Francis G. Newlands

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Francis G. Newlands
Francis Newlands.jpg
United States Senator
from Nevada
In office
March 4, 1903 – December 24, 1917
Preceded by John P. Jones
Succeeded by Charles B. Henderson
Member of the
U.S. House of Representatives
from Nevada's At-Large district
In office
March 4, 1893 – March 4, 1903
Preceded by Horace F. Bartine
Succeeded by Clarence D. Van Duzer
Personal details
Born Francis Griffith Newlands
(1846-08-28)August 28, 1846
Natchez, Mississippi
Died December 24, 1917(1917-12-24) (aged 71)
Washington, D.C.
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Clara Adelaide Sharon
Residence Reno
Profession Attorney, Politician

Francis Griffith Newlands (August 28, 1846 – December 24, 1917) was a United States Representative and Senator from Nevada.[1]

Early life[edit]

Newlands was born in Natchez, Mississippi, on August 28, 1846.[2] He studied at Yale University and the Columbian College Law School (now the George Washington University Law School), and was admitted to the bar in 1869.

Career in the West[edit]

In 1870, Newlands moved to San Francisco, California, where he worked for William Sharon, the Bank of California executive who financed the early years of the Comstock Lode digs in Virginia City, Nevada. Newlands later married Sharon's daughter Clara Adelaide Sharon. She died in 1882, eight years after they married. In 1888, he moved to Nevada to serve Sharon's interests, and continued to practice law.

In the late 1880s, Newlands and his partners began to acquire farmland in northwestern Washington, D.C. and southern Montgomery County, Maryland, in order to develop a residential streetcar suburb for the nation's capital. (See Washington streetcars.) They founded the Chevy Chase Land Company in 1890; its eventual holdings are now known as Chevy Chase, Washington, D.C., and Chevy Chase, Maryland.

Representative[edit]

He served as a Democratic Representative for Nevada between 1893 and 1903. During his service, he wrote the Newlands Resolution, an act to annex the Republic of Hawai'i and create the Territory of Hawai'i. It was approved on July 4, 1898, and signed by President William McKinley. Newlands became known for his support of irrigation, land reclamation, and free silver. He temporarily sat in the House as a member of the Silver Party. Newlands is most famous for the 1902 Newlands Reclamation Act, which funded irrigation projects throughout much of the American West.

Senator[edit]

He became a U.S. senator representing Nevada in 1903. He was a member of the Senate subcommittee that investigated the 1912 sinking of RMS Titanic.[3] In 1916, he was the only Democratic senator to vote against the nomination of Louis Brandeis to the U.S. Supreme Court.[4] He served until his death in Washington, D.C., on December 24, 1917.

Legacy[edit]

Newlands was an "avowed racist"[5] who in 1912 mounted his presidential campaign on a platform that called for a constitutional amendment to disenfranchise black men and limit immigration to whites only. Like many suburban towns in the United States during the first half of the 20th century, Chevy Chase — the suburb that he co-founded — excluded people based on race and religion.

The Francis Griffith Newlands Memorial Fountain is named for him.

Newlands's former mansion in Reno is one of six properties in Nevada designated as a National Historic Landmark.[6] Many notable people, including Barbara Hutton in 1935, stayed at the house while waiting for their divorce paperwork to be finalized by George Thatcher, a local divorce lawyer who purchased the home in 1920.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ NPS: Newlands
  2. ^ Frank G. Newlands' Birth
  3. ^ Titanic Inquiry Project
  4. ^ Confirm Brandeis by Vote of 47 to 22, The New York Times, June 2, 1916
  5. ^ ^ a b Fisher, Marc. "Chevy Chase, 1916: For Everyman, a New Lot in Life," Washington Post, February 15, 1999
  6. ^ "Senator Francis G. Newlands House". U.S. National Park Service. Retrieved 3 August 2011. 

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Horace F. Bartine
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Nevada's at-large congressional district

1893–1903
Succeeded by
Clarence D. Van Duzer
United States Senate
Preceded by
John P. Jones
U.S. Senator (Class 3) from Nevada
1903–1917
Served alongside: William M. Stewart, George S. Nixon, William A. Massey, Key Pittman
Succeeded by
Charles B. Henderson
Political offices
Preceded by
Moses E. Clapp
Minnesota
Chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Interstate Commerce
1913–1917
Succeeded by
Ellison D. Smith
South Carolina