Two Newhall brothers arrived at Lynn, MA from England in 1630. The next 7 generations stayed in Lynn, MA until Henry’s father Jonathan met and married Henry’s mother Hannah Oatman in Saugus, MA. That is where they settled and where Henry was born. Henry was the first of his family to leave for bigger and better things.
On May 13, 1825, Henry Mayo Newhall was born in Saugus, MA. Henry was the 5th of 9 children of his family. The family made shoes in the winter and farmed in the summer. Henry was the first in 7 generations to set off for distant lands in search of adventure and something new.
He started traveling at the age of 13. Signed on to work as a cabin boy on a ship in Boston that was headed to the Philippines. It may possibly have been his grandfather’s ship but that is only speculation. The trip from Boston to the Philippines was almost 17,000 miles ONE WAY. I can’t even imagine that for a 13 year old boy. That definitely says something for Henry’s spirit for sure!
While sailing, Henry broke both legs after falling from a high mast but was able to convince the Captain to keep him on until they got back to Boston. He went back home to Saugus, MA to heal. Enough of the sea for him.
In the spring of 1840 Henry left home again in search of work away from his family. He ended up working as a chain holder for a survey company in New York. They were laying the route for a train from New York to Philadelphia.
When the surveyor line reached Philadelphia, he got a job at an auction house Myers, Claghorn and CO. as a clerk. His tenacity, hard work and cheerful disposition eventually landed him a job as an auctioneer.
While working at Myers, Claghorn and Co., Henry had an offer from the owner of an auction house in Mobile, AL with an opportunity to invest and become a partner if he would move south to Tennessee, which he gladly accepted. Eventually, the partnership he had been promised, was awarded to the son of the owner.
Disappointed and angry at being cheated out of the partnership by the owner, he moved to Pulaski, GA and opened Newhall and Baker, Auctioneers. By this time Henry had 10 years in the Auction business and was a master Auctioneer. He later moved the firm to Nashville, TN. Newhall and Baker also worked as a pawn shop and merchant bankers
While in Tennessee, Henry traveled to Clarksville in search of auction merchandise. While there he met and eventually married Sarah Ann White on October 15, 1849.
The White family was fairly new to America, having recently immigrated from Ireland. William White, Sarah Ann’s father, was the first of his line to be born in America. He was born in 1800 in New Jersey. In 1831, the White family moved to Clarksville, TN.
The California Gold started. Having only been married for a few weeks, Henry, wanting to be part of the gold rush, sold his part of Newhall and Baker Auctioneers to his partner for $8,000 to raise capital to go to California.
He said goodbye to his bride and went off with a group of men that pooled their funds to travel to San Francisco to participate in the gold rush.
The quickest way to California from Tennessee was via Panama. In late 1849, the group of friends boarded a ship called “Panama” at New Orleans, then crossed the Isthmus by canoe and made it up the Chagres River. They then went by mule back to Panama City.
Henry had fallen ill and was unable to continue to travel. When their names were called to go on the ship to San Francisco, his friends unfortunately went on without him, but he understood. It was not until June 17, 1850 that he was finally able to travel and boarded Pacific Mail Steamship Company steamer ship named “PANAMA” and made it to San Francisco on July 6, 1850.
He then bought a ticket to get down to Stockton to work in the Douglas Flat area. A few months later cold and broke he returned to Stockton where he auctioned off his clothes to make enough money to return to San Francisco in order to get a ticket back home to TN. He made $300 for his clothes. He paid $16 for his ticket back to San Francisco.
After purchasing his ticket to SF, he noticed four boxes of assorted dry goods had split open and were laying aside. He bought the boxes and took them with him to San Francisco. He met with John Collins, Auctioneer and asked to borrow his auction block to sell his goods from the broken boxes in exchange for a 25% cut.
Henry made a handsome profit and he went to buy a steamship ticket to the east coast for $125 to go home to his bride. While waiting for his ship to sail he wanted to work temporarily and approached Almer Hall of Hall and Martin Company, Auctioneers. Mr. Hall ended up offering him a job as an auctioneer for $300 a month. From there on forward the company advertised “Hall and Martin, H.M. Newhall, Auctioneer”.
Henry live in San Francisco for the rest of his life.