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John Bearss Newcomb papers

Identifier: Midwest-MS-Newcomb

Scope and Content of the Collection

Correspondence, personal documents, and genealogical information collected by John Bearss (also spelled Bearse) Newcomb, 1737-1896. Includes correspondence between Newcomb family members, originating from Elgin, Illinois and New York State. Topics include the Civil War, topical modes of employment and health. Also contains extensive genealogical evidence of the Newcomb family and to a lesser extent, Bearss and Connabell families.


  • Creation: 1737-1896
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1837-1896



Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The John Bearss Newcomb papers are open for research in the Special Collections Reading Room; 1 box at a time (Priority III).

Ownership and Literary Rights

The John Bearss Newcomb papers are the physical property of the Newberry Library. Copyright may belong to the authors or their legal heirs or assigns. For permission to publish or reproduce any materials from this collection, contact the Roger and Julie Baskes Department of Special Collections at

Biography of John Bearss Newcomb

Elgin, Illinois educator, businessman, and genealogist.

John Bearss (also spelled Bearse) Newcomb was born July 1, 1824 in Fabius, Onondaga County, New York. His family moved to Illinois, near Plainfield in 1837. After the death of his parents in 1840, he moved to Elgin, Illinois. He married Arethusa Gould in 1850.

In 1846, he founded The Select School or Elgin Academy, where he served as teacher and superintendent for approximately 21 years. He was elected as City Sexton in 1864, and was superintendent of the Bluff City Cemetery in Elgin, which he was responsible for establishing.

Over a period of 10 years, he was engaged in compiling genealogical materials regarding the Newcomb Family and published a book on this subject in 1873. To a lesser extent, he also collected information on the Bearss and Connabell Family and historical documents relating to the town of Elgin, Illinois.


3 Linear Feet (7 boxes)


Correspondence and personal material of John Bearss (also spelled Bearse) Newcomb, Elgin, Illinois schoolmaster and businessman. Also extensive genealogical records of the Newcomb Family, daybooks and miscellaneous legal and business items. Historical items relating to the town of Elgin, Illinois in the 19th century and some Civil War records.


Papers are organized in the following series:

Series 1: Newcomb Family Correspondence, 1737-1896
Box 1
Series 2: Newcomb Family Documents, 1820-1895
Box 2
Series 3: Newcomb Family Genealogy, 1861-1873
Boxes 3-4
Series 4: Elgin, Illinois Records, 1840-1896
Box 5
Series 5: Daybooks and Account Ledgers, 1837-1892
Box 6
Series 6: Related Family Genealogy and Civil War Documents, 1818-1872
Box 7

Collection Stack Location

1 26 5


Gift to the Newberry Library.

Processed by

Lisa Baldassari, 2000.

Inventory of the John Bearss Newcomb papers, 1737-1896, bulk 1837-1896
Lisa Baldassari
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the The Newberry Library - Modern Manuscripts and Archives Repository

60 West Walton Street
Chicago Illinois 60610 United States