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The Black Family
This Black family line descends from John Black born in Butler Pennsylvania in 1806.
 
John Black
(1806 - 1835?)

Solomon Black (1830 - 1912)

William Wilson Black (1855 - 1932)

Lloyd Black (1889 - 1950)

The children of Solomon Black

The children of W. W. Black

Western Pennsylvania

 

For information on the above indiviuals and others that are not direct descendants of this line please take a look at my database found on the WorldConnect Project at RootsWeb.com or go to my index on this site.

 

 

 

John Black

John Black was born in Butler County, Pennsylvania in 1806. Little is known about John other than he was a farmer and in 1828 he married Sussanna Catherina (aka Catherine) Keener, the daughter of Jacob Keener and Susanna Silvius. John and Catherine Black had only one son, Solomon Black. John disapears from the picture some time between Solomon's birth in 1830 and 1836 when Catherine married Moses Wilhelm of Indiana County, PA (eight children can be credited to their marriage). The assumption is that John Black died some time around 1835 but I have found no records to support that. While it is unlikely, divorce or desertion are not out of the realm of possibility. I have been unable to find anything out about John’s parents or whether or not he had any siblings.

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Solomon Black

As I unearth more and more information on Solomon Black I am able to piece together a more complete sketch of the man. Solomon was born on Thursday, December 9, 1830 in Armstrong Township, Indiana County in western Pennsylvania. He was the only child produced during the eight or nine year marital union of John and Catherine Black.

Solomon was raised on the family farm in Indiana County where he also went to school. According to Professor J.T. Stewart’s 1913 history of Indiana County, Solomon’s first teacher was William Miller. His education continued under the instruction of Gust. Reed, David Blakely, John Foreman, William Beatty, and Samuel Dowds. In 1849 at age 18 Solomon left the farm to apprentice as a blacksmith under Mr. Truby. After the end of his apprenticeship he served as a journyman until he opened his own shop in West Lebenon of Indiana County. The 1850 Federal Census shows 19 year-old Solomon living in the household of blacksmith Samuel Moorhead, presumably Solomon’s employer, and the 1860 Census indicates Solomon’s occupation as “Master Blacksmith.” However, in a Puget Sound history (that contains a biographical scketch of Solomon’s son William Wilson Black) states that Solomon was a carriage builder.

Wedding bells tolled on March 7, 1854 to celebrate the matrimonial joining of Solomon Black and Mary Ann Russell. Mary Ann, the daughter of Elizabeth (Miller) and John Russell was born on April 2, 1832. She was a lifelong resident of Indiana County. Solomon and Mary Ann produced a family of eight children.

On February 14, 1865 Solomon enlisted in the Union Army and served as a Private in Company F of the 78th Infantry Regiment of the Pennsylvania Volunteers during the Civil War and was mustered out at the end of the war in the fall of 1865. Civil War records describe him as standing 5-foot, seven-inches with dark hair and gray eyes. He did not immediately return home with the rest of his regiment because he was hospitalized on July 28th (possibly with typhoid fever) in Nashville, Tennessee and stayed there through the end of the war. After returning from the war, Solomon must have taken up farming since his occupation is listed as farmer in the 1880 census. Solomon lived in several locations within Indiana County during his lifetime such as West Lebanon, Five Points, Rayne (where he owned a 157-acre farm), Selocta (where he owned a 55-acre farm), and finally retired in Indiana Borough, PA.

Through brief reports published in several local Indiana County newspapers we catch a few glimpses of Solomon’s retired life. In 1903 grandson John Adams vists Solomon and Mary. Smith M. Black, his wife, and children pay a visit in 1910, and take in the circus while in Indiana, PA. A 1907 article in the May 27 issue of the Indiana Evening Gazette recounts the burning of a house on West School Street owned by Solomon Black but occupied by A.C. Farren and family. The fire was started by an unattended child who knocked over an oil lamp. There were no injuries but the house was totaly destroyed. Solomon carried a small insurance policy on the property with the People’s Agency. In mid June of 1912, just a month before Solomon’s death Judge W.W. Black stops to visit his parents on his way to Baltimore to attend the Democratic Convention.

Solomon was sharing his Indiana, PA residence at 235 S. Thirteenth Street (the corner of School and 13th Streets) with his wife Mary Ann and daughter Nannie Bell Black when he died at the age of 81 in 1912. Solomon, Mary Ann and Nannie Bell Black are all buried in nearby Oakland Cemetery in Indiana County, PA.

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William Wilson Black

William Wilson (known as W.W. Black) was the oldest of eight children born in West Lebanon, Indiana County, Pennsylvania. W.W. completed his college education while still living in Pennsylvania where he studied at the Greenville Academy, the State Normal School and Allegheny College. He moved westward where he studied for and was admitted to the Kansas bar. That same year on May 2, 1883 he married to Mollie Neil in Leavenworth, Kansas. Six years later their son Lloyd, one of three children, was born. W.W. and family move again—to Everett, Washington where, like his son, WW. serves as a judge. Lloyd’s interest in seeking public office must have stemmed from his father’s interest in running for office. In 1914 W.W. Black took a shot at one of the Senate seats for the State of Washington but lost to Republican candidate Wesley L. Jones by an 11 pecent margin. Then in 1920 W.W. ran as the Democratic candidate for the Governor’s seat of Washington but again his bid went down in defeat. Incumbent Gov. Louis Folwell Hart won the 1920 election. When W.W. Black wasn’t running for public office, he worked as a Judge in Washington State. He died February 15, 1932.

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Lloyd Black

Lloyd Llewellyn was born in Leavenworth, Kansas on March 15, 1889. He graduated with honors from Everett High School in 1906 and completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Washington in 1910, where among other things, he participated as a member of inter-collegiate debate teams. In 1912, Lloyd received his law degree also from the University of Washington. On April 7, 1917 Lloyd was married to Gladys Gertrude (Statler) in Seattle, Washington, who was the daughter of Ellen (Bryan) and John Thomas Statler. Lloyd served as prosecuting attorney of Snohomish County from January of 1917 to January of 1919. At the end of World War I, in 1918, he was enlisted in the U.S. Army for a mere two months. He later served as a special counsel to the City of Everett, Washington from 1920 until 1922. Lloyd worked as an attorney for the U.S. Army in Everett, Washington between the years 1923 and 1936. During the 1924 elections, Lloyd Black ran for House Representative as the Democratic candidate of Congressional District 2 against Lindley H. Hadley (Republican) and August Toellner (Independent). Lloyd who was running on a platform that was in favor of Prohibition was defeated along with Toellner by Republican candidate Hadley. In 1936 he became a judge for the Superior Court of Snohomish and Island Counties in the state of Washington and served there until Lloyd was nominated to a newly created seat on the U. S. District Court for the Western District of Washington by Franklin D. Roosevelt on August 2, 1939. He was confirmed by the Senate on August 4, and received his commission on August 11, where he served for 11 years until his death on August 23, 1950.

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The Children of Solomon Black

W.W. Black was the oldest of eight children. His brothers and sisters were: Mary Ellen Black born on May 31, 1874 and married to Eldis R. Baker on July 12, 1922; Harry White Black born on February 22, 1870, married to Ella (Boucher) in 1891 and died on December 20, 1951; Nannie Bell Black born on October 10, 1866, was never married, and died on March 22, 1957; Lewis T. Black born on April 22 1863, married to Fanny (Pike), and died on April 7, 1949; Smith M. Black born on April 22, 1861, married Sadie Cunningham, and died June 22, 1944; Margaret Jane Black born October 22, 1859, married Wesley Brady in 1885, and died on April 12, 1955; and Lizzie Catherine Black (recorded in the 1860 Census as Catherine E. Black which presumably would stand for Catherine Elizabeth) who was born May 15, 1857, was married to Harman Adams in 1877. After Harman’s death widow Lizzie Adams married Isaac N. Buterbaugh in 1905.

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The Children of W. W. Black

Lloyd, son of W.W. Black, had a brother named Wendell Black and a sister named Bertha Black. Wendell married Helen (Meisnest) and they had 2 sons. Bertha never married and I believe died sometime in the 1960s.

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Western Pennsylvania

Butler and Indiana Counties in Western Pennsylvania are the birthplaces of John Black and his son Solomon in the early 1800s. Butler, Pennsylvania is about 30 miles due north of Pittsburgh, while Armstrong in Indiana County lies east and slightly north of Pittsburgh. When the early pioneers arrived they cleared land to make room for log cabins and tillable fields. According to an 1883 history of Butler County published by Waterman, Watkins & Co., Chicago, IL, the virgin soil was rich and yielded bountiful harvests. Yet when grain was taken to market in Pittsburgh, farmers were rewarded with only “a few small articles . . . and seldom able to obtain cash.“ Therefore they were often hard pressed to come up with the currency needed to pay taxes and such.

Above: Butler, Pennsylvania, 1896

In the early days pleasures were simple. Social gatherings included the likes of log rollings, husking bees, and quilting or apple butter making parties. Whisky was also a part of pioneer life and as noted in the 1883 history of Butler, “every settler that could afford it had a barrel stored away, and there were very few so poor that they could not have at least a jug full” of whisky from Monongahela County which was described as being “clear as amber, sweet as musk, smooth as oil.” Later stills were put into business producing a corn whisky that evidently did not hold a candle to the finer product acquired from Monongahela, but nonetheless was consumed in large quantities.

John Black we know was a farmer, and though we don’t know for sure the crops he raised we can surmise that he may have grown wheat and corn, which were fairly common crops of that area and time. He probably also had some land set aside for the growing of flax which would in turn be used to make linen for clothing. The 1883 history of Butler states that “clothes entirely of home manufacture were almost universally worn until as late as 1840, and the wearing of ‘store’ clothes was thought by many to be an evidence of vanity.” Later the practice of raising livestock became more common and so John Black may have raised horses, sheep, cattle, oxen, or swine. He may also have had chickens to provide eggs and a dairy cow for milk, cream, and butter. John’s wife Catherine would have been responsible for not only the cooking of meals, but the threshing, carding and spinning of flax into linen and then weaving it into cloth. If she wasn’t cooking or weaving she was probably mending clothes or cleaning.

Solomon, the son of John and Catherine, was raised on the farm but by about age 18 Solomon left to learn the trade of blacksmith through an apprenticeship. Ten years later Solomon’s occupation is listed in the 1860 census as Master Blacksmith. However on the 1880 census his occupation is recorded as farmer. Again we don’t know if he coaxed crops from the ground or nursed livestock along for a living but either way life back then was both simpler and harsher and providing for a family of eight children in the mid 1800s must have been a challenge.

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