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Below is a family biography included in the Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania published in 1904 by T. S. Benham & Company and The Lewis Publishing Company; Elwood Roberts, Editor.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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DAVID NEWPORT, for many years a minister in the Society of Friends, is the son of Jesse W. and. Elizabeth (Ellison) Newport. He was born December 18, 1822, in the city of Philadelphia. He is a retired farmer, living at Willow Grove, in Abington township, Montgomery county, Pennsylvania.

David Newport is a descendant of Thomas Newport, who settled in New Jersey about 1698, coming from London, England. The manner of his becoming a Friend is something remarkable. The people of his neighborhood were in the habit of meeting at his house for social worship, and as he had an excellent voice he occasionally sang to them. On one occasion, instead of singing, he felt it his duty to speak to them, and thus he became their minister. Becoming acquainted with Friends and their principles, and finding them similar to their own, he and his people connected themselves with the Society. Thomas Newport married Elizabeth Lockwood, and became the father of two children-Jesse and Mary. The family removed and lived near Duck Creek, Delaware, Mary going to Philadelphia, where she conducted a profitable business, and left to Philadelphia Meeting the fund now in its possession. Jesse was the father of ten children-Thomas, Aaron, David, Jesse, Benjamin, Richard, Elizabeth, Lydia, Mary and Sarah. In 1786 Jesse removed to Oxford township, and thus they became members of Abington Monthly Meeting. In 1794 Jesse, with seven of his children, removed to Westmoreland county, Pennsylvania, where the seven children were said to have become the parents of seventy children, an average of ten each, all of whom lived to manhood and womanhood. The Newports were noted for conscientiousness and fidelity to known duty. Jesse, son or Thomas, during the Revolutionary War, purchased nothing but iron and salt aside from the productions of the farm, he being opposed to war, and unwilling to pay taxes for the support of the army, just as some of his descendants a century later were unwilling to buy any of the products of slave labor and thus lend support to an unjust system.

In reference to his ancestors David Newport says, in his “Eudemon,” page 512: “It is said to be difficult to name the eight different great-grandparents of an individual. The following are mine: Jesse Newport and Mary Long; Thomas Wood and Sarah Yerkes; John Barker and Elizabeth Rodman; John Ellison (3d) and Elizabeth Doughty. The great-grandparents of my wife, Susan S. Newport, were: William Satterthwaite and Pleasant Mead; William Claypoole and Elizabeth Hall; Samuel Griscom and Rebecca James; Giles Knight and Elizabeth James.

“Jesse Newport was the son of Thomas Newport, of London, the immigrant. Thomas Wood, who was a soldier under Washington, was a grandson of Thomas Wood. He died in 1795, in his ninety-fourth year. He was a minister of Abington Meeting for forty-five years. He married Martha Lloyd, 10th-mo. 24, 1713. Elizabeth Rodman was the fifth in descent from John Rodman, the immigrant. Her father, Thomas, married Elizabeth Pearson, who as is supposed was son of the Thomas Pearson who came over in the “Welcome,” with William Penn. John Ellison married Hannah Boyd, a granddaughter of Griffith ap Griffith, who was the lineal descendant of Llewellyn ap Griffith, who was the last Prince of Wales, so the family record says. The Satterthwaites, my wife’s family, have a record from Clement Satterthwaite, the father of William, who married Agnes Brathwaite. They were the parents of William, who settled in Bucks county. He was born in 1709. His son William married May, the granddaughter of Giles Knight, who came over in the ship “Welcome” with William Penn. William Claypoole was the grandson of the immigrant, James Claypoole, the friend of William Penn, William Claypoole’s son John married Elizabeth, daughter of Samuel Griscom. She was the distinguished Betsy Ross, who died in 1836, in her eighty-fifth year. My wife remembers her well. James Claypoole’s brother John married Elizabeth, daughter of Oliver Cromwell. Among my ancestors who have been largely members of the Society of Friends since George Fox’s time, several of them were called to the ministry of the word, among the most notable of whom was John Rodman (2d) of New York, of whom mention is made in the discipline of New York Yearly Meeting, on page 4. The records of the Society of Friends at Flushing, Long Island, contain the following note of his death:

“ ‘John Rodman, an eminent doctor, did abundance of good in that practice, and was also a worthy minister of the gospel in this town about forty years, a man beloved by all sorts of people, lived to a good old age, about seventy-eight years, died the 10th of 7th month, 1731. His wife Mary survived him and died in 1748, aged eighty-five years.’ The account adds: ‘They had twelve children.’ ”

David Newport’s mother Elizabeth was a greatly favored minister in the Society of Friends for forty-three years, passing away from this state in her seventy-sixth year. His brother Ellison, and his sister, Martha Travilla, were both acknowledged ministers amongst Friends.

David Newport was not seventeen years old when he went to the country to learn the practical duties of a farmer. He attended a Friends’ school in Philadelphia, and later was sent to the Friends’ school at Alexandria, Virginia. Early in life he became deeply interested in moral questions and in politics, especially in the slavery question, then assuming great prominence owing to the attitude of southern slaveholders in forcing it upon the country. Being born a Friend he inherited hatred of oppression in every form, and was an enthusiastic advocate of freedom. He was one of seven voters of Moreland township who in 1848 cast their ballots for Martin Van Buren, the Free-Soil nominee for president. He acquired also a literary taste, and contributed articles to the Norristown papers, the “Herald,” “Free Press” and “Republican.” After the war began and the new system of internal revenue was framed by Congress, President Lincoln appointed him collector for the congressional district composed of the counties of Montgomery and Lehigh, with his office in the court house at Norristown. He chose Samuel Homer and Howard M. Jenkins as his deputies, and during the four years he held the position, from 1862 to 1866, about two and a half millions of dollars passed through his hands in the shape of direct tax. He fulfilled all his duties with fidelity and strict integrity, attending carefully to business, and rendering a complete account of the transactions which was never questioned by the authorities at Washington.

David Newport has also achieved considerable fame as an author. He published a volume of poems, and a volume entitled “Indices, Historical and Rational.” Within a few years he has published another volume, “Eudemon, Spiritual and Rational: the Apology of a Preacher for Preaching.” His book of poems is called “The Pleasures of Home.” The volume contains a poem which attracted wide attention at the time it was published, during the great national crisis of 1864, and which for this reason is here reproduced:

Lines on hearing that California had voted for Lincoln in 1864.
From where the placid Delaware winds onward in its course,
To where Niagara’s waters flow with their resistless force;
From where New England’s stalwart sons amidst the woods of Maine,
The axe rings forth the anthem, rings forth the glad refrain!
The miner in the land of Penn, the boatman at the oar,
The farmer in the teeming West, among his garnered store,
The sailor on the ocean, amidst the surging sea,
All, all have caught the glad acclaim,-LINCOLN and Liberty!

And where Columbia’s patriot sons encamp at Richmond’s gate,
Their every shot and every shell proclaim the voice of fate!
The slave’s dull ear has caught the note,-the anthem of the free,
As Dahlgren’s voice pronounces clear,-LINCOLN and Liberty!

‘Twas thus along our country’s shore, from heart to heart it flew;
The lightning’s wing conveyed the news that gladdened not a few-
All oe’r the land, from lake to gulf, responsive thrilled each breast,-
From North to South, from sea to sea, and in the fair young West-

And o’er Pacific’s gentle wave, far toward the setting sun,-
From where the sands with gold are mixed, and silvery waters run;
From where Nevada rears his head, and Winter’s chaplet crowns;
Where Nature, both in mount and tree, in giant growth abounds,-

There, in that land where Broderick lived, there where he fought and fell,
In Freedom’s ranks his friends have ranged, and Freedom’s cohorts swell!
The tide from out the Golden Gate is ebbing toward the sea;
Amidst the shrouds the sailor sings,-LINCOLN and Liberty.

It is as a preacher, however, that David Newport is best known, the solemnity and impressiveness of his communications causing them to attract attention from members of all denominations. Although somewhat mystical at times, he clearly understands the fundamental principles of the Society for which he speaks, and his thoughts and impressions are uttered in no uncertain tone. He does not lack that most important characteristic of a preacher, inspiration, and he has a wealth of illustration that makes his sermons interesting to his auditors. He has a valuable gift in the ministry, his general intelligence aiding greatly in making his remarks acceptable to his hearers. In addition to this, his consistent life still further strengthens his public utterances. Few men have obtained more rational enjoyment from life than he, squaring his conduct as he does by the golden rule, and endeavoring to live in his daily life the truths taught by the principles of the Society of Friends. His earnestness in all that he does and says gives to his words and his actions an influence that is permanent in its character. He has been a preacher since 1871.

David Newport was for a number of years connected with the firm of William C. Newport & Co. as a manufacturer of phosphates for agricultural purposes at Willow Grove. The last few years he has, however, lived retired, the firm having been dissolved by the death of his son a number of years ago. The son left a widow and several children. David Newport married, April 8, 1847, Susan Satterthwaite. Their only living child is Emma N., wife of Canby Tyson. Mrs. Newport’s grandmother, Betsy Ross, as already explained, had the honor of making the first American flag.

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This family biography is one of more than 1,000 biographies included in the Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania published in 1904 by T. S. Benham & Company and The Lewis Publishing Company.  For the complete description, click here: Biographical Annals of Montgomery County, Pennsylvania

View additional Montgomery County, Pennsylvania family biographies here: Montgomery County, Pennsylvania Biographies

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