Mary Jordan Newton
Born in Northampton County, North Carolina, Mary Jordan Newton (1804-1893) was the daughter of Revolutionary War soldier John Jordan, making her a Real Daughter of the American Revolution. She married businessman and industrialist John Hamlin Newton in 1827. The couple settled in Athens in 1837. The mother of two Confederate soldiers, one of whom died in the Civil War, Mary participated in the Athens Ladies Aid Society’s efforts to supply the needs of men serving in the army.
Born in Northampton County, North Carolina on July 2, 1804, Mary Jordan was the daughter of John Jordan, a veteran of the American Revolutionary War. This Real Daughter of the American Revolution married John Hamlin Newton, a shrewd and respected businessman, in 1827. The couple moved to Athens in 1837 after residing in both Washington and Jefferson counties. John Newton earned a fortune as an entrepreneur. His business interests included vast landholdings across the South, which prompted the Athens Banner-Watchman to describe him as “perhaps the largest landowner in Georgia.” In addition to his land acquisitions, he worked as a merchant, owned a profitable bobbin mill, and sat on the Board of Directors of the Southern Mutual Insurance Company for nearly thirty years. He served as a trustee of the Lucy Cobb Institute from its founding until his death in 1889. Like most nineteenth century women, Mary devoted her primary attentions to supervising a large household that included several slaves and supervising her children’s behavior and education. With the outbreak of the Civil War, Mary watched as two of her sons enlisted in the Confederate Army. George, the younger of the two died of disease in 1863. Edwin, the eldest, served as a surgeon in the Army of Northern Virginia throughout its existence. Determined to contribute to the war effort and hoping to alleviate the needs and sufferings of young men like her own sons, Mary enlisted in the Athens Ladies Aid Society for the war’s duration. As a member of the society, she participated in sewing, knitting and making garments along with innumerable things useful to their soldiers. The Athens Banner at one point credited the women with producing 301 coats, 297 pairs of trousers, 734 shirts, 624 pairs of drawers, and 348 pairs of socks. Mary died on February 22, 1893. Beloved by the community, her friends and admirers – including every student at the Lucy Cobb Institute – filled the Methodist church for her funeral service.