Newman Grove Beginnings...
Grove, located in the southwest corner of Madison County, was incorporated
February 9, 1888. Over twenty years before, a community was formed.
The first white man to join the Indians on the grassy treeless prairie
was a Scotsman named Johnny Bloomfield in the 1860's. He remained
alone with the Indians for about five years living in a dugout along Shell
Creek before being joined by another small group of white men in 1864.
Among this group was the town's namesake, Newman Warren and his father,
Lewis. Newman Warren homesteaded land along the Shell Creek to the
south where he, his father, and his sister, Austania, planted a grove of
cottonwood trees. Newman Warren was the first white man to die in
the valley at 21 years of age. His parents, Lewis and Mary Jane Warren
inherited his property and sold it for $2,000 for the town site.
Lewis worked hard to have the town named after his son, Newman's Grove.
The City Park and Golf Course are currently located on this property and
some of the original cottonwoods still stand.
The first buildings that replaced the dugouts were sod houses, then wood
frame structures, or log houses. The first businesses, school, post
office and homes were built in "old town" with much of the wood
hauled by horse drawn wagon from Columbus because wood was so scarce.
Texas Cattle Trail passed through Shell Creek Valley at Newman Grove and
at times thousands of cattle could be seen making their way to Texas from
the north driven by wild cowboys. There were times when a tribe of
Indians of about 1,000 came through Newman Grove and camped in the area.
Some incidents with the Indians and new settlers were reported, but for
the most part all lived peacefully.
As the community grew, decisions were made to move the town to higher
ground south and attract the railroad, a vital component to secure the
future of a new town. In 1886, the Fremont, Elkhorn and Missouri
Valley Railroad chose to route through Newman Grove. The Western
Town Lot Company formed by local citizens and the Pioneer Townsite Company
formed by the Railroad plotted and sold lots for homes and businesses.
Brick and wood frame homes and businesses were built, some still standing.
Newman Grove was incorporated February 9, 1888 with over 200 citizens and
grew to its peak in the 1920's of 1260 people with many businesses, homes,
schools, churches, and a fluent society life.
The many hardships endured produced determined and hearty people, many
of whom can trace their roots to this humble beginning. Community
and family life thrive and are the key part of what makes Newman Grove.
In 1988, the community gathered history of the town and of many families
that have lived here throughout the first century and created The
Newman Grove Centennial Book, The First 100 Years. Much
of the known history and photographs are now in print in this book for
the next generations to enjoy. Also, a book was published in the
40's by Judge Halderson, called The Tri-County Pioneers,
which told stories first hand of many of the early families. Both
books are kept at the Newman Grove Public Library along with Microfilm
of early newspapers of the area dating back to the 1800's.
For more history information, visit the following websites: