry county. At the end of one year he removed to Cedar township, Van Buren county, there merchandising and farming till about 1860, when he removed to Hillsboro, Henry county, and pursued the same callings.
In 1862, when the call was made for six hundred thousand men to finish the work of crushing the rebellion, Mr. Newbold left his farm in the hands of his family, and his store in the charge of his partner, and went into the army as captain of company C, 25th regiment, Iowa Infantry. He served nearly three years, resigning just before the war closed, on account of disability. During the last two or three months at the south he served as judge advocate, with headquarters at Woodville, Alabama.
On returning to Iowa he continued in the mercantile trade at Hillsboro for three or four years, and then sold out, giving thereafter his whole attention to agriculture, stock raising and stock dealing, making the stock department an important factor in his business for several years.
Mr. Newbold was a member of the thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth general assemblies, from Henry county, and was chairman of the school committee in the fourteenth, and of the committee of appropriations in the fifteenth general assembly. In the fifteenth he was temporary speaker (1874) during the dead-lock in organizing the house. In 1875 he was elected lieutenant-governor, serving as president of the senate in the session of 1876. Governor Kirkwood being elected United States senator during that session, Mr. Newbold became governor, taking the chair on the 1st of February, 1877. He will vacate it in January, 1878, Hon. John H. Gear having been elected. The home of Governor Newbold is at Mount Pleasant.
He has always affiliated with the republican party, and holds to its great cardinal doctrines having once embraced them, with the same sincerity and honesty that he cherishes his religious sentiments. He has been a member of the christian church for something like twenty-five years, his connection being with the Free Baptists.
Governor Newbold found his wife, Miss Rachel Farquhar, in Fayette county, Pennsylvania, their union taking place on the 2d of May, 1850. They have had five children, and lost two. Mary Allene, the eldest daughter living, is the wife of Benjamin F. Isaman, of Aurora, Hamilton county, Nebraska. Emma Irene and George G. are single.