Gen. Albert L. New, one of Greenfield's best-known and most influential citizens, a prominent capitalist and miller of that city; a former Greenfield merchant, who later became connected with the United States government service and for years was actively identified with the work of the department of the interior in the West, later becoming connected with the general land office of the Union Pacific Railroad and still later with the work of installing wireless telegraph equipments on the vessels engaged in the revenue service in Pacific waters, is a native son of Hancock county, a circumstance to which he ever points with pride. He was born on a farm not far from Greenfield, in Blue River township, this county, November 21, 1857, son of William and Margaret (Sample) New, the former a native of Indian and the latter of Virginia, both now deceased.
William New was one of Hancock county's early school teachers, later becoming a farmer in Blue River township. Upon retiring from the farm he moved to Greenfield, where he opened a general merchandise store on South State Street, later moving to the building now occupied by the Capital State Bank, where he remained in business for some years, at the end of which time he sold his store and engaged in the flouring-milling business. He also operated a coal yard and grain elevators and was very active in the business life of his home town. He was a Democrat and took an energetic part in local politics, but the only office to which he ever aspires was that of county commissioner and her served in that capacity for several terms, during which time he rendered admirable service in behalf of the public. He was commissioner at he time of the construction of the new county jail and when the county infirmary was constructed. He was a Mason and was ever active in the affairs of that organization. To William New and wife twelve children were born, of whom the subject of this biographical sketch is the sixth in order of birth and all of whom grew to maturity, the New family thus being largely represented throughout this county
General Albert L. New is a man of varied accomplishments and has led a singulary active life. He received his early education in the district schools in Blue River township and when fourteen years old entered his father's store at Greenfield, remaining thus connected for about thirty years. He then was appointed registrar of the United States land office at Evanston, Wyoming, and was located at that place for five years and six months, at the end of which time he transferred his services to the land department of the Union Pacific Railroad and for two years wa engaged in checking up land grants for that company. The territorial governor of Wyoming then appointed him as a special agent to go to Washington to create a proper interest in Congress in behalf of Wyoming's claims to statehood and when these claims finally were recognized and Wyoming was admitted to the general sisterhood of states, General New's admiring friends in the new state unanimously tendered him the nomination for a seat in Congress.. General New however, felt that his field of greater usefulness lay in another direction and he respectfully declined the high honor. In 1892 he conducted the campaign and was chairman of the Democratic state central committee of Wyoming and on the assembling of the Legislature was the Democratic nominee for the United States Senate. For some time thereafter General New further served the government as a collector of internal revenue and when wireless telegraphy was proclaimed as an assured fact he took up that new department of the government's work and in that capacity installed the first wireless-telegraph station erected in the United States, that historic station between Catalina Island and the mainland in California. For six years thereafter General New was engaged in that interesting department of naval equipment and during that time equipped nearly all the revenue cutters with wireless outfits. Upon returning to his old home in Greenfield, General new purchased the interests of the other heirs in the mill, coal yards and elevators established by his father and has since owned the same, his two sons being practical managers of the extensive interests thus represented. General New is a Democrat, but has never been a candidate for local public office.
On December 19, 1878, Gen. Albert H. New was united in marriage to Maud E. Hammell, who was born in Greenfield, and to this union two sons have been born, Frank H. and Fred W., who are actively engaged in pushing their father's varied business interests in and about Greenfield. The News have a handsome home on Grant Street, pronounced by many discriminating judges to be the finest house in Greenfield, and are very pleasantly situated. General and Mrs. New are members of the Methodist Episcopal church and the General was one of the office bearers in the church. He is a thirty-second-degree Mason; a charter member of Albert Pike Commandery No. 4, Knights Templar, at Evanston, Wyoming; a member of the Indianapolis Consistory, Ancient Accepted Scottish Rite, and a member of Murat Temple, Ancient Arabic Order of Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, at Indianapolis.
Transcribed from History of Hancock County, Indiana, Its People, Industries and Institutions by George J. Richman, B. L., Federal Publishing Co., Indianapolis, Indiana, 1916. ages 843-45.
Submitted by Sylvia (Rose) Duda, Laingsburg, MI September 12, 2001.
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