After Many Years--A Citizen of Fort Worth Returns After Fourteen Years Absence
Mr. John F. Newcomer, whose strange disappearance from Fort Worth fourteen years ago excited much comment has returned and is once more with family and friends. In 1879, he resided here with his wife, 2 daughters and a son, who is now dead. Since his disappearance his daughters have married and are now the wives of Mat Bogart, a well known Texas and Pacific conductor and L. S. Leversedge of Houston. Mr. Newcomer is now 63 years of age and a splendid type of physical manhood. His hair and beard are white and the deep lines in his kindly rugged face show too plainly his hard experiences during the latter years of his life. His story is full of interest and will bear repeating.
Fourteen years ago he was connected with one of the leading business houses of Fort Worth and enjoyed the confidence and the esteem of all. His salary was good, but hardly adequate for the demands upon him, and hence, he was to some extent involved. This fact, among others, led him to take that strange step that caused so much anxiety to his devoted wife, children and friends. In speaking of his leaving and subsequent movements, he says:
“Aside from the fact of the smallness of my income compared with the demands upon me and my unfaltering devotion to a wayward son, my domestic relations were all that one could wish. The ancestry of myself and wife traces back to many of the best families of Virginia, many of whom were identified with the early history of that state. On leaving home in 1879, I went to Gainesville, Texas, and remained about a year. From there I went to New Mexico, and in 1884 I landed in Stockton, California, footsore, penniless, weary and heartsick. For four years I labored hard and unremittingly in the mining regions of the Sierra Nevada and without making more than a bare sustenance. In 1888 I found my present claim, which is a valuable one and pays me well. I expect soon to return to the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas, in California, and devote another year to working my properties prior to taking up residence once more in the bosom of my family. When I left I intended soon to let them hear from me, but luck was against me, and day after day passed without me making and money, and finally, I concluded never again to write or see them unless prosperity came. In these long years, I have often been crazed by the absence of tidings from my loved ones, and the very fear that all was not well with them often maddened me. At last, I began to make money, and in July, I wrote to the post office here giving the names of my family and enclosed a letter to be given to them, if living. That letter was placed in the hands of my dear old wife, who never ceased to love me in all the years and has remained ever constant and true, praying nightly to God to watch over and care for her poor husband and keep him from harm's way, if alive, and if not at the close of her life to take her to me and reunite us in another and a happier world. That letter was her first tidings of me since my disappearance, and while she had thought me dead, she still loved me and wrote me a letter full of tenderness, begging me to come. When I got that letter, I laughed and cried and shouted for very joy. I made the old gulches ring with gladsome songs of praise, and it seemed to me that snow-clad sun kissed peaks towering skyward took up the glad refrain and wafted it to heaven. I then set to work rearranging my business to eat Christmas dinner here, and so I did. My daughters are happily married, but my poor son, Robert is gone. I know nothing of the circumstances attending his death, and I don't care to, for I want to try and obliterate the past and only look to the future. My mining property is in a bed of what once was a river, which has long ago been filled by volcanic eruptions to a considerable depth. I can now truly say that I am fixed to spend my last days on earth in peace and quiet, and I hope by devoting myself to my family to atone in some measure for the great wrong I feel that I have done them. My wife wants to go back to California with me, but my property is eighty miles north of Stockton, in one of the wildest and most desolate of regions, and where no one could think of taking his wife. This time next year, however, I will be back to stay for good, and then begin to spend the rest of my days in peace and quiet. Our Christmas was a happy one. As I looked about me and saw the sweet smiling face and love lit eyes of my faithful and devoted wife, my dear daughters and their husbands, happily wedded, and my little grandchildren playing about my knee, a feeling of peace and comfort I had not experienced in many a long and weary year possessed me, and deep down in my heart, I gave thanks to the God who had long protected the widow and the orphans and safely guided through the mountain and plain the footsteps of the weary wanderer to his home again; and when I thought of the vacant chair about the fireside, I realized that the same being that who had so mercifully dealt with me in all these years had taken its former occupant to his own bosom and all was well with him."
Wife: Elizabeth died in 1/3/1918--Fort Worth, TX--See 1/4/1908-Fort Worth Star Telegram--See TX Death Certificate lists parents as Thomas Freeman & Mary A. Todd--(Some family files on Rootsweb WC give mother's name as Margaret Todd)
Son, Robert Newcomer, a brakeman on the Texas and Pacific Railroad, was killed when a train ran over him--6/1/1887-Fort Worth, TX-See Dallas Morning News
Daughter Elizabeth (Bettie) Newcomer married Lionel S. Leversedge--Died 10/9/1906-Fort Worth, TX--See 10/10/1906 Dallas Morning News
Daughter: Emma Florence Newcomer married Matthew Samuel Bogert--Born Wellsville, MO--Died 2/28/1937--Fort Worth, Tarrant Co, TX--See TX Death Certificate
It's possibly the same family in post--1860 Montgomery Co, MO Wellsvile Census lists Jno Newcomer as brick mason:
Jno Newcomer 28 VA brick mason
Elizabeth Newcomer 26 MO
Mary E Newcomer 6 MO
Robt G Newcomer 5 MO
Emma F Newcomer 3 MO
1/25/1865--John T. Newcomer,deserter, resident of Mongomery Co, MO, Co D 4th Regiment MO Cav-Amnesty Oath, Charleston, West VA--age 34--height 5' 8"--complexion fair, eyes gray, hair light, occupation bricklayer