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Newport's News. Nomen non Locus.

By Chas. Harris.

Philadelphia, Pa., September 15, 1882.
Rev. J. Wm. Jones, Secretary Southern Historical Society:
Dear Sir — I have noticed for the past two years or more that the promontory at the mouth of James river, on its eastern side, is spelled in some Virginia newspapers as Newport News, and in others as Newport's News; and I saw, a week or two ago, in a recent number of the Norfolk “Notes, Queries and Answers,” a brief communication from a distinguished citizen of Richmond, Va., saying that the surnames of Captain Christopher Newport and Captain Thomas Newce “are said to have furnished the component one of Newport Newce, now corrupted into Newport News.”

As Captain Newport left the colony of Virginia in the autumn of 1611, never to return, and as Captain Thomas Newce first arrived in the colony after April 18th, 1620,1 on which date he, (being “now present” in London, as the record of the Virginia Company of London states,) was appointed, by a resolution of the Company, to be a “Deputy,” to “take charge of the Company's Lands and Tenants in Virginia whatsoever,” it is, I think, highly improbable that the name (even supposing it to have been originally Newport-Newce) was given to the promontory in honor of, and to commemorate the joint surnames of Captain Newport and Captain Thomas Nuce or Newce.

The distinguished citizen, above alluded to, is not the first person who has entertained the theory that the name was originally Newport-Newce, although he is, as far as I have learned, the first one who has connected the name of the deputy Thomas Nuce with it. That eminent citizen of Virginia, the late Hugh Blair Grigsby, in a letter dated April 14th, 1867, to Mr. Charles Deane, Recording Secretary of the Massachusetts Historical Society, wrote a labored argument to show that the name was originally Newport-Newce, and should for all time

1 Neill, in his “History of the Virginia Company of London,” says, “Thomas Nuce settled at Elizabeth City, (now Hampton), but soon died.” An entry on the record of the Virginia Company of London, dated August 6th, 1623, mentions the receipt of a letter from Virginia, by a member of the Company, written by “the wife of deputy Nuce, deceased in Virginia.” Thomas Nuce had been appointed deputy by the Company.

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