Richard B. Newnham 1819 - 1908
-by Sylvia Booth, G-G-Granddaughter in
The life of Richard B. Newnham, a veteran of the civil war who settled in Saugatuck in the 1860's and that of his sons, Richard and Stephen have been well documented in publications and on the internet, giving details of their movements in England prior to starting their new lives in America, yet much of Richard's earlier life poses a mystery to me. Why? I believe Richard B Newnham and my great, great Grandfather, William Newnham, to be one and the same person. (For Newnham's American Biography click)
William Newnham was born of the same parents as Richard, John Newnham and Lucy Linney and on the same day - 24th May 1819.
William Newnham married Hannah Harrison on the same day as Richard claims to have done so. William also had thirteen children with Hannah - all birth certificates name William as the father. Richard's children all had the same names and birth dates as William's - coincidence?
Richard tells the story that he was sent to his maternal Grandfather, Richard Linney, when he was ten years old to be taught the shoe trade. William was also sent to his maternal grandfather, Richard Linney to be taught the shoe trade.
Richard Linney was a Boot and shoe maker and Tavern keeper in
Alton, Hampshire. However,
not happy in this trade Richard states that he became a police officer. Shortly
after his marriage to Hannah Harrison, William Newnham
became a police officer in Hannah's home town of
On March 5th 1844 William applied
to join the
It has not been mentioned
previously in any of the reviews on the lives of Richard or his children but
maybe if Richard was William he would wish to forget the episode in
In 1862, a newspaper report
which has come to light, alleged William Newnham, Police superintendent of Renfrewshire, was
implicated in a case of Multiplepoinding. This is a
Scottish legal term. The report claims that two of William's constables seized
money on his behalf which did not belong to the person owing it, and a case was
brought against him. Was he guilty of this crime or did he suffer an injustice?
Could this have been the reason the family suddenly returned to
A Richard B. Newnham
establishes himself in
Children in England-- Charlotte Newnham, Maternity Nurse
and Mary (Newnham) Frost with Husband Peter
My Great Grandmother Charlotte Hannah
did not see her parents again but letters passed between her sister Mary Ann's
daughter Rose and Richard's grandson Stephen Linney Newnham. Also a copy of the newspaper cutting was among
Mary Ann's effects reporting on Richard's letter from America to Queen Victoria
with a photograph of himself, his daughter Maria and two grandchildren Laura
and Lucy to tell her that he was born within an hour of her birth on 24th May
1819, and that his daughter and twin grandchildren were also born on the same
day. This cannot be coincidence! American descendants have recorded that the
royal household returned a photograph of four members of the royal family--of
different generations--including the Queen herself, the Prince of Wales, the
Why did William change his name to Richard? Was he escaping persecution? It remains a mystery - maybe we will never know the answer!
Marriage Cerificate for "William" and Hannah
1842 Application for
Letter of Reference for "William"