Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sunday's Obituary: Leonidas Perry Newby 1945


     Leonidas Perry Newby, aged 90, prominent citizen of this city, for years identified with the legal profession of the county and throughout the Middle West and active in its commercial life until his retirement 25 years ago, passed away in Indianapolis Thursday, Oct. 25, after an illness of many months. He was known internationally in the fraternal world as former Grand Master of the Knights Templar of the United States.
     He was active in local banking circles, organizing the Citizens National bank of this city in 1888 and served as its president until he retired in recent years. In political faith he was a Republican, and served by appointment first, then election, as prosecutor, of the 18th judicial circuit, composed of Hancock and Henry counties. In 1892 he was elected to the Indiana Senate, and re-elected in 1896, serving with distinction.
     Known throughout his life time as Perry Newby to a host of friends, the deceased was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Jacob Newby whose family migrated from North Carolina to Henry county in 1837. Perry was born April 9, 1855, near Lewisville, Ind. In 1872, his family moved to Knightstown. In his youth and throughout his life time his first ambition seems to have been for knowledge. As a small boy he performed janitor's duties in the Greensboro schools, and assisted a neighboring blacksmith, in order that he might attend school, and also assist his father's family of six children, of which he was the youngest boy.
     At the age of 16 young Newby entered the Knightstown schools, and taught school during his high school years to earn expenses, attending school alternately. He was the first student to graduate from Knightstown high school, graduating with honors. He attended Asbury college for some months which is now DePauw university. He studied law in the firm of Butler and Swaim, later with J. Lee Furgason, in this city. He was admitted to the Henry bar in 1872, and after a brief partnership with Walter B. Swaim, in this city, he established his own legal offices. For a brief period he was part owner of a newspaper known as "The Knightstown Shield," but he sold his interest, continuing his active legal practice, and other commercial interests in this city and county. For 50 years he was local attorney for the Pennsylvania railroad.
     In September, 1877, he was united in marriage with Mary Elizabeth Breckenridge. Both Mr. and Mrs. Newby were active in the Methodist church throughout his lifetime. He is survived by his widow, and two children, Mrs. Florence N. Cooper, and Mr. Floyd Newby, of this city; also by two grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
     Funeral services were held at the Carlyle Butcher Funeral home in this city, Sunday afternoon, with the Grand Commandery, Knights Templar in charge, with commanderies of adjoining cities, assisting. Burial took place at Glen Cove cemetery.
     Leonidas Perry Newby was made a Master Mason in Golden Rule lodge No. 16, F. and A. M., of Knightstown, in 1882, starting a career of personal fraternal service and honors in Masonic bodies through the Chapter, Council and Commandery of the York Rite, in which he in turn held all presiding offices which culminated in his election as Grand Master of the Grand Commandery of the United States, Knights Templar, in 1922, and in which capacity he served through 1925. During these years he traveled extensively visiting all provinces within his jurisdiction, the United States, Alaska, Mexico, Puerto Rico, the Canal Zone, the Philippines, Hawaii, and Canadian provinces. In addition he toured all the North African states, western Asia and South America. He toured Europe many times.
     Mr. Newby received the honorary 33rd degree of Italy, in 1926, and the Legion of Honor of France and commission as a life officer therein, on March 30, 1926, from the President of France. He was made a commssioner to visit Europe to select the uses to which a $500,000 fund contributed by Knights Templar for European relief during World War No. 1 were to be put. On this trip he traveled with French and Belgian military escort and was at Metz when the armistice was signed.
     For many years he helped support the International Monte Mario Methodist college at Rome, and served as chairman of its board of trustees.

A second, small death notice...

National Road Traveler - November 1, 1945

Obituary of L. P. Newby
National Road Traveler
November 1, 1945
               L. P. Newby
     Leonidas Perry Newby, age 90, widely known Knightstown citizen and internationally known in the Masonic world as a former grand master of the Knights Templar of the United States, died Thursday in a nursing home in Marion county following a long illness.

Leonidas was my maternal great, great granduncle, son of Jacob and Levina (Leonard) Newby. An equally lengthy biography written about him and published in 1906 may be seen here: Amanuensis Monday: Biography of L. P. Newby



  1. wow -- now THAT's an obituary!

  2. LOL! It sure is Wendy! For this granduncle, with all his achievements under his belt, I am so glad that I am not a 2 finger typist!