WILLIAM TAYLOR NEWLAND
The late William Taylor Newland, leading citizen and “Bishop of Huntington Beach,” as he was lovingly called, was a beloved pioneer of Orange County who here figured prominently in community affairs for a period covering a half century. He was born near Camp Point, Adams County, Illinois, October 31, 1850, and died suddenly of a heart attack on his five hundred acre ranch at Huntington Beach on the 19th of May, 1933, when in his eighty-third year. His parents were John and Mary Ann (Wartick) Newland, the latter a native of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania, born at Laurel Hill. William Taylor Newland’s great-grandfather, Isaac Newland, was born in New York, and in 1795, in Virginia, married Mary Allen. Their son, John Newland, married Nancy Irwin, who was a girl at the time of the Revolution and made haversacks for her seven brothers who were soldiers in that war. When fifty years of age, John Newland settled in Adams County, Illinois, selecting as his abode a place twenty-two miles east of Quincy, then a village with only three log houses, one of which is still standing. While living in the Empire state he had devoted himself exclusively to farming, but in Illinois he also built and operated a grist-mill using horses as the motive power. In his family there were four sons and two daughters: John, James, Margaret, William, Mary Ann and Isaac. The first named, John Newland, the father of William T. Newland, and a native of Pennsylvania, was eight years of age when the family settled in Adams County, Illinois, where he grew to manhood and where, during the prime of his life, he was as well known as any man in the entire county. On the 3rd of March, 1862, he enlisted in the Third Missouri Cavalry, with which he served until his death at Little Rock, Arkansas, two years and seven months later. He was twice captured by Confederates but each time escaped before the rebel camps were reached. An earlier writer said: “In every crisis he showed himself to be a brave and resolute man, calm in the midst of dangers and self-possessed in every emergency.” At his death he left six children, namely: William Taylor, of this review; Anna; Anthony; Nancy; Josephine; and John. The mother of the above named passed away in Adams County, Illinois, August 8, 1869 in the faith of the Christian Church, to which the husband and father also belonged. In politics John Newland was a Democrat.
William T. Newland was only eleven years of age when his father enlisted for service in the Civil War and left him the virtual head of the family. About two and one-half years later the father made the supreme sacrifice, and the mother died when William was a youth of fifteen. “Needless to say,” wrote a contemporary biographer, “his advantages were limited, indeed his attendance at school was limited to four months during the year when he was seventeen. His education therefore was the result of actual experience in the great school of life. During those early days of privation and struggle he as the oldest of the children encouraged and assisted the others, caring for them until they were able to support themselves. This was not wholly a misfortune, as necessity made him self-reliant and resolute and much of his success was due to the lessons he learned. When he was nineteen years of age Mr. Newland went to Morgan County, Illinois, and became an employee on the farm of John M. De Lapp, whose daughter, Juanita, he married six years later. In November, 1882, he came to California and settled in San Mateo County, where he farmed for one year. Then he went to Compton, Los Angeles County, there purchasing a tract of eighty acres whereon he made his home for eight years. On selling that place he took charge of eight hundred acres of the San Joaquin Ranch, now the Irvine Ranch, raising the first crop of barley ever produced on that property. Later he planted thirty-six hundred acres to barley and wheat and this was the first wheat raised on that ranch. During the nine years of his residence there he was increasingly prosperous.” Subsequently he came to the property known as the Newland Ranch at Huntington Beach. On beginning the cultivation of his land here he found that the willow roots broke all ordinary plows and had a special plow made for the work. He dug up an interesting collection of Indian curios while clearing his property. Mr. Newland was fortunate in striking oil on his property. With the passing years prosperity attended his undertakings, and he built a beautiful home on the heights back of the city of Huntington Beach. He spent the year 1903 on a pleasure trip to South America.
Mr. Newland served as highway commissioner, succeeding Richard Egan, when the good roads movement was beginning and served in that capacity for years. He was one of those who financed the plan to straighten the Santa Ana River from the Third Street Bridge.
We quote from a review of the career of William T. Newland which appeared in a local newspaper after he was suddenly stricken at his Hampshire Avenue home in Huntington Beach. “He settled with his family on the Irvine Ranch before Orange County was separated from Los Angeles County and aided in creating Orange County out of a part of Los Angeles County. He organized the first school district in Huntington Beach and in order to enroll a sufficient number of students in the district, he employed a man on his ranch who had nine children, moving the family from Wintersburg. He was a member of the first school board and served on school boards in the beach city elementary and high school district for twenty years or more. He was a member of the board that erected the present high school and had served as a director while at Compton. Mr. Newland bought from Mr. Hartwell the first bank of Huntington Beach and was president for many years. His bank was known as the First National and was later merged with the Security Trust and Savings Bank. He established the first newspaper in that community, moving the plant from Wintersburg, and aided in financing and managing the paper for several years. Untiring in his efforts to aid in the upbuilding of the community, he joined with others in the building of the first church at Huntington Beach, and later was a contributor to the present Methodist Church building, joining his wife in donating a memorial window in the church.”
When the Methodists first organized in Huntington Beach, they had no church. However, there was an old church at Fairview and, since the congregation there wanted to erect a new church they gave the old building to the Methodists of Huntington Beach. The house mover, in removing the church, got it stuck in the river, and it was Mr. Newland, who with thirty-six head of mules, delivered the building to his congregation at his own expense. He was also a stockholder in the old Methodist Campgrounds.
We here continue the quotations from the local paper. “He wrested much of the fine Newland Ranch from the tulle swamps and drained and cultivated the land for nearly half a century. Before draining “Gospel Swamp,” Mr. Newland came near to being drowned within a few rods of his own house. Three years prior to his death he leased his entire farm, spending the remainder of his life in well earned retirement. He joined in the promotion of the beet sugar plant at the beach city, the establishment of the railroads and beet dumps. Later he was the chief financial backer of the linoleum plant, now converted into a profitable producing oil lease. Up to the day of his death he was active in public affairs. His good judgment and sound doctrines led to the seeking of his counsel in almost every public project of unusual importance, according to his friends. He was always active in politics and took a keen interest in all civic movements. He was one of the most popular men in the city, loved by all classes.”
Mr. Newland is survived by his wife, Mrs. Mary Juanita Newland, and their ten children. Clara is the wife of Peter A. Isenor and the mother of six children: Albert A., William N., Juanita, Ethel, Mary Ellen and Clarice. Wilmuth is the wife of Irvin Thompson and the mother of five children: Howard, Clara E., Lawrence, Juanita and Irene. Frances is at home. Delphia married Coulson D. McConahy of Seattle. William T. first married Hazel Gearhart and they had a son, William T. (III). His second wife was Lyl Bushard and they reside in Huntington Beach. John De Lapp is at home. Jessie is the wife of John W. Corbin and the mother of John N. and William T. of Glendale, Arizona. Clinton C. married Annie Hill and they have two daughters, Annie Jane and Phyllis Joan. Helen N. is the wife of Dalbert T. Tarbox and the mother of a daughter, Bernice Jean. Bernice M. married Jack L. Frost, and they have a son, Jack Newland Frost. There are seven great-grandchildren: Albert and Robert Isenor, the child of W. N. Isenor; Clara W. and Lester Foley, the children of Clara E. Foley; and Irving Wheeler, the son of Juanita Wheeler.
Transcribed by V. Gerald Iaquinta.
Source: California of the South Vol. III, by John Steven McGroarty, Pages 131-135, Clarke Publ., Chicago, Los Angeles, Indianapolis. 1933.
© 2012 Bill Simpkins.