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Newhouse Origins in America
Updated 1:21 PM ET, Jan 10, 2009

In his genealogy published in 1914, John Richey Newhouse stated that the Revolutionary War Virginia Navy seaman Anthony Newhouse (1740-1780) was his great grandfather and that this Anthony Newhouse begot a family of Newhouses in Loudoun County, Virginia. However, there's no documented evidence to substantiate these facts. Rather, there is now strong evidence that a David Newhouse of Loudoun County fathered the family of Newhouses born in that county between 1767 and 1777.

This evidence includes the results of DNA tests done in 2006-2008 by various Newhouse cousins. The DNA results and other available documented evidence suggests instead that David Newhouse was the great grandfather of John Richey Newhouse and the father of all Newhouse descendants documented in his 1914 book. Most likely, the father of this David Newhouse was a papermaker named Anthony Newhouse who lived in Germantown, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia, during the 1740s and 1750s. There is no known connection to the Virginia seaman Anthony Newhouse.

John Richey Newhouse's grandfather, also named Anthony, lived until John Richey Newhouse was in his early 20s. In the introduction of his book, John Richey Newhouse did credit his grandfather, Anthony Newhouse (1772-1851), as a source for some of the facts represented in the book. At first thought, it would seem safe to presume that John got this information from his grandfather about the Revolutionary seaman Anthony Newhouse (1740-1780), and that his grandfather would have had an accurate account of his own father's name, origin and his service in the Revolution. However, John Richey Newhouse's book did not identify source information specific to each fact presented, and his book did not present any specific evidence tying the seaman Anthony Newhouse (1740-1780) directly to the Loudoun County family. As a result, a reader doesn't know which bits of information did in fact come directly from Anthony Newhouse (1772-1851), the grandfather of John Richey Newhouse, and John Richey Newhouse did not publish his account of the Newhouse Family History until about 50 years after his grandfather, Anthony Newhouse (1772-1851), had passed away.

As he says in his introduction, John Richey Newhouse exchanged letters with contemporary cousins in order to get facts and information used in his book. A copy of one of those letters survives to this day. It was a letter written in 1912 by John Lafayette Newhouse, an attorney at the time and a nephew to his elderly uncle John Richey Newhouse, in response to a letter from his uncle. It's clear in that letter that neither of these men had any specific evidence tying the seaman Anthony Newhouse (1740-1780) directly to the Loudoun County family. John Richey Newhouse apparently had asked John Lafayette Newhouse to go to Virginia and recover the proof needed to show that the seaman Anthony Newhouse (1740-1780) was indeed their common ancestor who fought in the Revolution. It's clear from the content of that letter that John Richey Newhouse had no such proof of a family connection to an Anthony Newhouse (1740-1780), a seaman in the Virginia State Navy and wanted that proof to substantiate the most basic premise of his family history.

The contents of the letter seem to indicate a prejudicial determination to make this Revolutionary connection fit into the family, and there seems to be a predetermination that the correspondents had to make this connection real. In the letter, attorney John Lafayette Newhouse discusses the steps needed to research records in order to recover the proof needed to show that the seaman Anthony Newhouse (1740-1780) was their common ancestor. He stated, "In this way the military record of the family during the Revolutionary War may be settled to a certainty." He then added, "And to be eligible to membership in the patriotic societies emanating from that war is a thing to be very proud of in this day."

After some discussion about making the trip to find this proof, attorney John Lafayette Newhouse said, "By all these investigations one would hope to learn and develop other information that would settle this part of the family history that would show the part taken by the family in that most important epoch in our National History, its formation." Obviously, both men wanted this connection to be made to qualify family for membership in organizations such as the Sons of the American Revolution and Daughters of the American Revolution.

Apparently, John Lafayette Newhouse never made that trip to Virginia. At least, there's no known record of it. Perhaps he did go and came back empty-handed. There's also no known evidence to prove that seaman Anthony Newhouse (1740-1780) was actually an ancestor of both John Richey Newhouse and John Lafayette Newhouse. John Richey Newhouse still published his book in 1914 and the book designated the seaman Anthony Newhouse (1740-1780) as John Richey Newhouse’s great grandfather, and the one who started a family in Loudoun County, Virginia.

This Anthony Newhouse (1740-1780) had a proven record of service in the Revolution. He was first assigned to the Galley "Safeguard"; he's listed on the Safeguard on Feb. 13, 1776, and from March 1, 1777 to June 16, 1777, when he was removed to the Brigantine Northampton. He died on board the Northampton in 1780. But the book did not contain any substantiating evidence that ties the seaman Anthony Newhouse (1740-1780) to Loudoun County, Virginia, or to the Newhouse family that lived there in the 1770s.

John Richey Newhouse did state in his introduction that he "claims the history to be correct as far as it was possible to get facts." With that qualification, he casts some uncertainty on potentially any and every detail within the book. And since most of the detail in the book has since proven to be accurate, one wouldn't think there would be any doubt regarding the founding father identified in the book. To doubt it questions the most basic premise that ties together the whole family addressed in the family history represented. That's monumental! It's almost heresy to consider that to be false. After all, many family members since then have used the book, and its cited military records, as qualifying proof for entry into the Sons of the American Revolution and Daughters of the American Revolution.

Yet, no record of an Anthony Newhouse has ever been found in Loudoun County, Virginia, to prove his presence there between 1750 and 1780. In fact, outside of these Revolutionary War records, there is no documented evidence of this Anthony Newhouse in any community anywhere in Virginia. His actual place of residence is a complete mystery.

Instead, in Loudoun County, Virginia, during that time, there are records of a tax-paying David Newhouse, who appears to be the son of Anthony Newhouse (b. 1700/1725 & d. 1762/63). This latter Anthony Newhouse raised a family in Germantown, Pennsylvania, near Philadelphia. He was a papermaker who sold paper to Benjamin Franklin for use in publishing his newspaper. There is strong evidence, if not certain evidence, that suggests this David Newhouse is the real common ancestor who fathered the Newhouse family in Loudoun County, Virginia.

In a will on file in Philadelphia, Pa. and dated April 17, 1754, a John Newhouse of Providence Township in Philadelphia County, Pa. refers to his first born son Antony, born to his first wife Agness, as having "received and anticipated his share in full and shall and cannot make the least claim to the remnant of my estate after my decease except for five shillings more shall be further advanced and paid unto him". However, this statement in the will appears to indicate the Antony, son of John Newhouse, had grown and left the household in 1754 and was making his own way in the world at the time of the will's writing. That suggests he was at least 21 years old at that time. One would think, even for that day and age, that this Antony, being the son of John Newhouse by the first of John's three wives, would have been even older than 21 -- and certainly much older than 14 -- at the time the will was written. But theoretically at least, this Antony could have been of an age to have moved to Loudoun County, Virginia, and lived there with his family in the 1750-1780 timeframe. This same will was probated upon the death of John Newhouse in 1756. John names his other children John, Magdalene, Euphronica and Eva, and he mentions his first wife's name as Agness, his second wife as Magdalen, and his step son by his third wife as Vallentine.

In the 1740s and 1750s, another Anthony Newhouse (b. 1700/1725 & d. 1762/63) lived in nearby Germantown, Pa., and he seems to be the most likely candidate to be John Newhouse's son Antony. It's a good fit considering both timing and geographical proximity. This Anthony Newhouse of Germantown was the papermaker and he has been documented as the common ancestor of many Newhouses who spread through Virginia, Tennessee and to the south and westward as the country grew.

One additional piece of information from John Richey Newhouse's book casts some additional light on the puzzle. The author restated an anecdote told by his grandfather Anthony Newhouse (1772-1851) that clearly has bearing on these relationships. In 1825, Anthony Newhouse (1772-1851) traveled from Ohio to Flat Rock, Indiana, and there he met a family of Newhouses, "a brother and two sisters". According to the story, the brother was a Baptist minister by the name of John Newhouse, and Anthony Newhouse (1772-1851) said it turned out to be that these Newhouses were his "full" cousins. Current records indicate this Baptist minister was really James Newhouse who was a brother to John Newhouse of Flat Rock at that time.

The brothers John and James Newhouse were born in Fauquier County, Virginia, to Isaac Newhouse and his wife Catharine Van Pelt. Fauquier County borders on Loudoun County, Virginia. Isaac Newhouse and Catharine Van Pelt married in Philadelphia. Catharine was the daughter of Derrick VanPelt and Mary Britton, and Isaac Newhouse was the son of the papermaker Anthony Newhouse (b. 1700/1725 & d. 1762/63) and his wife Mary of Germantown near Philadelphia.

The fact that the Newhouses who met in Flat Rock, Indiana, in 1825, were cousins to Anthony Newhouse (1772-1851), means the Loudoun County Newhouses had to be connected to the Philadelphia Newhouses.

The Germantown Anthony Newhouse's wife Mary Newhouse recorded a will, Will No. 36, that is on file still in the Philadelphia, Pa. courthouse. According to the record of this will, Mary died in 1763. She lists her children as Susannah, Sarah, Jacob, David, Jonathan and Isaac. But no son named Anthony. Of all the sons named in the will of Mary Newhouse, wife of the papermaker Anthony Newhouse (b. 1700/1725 & d. 1762/63), David Newhouse (b. ~1745) is the only one who fits. All of David’s brothers can be accounted for elsewhere. His brother Isaac Newhouse (b. 1749) married Catharine Van Pelt and moved to Virginia. Their presence and family there has been fully documented. His brother Jonathan Newhouse (b. 1747) married Ann Simon. They also married and moved to Fauquier County, Virginia, where they raised a family. And his brother Jacob Newhouse (b. 1744) shows up on tax lists from 1769, 1774, 1779 and 1780 in the same area near Philadelphia. The only record of a David Newhouse conveniently shows up in Loudoun County, Virginia. It seems to be more than coincidental that a David Newhouse shows up in Loudoun County when Anthony Newhouse (1772-1851), who was born in Loudoun County, meets cousins in Indiana and those cousins happen to be the children of the Philadelphia David Newhouse's brother Isaac Newhouse (b. 1749).

Unfortunately, even the Loudoun County records do not show specifically who fathered the Newhouse children who were born there between 1767 and 1777. David Newhouse is the only male prospect known to be in Loudoun County at that time, and while there's no record of their births there, the children and grandchildren Jonathan Newhouse (1767-1848), Isaac Newhouse (1770-1850), Anthony Newhouse (1772-1851), Eura Newhouse (1774-1854) and David Newhouse (1777-1854) all indicated to John Richey Newhouse that they were all born in Loudoun County, Virginia.

There is a Loudoun County record of the mother of David Newhouse (1777-1854) as Sarah Martin. That 1787 record is a court order that binds David Newhouse (1777-1854) at the age of 11 to indentured service with Joseph White. The court order resides among orders relating to poor children, bastard children and orphan children. Since Sarah Martin was alive at the time, and signed the order as David's mother. She identified his name as David Newhouse and age of 11 (actually a couple weeks shy of his 11th birthday). It seems likely that he was born to Sarah Martin out-of-wedlock, and under the circumstances of his birth, that he was given his father’s name, David Newhouse.

Larry Newhouse is a genealogist who has extensively researched the Newhouse family genealogy. In a letter dated Feb. 9, 1998, based on the actual evidence on hand, he expressed doubts that John Richey Newhouse's great grandfather was in fact the Anthony Newhouse described in John Richey Newhouse's 1914 work. At that time, Larry said the only surviving records of early American Newhouses in Loudoun County refer to David Newhouse. David's name is found on Loudoun County's tithable lists and on one church register. As a result, Larry conjectured that John Richey Newhouse's great grandfather in Loudoun County was in fact this David Newhouse and not Anthony Newhouse (1740-1780).

Correspondence in March 2008 with Patricia Duncan, a Loudoun County historian, came to the same conclusion. Pat Duncan found no new records for an adult man named Anthony Newhouse in Loudoun County, Virginia, during the 1767-1777 timeframe. One of the lists of tithable records actually listed a record for Daniel Newhouse, but unclear handwritten script for "David" can easily be misread and it can be assumed that this reference was transcribed incorrectly as "Daniel" instead of "David". This search reconfirms the results of Larry's efforts.

In sum, based solely on the documented evidence, it appears highly probable that this David's parents were the papermaker Anthony and Mary Newhouse of Germantown, PA, near Philadelphia, and that David had moved from the Germantown area to Loudoun County, Virginia, as a young adult. Possibly this David had some Revolutionary service, probably with a militia from within Loudoun County; however, no record of service in the Revolution can be found for David Newhouse of Loudoun County, and no records of a family confirming this David as parent have been discovered.

Family naming patterns strongly support this theory. Mary's will documents that her sons by Anthony included a David, Jonathan and Isaac. It would follow that this son David may in turn name his own sons Jonathan, Isaac, Anthony and David, which have been documented as the names of the second generation Newhouse brothers in this lineage who were born in Loudoun County, Virginia. However, no direct evidence has been found to verify that David Newhouse of Loudoun County, Virginia, was indeed the father of Jonathan, Isaac, Anthony and David.

Thanks to some recent DNA tests conducted among various current Newhouse cousins, there is now strong DNA evidence that this documented evidence is more than circumstantial. These DNA tests absolutely prove a genetic connection between the descendants of the "full" cousins who met in Flat Rock, Indiana, in 1825.

Without any other known facts, the DNA results of current day fifth and sixth cousins prove these cousins have a common genetic relationship, and the DNA match is so good that it proves a 91% certainty that the most recent common ancestor of these distant cousins lived within the past 12 generations. If he is the most recent common ancestor of these current day distant cousins, the papermaker Anthony Newhouse (b. 1700/1725) of Germantown, Pennsylvania, is seven generations back. The DNA results by themselves put the likelihood at 70% that the most recent common ancestor is in fact the papermaker Anthony Newhouse (b. 1700/1725) of Germantown, Pennsylvania. For each generation further back on the Newhouse paternal line, it is more certain that the current day cousins descend from the same individual.

These DNA test results by descendants of the Loudoun County, Virginia, Newhouse brothers have proven a direct blood relationship to descendants of Anthony Newhouse of Germantown, Pennsylvania, through Isaac Newhouse (b. 1749), son of Anthony Newhouse of Germantown. The 'Y' chromosome paternal DNA test results by the known descendants of Anthony Newhouse of Germantown through Isaac Newhouse (b. 1749) match almost perfectly to the 'Y' chromosome paternal DNA test results of the Loudoun County Newhouse descendants. While this doesn't absolutely prove that Anthony Newhouse of Germantown is their common ancestor, it gives the chances better than a 70% likelihood, and the documented evidence appears to greatly increase those odds.

Yet the DNA evidence could also point to the father of the papermaker Anthony Newhouse of Germantown as the most recent common ancestor. Perhaps, for instance, the Loudoun County Newhouse family connects to the Philadelphia Newhouse family through the second son of John Newhouse, the half brother of the papermaker. That would be John Newhouse, Jr., who was born to 2nd wife of John Newhouse, Sr., Magdalen. The available records do not preclude that possibility. There are even records of a John Newhouse living in the 1750s in Bedford County, PA, just upstream from Loudoun County, Virginia. And there are historical references that indicate the Bedford County families came to that area by traveling upstream up the Potomac River, which would have taken them directly through Loudoun County, Virginia. Thus, it appears remotely possible that this John Newhouse, Jr. could have fathered a son David Newhouse, who in turn moved to Loudoun County, Virginia, and had a family there from 1767-1777. Or, possibly instead, this John Newhouse fathered a son named Anthony Newhouse (1740-1780), who moved to Loudoun County, had a family there from 1767-1777, and joined the Virginia Navy during the Revolution and died in service just as stated in the John Richey Newhouse genealogy. The given DNA evidence would fully support either of these possibilities.

If either one of these possibilities is actually true, the lack of documented evidence is not surprising as these areas were the frontier at that time. Many people lived full lives there and left no records of their existence there. As a result, though, the documented evidence for a possible direct connection to John Newhouse, Jr. is weak at best. Given together with the full weight of the documented evidence that does exist, in combination with the DNA results, one has to conclude that the Loudoun County Newhouses were most likely fathered by David Newhouse (b. ~1745) who was in turn the son of the Germantown papermaker, Anthony Newhouse (b. 1700/1725 & d. 1762/63) and his wife Mary, who died in 1763.

Only more documented evidence can resolve all these possibilities for absolute certainty. But the evidence now seems clear; it appears certain that the most basic fact put forth by John Richey Newhouse in his Newhouse Family genealogy was in fact incorrect. There's no evidence to support his claim that the Revolutionary seaman Anthony Newhouse is the common ancestor of this extended Newhouse family. It also appears there is little likelihood of any connection to him. Instead, the DNA evidence shows an absolute connection to the 1740s and 1750s Germantown papermaker, Anthony Newhouse.

This very idea must be of great concern to many Newhouse cousins. Over the last century, many members of this extended Newhouse family had used the Revolutionary seaman Anthony Newhouse as the basis for membership in organizations such as the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) and the Sons of the American Revolution (SAR). Sadly, there is no record of Revolutionary service for David Newhouse of Loudoun County, Virginia. Surely, on this grounds alone, some Newhouse family members will refuse to accept anything other than the details presented in John Richey Newhouse's 1914 Newhouse Family genealogy.


1See John Newhouse's will and probate record.

2See also Detailed Newhouse Descendants Report.

3See discussion on earlier Newhouse generations at A Theoretical Newhouse Descendants Report.

4It may be that David Newhouse had his children by different women. In Loudoun County today, there is no record of marriage for David, and no record of birth for any of his children. There is however the one record of a woman named Sarah Martin in 1787 as the mother of the youngest Newhouse child. Circumstances regarding that record, and two other records regarding a servant girl named Sarah Martin, indicate that the youngest child, David Newhouse, born in 1777, was likely born to Sarah Martin out of wedlock.

Record from Abstracts of the 1758-1781 Loudoun County, VA, Tithables by the Sparacios:
Newhouse, David - 1 tithable; 5 squirrel scalps; List taken by James Hamilton for 1770
Newhouse, David - 1 tithable; List taken for 1774 taken by S. Backhouse for Mr. [James] Hamilton
Newhouse, Daniel - 1 tithable; List for Shelburne Parish for 1775
Newhows, David - 1 tithable; List by Jno. McHaney for 1777

From "Index to the 1782-1850 Loudoun Co. Personal Property Tax Lists" by Pat Duncan.
Only males 16 years or older would appear on these tax lists. The David Newhouse of the 1770s is not listed but his apparent children are. The term "Battalion" refers to a district.
1794A First Battalion Newhouse, Anthony residing with Hesser, Andrew
1795A First Battalion Newhouse, Anthony residing with Hains, John and Hains, Jno.
1796A First Battalion Newhouse, Anthony
1796A First Battalion Newhouse, Anthony residing with Evans, William
1795C First Battalion Newhouse, D. residing with White, Josiah
1796A First Battalion Newhouse, David residing with Redman, Andrew
1798C Third District Newhouse, David
1799C Third District Newhouse, David residing with Taylor, Bernard
1788B First Battalion Newhouse, Isaac residing with Evans, William
1790B First Battalion Newhouse, Isaac residing with Evans, William
1791B First Battalion Newhouse, Isaac residing with Evans, William
1792B First Battalion Newhouse, Isaac
1793A Third Battalion Newhouse, Isaac
1793C First Battalion Newhouse, Isaac
1794A First Battalion Newhouse, Isaac
1795A First Battalion Newhouse, Isaac
1788B First Battalion Newhouse, Jonathan residing with Copland, Andrew
1789B First Battalion Newhouse, Jonathan residing with Copland, Andrew
1791B First Battalion Newhouse, Jonathan
1793C First Battalion Newhouse, Jonathan
1794A First Battalion Newhouse, Jonathan
1795A First Battalion Newhouse, Jonathan
1797A First Battalion Newhouse, Jonathan
1798A First District Newhouse, Jonathan
1799B First District Newhouse, Jonathan

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