Putnam County


Milton E. Newburn, living upon a farm within the city limits of Hennepin, is one of the native sons of Hennepin township, born on the 28th of September, 1843. His parents, Mahlon and Mary (Ford) Newburn, were natives of Ohio and prior to their removal to Illinois made their home near Dayton, that state, whence they came by team to Putnam county at an early period in the pioneer development of this part of Illinois. There were no facilities for railroad travel at that time and there had been little advance made in reclaiming this district for the uses of civilization. Mr. and Mrs. Newburn located on government land east of Florid and with characteristic energy the father began the development of a farm, which hitherto was entirely wild and uncultivated. After some years he disposed of that property and for four years was a resident of Granville township, subsequent to which time he resided upon the farm now owned by his son Milton. His death occurred in Peoria, February 14, 1895, at the age of seventy-eight years, having survived his wife for about eight years. He deserved all the credit implied in the term "a self-made man" for his close application, persistency of purpose and unremitting diligence were the strong features in his success, whereby he advanced from a humble financial position to one of affluence. He was almost penniless when he arrived in this county and at his death was the owner of a valuable farm property of one hundred and sixty acres. He had in the meantime disposed of much of his land, for he had formerly been the owner of three hundred and forty acres. His father, John Newburn, also came to Putnam county, locating upon a farm near Florid, where he died during the boyhood of Milton E. Newburn and his wife also passed away at that place.

Mr. and Mrs. Mahlon Newburn were the parents of five children: Alfred, who lived at home and died at the age of twenty years; Milton E.; Stephen, who owns and occupies a fruit farm in California; Sarah, the wife of George Baxendale, of Peoria, Illinois; and Aaron, who inherited a part of the old estate and died thereon at the age of twenty-three years after a short married life of two years.

The boyhood days of Milton E. Newburn were spent in the usual manner of farm lads of the period. He assisted his father in the operation of the farm and in the winter months when there was considerable respite from farm duties he attended the public schools. On attaining his majority he began the cultivation of his own farm in the vicinity of the old home place, but continued to live with his parents. Later he disposed of that property and secured another farm near Hennepin. He became owner of his present farm in 1885 and continued actively in its cultivation and improvement until 1892. In the meantime he had devoted considerable attention to the breeding of Chester White hogs and for thirty years he has engaged in this business, making exhibits of the stock at state fairs in Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, at St. Louis and at the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893. At the last named he carried off premiums amounting to sixteen hundred dollars on a herd of nineteen animals, at which time he had to compete with the whole world. He has always given his attention to the Chester White breed and has been most successful in raising high grade hogs.

On the 1st of May, 1894, Mr. Newburn was married to Miss May Turner, of Hennepin, a daughter of Oakes and Rebecca (Butler) Turner, who came to Illinois in the J 30s and settled at Wyoming, Stark county. Their subsequent days were passed at Hennepin, where the mother died in 1884 and the father in 1888. Mrs. Newburn was born in Hennepin, May 16, 1850, and after the death of her parents acted as housekeeper for her brother until her marriage. She has now passed away and Mr. Newburn has since wedded Miss Prudence M. Huron, a native of this county. He lives upon a farm within the city limits and rents his other land, which brings to him a good income.

The democratic party receives his political support at the polls and he was elected assessor of his township, which office he held for nine years, and for the past twelve years has continuously held the office of supervisor in a township which gives a normal republican majority a fact which is indicative of his personal popularity and the confidence reposed in him by his fellow townsmen. He keeps in touch with the political issues of the day and is frequently a delegate to the conventions of his party. No trust reposed in him has ever been betrayed and his service in political office is indeed commendable. He represents one of the old pioneer families of the county, where the name of Newburn has ever been a synonym for good citizenship and progressiveness in business.

Source: Past and Present of Marshall and Putnam Counties Illinois authored by John Spencer Burt and W. E. Hawthorne in 1907, page 466.

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