Artemas G. Newman was born on April 7, 1840, near Bath in Clinton County, Michigan, the son of Philemon (b. 1815) and Mary E. (1816-1874).
His parents moved to Michigan, probably from New York where they were both born, sometime before 1839, settling in Clinton County. By 1850 they were living in Phelpstown, Ingham County where Artemas attended school with his younger sister Corrina, but eventually moved on to Williamston, Ingham County while Artemas was still a young boy. By 1860 Artemas was working as a farm hand and living with his family in Williamston where his father owned a substantial farm.
Artemas stood 6’1” with blue eyes, dark hair and a light complexion and was 22 years old and probably still living in Ingham County when he enlisted as Fifth Corporal in Company G on May 10, 1861 -- he may have been related to Moses Newman who would enlist in Company G in 1864. (Company G, formerly the “Williams’ Rifles,” was made up predominantly of men from the Lansing area.)
Artemas was apparently a good friend of Charles Church, also of Company G and also from Williamston, and who frequently mentioned “Art” in his letters home.
Sometime in early August of 1861, according to Charles Church, Artemas was taken sick, but by August 24 Church wrote home that “Artemas is on the gain.” Yet, just barely two weeks later, on September 6 Charles wrote home that Art had “gone to Annapolis hospital, Maryland to recruit [recuperate] where all the soldiers go to get their health.” Indeed, the day before, Frank Siverd, also of Company G, wrote that Newman was at the convalescent hospital in Annapolis. In any event Art soon returned to the Regiment, and on September 19 Church wrote that “Artemas was returned to camp from Annapolis. He is getting quite smart.” And on November 26, Church noted that “Art is well and weighs over one hundred eighty pounds.”
By mid-fall the Third Michigan was encamped at Fort Lyon, Virginia, not far from Alexandria, and in late October Artemas and Charles were given a pass to go into Alexandria. “We have a good time generally,” Charles wrote home on October 27, “Art [Newman] & myself went to Alexandria last week. I think we enjoyed ourselves full as well as we ever did at Williamston.”
During the winter of 1861-62, the Third Michigan took up winter quarters at “Camp Michigan” near Alexandria, Virginia, and in a February letter to the Republican, Frank Siverd described the winter quarters of the non-commissioned officers of Company G, among whom were Charles Church and Art Newman, the “proprietors” of hut no. 6, the “‘Lansing House’.” “This,” wrote Siverd, “is an independent joint stock company, and the Lansing House of Camp Michigan is probably not much unlike the original Lansing House where Jipson finely entertained travelers in the woods bordering Grand River. It is built of logs eighteen by twenty feet -- was first covered with a dirt roof, but the sacred soil has such a propensity to become mortar that the roof only seemed to prolong the storm. It usually rained inside the house for three days after it quit outside, which induced them to put on a roof of hewn logs. The occupants of the Lansing House have an advantage over the rest of the company, as the officer of the day cannot see when the lights are extinguished, hence they retire when they please. They evidently live to eat in this institution. Go there when you will, night or day and you will find some person cooking and others eating.”
And two days after the Third Michigan broke camp and left their winter quarters, on March 19, 1862, Charles Church wrote home and scolded his sister for not writing more often. He pointed out to her that Art’s sister was an example to be followed. “Dear Sister, I should think you could write if Harriet Newman can. She writes to Art.”
In early March of 1862 the Army of the Potomac, under the command of General George B. McClellan, began moving toward the Virginia “peninsula,” in order to strike at Richmond. On March 17 the men of the Third Michigan were put aboard transports and sent to Fortress Monroe, Virginia, near Newport News and Norfolk. Charles Church wrote home on March 23 from the regiment’s camp near the fort that “Peach trees are in blossom here now. Oyster & clams are in abundance. Art & myself stroll along the shore and gather the oysters & have some great feasts.” By early summer of 1862 Artemas was reported as a Sergeant.
On August 29, 1862, at Second Bull Run, Artemas was shot in the right arm, resulting in the loss of the arm. Two days later Charles wrote home that “Art is tough and well.” Church wrote on September 4 that “Artemas lost his right arm in the last engagement and is now in the hospital,” and on September 19 that “Art is in Georgetown DC in the English Church Hospital.” As of early October he was in Presbyterian hospital in Georgetown, DC, and was still in Georgetown in late November. Artemas remained hospitalized until he was discharged for disability on December 3, 1862 at Newark, New Jersey.
Artemas listed Williamston as his mailing address on his discharge paper, and following his return home he probably entered into some mercantile enterprise.
Shortly after Newman was discharged from the army as a result of disability, Church wrote home on February 1, 1863, complaining that “Art wrote [Charles] Price of our company and I do not see why he has not written to me but still I send my best respects to him as a soldier.” Charles Church of Company G wrote on March 30, 1863, that he was “glad to hear that Artemas is going to try his luck at selling articles. Success to a wounded soldier and a liberal patronage.”
Shortly after the war, sometime in early 1866, numerous residents of Williamston wrote the Pension Bureau informing the commissioners that Artemas had “shown himself disloyal to his governmen by publicly expressing himself in favor of the so-called Southern Confederacy & sympathetic with the late rebellion. . . .” It is unknown what if any response Artemas made to these rather serious accusations.
He married New York native Jane A. (b. 1844), and they had at least three children: Jennie (b. 1864), Josephine B. (d. 1876) and Hobart W. (d. 1872).
By 1870 he was working as a farmer (his two brothers also lived near by) and living with his wife and daughter in Williamston. He was still living in Williamston in 1880 with his wife and two daughters, and in 1883 when he was drawing $24.00 per month in 1883 for loss of his right arm (pension no. 79,283, dated May of 1867). By 1890 and 1894 he was residing in Dewitt, Clinton County (Moses Newman was living in Dewitt in 1884).
Artemas lived in Ingham County for many years. Art may have been a member of the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association. he was a member of Grand Army of the Republic George W. Anderson Post No. 58 in Dewitt and in April of 1900 he joined the Grand Army of the Republic Charles Foster Post No. 42 in Lansing, and was suspended in December of 1904. He was dropped from the post in November of the following year.
After having been confined to his bed for some three months, Artemas died of “stomach trouble” on February 28, 1908, in Lansing and was buried in Summit cemetery, Williamston.