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Area woman no newcomer to family farmstead

September 13, 2010|By JANET HEIM
  • Ruann Newcomer George is the fifth generation from the Newcomer family to live on the family farm, Newcomer Farmstead, one of the first farms in the state to be honored as a Maryland Century Farm.
By Yvette May/Staff Photographer,

BENEVOLA -- History runs deep in Ruann Newcomer George's blood. She is a walking historian of the Benevola area, in part because of her personal connection.

It was that connection that brought her back to Washington County in 1988, after she lived in Loudoun County, Va., for 21 years.

"I came home at the right time and retired at the right time," said Newcomer George, 64, the only child of Richard and Kathleen Newcomer.

She said the timing allowed her to spend time with her father, who died five years ago at age 90. Her 94-year-old mother still lives in the family homestead.

"Lots of people recently I've talked to have returned home. It is a wonderful feeling," said Newcomer George, the seventh generation of the Newcomer family to live in Washington County, and, with Jack, her husband of 37 years, the fifth generation to live on the family farm, Newcomer Farmstead.

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The 135-acre farm near the intersection of Alternate U.S. 40 and Benevola Newcomer Road in 1994 became one of the first farms in the state to be honored as a Maryland Century Farm, she said. The formal recognition that the family had owned the farm for at least 100 years took place in Annapolis with a presentation by former Gov. William Donald Schaefer.

David H. Newcomer, who also was a Maryland state senator, began farming the land in 1866, Newcomer George said. Her research shows that Benevola means "we wish you well" and that the area where she lives is known as Newcomers.

Her passion for history is also evident in her involvement with Daughters of the American Revolution. In her second year as the Maryland State regent, she oversees 47 state chapters, with about 2,800 members.

She also has served as state historian and state vice regent for Maryland.

She said the mission of DAR is historic preservation, education, patriotism and scholarships. One of her goals is to ensure that the local chapters have a voice and the ideas of the members are heard.

Her connection began when she was selected as the DAR Good Citizen for Boonsboro High School during her senior year in 1963. She received an award from the Sons of the American Revolution, as well, at graduation.

Newcomer George said she planned to be a nurse, but after the high school band director asked her to play bass clarinet, her love for band flourished and she changed her mind.

After earning a bachelor's degree in music education in 1967 from Shenandoah University in Winchester, Va., she began a 33-year career as a middle school music teacher in Leesburg, Va. She earned her master's degree in the same field while working as a teacher.

She also served as organist/choir director for Leesburg United Methodist Church and holds that same position at her home parish, Benevola United Methodist Church.

Although she was living in Virginia, she became a charter member when the DAR Antietam Chapter was founded in Washington County in 1970.

She has served as a chief judge for Boonsboro for the Washington County Board of Elections and as chairperson of her church's cemetery.

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