William A. Newell was born in Franklin, Ohio on September 5, 1817. His education was attained at Rutgers College, where he graduated in 1836, and at the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned a medical degree in 1839. After establishing his medical career in Allentown, New Jersey, Newell entered into politics. He served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, a position he held from 1847 to 1851. Newell next secured the Republican gubernatorial nomination, and was elected governor by a popular vote in 1856. During his tenure, Union County was formed; three new cities were chartered; city water systems were advanced; and the escalating question of slavery became a heated issue. After completing his term, Newell continued to stay politically active. He was a delegate to the 1864 Republican National Convention; and served again in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1865 to 1867. He also served as the territorial governor of Washington from 1880 to 1884; and was the U.S. Indian inspector from 1884 to 1885. Governor William A. Newell passed away on August 8, 1901, and was buried in the Presbyterian Cemetery in Allentown, New Jersey.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 3, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.
New Jersey State Library (pdf)