James R. Newby
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His father was a slave who was freed because he was on a visit to Pennsylvania with his mistress at the time the Act of Emancipation for the Middle States was passed. He then became an abolitionist associate of Frederick Douglass, Gerrit Smith, and John Brown. He was sent to England by some Quakers to get an education and was ordained as a Baptist minister in England. He was a "Hyper-Calvinist", "Closed Communion Strict Baptist". He returned to America and preached among black people, and participated in the Underground Railroad. Later during the gold fever he was the first man to preach in San Francisco, where he raised a large congregation, and later likewise in Portland.
James R Newby
Newby grew up in New London (apparently the one in Connecticut) and went to Wilberforce School/Wilberforce Institution (and?) a boarding-school at "Oblin". He was sent to the navy to be a naval apprentice (first black naval apprentice) for fire-raising at age 11 and returned home to New London 3 years later and was involved in slave-running to Canada. He joined the infamous Mazeppa Club.
He went to sea again and was involved in the attempted rescue of Anthony Burns (1854). He sailed in the Marret attempt at circumnavigating the world in the smallest ship ever. He then went wild horse hunting in Mexico and joined Colonel John C. Frémont crossing the Rocky Mountains to California. He became a jig-dancer/sand-dancer and joined the original Christy's Minstrels (later Moore and Burgess of London). He went to India at the time of the Indian rebellion of 1857 (Indian Mutiny). He sailed on the SS Niagara when she laid the first transatlantic telegraph cable (1858) and then again on the Niagara to Japan.
He was with John Brown in the attack on Harpers Ferry and fought in the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry in 1863. He was on the USS Wateree, a US naval gunboat, which was carried onshore by a tidal wave after an earthquake - he states this to have been at Callao but it appears that this incident actually happened more than 600 miles further south at Arica after the ship had left Callao (compare Edward D. Taussig article).
He decided to tour Europe, and after visiting Greece (Olympic Games) and Germany (gambling at Baden-Baden), arrived in Edinburgh, Scotland, where he was converted through street evangelism of "Revivalists" Meek and Mitchell. He preached in the open air and churches in Edinburgh, studied at Henry Grattan Guinness' Harley House missionary training college in London and went to Nigeria and Cameroon as a missionary with the Anglicans, sailing with Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther on 20 July 1876. There he worked amongst Igbo people and visited mission stations at Fernando Po, Old Calabar, and Victoria (Limbe, Cameroon). After working in the Cameroons he arrived back in England 1879 after illness.
He married the eldest daughter of Sir Robert Tainsh (A. Tainsh, author of An Improved Manual of Universal History, from the Creation of the World to the end of the 18th century) and worked as missionary in Liberia, where his wife died. He returned to England through ill health.
He is mentioned in Africa in 1879 by Thomas Lewis Johnson: Twenty-Eight Years a Slave, or the Story of My Life in Three Continents, and as still living in 1884 - speaker at Christian Institute, Bothwell St, Glasgow.
- Newby, James R; McHardie, Elizabeth; Allan, Andrew: The Prodigal Continent and Her Prodigal Son and Missionary: Or the Adventures, Conversion, and African Labours of the Rev James R Newby; with Special Chapters on Africa and Its Condition by McHardie & Allan. London, Morgan and Scott, undated
- Autobiography of a fellow-missionary: