Leonidas P. Newby was born in Greensboro, Indiana, on April 9, 1855. In 1872 his family moved to Knightstown. After completing high school and his studies at DePauw University, he took up the study of law. He was admitted to the Bar and began the practice of his profession. He was attorney for the Pennsylvania Railroad for over fifty years. He was prosecuting attorney for the Eighteenth Judicial Circuit of Indiana for four years, a member of the State Senate for eight years and a member of the Indiana Southern Prison Board for five years.
He organized the Citizens National Bank in Knightstown in 1888, and served as its president for thirty-six years. He was one of the organizers of the Knightstown Gas Company. For ten years he was vice-president of the Columbia National Bank of Indianapolis.
He was an active member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. On March 30, 1926, he received the Cross of the Legion of Honor at the hands of the President of France, for his services in war relief.
He passed away on October 25, 1945, at Knightstown after a long illness. The funeral services were held on October 28, 1945, at the Carlyle Butcher Funeral Home with the Grand Commandery of Indiana in charge. The burial was in Glen Cove Cemetery.
Sir Knight Newby was made a Master Mason on June 7, 1882, in Golden Rule Lodge No. 16 at Knightstown, Indiana, and served as Worshipful Master in 1891 and 1892.
He was exalted in Knightstown Chapter No. 33 at Knightstown on November 6, 1882, and served as its High Priest. He was greeted a Royal and Select Master in Cryptic Council No. 9 at Knightstown on November 12, 1883.
He received the 32nd degree in Indiana Consistory at Indianapolis, on March 24, 1892. He received the Honorary 33rd degree in Italy in 1926. He was a member of St. James Conclave No. 16, Red Cross of Constantine, and Knightstown Chapter No. 54 of the Eastern Star.
He was created a Knight Templar in Knightstown Commandery No. 9 at Knightstown on January 30, 1883, and was elected Eminent Commander in 1889. In 1901 he was elected Grand Commander of the Grand Commandery of Indiana.
At the Triennial Conclave of 1910 he was appointed Grand Standard Bearer, and in 1922 was elected Grand Master of the Grand Encampment. He was made a Knight Commander of the United Order of the Great Priory of Knights Templar of England and Wales by H. R. H. the Duke of Connaught, Grand Master, on June 21, 1927.
In the course of his fraternal work, Sir Knight Newby made many trips abroad during World War I. He was commissioned to visit Europe and see how the half-million dollars contributed by the Knights Templar of the United States could best be used for European relief. During his term as Grand Master, he visited all the jurisdictions in the United States and those of Alaska, Mexico, Porto Rico, Canal Zone, and the Philippine and Hawaiian Islands, as well as those in Canada.
Sir Knight Newby was loved for his fine character, his wisdom, his great energy and his service to Templary
Reference: From Dr. Francis J. Scully's...History of the Grand Encampment, Chapter XXIII, Biographies Of The Grand Masters, as published in the Knight Templar Magazine, January 1995 Edition, page 16