There are a lot of parts of this post that lead to forks in the path. I have decided to keep to the topic as to the basics of who Mark Newbie was and why he is relevant to the town of Collingswood. There are linked resources throughout this piece with an asterisk * and text like "For More..." I hope you enjoy this information and will share your memories about the school in the comments.
Who was Mark Newbie?
Mark Newbie (or Newby), arrived in the area in 1681, opened the first bank in Camden County in 1682, and brought currency that was more familiar to the people in Western NJ, was considered a “guiding spirit”* for the young colony, his home was the house of worship for area Quakers*, and gave security to the area with a 300 acre tract of land in Newton Township.
Mark Newbie died in 1683, resulting in the bank he established to be closed soon after and the currency introduced by him ceased to be distributed by banks.*
His family had left England for Ireland to escape persecution as they were Quakers in 1648. Mark immigrated from Ireland in September of 1681 to Newton Township, NJ. This was shortly after his father’s death. He brought with him a large supply of currency from Ireland called by many names including St. Patrick coppers and the St. Patrick Halfpenny*.
He brought his family with him; Hannah, his assumed wife and mother of his children (as she was later the admin of his estate). There are four children on record, it is assumed that at least two had made the journey from Ireland. Their names were Rachel*, Stephen, Edward, and Elizabeth. More Personal Details Here. The name Newbie seems to disappear by Revolutionary times.*
Arriving In Good Company In NJ
“In 1681 a ship landed in what is now Salem, New Jersey. Among those aboard were Thomas Thackera, Mark Newbie, William Bates, George Goldsmith and Thomas Sharp, all names that would play major roles in the development of the area. The group was met by Robert Zane, another name which is most prominent in the genesis of Collingswood.” More on The Collingswood Borough website
Mark Newbie: The Banker, Colonist
The General Free Assembly of West New Jersey granted Newbie permission to use the coppers as legal tender equivalent to a halfpenny, in an effort to replace wampum and barters. To achieve this, Newbie had to put up surety (300 acres of land) which did a lot to provide for the establishment of Collingswood. He also would exchange the coppers for “pay equivalent” on demand, and another rule was that someone would not be required to accept more than five shillings worth of coppers at one time.
Newbie also took a prominent part in politics and filled several positions of trust and responsibility including West Jersey Council in 1682* and was also a member of the Governor’s Council*. He was also one of the commissioners for the division of land in the province and one of the committee of ways and means to raise money for the use of the government. *
During this short time, the coins filled an important need for a common currency in local commerce as wampum and barter were most common. They remained in circulation between businesses and residents throughout the colonial period even though the bank had closed. Some had even remained in unofficial circulation into the early 19th century.
Books about Mark Newbie, usually spelled as Mark Newby, are extremely rare and valuable, as are the St. Patrick coppers that he brought with him from Ireland. He is remembered as New Jersey’s First Banker.
Mark Newbie Elementary School was constructed in 1924 and currently houses grades K-5.*
What are your memories about Mark Newbie Elementary?
If you are interested in learning more about the history of banking in Camden County, I found this resource to be very interesting: New Jersey Roots
There are also some details about him in the Proceedings of the American Numismatic Society. Here’s a link to a digitized version
If you are interested in more about Collingswood’s early days, there is a digitized version of The History of Camden County, New Jersey (Prowell, 1886) is available here: Click Here For The Google Book
Geneology Information Sourced Here: WikiTree
If you’re wondering about the introduction of alternative currency, There’s More Info About Early American Currency Here.