Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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NEWTON, Isaac, commissioner of agriculture, born in Burlington county, New Jersey, 31 March, 1800; died in Washington, D. C., 19 June, 1867. He received a common-school education, and after his marriage settled on a farm in Delaware county, Pennsylvania Here he soon became known for the neatness, order, and productiveness of his land, and he eventually ranked among the model farmers of his state. He early became a member of its agricultural association, was frequently sent as a delegate to the meetings of the United States agricultural society, and introduced into the former organization a resolution urging congress to establish a National department of agriculture. He also brought the plan to the attention successively of Presidents Harrison, Taylor, Filmore, Buchanan, and Lincoln, whose personal acquaintance he enjoyed. To the last named he was indebted for the final adoption of his scheme. When the agricultural bureau had been authorized by congress in 1862, Mr. Lincoln naturally offered the commissionership to Mr. Newton, to whose lot the organization of the department fell, and to whom its present efficiency is largely due. This office he held until his death.
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