Android Messages: How to Start a New Conversation

I have the latest version of Android Messages (was Google Messenger) for my texting app installed under Android 7.0 on a Moto G5 Plus phone that I acquired a couple of days ago.

The Android Messages app history contains several previous conversations with different contacts. I would like to start a new conversation with one of the contacts from a previous saved conversation.

I tap on the round blue button with the plus sign in the lower left corner of the screen to start a new conversation and it brings up the address box where I enter the contact. Once I do that, it takes me to the already existing conversation with that person rather than to a blank screen to start a new conversation.

How can I get it to bring up a blank screen for new conversation when I am wanting to text someone that has a previous conversation saved.

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