William Taylor Newland, leading citizen and “Bishop of Huntington Beach,” as he was lovingly called, was a beloved pioneer of Orange County who here figured prominently in community affairs for a period covering a half-century. He was born near Camp Point Illinois, October 31, 1850, and died suddenly of a heart attack on his five hundred acre ranch at Huntington Beach on the 19th of May, 1933, when in his eighty-third year.
In November 1882, Mr. Newland came to California and settled in San Mateo County, where he farmed for one year. Subsequently, he came to the property known as the Newland Ranch at Huntington Beach. On beginning the cultivation of his land here he found that the willow roots broke all ordinary plows and had a special plow made for the work. He dug up an interesting collection of Indian curios while clearing his property. Mr. Newland was fortunate in striking oil on his property. With the passing years, prosperity attended his undertakings, and he built a beautiful home on the heights back of the city of Huntington Beach.
Mr. Newland served as highway commissioner when the good roads movement was beginning and served in that capacity for years. He organized the first school district in Huntington Beach and was a member of the first school board and served on school boards in the beach city elementary and high school district for twenty years or more. Mr. Newland bought the first bank of Huntington Beach and was president for many years. He established the first newspaper in that community and aided in financing and managing the paper for several years. Untiring in his efforts to aid in the upbuilding of the community, he joined with others in the building of the first church at Huntington Beach, and later was a contributor to the present Methodist Church building, joining his wife in donating a memorial window in the church.”
Up to the day of his death, he was active in public affairs. His good judgment and sound doctrines led to the seeking of his counsel in almost every public project of unusual importance, according to his friends. He was always active in politics and took a keen interest in all civic movements. He was one of the most popular men in the city, loved by all classes.
Newland Elementary School opened in 1964 with Principal Donald Neilsen at the helm. In its 54 year history, Newland has seen 15 Principals, hundreds of teachers, and thousands of students pass through its doors.