Newman, Kentucky

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Newman started out as a small settlement on the Louisville, St. Louis and Texas Railroad. To serve Worthington Station on the Louisville, St. Louis and Texas Railroad about a mile from the Henderson County line, the Newman Post Office was established on May 28, 1890. It was in the store of its first Postmaster, Edward W. Murphy Jr. It was probably named for Nathaniel Newman, an area Magistrate and businessman. It is located 13 miles from Owensboro. It had general merchandise stores consisting of E. W. Murphy and Brothers and R.M. Hagan and Company. Ralph Wimsatt was the Justice of the Peace. Doctors L.A. Crimmons and F.F. Caraway were the local physicians. E.W. Murphy and Brothers also had one hotel and saloon. A Post Office called Dunbarton, operated from April 1886 to October 1894 on the north bank of the Green River, less than one quarter of a mile from the Henderson County line and 13 ½ miles from Owensboro. It would be about where Kimberly Clark Company is today. Ben Mitchell was its first Postmaster. Some of the residents were Alonzo Dunbar, Lon Dunbar (these men may be where the name Dunbarton came from), Jesse Mitchell, Ed Melton, Lon Hoskins, and John and George Murphy. John Smithhart owned a farm next to the school. Miss Alice Greenward of Birk City was the teacher in the one room school. Phil Porter and Grun Medley along with Ralph Wimsatt lived near Dunbarton in the late 1880’s. John R. Cummings was the last Postmaster when it discontinued and mail went to Newman in 1894. There was another Green River Post Office close to Dunbarton and was operated for only ten weeks named Elfrieda. John W. Cummins, its only Postmaster, later also served as a Dunbarton Postmaster. The origin of this name is not known. The Dunbarton Post Office was only open eight years before discontinuing to Newman in 1894. On September 10, 1902, there was a train derailment at the Worthington Station. The engineer, Ulysses Grant Hill and conductor, and their three man crew were waiting for a west bound train to clear Bon Harbor Hills near Owensboro and head down the fifteen miles toward Stanley and Reed. About 9:45 PM, the passenger train finally passed them and Hill throttled forward. By the time the train rolled east through Reed and in to Daviess county, it was going along about 28 MPH and was soon approaching Worthington Station, now called Newman. When the train reached the depot, a long horned bull was frightened by the train and jumped on the tracks and stopped. The locomotive slammed into the bull. Instead of knocking the bull off the tracks, the engineer ran over the animal and dragged it beneath the cars, causing the freight to derail. For a while the freight rumbled over the railroad ties, dragging the coal tender and leading cars before crashing with a roar into Worthington Station. Dirt and splinters flew as the locomotive, tender and ten box cars folded like an accordion, wiping out the depot and leaving a pile of wreckage that the Owensboro Messenger later described as “awful to look upon”. Engineer Hill, who desperately tried to reverse the engine when he saw the bull, stayed in the cab and died, scalded and crushed in the wreckage. His fireman, William Hale, tried to jump from the train but was pinned in the cab wreckage, both legs terribly scalded by the escaping steam. Head end brakeman George Leaman were also riding in the cab and fell against Hill’s body, one leg smashed into a pulp. The caboose and four box cars remained on the track. Brakeman Joe Muir, who was riding in the cupola of the caboose with conductor Shehan, was thrown from this seat and received a bad gash. Residents of the vicinity quickly reached the scene of the wreck and telephoned to Owensboro asking that Dr. Wilbur Stirman and Dr. R.E. Griffin be sent to the site. The two physicians were put aboard a west bound passenger train that had been waiting to leave Owensboro at 11:58PM. The coaches, loaded with passengers, mail and freight, were cut out of the train and left to wait at the siding at Stanley as the locomotive carrying the two doctors rolled to the wreck site. At the same time, section workers of the railroad living in Owensboro were dispatched to the wreck site by handcar and a work train was ordered from its base at Cloverport, passing through Owensboro as 12:30AM. Additional physicians from the area were also summoned. As soon as the railroad hands reached the site, they began trying to free the injured men from the wreckage. Hale was pulled free first, but the job of getting brakeman Leamon and engineer Hill was much more difficult. The critically injured Leamon was still alive at around 2:30AM as he was placed on the train taking him to an Owensboro hospital. The car also carried the body of engineer Hill. About 150 yards of the track had been torn up in the accident. The work train arrived from Cloverport and began building a temporary track around the wreckage so the railroad could continue to run. Brakeman Leamon died on the train as it reached the outskirts of Owensboro. The bodies of the two railroad men were taken to Owensboro mortuaries. The section hands worked frantically to complete the bypass track in record time; they were able to do so due in part to the flat terrain and the delayed midnight train that had finally made it to Evansville. The next day, large crowds of people rushed by horseback, buggy and wagon to the site of the worst railroad accident in Daviess County’s history to that date. Trains from Owensboro and Henderson were also full of curious people waiting to see the wreck. There was an ad in the 1903 Messenger telling of property for sale by James Hill, the Postmaster. He described it as the Newman Post Office situated on the L. H. & St Louis railroad compound of a store house and nice stock of goods, good dwelling of clean rooms, lot of two acres, with fine gardens, all necessary out buildings including stable and buggy house. The Railroad agency and Post Office were located in the store. The store building is 62x22 feed and had a 10 foot shed room the entire length. It also said that Worthington was a fine business point. The Newman Baptist Church was constituted as the result of revival meetings conducted by Mrs. G.A. Jett in the home of Mr. and Mrs. A.L. Waite in the Newman community on August 8, 1910. The first members came from Stanley church included Mrs. Lou Eberhardt, Ms. Opal Eberhardt, Harold Jesse, Mrs. Rosa Ray, Ms. Nola Ray, A.L. Waite, J.T. Eberhardt, Ms. Crystal Ray, Jeanette Waite and Rosetta Young. The council of recognition was composed of elders C.C. Carroll, B.F. Jenkins, N.F. Jones, C.S. Rush, E.O. Cottrell, E.E. Rush and W.L. Shearer. The church took the name Newman from the little railroad stop and Post office near which the church was located. By 1911 the church had received a lot from Mr. and Mrs. G. A. Jett. The building was erected at a cost of about $1500. The building was finally paid for and dedicated on July 29, 1917. Charter members were Mrs. G.A. Jett, Ms. Margaret Jette, Ms. Nina J. Jett and Mrs. Ann Jett Jesse. The Sunday school was held in the old one room school house for about one year with A. L. Waite as Superintendent. The devastating flood of 1937 almost destroyed the Newman Baptist Church. The repairs cost about $400. Just west of Newman in August of 1918, near the county line, the Red Cross held a picnic to raise funds. The picnic was held at the Dr. R. P. Keene farm near the railroad tracks. It was one of the biggest ever in Western Kentucky. Plans were made to accommodate between 10,000 and 15,000 people. The Messenger called it the Greatest Picnic ever held in the County. It was sponsored by the Owensboro, Stanley and Reed Red Cross. There were three special passenger trains that ran from Owensboro and all thru trains stopped as well. Practically all business was suspended in the city, the stores and barber shops were closed. The picnic was laid out on 15 acres. People were present from all of Western Kentucky. People were out not only for recreation but to learn something of the war. Glenmore Distillery sent seventeen carpenters and twelve helpers to work on the picnic grounds a week in advance. The picnic grounds resembled a small city. There were 32 buildings and three large tents that housed the theatrical attractions and the Red Cross and Food concessions as well as other attractions. The central feature was the booth where the barbeque dinner was served. It was 200 feet long and held 16 cutting tables. They cooked 200 sheep, 50 hogs, and 1000 chickens. The receiving headquarters for the sheep and hogs was at the Union Stock yard on Ninth Street in Owensboro. The vegetables and other supplies were kept at the Masonic Temple formerly occupied by the Farmers and Traders Bank. The Evansville Municipal Band played inspiring patriotic and popular music all day as well as furnished the music for the dancing. On the picnic grounds were vaudeville and musical comedy shows. There were also four solo musicians and a group called the “Jolly Jesters” with 12 musicians. Nothing was left undone that promoted comfort and pleasure for the monster crowd. The Delco Company had the entire grounds lit up. Water was pumped and fans ran in the concession buildings. The ice cream was frozen by electricity. Rest rooms and dining halls were built as well as tables. All of the small towns in the western county played a big part including Curdsville, Sorgho, Stanley and Newman. The picnic was a great financial success due to having many volunteers and at least 100 committee men and women cooperating. James L. Ellis, named “Little Jim” for his wealthy uncle, James C. Ellis, owned a farm in Newman known as Happy Go Lucky. Ellis was a fan of hobby cars but at one time trained thoroughbreds to race. Ellis began developing the Happy Go Lucky Ranch 10 miles west of Owensboro on Highway 60. He started with a grandstand and arena for horse shows. Then, partial to hobby cars, he built a dirt race track, then another grandstand and an asphalt track. Other buildings followed. Horse shows, car races, and stock sales were held in the area. Civic organizations were invited to use the facilities. The Daviess County Fair started there in 1966 after moving from Ensor, the former Triple W. Ranch. It later moved to the Philpot area in the 1970’s. The Daviess County Lions Club annually sponsored the fair for charity. In 1943, the Newman Baptist Church bought the L & N Railroad Depot building and moved it to the church property, remodeled it for Sunday school and name it Bible Chapel. James Cain moved to Newman in 1942 where he purchased the King Family farm as a result of losing their son, the first Daviess County casualty of WWII. James’s twin sons, Laymond and Raymond, listed too and did their part to suppress the Nazi regime. Upon returning home they took jobs driving “long haul” for Orlean’s Poultry Company. In 1950 Raymond was killed in a truck accident. Shortly thereafter, along with his older brother George formed Cain Brothers Trucking. They contracted with area farmers in the purchase of their soybeans, wheat and corn. The latter was stored in “cribs” and was “scooped” into a “sheller” then trucked to market. This venture provided a stable existence for both Cain families and a meaningful service to the agricultural community of Daviess and surrounding counties. Later the business transitioned as corn was shelled directly from the field, negating the use of storage cribs. The grain sides of the trucks were replaced with the specialized “spreader’ beds. Cain Brothers began their “custom lime spreader service”, wherein lime was “spread” (applied) to the cropland. They also owned a fleet of trucks that farmers were able to rent or lease for their own crops. “Cain Brothers” remained in constant operation until Laymond’s death in 1997. One of the sons of Laymond Cain was named Keith. He was elected Sheriff of Daviess County in 1999 and is still in that position today. Since the Post Office closed in 1972 the Newman name has been applied to a rural hamlet on US Hwy 60, 12 miles west North West of Owensboro. The biggest thing that ever came to Newman was the paper mill that was open by Scott Paper in 1991. It had over 12 acres under roof and the ceilings were over three stories high. The plant sits on the banks of the Green River on Innovative Drive near Hwy 60. Scott Paper was absorbed by Kimberly-Clark in a 1995 merger.