One letter can make a big difference. Newcomerstown has Cy Young, Woody Hayes, and Manuel Yingling. Now the town can also say Honorable Robert Hunter Nugen.

Robert Nugen settled in Newcomerstown back in the canal days. He supervised the crew who maintained the canal. They called him Colonel Nugen. In 1857, he gave his island to a local man so the small schools could be joined into the union school system. This allowed the children of Newcomerstown to benefit from the expanded funding options. He also gave land so a bridge could be built over the Tuscarawas River. The new bridge allowed people coming from the south to cross without using Brownings Ford or using other dangerous methods. The bridge was called the Nugen Bridge and stood near today’s Riverside Manor in Newcomerstown. Nugen island was also nearby.

Nugen served in Congress from 1861-1863. His portrait hangs on the dome inside the New Philadelphia Courthouse. Unfortunately, the courthouse also misspelled his last name. You can find this misspelling on the street sign in Newcomerstown, too. The misspelling seems to have originated 71 years ago, in 1947, when new streets signs were installed in Newcomerstown. Someone had inadvertently added a "T" to Nugen.

The History Club of Newcomerstown would like to correct this error and see the Honorable Robert Hunter Nugen recognized for how he helped Newcomerstown grow. He was a generous person and strived in many ways to make Newcomerstown a better place.

The History Club meets in the Newcomerstown Public Library every Wednesday at 1 p.m. Anyone interested in history is welcome to join and help complete the history of Newcomerstown.