At the young age of 14, Hannah Newman’s son, Julius Caeser Newman (J.C.), became a cigar maker apprentice in Cleveland, Ohio. In 1890, the Newmans were recent immigrants to the United States and Hannah paid $3.00 per month so that J.C. could learn the cigar trade. After completing his apprenticeship, J.C. worked as a journeyman cigar maker for the next 3 years until a severe recession resulted in massive layoffs throughout the country. As an unemployed immigrant cigar maker, J.C. decided to follow the “American Dream” and start his own company.
Though his dreams of success were great, the company’s beginnings were quite simple. In 1895, J.C. created a cigar table from some old boards, borrowed $50 for tobacco, and received his first order for 500 cigars from the family grocer. The business that started that day in the barn behind the family home was the J.C. Newman Cigar Company. J.C.’s first brand of cigars was called “A.B.C.,” an acronym that stood for “Akron, Bedford and Cleveland,” which was the name of a local streetcar line.