James A. Black – LTC US Army(Retired)
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the members of the Sampson County Historical Society for bestowing on me the honor of being your next President at the 14 Jan 2017 Meeting. While I am originally from LaPorte, Pa, I now call NC home. I retired from the US Army in 1990 after 22 years service (nine of which were at Ft. Bragg). I graduated in 1968 from West Point with a BS Degree in Engineering, then from Webster University with a MA in Management and finally from Campbell University with an MBA. I taught Math at Westover Senior HS for 3 years before joining the Business Faculty at FTCC. I taught computer classes and was a Department Chair. I retired from there in 2011 and have been actively researching my family and my wife’s family. We currently have a Family Tree on Ancestry.com with over 17,000 ancestors. While in the military we were fortunate enough to visit Scotland for 2 weeks and visit some relatives as well as visit the Archives in Edinburgh.
I met my wife of 43 years while teaching ROTC at Presbyterian College in Clinton, SC. She was a new Music Instructor and we met at the President’s Reception/dinner for new faculty. She is Elizabeth Grey Porter, daughter of Jeff and Elizabeth McLemore Porter. Her father was a tobacco farmer and her mother taught 5th grade at Salemburg Elementary for over 30 years. She may have taught you or your parents. Beth was the first full-time Music Instructor at FTCC and retired in 2011 with me. She graduated from Meredith College with a BA in Music and a BM in Piano Performance. She also has a MM in Piano Performance from Converse College in Spartanburg SC. We currently reside in Fayetteville. Our daughter Della lives with us and volunteers at Mary McArthur Elementary School. She graduated from FTCC with an Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education with emphasis on Special Needs. She has Spina Bifida and uses a wheelchair to get around school. She will be 37 this year.
Almost every morning I am up early “playing with the dead people” in our family as Beth puts it. I am the Admin for a Bradford-Wyoming County PA closed group on Facebook and also am the Moderator for the Sampson County Historical Society closed group on FB. I run my own Family History Web Server from my home but have realized that no one else in the family will ever take it over and keep it running. It houses thousands of family photos and streaming videos. So I have chosen to put all my efforts into documenting the Family on Ancestry.com. At least once we are gone the records will still be there. We have donated a number of old family items to the Museums of Bradford, Wyoming, and Sullivan Counties in Pa. I have a huge pile of old family photos and documents in the corner of our Dining Room that I am working on scanning. Seems to be a never ending job but one with great rewards. I have been able to document several lines of the family back 10-14 generations.
I encourage all of our members to become active historians for their families and to document the history so that it will not end up in a shoe box at a Estate Sale. Involve the younger members of your family and get them to understand the importance of knowing about their roots. It is a very busy time in all our lives but honoring our ancestors always needs to happen.
I want to thank our current Society Officers and their families for all the support they give each one of us. I will be learning much more about Sampson County History in the coming weeks, months, and years. Let me know if I can assist you in any way with your historic endeavors.
Jim Black – Click to Email Jim