Francis G. Newlands

Francis G. Newlands bigraphy, stories - American politician

Francis G. Newlands : biography

August 28, 1846 – December 24, 1917

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


Newlands was an "avowed racist"^ a b Fisher, Marc. "Chevy Chase, 1916: For Everyman, a New Lot in Life," Washington Post, February 15, 1999 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 individuals 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. Many notable people, including Barbara Hutton in 1935, stayed at the house while awaiting their divorce paperwork to be finalized by George Thatcher, a local divorce lawyer who purchased the home in 1920.


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 well known for his support of irrigation, land reclamation, and free silver. Newlands is most famous for the 1902 Newlands Reclamation Act, which funded irrigation projects throughout much of the American West.

Early life

Newlands was born in New York City, New York, on February 26, 1846. 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

Newlands moved to San Francisco, California in 1870 and came to work for William Sharon, the Bank of California executive who financed the early years of the Comstock Lode 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 the aggressive acquisition of farmland in northwestern Washington, D.C. and southern Montgomery County, Maryland, for the purpose of developing a residential streetcar suburb for Washington, D.C.. (See Washington streetcars.) They founded the Chevy Chase Land Company in 1890, and its eventual holdings are now known as Chevy Chase, Washington, D.C. and Chevy Chase, Maryland.


He became a Senator for Nevada in 1903 and served until his death in Washington, D.C., on December 24, 1917. He was a member of the Senate subcommittee which investigated the 1912 sinking of , and in 1916 he was the only Democratic Senator to vote against the nomination of Louis Brandeis to the U.S. Supreme Court., The New York Times, June 2, 1916