Truman Handy Newberry

Truman Handy Newberry

Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, USA
Death 3 Oct 1945 (aged 80)
Grosse Pointe, Wayne County, Michigan, USA
Burial Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, USA
Plot Section W, Lot 2
Memorial ID 7253734 · View Source
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United States Senator, Secretary of the Navy. He is remembered for his many accomplishments serving the United States, but he is most remembered for the United States Supreme Court case, Newberry vs the United States. He was the son of United States Representative from Michigan, John S. Newberry and his second wife, Helen Handy, daughter of a well-known Cleveland financier and banker, Truman P. Handy. After graduating from Yale College in 1885, he was the manager of the Detroit, Bay City and Alpena Railway until 1887. He became the president and the treasurer of the Detroit Steel and Spring Company from 1887 to 1901. He helped to organized the Michigan State Naval Brigade in 1889. Advancing through the ranks, he was a commissioned lieutenant junior grade in the United States Navy by May 1898 serving on the U.S.S. Yosemite during the Spanish-American War. In 1902 he helped organize the Packard Motor Car Company. Under President Theodore Roosevelt, he served as the Assistant Secretary of the Navy from 1905 to 1908. Upon Secretary of the Navy Victor Metcalf becoming ill and resigning, he was appointed to that position on December 1, 1908 serving only three months until March 5, 1909. He became lieutenant commander of the United States Navy Fleet Reserve on June 6, 1917, and was the assistant to the commandant of the Third Naval District headquartered in New York City until January 9, 1919. He decided to run for the United Senate as a Republican in 1918. His main opponent was a Democrat,Henry Ford, the well-known automobile manufacturer. It was a hot contest between the two. It was reported that Newberry spent upwards of $100,000-worth of campaign funds. Even after Ford requested recounts, Newberry defeated Ford in the election. Using all his federal connections, Ford challenged Newberry with having election “irregularities” by overspending his campaign. This started an investigation by Congress and the United States Department of Justice. Newberry was eventually tried in 1921 and convicted of breaking the Federal Corrupt Practices Act, which established expenditure limits for congressional candidates. People were saying he purchased his senate seat. He appealed the conviction to the U. S. Supreme Court that arguing that the Federal Corrupt Practices Act was unconstitutional. He won his case in the Supreme Court and his conviction was over turned. The U.S. Senate declared Newberry was entitled to his seat but expressed disapproval of the sum of money spent on his campaign against Ford. A new movement then was started to unseat him, but Newberry resigned as he did not want his family to face more scandal. The Michigan governor appointed a replacement to the vacant senate seat, and Newberry returned to the private sector as a manufacturer. He served in the Senate from March 4, 1919 until his resignation on November 18, 1922. He never ran for public office again.

Bio by: Linda Davis

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 11 Mar 2003
  • Find A Grave Memorial 7253734
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Truman Handy Newberry (5 Nov 1864–3 Oct 1945), Find A Grave Memorial no. 7253734, citing Elmwood Cemetery, Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .