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Newton Family Papers (Xenia, Ohio/Ooltwah, Tennessee) - MS 786

Introduction | Biographical Sketch | Scope and Content | Series Description | Inventory

Table of Contents

Record Group 1: Newton Family

Record Group 2: Mary Leslie Newton

Record Group 3: Frances Halley Leslie Newton

Record Group 4: Samuel Donald Newton

General Introduction

The Newton Family Papers consist of letters, literary productions, newspaper articles, financial documents, printed materials, and photographs, dating from 1860s to the 1940s. These records document, for the most part, the activities and creative endeavors of the three surviving children of Samuel and Mary Newton, Mary Leslie Newton, Frances Halley Newton, and Samuel Donald Newton.

The Newton Family Papers were donated and transferred to the Center for Archival Collections on March 1, 1999 by Kathryn Jean Tyrone. Literary and property rights have been dedicated to the public. Duplication is permitted for the purposes of preservation and scholarly research, with the restriction that the donor is to be notified regarding any publication arising from the use of this collection. The collection was arranged by Kathryn Jean Tyrone who also transcribed many of the letters. The collection's final arrangement and this finding aid were developed by Audrey Burkley, student intern, and Ann Bowers, Assistant Director, in April 1999.

General Scope and Content

The Newton Family Papers consists of four record groups: Newton Family Letters; Mary Leslie Newton Papers; Frances Halley Newton Papers; and, Samuel Donald Newton Papers. The researcher will find a brief biographical sketch and scope and content note, series description and box/folder inventory compiled for each of the record groups (a series description is not provided for the Newton Family Letters).

Tribute must be given to the donor of this collection, Kathryn Jean Tyrone, who literally rescued this historically priceless collection from the trash. She soon realized that the papers had great historic value and not only searched for an appropriate location for their preservation and access, but also spent hours too numerous to even contemplate transcribing the letters and carefully reconstructing the lives of this quite remarkable family. The publication, Dear Ones: Newton Family Letters, 1862-1940, compiled and written by Kathryn Jean Tyrone, is a culmination of all of her work and is a wonderful resource documenting the activities and the writings of the Newton Family. Historians and other researchers as well as archivists are indeed indebted to Ms. Tyrone for all of her work.

Newton Family - Record Group 1

Biographical Sketch/Scope and Content

This record group consists of letters written to and by various Newton family members beginning with Catherine and William Newton. Catherine John (b. 1809) married William Newton in 1832 in the Lebanon/Waynesville, Ohio area. Three children were born to Catherine and William: Samuel Isaac, Chauncey W., and Emma Maria. When William died in 1849, Catherine and the three children moved to Xenia, Ohio, most likely to be closer to her brother, Daniel John. There Catherine remained until her death in December 1901.

Samuel Newton (b. May 1835) grew to adulthood in Xenia and there married Mary (Mae) Annette Halley in 1864. The became the parents of three boys and two girls between 1865 and 1874. The first two boys, Paul and Earle died at the ages of three and four respectively, probably from diptheria. The three surviving children were Frances Halley (1871-1962), Samuel Donald (1872-1962), and Mary Leslie (1874-1944). As stated in Kathryn Jean Tyrone's Dear Ones, Newton Family Letters, 1862-1940, (page 31) Samuel's dream was to own a sugar-cane plantation in Louisiana, but "he never abandoned his civic duties to Xenia. He entered the business community first as an apothecary and later as a bookseller. He was a founder of Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church and played a vital role in planning its construction." Mae Newton taught at Xenia Female College and also found time to help organize the Xenia Woman's Club in 1869 (the club fictionalized by Xenia native, Helen Hooven Santmyer in the novel, And Ladies of the Club). Mae Newton, after a brief illness, died in September 1888 and two years later Samuel and the three children move to Ooltewah, Tennesee. There Samuel built and managed a blasting powder plant. Samuel's mother, Catherine Newton as well as Mae's sister, Lizzie Halley, soon joined him. In 1893, Samuel married Lizzie. Catherine Newton died at her son's home in December 1901. He died in July 1922.

Most of the letters in this record group consist of personal correspondence between Samuel and his wife, Mae; business letters of Samuel; and, correspondence of Catherine Newton with her children, grandchildren and other family members. These letters have been transcribed by the donor, Kathryn Jean Tryone. Excerpts from many of the letters along with a more detailed family history can be found in her book, Dear Ones: Newton Family Letters, 1862-1940. A series description is not provided as this record group only consists of correspondence. A detailed listing of the letters is provided in the following box/folder inventory.

Inventory: Newton Family

Box 1

  1. Dear Ones: Newton Family Letters, 1862-1940, 1999
  2. Family history documents (compiled by Kathryn Jean Tyrone) various dates
  3. Eva Halley (Mrs. John) to Mary H. Newton, July 3, 1870
  4. Effie Halley Laing to Mary H. Newton, January 1878
  5. Eliza John to her sister-in-law Catherine John Newton, January 14, ?
  6. William Halley to Mary Newton, 1866-1881
    William Halley to Elizabeth Newton, July 3, 1891, Sept.1, 1902
  7. Emily John to Mary (Mae) Newton, Dec. 25, 1871
    Emily John to nephew, Samuel, Feb. 1, 1863
    Emily John to sister, Catherine Newton, Jan. 24, 1871, May 17, 1880
  8. Alexander B. Allen to mother-in-law Catherine Newton, 1866, 1876,
    as well as business letters, 1880, 1890-95
  9. Mary (Mae) Halley Newton to husband Samuel, 1870-1884
  10. Emma L. Woodbridge Newton to Mae Newton, 1880
  11. Catherine John Newton to son, Samuel, 1866, 1891-1892
  12. Catherine John Newton to sister, Emily John, Dec. 27, 1884
  13. Samuel Newton to mother Catherine John Newton, 1873, 1891
  14. Samuel Newton business correspondence, 1862-1891
  15. Emma Louise Woodbridge Newton to mother-in-law Catherine Newton, 1883-1900
  16. Emma Newton Allen to mother Catherine Newton, 1868-1887
  17. Emma Newton Allen to husband, Alex, 1887
  18. Annis Fitton Newton to husband's grandmother, Catherine, 1868-1887
  19. Chauncey Newton to family, 1862-1879
  20. Samuel Isaac Newton to wife, Mae, 1870-1881
  21. John Halley to sister, Elizabeth Halley Newton, Jan. 6, 1902
  22. Elizabeth Halley to Samuel Newton, 1892
  23. William L. John to sister, Catherine John Newton, 1894, n.d.
  24. Samuel Newton to children, 1891-1892
  25. Chauncey Guy Newton to grandmother, Catherine, 1890-1897
  26. Harry S. Newton to relatives, (1874), 1880, 1890
  27. Mary Emma John Snively to Aunt Catherine John Newton, 1895, 1900
  28. Connie M. Guion (M.D.) to Mary Ellen Lynde, mid 1940s?
  29. Mary Wood Guion to Mary Ellen Lynde, 1946
  30. Mary Ellen Lynde to Mary Wood Newton and Donald Newton, 1944-1949

Mary Leslie Newton Papers - Record GroupTwo

Biographical Sketch

Mary Leslie Newton was born on November 18, 1874, the fifth and last child born in Xenia, Ohio, to Mary (Mae) Annette Halley Newton and Samuel Newton. After the death of her mother in 1888, Mary Leslie moved to Ooltewah, Tennessee with her father, her sister, Halley, and her maternal aunt, Elizabeth. In 1898, Mary Leslie received her bachelor's degree in literary studies from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Later she would complete a graduate degree at Columbia University.

Shortly after graduating, Mary Leslie began teaching at St. Mary's School, Dallas, Texas. She continued teaching for short periods of time in different institutions until 1916. At this time, she became a teacher at All Saints' Episcopal Girls School, Vicksburg, Mississippi and remained there until her retirement in 1937. During her tenure at this school she also served as Principal. In 1939, the trustees of the school established a scholarship in her name to be awarded to a needy day student.

After retiring, Mary Leslie moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee and became involved in church and community activities. She loved writing and had several of her works including poems published. One Sunday in mid-September 1944, Mary Leslie failed to appear at Sunday services at St. Paul's Episcopal Church and was found critically ill at her home. She died on September 19, 1944 from cancer.

Scope and Content: Mary Leslie Newton Papers

The Mary Leslie Newton papers contain information documenting her life and her many interests. She was a well-educated woman and a published poet and writer. She was most interested, as illustrated by her career, in education for young women.

Her collection contains several personal diaries, essays, books of poems, correspondence, chapbooks and several personal items including her Bible. The correspondence consists mainly of letters she wrote to her father after he left for Tennessee. Samuel left strict instructions for all three of his children to write often to him about the events of their lives as well as those Xenia. The letters Mary Leslie wrote, as well as the other children, are wonderful sources about growing up in a small-town of the Midwest during the turn-of-the century. Also included are several newspaper clippings documenting the many lectures she gave on the subject of world affairs, a dream journal, and her undergraduate thesis.

By studying her papers, the spirit of this quite remarkable and talented woman can be discerned. Mary Leslie Newton is an excellent example of a well-educated, professional woman of the early twentieth-century.

Series Description: Mary Leslie Newton Papers


Arranged chronologically
The bulk of these letters are from Mary Leslie to her father, with a few later ones to other family members.


UNDERGRADUATE THESIS (Euripides' Conception of the Olympian Gods)
Thesis written at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Arranged chronologically
Entitled, "Moonlight In My Arms," this journal contains several written accounts of her dreams, along with an explanation of where she was residing at the time and her state of mind.

Written by Kathryn Jean Tyrone to serve as a guide to the dream journal as well as some of Mary Leslie's poems.

Arranged chronologically
Includes Mary Leslie's unpublished and published poems.

Arranged chronologically
Although Mary Leslie identifies these as diaries, the volumes are really poems she has written for most days, some of them reflective of the time of the year or events of the particular day.

1916-1942, n.d.
Arranged chronologically
These printed volumes contain poems written to reflect the mood of each month of year and probably given as gifts by Mary Leslie.

Includes two essays written by Mary Leslie, "A Brief Account of American Poetry" and "What the Name Church Means."

Exercise book of Mary Leslie's for higher algebra class.

Transcription by Mary Leslie of music by Professor F. D. Allen.


July 1937-June 1938
Arranged chronologically
Includes daily expenses of Mary Leslie Newton.

September 22, 1944
Listing of contents of Mary Leslie Newton's safe deposit box.


1921, 1935,n.d.
Arranged by title
Published literary works authored by Mary Leslie Newton.

Bible owned by Mary Leslie Newton.


Late 1930s-1943, n.d.
Arranged chronologically
Includes newspaper articles about Mary Leslie Newton and various talks given about world affairs.

1944-1959, scattered, n.d.
Arranged chronologically
Includes newspaper articles on her death and honors after her death as well as a funeral book (very little information included).

1994, n.d.
Includes a timeline of her life compiled by Kathryn Jean Tyrone and a letter documenting Mary Leslie Newton's masters degree from Columbia University.


1936, n.d.
Arranged by photograph
Includes two photographs of Mary Leslie Newton.


Includes a signature stamp and memorial bookplate stamp of Mary Leslie Newton as well as personalized envelopes.

Inventory: Mary Leslie Newton Papers

Box 2

  1. Correspondence from Mary Leslie to father, Feb. 1881-April 1891
  2. Correspondence from Mary Leslie to father, April 1891-May 1891
  3. Correspondence from Mary Leslie to father, June 1891-August 1891
  4. Correspondence from Mary Leslie to father, August 1891-Oct. 1891
  5. Correspondence from Mary Leslie to father, Nov. 1891-Jan. 1892
  6. Correspondence from Mary Leslie to father, Jan. 1892-March 1892
  7. Correspondence from Mary Leslie to father, March 1892-May 1892
  8. Correspondence from Mary Leslie to father, May 1892-July 1892
  9. Correspondence from Mary Leslie to father and other family members, July 1892, December 1941
  10. Undergraduate Thesis, 1898
  11. Dream Journal, "Moonlight In My Arms," 1894?-1939
  12. Draft of "Moonlight in My Arms" by Kathryn Jean Tyrone to serve as a guide to the dream journal and poems of Mary Leslie Newton, n.d.

Box 3

  1. Poems, 1889-1897
  2. Poems, 1898-1902
  3. Poems, 1898-1907
  4. Poems, 1907-1910
  5. Poems, 1910-1911
  6. Poems, 1911-1913
  7. Poems, 1913-1920
  8. Poems, 1930-1939
  9. Diary (Poems), 1911
  10. Diary (Poems), 1912

Box 4

  1. Diary (Poems), 1913-1917
  2. Diary (Poems), 1920-1922
  3. Diary (Poems), 1923
  4. Diary (Poems), 1924-1930
  5. Chapbooks, 1916, 1918, 1919, 1920
  6. Chapbooks, 1920, 1922, 1923, 1924
  7. Chapbooks, 1925-1928
  8. Chapbooks, 1929, 1932, 1933
  9. Chapbooks, 1934, 1936, 1938
  10. Chapbooks, 1939-1942, n.d.
  11. "A Brief Account of American Poetry" (essay), n.d.
  12. "What the Name Church Means" (essay), n.d.
  13. Algebra exercise book, n.d.
  14. Transcription of F. D. Allen's music, n.d.

Box 5

  1. Household Ledger, July 1937-June 1938
  2. Inventory of safe deposit box, September 22, 1944
  3. A Roman Birthday, 1921
  4. The Hebrew Prophets (with questions), 1935, 1937-1938
  5. "Queen Anne's Lace" Poem, n.d.
  6. Mary Leslie Newton's Bible, 1872
  7. Newspaper articles on Mary Leslie Newton, late 1930s-1943, n.d.
  8. Newspaper articles after death of Mary Leslie Newton, 1944-1959 (scattered), n.d.
  9. Information on Mary Leslie Newton, 1994, n.d.
  10. Photograph of Mary Leslie Newton with Altar Guild, 1936
  11. Photograph (probably from a school yearbook) of Mary Leslie Newton, n.d.
  12. Signature stamp of Mary Leslie Newton, n.d.
  13. Bookplate stamp of Mary Leslie Newton, n.d.
  14. Personalized envelopes of Mary Leslie Newton, n.d.

Frances Halley Newton Papers - Record Group Three

Biographical Sketch

Frances Halley Newton, the eldest daughter born to Samuel Isaac and Mary (Mae) Annette Halley Newton, was born in 1871 and died in 1962. Known as "Halley" most of her life, she received her teaching certificate from Xenia Seminary in 1891 and moved to Ooltewah, Tennessee in 1893 to be with her father and to teach in a school for the children of millhands. She completed an undergraduate degree in 1896 from the University of Tennessee.

Halley never married and remained in her father's house until her death in 1962. She enjoyed sketching, painting and writing nature poems. She was a well-respected and well-liked member of the community, establishing a bird sanctuary on the property and running a lending library from her home until funds could be raised to establish a community library. She had published, in 1948, a collection of poems and sketches titled, Fernseed.

Scope and Content: Frances Halley Newton Papers

The Frances Halley Newton Papers includes correspondence between "Halley" as she preferred to be called and her father, Samuel, dating from 1881 to1892. As with the correspondence between Samuel and his other children, Halley's letters document community activities, the events of her own daily life, her feelings toward her siblings and her love for her father. The rest of her papers document her various cultural activities. Newspaper articles discuss her bird sanctuary. Publications include Fernseed (1948), written by Halley, which includes a series of poems about animals and nature for children. Also included is an astronomy newsletter, a two financial documents, a newspaper article on her death, and a series of photographs depicting a handmade children's book created by Halley titled, "There Was Nothing There."

Series Description: Frances Halley Newton Papers


February 28, 1881-September 24, 1892
Arranged chronologically
Includes letters written to Samuel from Frances Halley documenting her daily activities, the events happening in Xenia and her feelings toward her siblings and her life in general.


Publication of Frances Halley Newton which is comprised of her poems And sketches on nature, especially that of Tennessee and Florida, and animals written for children.


1889, 1892
Arranged chronologically
Includes a tax receipt and a bank note.


1935, 1938, 1962
Includes articles community activities of Frances Halley and her obituary.

August 1933
Includes one issue of this astronomy newsletter.


Includes photographs of each page of this hand made children's book created by Frances Halley Newton (1927).

Inventory: Frances Halley Newton Papers

Box 6

  1. Correspondence from Frances Halley to father, Samuel, Feb. 28, 1881-July 31, 1891
  2. Correspondence from Frances Halley to father, Samuel, Aug. 7, 1891-Sept. 16, 1891
  3. Correspondence from Frances Halley to father, Samuel, Sept. 18, 1891-Nov. 13, 1891
  4. Correspondence from Frances Halley to father, Samuel, Nov. 20, 1891-April 13, 1891
  5. Correspondence from Frances Halley to father, Samuel, April 15, 1891-Sept. 25, 1892
  6. Fernseed, 1948
  7. Financial Documents: Bank Note, March 23, 1889
    Tax Receipt, January 14, 1892
  8. Newspaper articles, Sept. 15, 1935, Jan. 9, 1938, December 1962
  9. The Monthly Evening Star, August 1933
  10. Photographs of "There Was Nothing There," n.d.

Samuel Donald Newton Papers - Record Group Four

Biographical Sketch

Samuel Donald Newton (1872-1962) was the only surviving son of Samuel and Mary (Mae) Annette Halley Newton. When Samuel Donald was eighteen, his father moved from Xenia, Ohio to Tennessee to build a blasting powder plant, leaving Donald, as he preferred to be called, in charge of the family, composed of his two sisters, his grandmother, Catherine, and his aunt, Lizzie. Donald continued to work at a dry goods store to earn money for college.

Donald earned an engineering degree from Ohio State University and worked for the railroads all of his professional life. Around 1907, he married Mary Wood Guion. Donald and Mary had a son, Alexander Caldwell, and a daughter, Margaret. Alexander was killed in action in France in July 1944. Margaret married and then divorced Albert Peter Hollis. They had one son, Albert Peter Hollis, Jr.

After retiring from Southern Railway, Donald spent most of his leisure time at a retreat near Saluda, North Carolina. He died on December 23, 1962, at his home in New Jersey. Mary Wood Guion Newton died in 1950.

Scope and Content : Samuel Donald Newton Papers

The Samuel Donald Newton papers consists mainly of correspondence Donald wrote to his father between 1881 and 1892. Most of the letters are from the time period in which Samuel had moved to Tennessee and left Donald in charge of the family in Xenia. His letters are full of news of events in Xenia, especially business and political activities. A few letters dated in July-August 1944, written to his sister (not sure whether this is Halley or Mary Leslie) discuss his son's (Alexander) activities in France during WWII. The last letter is the telegram with the news of Alexander's death.

Donald, as with his sisters, enjoyed writing and included in this collection is a book, The Dolorous Blade: Being a Brief Account of the Adventures of That Good Knight of the Round Table, Sir Balin, Called "Le Savage," written in rhyme by Donald and published in 1907. Completing this collection is a photograph of Mary Guion Newton and her son, Alexander, and a photograph of Alexander as a soldier.

Series Description : Samuel Donald Newton Papers


1881-1893, 1944
Arranged chronologically
Includes letters written by Donald to his father, Samuel and letters written to his sister regarding his son, Alexander, specifically his wartime service and death.


Book, The Dolorous Blade, written in rhyme, by Samuel Donald Newton, about the Knights of the Round Table.

1911, 1937
Two photographs, one of Mary Guion Newton and her son, Alexander and one of Alexander as a soldier.

Inventory: Samuel Donald Newton Papers

Box 7

  1. Correspondence of Donald to his father, Samuel, Feb.28, 1881-May 5, 1891
  2. Correspondence of Donald to his father, Samuel, May 14, 1891-Aug. 18, 1891
  3. Correspondence of Donald to his father, Samuel, Sept. 7, 1891-Nov. 29, 1891
  4. Correspondence of Donald to his father, Samuel, Dec. 13, 1891-June 5, 1892
  5. Correspondence of Donald to his father, Samuel, June 26, 1892-Aug. 8, 1893
  6. Correspondence re. Alexander Newton, June 16, 1944-Aug. 9, 1944
  7. Book, The Dolorous Blade, 1907 (published date), copyright date is 1906
  8. Photographs: Mary Guion Newton and son, Alexander, 1911; Alexander Newton, 1937

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