The Journal Register (Medina, NY)

Local News

December 13, 2013

County clerk Newell, 1846-1933

Medina Journal-Register — George A. Newell of Medina was born in the year 1846. In 1868 he graduated from Yale and was admitted to the Bar the following year. He became a member of the Orleans County Bar Association in 1877 but never set himself up in the practice of law. His livelihood, however, was in banking. He was first cashier of the Union Bank of Medina and for many years until 1931 was president of the bank.

He was first elected county clerk on the Republican ticket in 1877 and was twice re-elected to the position through 1885. This means he not only served as county clerk in the present building but also its predecessor. It is interesting to note that Mr. Newell was also elected our county treasurer in 1894 and served in that position for 12 years or through 1905.

As a civic spirited person, he served as clerk of the Village Board of Trustees in Medina for five years as well as treasurer for a number of years. He was also treasurer for the Medina Board of Education, and a commissioner and secretary for Boxwood Cemetery, where he is buried. He was a member and officer of the Medina Masonic Lodge No. 336. 

Impressive as all this may seem, his accomplishments in the Masonic Fraternity are unequalled for Mr. Newell was a 33rd-degree mason, the highest honor attainable in that Order, an honor only bestowed on a select few. The offices he held in the Masonic Lodge were numerous and included being grand master of the Masonic Lodge of New York State and general grand master of the General Grand Council of the United States, elected in 1918. For many years he was grand treasurer of the Grand Council for this State as well as treasurer and Grand Commander of the Knights Templar of the State. He was acting grand secretary to the Grand Master at the cornerstone laying for the Pullman Memorial Church in Albion in 1894.

Mr. Newell died in 1933 leaving his wife the former Anna McGrath and several children.

C.W. Lattin is the Orleans county historian. Bethinking of Olde Orleans appears every Friday in The Journal-Register.

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