John Barry “Black Jack” Newman: Jewish Miner, Developer, and Farmer in the Arizona Territory

John Barry “Black Jack” Newman

John Barry "Blackjack" Newman, #WS1730

John Barry “Black Jack” Newman,

Values Codes I – L – P

John Barry “Black Jack” Newman was born in 1862, in Chorna, Austro-Hungarian Empire.

Newman arrived in the United States after 1876, likely in New York.


Along the Way

In Pennsylvania he worked as a tram boy, pushing coal carts in a coal mine.

In Michigan he worked in the copper mines.

In Texas he signed on with the Texas & Pacific Railroad working on the roadbed.

It was in Texas that he probably obtained the last name of “Newman.”


Arizona Territory

John Barry Newman arrived in Globe, Arizona in 1883.

He first worked in the Old Dominian Mine as a mucker.

Next he grubstaked a silver mine with a partner, who attacked him with a knife. Newman shot off his arm.

His nickname “Black Jack” probably came from his excellent luck in cards.


John Barry Newman had a “nose for ore.”

He parlayed the sale of mines and stakes into a real estate empire.

With these profits, he built hotels, apartment houses, and the Revello Building in Globe.

“Black Jack,” on being asked why he put up the 4-story brick Dominion hotel in the shantytown of Globe, AZ:

“Well, how you going to sell anything to these big mining investors unless you give ‘em somevere to stay and something to eat.  Ve neffer get dem into town unless ve treat ‘em right, aindt it?”

– Ralph Rollins, “Life Story of Black Jack Newman,” The Mining Journal, August 30, 1929

His Globe, Arizona companies included: The Inspiration Consolidated and Miami Copper Mines, and the Tippit Ranch.

“Unable to do any paperwork on his own, Newman operated through an attorney.  But with a suspicion born of illiteracy he hired two other attorneys to check up on the first.”

 — Ralph Rollins, “Highlights in History: Arizona Days and Ways,” The Arizona Republic, August 26, 1956


In 1907, the Miami Copper Mine paid off, defying investors’ expectations.

In 1910 the Newman family moved to Santa Monica, California to give his children a better education and environment.

John "Blackjack" Newman's Santa Monica Home, #WS1731

John “Black Jack” Newman’s Santa Monica Home, #WS1731

He ran the John B. Newman Company Real Estate and Commercial Building in Santa Monica.

He also had a walnut ranch in Visalia, California.



John Barry Newman served in Company “B” of the Arizona Territorial Regiment during the Mexican-American War.

The Salvation Army was his favorite charity.



Newman’s Jewish involvement is unknown. He brought over many relatives from Europe who then took on the “Newman” name.


John Barry Newman belonged to Masonic Lodge #307 F.&.A.M.



 In 1904 Newman married Jemima “Mima” Tune Woosley.

Together they had four children: Ollie Bell, Samuel, Ester Louise and Catherine Ruth.


John Barry “Black Jack” Newman passed away in Santa Monica in 1928.

He is buried in the Woodlawn Cemetery in Santa Monica.

“My father was crazy about farm land; he loved it.  In the period of WWI and after he owned more than 15,000 acres and farmed most of it himself.  He had cattle on the land and part of it he planted with fruit trees. . . .  He had a knack for picking out good land . . . with a good water supply.”

— Samuel Black, Santa Monica Evening Outlook April 9 and 11, 1928.



  • Norton B. Stern and William M. Kramer, “Arizona’s Mining Wizard: Black Jack Newman,” Western States Jewish Historical Quarterly 11/3.

Regina Merwin is curator of this John Berry “Black Jack” Newman exhibit.