Thanks to Boingboing.net for posting this. If you want, after you sign the petition, Digg this
My name is Aaron Newton and I'm writing because the state of South Carolina wants to put a freeway through my grandfather's home (google map link
). His house was originally built by his
grandfather and is around 200 years old. In the 1950's, my grandparents remodeled part of it and because of these changes we couldn't get the historical building society to declare it a landmark.
My father, Don Newton, who lives nearby, has spent time with several officials of South Carolina and has worked out an alternate route that takes the freeway down the west side of the farm instead of through the center of it, leaving the house completely intact.
Unfortunately, the bureaucracy involved in changing things like this is quite thick and though we've managed to convince all the parties that it should move, they need some sort of public "outcry" to be able to rubber stamp the change.
Which is why I'm setting up this petition to get signatures. Signatories don't even have to live there. The don't even have to have ever visited. I'm currently located in San Francisco and it doesn't matter. They just need "the public" to demonstrate the need for the change in plans.
So please, take a moment and share your information in this petition so we can save his house.
Details and links:
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Historical Significance of the Farm
(Written by Don Newton)
My original ancestor, Giles Newton, emigrated from England to Virginia and finally to the land on which the home was built and still stands today. The land was part of two 640 land grants awarded to Giles Newton by colonial Governor Moultrie. He granted the first property in 1785. By the very early 1800's, Giles' two sons, James and Younger I, owned approximately 3000 acres, much of which still is owned and farmed by Giles' descendents. My 91 year old father, Lt. Col. (Retired) Peter J. Newton, Sr., still owns over 300 acres of the original land and the ancestral home. Historical statements from generation to generation date the building of the home by Younger I around 1800. While there is no specific written evidence to properly date the home, there are two entries in archived records placing Younger I in a home on the land around 1790, and that is corroborated by family lore. (From Which Newton Are You Or How Are You Connected by David F. Newton, pg 210)
The home was built from trees that were cleared from the forests that now are open fields of fertile farmlands. The underpinning of the home was and still is hand-hewn logs held together by 10" wooden pegs. The original structure consisted of four equally sized rooms and the kitchen was separated from the home in the back to save the home in case of a fire in the kitchen.
In the late 1940's, the kitchen was joined to the rear of the home and three other rooms were added across the back of the house. The floors of this section were not joined evenly, and there is an approximate ten inch step down from the original section of the home to this rear section. The porch was also extended across the front and down the West side of the house. In 1957, my father, who was actually born in the home in 1916, remodeled the home, leaving the basic four rooms of the home but installing oak hardwood floors. He also left most of the original windows in rooms and by the front door, which were hand-blown glass with "wavy" imperfections and bubbles. The chimney on the East side of the house is also original which, according to family lore, has brick laid with "salt crete". It was covered with a thin layer of concrete years ago to protect it from weathering. Around 1965, dormers were added to the roof of the house and the attic was opened to house two bedrooms. And the final remodeling occurred around 1985 when the kitchen was remodeled and a carport was attached at the kitchen entrance.
From the date of the land grant until the present, no one but Giles Newton descendents have lived in this house and worked this farm. The only other inhabitants of this land were native Americans. And from the family record Which Newton Are You or How Are You Connected, researched and compiled by David F. Newton, archived documents clearly show that the descendents of Giles Newton have played a significant role in South Carolina's and our nation's history, namely:
Three men, Giles, James, and Younger Newton, fought in the Revolutionary War.
Three men, Henry C., Giles II, and Younger II, fought in the War of 1812
Eighteen fought in the Civil War:
John C. Newton was killed at Drury's Bluff in May 1864
H. H. Newton was wounded at Haw's Shop, VA in May 1864
Peter L Newton died as a POW in Georgetown
Cornelius D. Newton was a POW at Point Lookout
John W. Newton lost fingers while serving
Richard Newton died in the War
Robin Newton died in the War
Thomas B. Newton
James E. Newton died in the War
John H. Newton died in the War
William S. Newton died at Sullivan's Island
Belton Terry died in the War
David D. Newton was a POW at Elmira, NY
Dudley C. Newton
(Many fought in WWI and WWII for which I don't have definitive records. My father fought with General Marshall and General Patton and because of his valor and duty, he was promoted from 2nd Lt. through the ranks to Lt. Col. by the age of 30. He was wounded three times and was finally medically discharged.)
I have cousins that fought in Korea.
My brother and I are Vietnam Veterans as are many of our cousins.)
Cornelius Newton was a SC State legislator from 1880-1882 and served as Solicitor, 4th Circuit, for six years.
Joseph Newton was a patent holder for a medicinal pill
Giles Y. Newton served as a US representative to the Philippines in 1924, and
Elizabeth Newton was the first woman to be admitted to the Bar and licensed to practice law in the courts of the United States.
The home place and the nearby family cemetery still play an important role in this family, much greater than that of the home of one family residence. It is quite common for a relative who is researching their family history to learn that the family originated from this area and drive to the home to see for themselves. Even though they don't know who resides in the home now, they arrive and find that it is the earliest known residence of their ancestors, and that most of those ancestors are buried in family cemeteries about one mile away. Two recent unusual events further verify this significance.
About three years ago, an elder family member, who moved away in 1928, had her nephew drive her from Phoenix, Arizona over a ten day period to arrive at the local (and home) church on the first Sunday in August to attend the Newton family reunion, the oldest continuous family reunion in SC. She had attended the very first reunion in 1927, and wanted to attend and reacquaint herself with family again. She came without a call - just knowing that the reunion is always held on the first Sunday in August. After the reunion service at the church, she visited with my dad at the home place to reminisce and learn more of her genealogy.
In the 1800's, Giles' grandson, Giles II, moved to Georgia and then to Alabama, where we lost track of that entire limb of the family tree. About seven years ago, one of his descendents was doing genealogical research and learned of a Newton family reunion at Boykin Church in our community. She called the church in the middle of the week (when no one would ordinarily be there). By the providence of God, a cousin was in the church, answered the phone and shared family info. A few months later, the relative visited the reunion, reuniting that limb of the family for the first time in almost two hundred years. She, too, visited the old home place, and shared family genealogy with my dad and with family historian, David Newton, before visiting the cemetery to see the graves of her ancestors.