Country Facts and Folklore
By Andy Reddick

Joshua G. Newbold

The ninth governor of Iowa was Joshua G. Newbold, who lived for a time in Van Buren County. Newbold was born in Fayette County, New Jersey on May 12, 1830, of stock known as the Friends (Quaker.)

In 1854, Mr. Newbold operated a farm near Mt. Pleasant in Henry County, but by the end of the year had moved to Cedar Township in Van Buren County were he farmed and began merchandising. In 1860, he moved to Hillsboro where he continued the pursuit.

After serving in the Civil War from 1862-1865, Newbold returned to Hillsboro and continued in the mercantile trade for three or four years. Then he began stock raising and stock dealing.

Newbold was a representative from Henry County in the 13th, 14th, and 15th Iowa General Assemblies, and became temporary speaker of the 15th. In 1875 he was elected Lt. Governor on the Republican ticket, with Samuel J. Kirkwood.

Before the term ended, Kirkwood was elected to the U.S. Senate and Newbold moved into the vacated seat as Governor from February 1, 1877 to January, 1878. He took painstaking care in running the state, and most of his recommendations were adopted.

At the particular time, debt exceeded the Constitutional limits, and Newbold declared, "The commonwealth ought to set an example in meeting its obligations. All forms of indebtedness are objectionable." He felt that removing debt was his most important role as Governor.

A Free-will Baptist, Newbold was the father of 7 children. He remained a Republican and set standards that were not generally accepted as Republican ideas until many years later. For example, he eliminated taxes and lowered tax rates in order to create more state revenue. He may have been one of the first to successfully employ such tactics. He believed in less control by the state in favor of giving individual counties more power and broader decision-making ability.

(Portraits & Biographies of the Governors of Iowa, 1885. Chapman Bros., Lake City Publishing: Chicago.)

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Contributed to the Van Buren Co. IAGenWeb Project by Andy Reddick