Newton Bishop Drury was the son of pioneers. His father, Wells Drury, crossed the plains in a covered wagon in 1852 and had an adventurous career in Gold Hill and Virginia City and later in Los Angeles as a newspaper editor.
Newton graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 1912 and served on the faculty there until World War I when he enlisted in the air service, balloon division, and was commissioned first lieutenant.
Following the war in 1919 he became secretary of the Save-the-Redwoods league and it was largely through his efforts that 40,000 acres of redwood forest, valued at more than $6,000,000 was acquired by the people of California.
When the California State Park Commission was formed in 1928 Drury was employed as acquisition agent, and he played a leading role in the development of the state parks from 1929 to 1940. Having an inherent fondness for the desert, he was especially active in the creation of the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park.
Drury was a master at negotiation and arranged a three-way land swap that would pave the way for the Mount San Jacinto State Park. The Forest Service would give the Southern Pacific a four by six mile rectangle on top of the mountain in exchange for 12 square miles of land outside the park. The State Park Commission would then purchase this rectangle from Southern Pacific. The details of the exchange were worked out in a meeting in Idyllwild in July 1930. The cost to the state was $84,218.75 and the park would contain 12,687 acres.
Newton Drury Peak, a 10,160 foot summit about 0.6 miles southwest of the main San Jacinto summit, was named in his honor by the Board on Geographic Names in 1989.