Noteworthy among the more highly esteemed and respected citizens of Portsmouth is George Ott Newman, who has for many years been actively engaged in the practice of law. He was born November 9, 1836, in Staunton, Virginia, a son of Hon. William and Catherine (Ott) Newman. An extended account of his ancestors may be found elsewhere in this volume, in connection with the sketchof his brother-in-law, the late Joseph G. Reed.


Hon. William Newman was born in Salem, Roanoke County. Virginia, January 19, 1807, and was there bred and educated. Coming to Ohio at the age of twenty years, he located at Newark, and there, in 1828, cast his first presidential vote for Andrew Jackson. Returning to Virginia, he lived for a time in Woodstock, Shenandoah County, from there moving to Staunton, where he engaged in mercantile business. In 1838 he again came to Ohio, this time bringing with him his wife and two children. He journeyed with horse and carriage to Wheeling, and from there to Portsmouth, Ohio, by boat. At the death of his father, in 1840, he went to Highland County to settle the parental estate. Returning to Portsmouth at the end of one year, he established himself as a contractor and builder, and in that capacity erected many of the finer brick buildings of the city, including residences, business blocks, churches and school buildings. Very successful in his operations, he continued the business until his death, July 23, 1874. He was a member of the Ohio Senate in 1860 and 1861.


Hon. William Newman married, in 1834, at Woodstock, Virginia. Mrs. Catherine (Ott) Williams, whose death occurred July 8, 1856. Six children were born of their union, as follows: Anna M., widow of
Joseph G. Reed; George Ott; William H.; James W.; Rigdon; and Charles H. William H. Newman served as captain of Company A, Thirty-ninth Ohio Volunteer Infantry, during the Civil war, and later was for a number of years clerk in the treasury department at Washington, D. C. He spent his last years in California, dying in Los Angeles. Charles Newman, who became an Episcopalian minister, held pastorates in various places, and died in Florida. Rigdon Newman learned the printer's trade, and subsequently located in Louisville, Kentucky, where his death occurred.


Acquiring his elementary education in the public schools of Portsmouth, George Ott Newman subsequently entered the Ohio Wesleyan University, at Delaware, and was there graduated with the class of 1858. Beginning then the study of law in the office of Moore & Johnson, he was admitted to the bar by the District Court of Morrow County on August 1, 1860, and at once began the practice of his profession in Portsmouth.


In 1860 Mr. Newman joined the state militia and was commissioned first sergeant of Company A, Fifteenth Ohio Volunteer Militia. The company responded to Lincoln's first call for troops in April, 1861, and became Company G, First Ohio Volunteer Infantry, which was mustered into the United States service at Lancaster, Pennsylvania, April 29, 1861. Mr. Newman was with his regiment until August 1, 1861, when he was honorably discharged witli his regiment, his term of enlistment having expired. Upon his return to Portsmouth his many friends insisted that he should be a candidate for prosecuting attorney of Scioto County, and he was elected to that office on the democratic ticket for one term. Mr. Newman subsequently engaged in the practice of his chosen profession, and through his legal skill and ability built up a large and lucrative patronage.


Mr. Newman married, September 12, 1866, to Miss Clay B. Moore, a daughter of Oscar F. and Martha B. (Scott) Moore. Four children have been born of the union of Mr. and Mrs. Newman, namely: Oscar W., Kate, wife of Edwin N. Alger, has one daughter, Clay Alger; Russell C, who married Mary Bayrd, and has one child. Oscar Newman; and Fannie C, wife of Edward H. Shaw, of Atlanta, Georgia, who has three children, George N., Oscar M. and Helen M. Shaw. Mr. Newman served as a member of the board of city electors until the board was abolished, has been president of the board of trustees of the public library since its organization in 1879, and president of the Portsmouth Bar Association since its organization in 1901. He belongs to two college fraternities, the Sigma Chi and the Phi Beta Kappa.

 

From "A Standing History of the Hanging Rock Iron Region of Ohio" by Eugene B. Willard, Daniel W. Williams, George O. Newman and Charles B. Taylor.  Published by Lewis Publishing Company, 1916