NEWTON COUNTY NAMED FOR SGT. JOHN NEWTON, REVOLUTIONARY HERO
Newton County was named for Sgt. John Newton, one of two American soldiers whose courageous action in a daring rescue of prisoners, marked them as heroes.
John Newton was born in the city of Charleston, S.C., Jan. 16, 1755. He was in the army from early in the Revolutionary War until his death.
Disguised as deserters, he and his friend, Sgt. William Jasper, were accepted as such in the British Camp near Ebenezer, between Augusta and Savannah. They observed American prisoners in irons, en route to Savannah for trial, and with them a Mrs. Jones and her little child, whos husband was among the prisoners. Her grief over the gloomy prospect of her husband’s execution led Newton and Jasper to resolve to rescue the prisoners.
As the party of eight British soldiers departed for Savannah with the prisoners, Jasper and newton, unarmed followed silently through the woods. Arriving at a spring ahead of the party, and when the guards stacked their guns to get water, they seized guns, shot two of the guards, captured the British soldiers, and freed the Americans.
Newton and Jasper then led their liberated friends and captive British soldiers across the Savannah River, to an American Camp in South Carolina.
In the capture of Charleston in 1780, Newton was taken prisoner, and soon afterward died of smallpox.