The Newtons of Butler County, Alabama

©Joe M. Newton


Hello, my name is Joe Max Newton and I am a descendant of Amos Newton via his son Benjamin and then his descendants Cornelius Theophilus, William Sidney, and Grady Garland. I was born in a small log cabin on my grandfather's (Jessie Zekiel " Zeke" Finklea) farm in Crenshaw County, Alabama on 29 December at 6am on a Saturday morning shortly after the end of World War II. Not long after my birth,my family moved about 30 miles north to the " big" city of Greenville, where we lived until 1957, when we moved to Pensacola, Florida.

I graduated from Pensacola Technical High School in 1964 and moved immediately to Atlanta, Georgia to attend the Georgia Institute of Technology. After graduation from undergraduate school, I went on to graduate school and eventually became a member of the Georgia Tech Faculty. I remained with the University, in that capacity, until 1984, when I left to start Electromagnetic Systems, Inc. -- a high technology company that specialized in Radar and Missile Simulation Systems. In 1997, I retired and moved to Oro Valley, Arizona (just north of Tucson).

I have spend many enjoyable hours collecting the information you will see on this site and published a manuscript of information in the 1970's, which was provided to many members of the Newton Family.   A copy was also provided to the Greenville Historical Society. Since that time additional information has been added in an effort to broaden the view of those doing research into our family. I hope you enjoy your visit to my website and find the information here helpful in your own genealogical research. I have tried to make the information accurate, but mistakes do find a way to get into any endeavor. If, by chance, you find such, please drop me an email and let me know. By the same token, if you have information that you think might be of value to the site, please drop me an email about that as well. Mayhap you have a vital piece of information that will be of significant value to another researchers!

I apologize for not providing any information before Amos Newton in the early 1800, but my schedule has not permitted me to research the records any further back. I know that there were several Newton families in North Carolina in the late 1700s and early 1800s and feel strongly that at least some of them were related to Amos Newton. I believe this because, I have spoken to a William Roland Newton whose family lives in Texas and has the same (almost) Y-chromosome markers as myself.   He traces his line back to Frederick Newton, not Amos Newton. Both, of these folks, lived in North Carolina at the same time, which provides more weight to the belief that they were related. As you see, any information about this early period would be extremely valuable and if you have such data I would very much like to obtain a copy.

One more piece of this DNA puzzle is offered by a close link to the Newtons on the Northeast United States. In particular, there was a Rev. Roger Newton who was at Harvard University mid-1600s and his descendents still reside in that area. DNA testing has shown that they are also closely linked to the Newtons of Butler County, Alabama. The records also indicate that there were several Newtons from the Rhode Island area that made frequent ship trips to the North Carolina area at about the time Amos Newton was in that area. Unfortunetly, no records have been found that ties Amos Newton to any other part of the Newton family. Further, the census records indicate that Benjamin Newton, Amos's oldest son, was born in North Carolina in 1808. However, a survey of the 1810 and 1820 North Carolina census records do not show Amos Newton. It is very possible that Amos lived in one of the North Carolina counties for which census records of that period do not exist. Currently, all that is known is that Amos and his family show up in Robeson County, North Carolina in the 1830 census. It appears, however, that Amos may not have been alone in Robeson County. Records indicate that John Newton, who was also in Robeson County at the same time, may have been Amos's nephew. John Newton's son, Angus Newton, married Amos's son's (Thomas Newton) daughter, Susan Catherine Newton. There is at least one reference that states that Susan and Angus where cousins and it appears that they were second cousins.

I have found that there is a genetic link between our family and several families that trace their ancestors to the Isle of Wight, VA area. Records show that there was a Benjamin Newton living in this area in the later part of the 1700s, but it has not been proven that he was in our family. I believe that this Benjamin Newton may have been the father of Amos Newton and that is why he named his first born son " Benjamin." Another point that gives weight to this is that Amos's birthplace is shown in some census records as Virginia. However, since many Virginia and North Carolina records have been lost or destroyed,tracing Amos's path backward is difficult. However, while I have not been able to find the document that would give us direct links to our early Virginia folks, I think we can be fairly sure that we could trace our path back to either John or Thomas, as shown in the following:

Sons of Thomas Newton of Kingston Upon Hull, England came to Virginia in 1662
(A) John Newton - settled in Stafford County, Virginia - just north of Fredericksburg
Sons of John Newton
(1) John The Virginia land records show grants to John Newton in Nansemond County, Va [adjoining Norfolk to the westward] October 23, 1673.
The Virginia Land Records show grants to George Newton (presumably a son of Thomas) in Lower Norfolk county, April 26, 1684.
(2) Joseph
The records of Accomac County, Va show that Thomas Newton, age 36 (born about 1626), testified My 22, 1662 as to a deed of bargain and sale from Joseph Newton to Henry Picott and that Joseph Newton united in a deed in Accomac County, Va on November 16, 1670. The Virginia land records also show land grants to George Newton [presumably son of Thomas] in Lower Norfolk County, Va on April 26, 1684.
(3) Benjamin
July 8, 1709 - Benjamin Newton's Deposition: He stated his age as, 40, and that John Newton, the elder, his father, lived at a place called Anlaby, near Hull (hence Benjamin was born abt. 1669, making Elizabeth Laycocke his mother & she the 3rd wife of John) and that his father, John Newton, emigrated to the colonies after the death of his last [English] wife. He further stated that he [deponent] knew Thomas Newton, who lived in Hull, and that he always owned and acknowledged the said John Newton, the elder this deponent’s father to be his lawful and eldest son and this he [deponent] lastly said that he came from the said Thomas Newton’s, his grandfather, when he came to Virginia.
(B) Thomas Newton - settled in Norfolk county, near the site of the present day city of Norfolk.
The records of Accomac County, Va show that Thomas Newton, age 36 (born about 1626), testified My 22, 1662 as to a deed of bargain and sale from Joseph Newton to Henry Picott and that Joseph Newton united in a deed in Accomac County, Va on November 16, 1670.
(1) George Newton
The Virginia land records show land grants to George Newton [presumably son of Thomas] in Lower Norfolk County, Va on April 26, 1684.
Letters testamentary were granted to Frances, widow of George Newton, Jan. 15, 1695.
George's will was proved July, 1762.
He was member of the house of Burgesses of Virginia, 1723-1726; alderman in charter of Borough of Norfolk, 1736, and its first mayor.

I would suspect that our Amos Newton was the grandson of the Benjamin Newton shown above. That would make for a tree like: Amos Newton --> Benjamin Newton --> Benjamin Newton --> John Newton --> Thomas Newton of Kingston Upon Hull

There is another interesting piece of information in the Blanden County, North Carolina court files. In December of 1830, Amos Newton, along with a lot of other folks, sign a petition to the court asking for relief from run away slaves that were causing problems for the local residents. There is no direct proof that this Amos Newton is the same as the one that shows up in Robeson County, North Carolina in the same year. However, since Robeson County is next door to these counties, it is highly likely they are the same. The text of this petition is at the bottom of this page.

By the way, I want to encourage all Newtons to get their DNA tested to help us trace the Newton line. My DNA markers can be found on this website, for those of you that might be interested. I want go into the hows of DNA testing, but I will tell you that the Newtons of Butler County, Alabama have a rather unique Y-chromosome DNA marker sequence. This should make it easy for us to discover those related to us.

Family Tree DNA has an excellent program for this purpose, but there are a number of other companies that offer the same services. You can reach them at If you decide to test, please make sure you get the 67 marker Y-Chromosome DNA test and please JOIN the Newton Y-DNA Project, so your results are available to others doing research.

The Y-chromosome will allow you to trace you fathers line. If you want, you can also do a mtDNA test. This will trace your mother's line. Ladies, the Y-chromosome test can only be done on men, since women do not have the Y-chromosome. Therefore, females may want to ask a close male family member (i.,e., brother, father, etc) to get the test done, since the markers will be the same.

GOOD LUCK!Joe M. Newton

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If you have information that might be valuable to others or just want to drop me a note, please use the email address above. Thanks.

Duplin County, NC - Court Records PETITION CONCERNING SLAVES-14 Dec. 1830 Petition of Sundry Inhabitants of New Hanover, Sampson, Bladen and Duplin. 14 Dec. 1830 Presented, to motion of Mr. WEAVER? Ordered to be referred to the Select Committee on the subject of slaves & the situation of free persons of colour. By Order: S. T. PATTERSON To the Honorable the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina now in Session. The Petition of Sundry inhabitants of the Counties of Sampson, Bladen, New Hanover and Duplin humbly Sheweth, that our own Slaves are become almost uncontroulable they go and come when and where they pleas, and if an attempt is made to correct them they Immediately fly to the woods and there Continue for months and years commiting grievous depredations on Our cattle hogs and sheep and many other things and as patrols are of no use on account of the danger they subject themselves to and their property. Not long since three patrols two fo which for executing their duty had their dweling house and other houses burnt down and the other his fodder starks burnt. Your Petitioners prays that an act of the General Assembly may be passed during the present Session of your honourable body compelling each Captain in the aforenamed Counties to divide their companies into four Equal divisions which shall be numbered 1,2,3, and 4 and one man shall be chosen out of each Company as a Captain or Commander of that Company the Rest to be Submissive to his orders under penalty of fifty cent and the Captain or Commander on neglect or refusal to comply with the duties named in said law shall pay the sum of Ten dollars and the first company shall be compelled so soon as appointed to search their respective Districts for Runaway Slaves in all the suspected places houses or thicks where they may suppose any runaway or runaways are concealed with the priviledge of shooting and destroying all runaway slaves who may refuse to Submit to said Authority and said company shall continue to make such search at all times when necessary for the space of three months and shall during the time perform all the duties required by law for patrols to perform and at the expiration of three months the Company no. 2 shall take place and perform in like manner as the first and so continue until the whole have served, and for compensation to said Companies the Rewards already offered by Owners of Slaves for Apprehending Runaway and on all others those that have been Runaway under Six months fifteen dollars and from six months to one year twenty five dollars and for more than one year fifty dollars which shall be paid by the Owner of said runaway slave to the use of said Company before they give him up and all property they ay find in the possession of Runaways where the Owner of said property cannot be found. Whereas many Negro slaves are allowed by their owners to raise and keep dogs and follow them at large that do great injury to our Stocks an if we kill there dogs they will then kill our dog our horse or our cow. For Remedy whereof your Petitioners humbly prays that an act be passed compelling all persons owning slaves at the time of giving in their list of Taxable property to give in on oath all the dogs their Negroes are allowed to raise, keep, or follow them on the first day of April preceding the time of giving in their lists or any time since and pay a tax of five dollars on each dog so given in and your petitioners as in duty bound shall every pray. Stephen HERRING, Hiram BIRDSONG?, James A. McGEE, Gabriel HERRING, Needham BRIAN, A. WARD, Michel JOHNSON, Taylor JOHNSON, Martin FOSTER?, Daniel ALDERMAN, Enoch ALDERMAN, Amos NEWTON, Isaac N. BLAND?, Daniel BLAND, Reuben ROGERS, Brannon SUTTON, Bailey SUTTON, Hardy HERRING, John HERRING, John SMITH, Fredric MORGAN, Isaac C. WRIGHT, David S. MATHIS, Robert WARD, Archd. MURPHY, Owen HERRING, G. W. HERRING, Daniel HERRING, Richd. ROYAL, Howard PARKER, Joseph HERRING. Your Petitions further request your Honorable Body if the method Above proposed?, does not meet your approbation, that you will take our case into consideration, and pass such a law or grant as such relief as you in your wisdom shall think best. (The identical petition was again circulated and signed by the following people) P. CROMARTIE, Hinson W. HERRING, Silas HERRING, R. W. CROMARTIE, John CROMARTIE, A. CROMARTIE, Jas. CROMARTIE, E. HERRING, Rogers LEE, J. H. SPEARMAN, William SPEARMAN, G. W. KINNERY?, John WRIGHT, Senr., Allen D.? EVERSON, Starkey? ANSLEY?, James CARR?, Amos HERRING, George DYER, Richard ROGERS, Wriley HERRING, Phillip HERRINGTON, Wiley HALL, Love?/Dave MCDANIEL, John BEDSOE?, Eli LEACHMAN?, John CASHWILL, Owen JONES, S. CAIN, H. YOUNG, M. MONROE, James O. AMOUS?, G. DOWNING, D. MELVIN, Senr., T. PATTERSON, John MONROE, Daniel MELVIN, Jr., David CAIN, Wm. SMITH, Sr., Fran HORN?, G. MELVIN?, J. SMITH, Richard MCGEE, Robert FURMEDGE?, J. Melvin, Jr., Caleb? LAIN?, George W. HUFFMAN, Jno. TREADWELL, Owen FENNELL, Wm. K.? DEVANE, Richard PARISH, Wilson VALSTRAM?, Daniel HERRING, Nathan HERRING, Stephen HERRING, Jr., Enoch ANDERS, Raiford CARROLL, James NEWTON, Geo. FENNELL, Lewis HIGHSMITH, Isaac NEWTON, Reuben ROGERS, James MARSHBORN, Charles PAGE, John HENNESEY, Amariah BLAND, David WALLS, James MCCALEBB, James ROGERS, Wm. J. COGELL, James MEREDITH, Joseph STRINGFIELD, Amos JOHNSON, James COOP?, William W. VIRRAH?, J. D. BEATTY, MURIS?, Bright JOHNSON

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