By Jerome D. Tew
In 1992, the family genealogy of John Blackman (c.1670 1736) was professionally presented by Donald Collins, a professor from ECU. John Blackman’s first wife was named Elizabeth Goode and the second was Sarah. John’s children included John Blackman Jr., Bennett Blackman, William Blackman, Arthur Blackman, Elizabeth Blackman, Stephen Blackman and Joseph Blackman.
This writer is a descendent of John’s youngest child, Joseph Blackman. For some time I have wanted to know more about his family. Donald Collins, who is also a descendent, did a superb job on the basic research for the John Blackman family. My intent is to trace this Sampson County family down to 1850, although it appears impossible to get all the facts straight on such a large number of people. This was a very important family in early America, and many today can trace their blood to them. Any additional input from our readers on pre 1850 Blackmans will be appreciated. A.M. Blackman of Clemmons, NC and the late Virginia Bizzell of Newton Grove assisted me.
Nearly all of the above children had a connection to Sampson County. I therefore will start with my Joseph Blackman who was born in 1725 and lived until 1768. He may have been the son of John’s second wife Sarah and not the son of Elizabeth Goode. There is no doubt that he was raised by Sarah Blackman.
Joseph lived and died in Duplin (now Sampson) County and most likely in the area of Newton Grove. His will lists four Blackman children: Joab, Josiah, Mary and Edey. I believe there was a fifth child yet to be discovered.
In his will, Joseph gave to Joab 400 acres on Beaverdam Swamp, Negro, George, and a feather bed. He gave to Edey a Negro, Tony, and a feather bed. He gave to Josiah his plantation after the death of his mother, a feather bed, and 200 acres. He gave to Mary a Negro, Bob, and a feather bed. In 1769 a total of six Negroes, including these 3, belonged to the family. The will was dated February 2, 1768, but we are unsure that it was probated.
At the time of his death, Joseph was married to Elizabeth, Lee we think. Due to his young age, likely she was his only wife. They would have married about 1754. Apparently, Elizabeth died before 1800.
Joseph’s will is now 225 years old and in bad shape. It appears written as a draft and he died before another copy could be made. At the time of his death, Joseph was about 43 and should have been mentally alert. Several words were crossed out and others added. Some were names of his children, as if he changed his mind.
From other sources, we know that Joseph’s oldest son was Joab, born 1755, and Mary was the 2nd child. There was no mention in the will of the ages of the children. All Duplin Sampson court records prior to 1784 are missing.
In 1770, Francis Hill provided to the court an inventory of the estate of Joseph Blackman. A copy is in the NC Archives in Raleigh. Hill, then about 22, must have liked Mary, then about 12, because they eventually married a few years later. Hill died in 1800 and I know of four children they had: Bennett who married Elizabeth Lee; Martha who married John Thornton; Ailey born 1775 who married William Westbrook; and Hester who married Simon Hobbs.
Joab Blackman was born in 1755 and died in 1819. His first wife is unknown but may have been Anna Fail. They had one child, a daughter named Anna (1789 1816). His second wife was Susanna Williams, who died in 1839. Susanna’s first husband was William Fellow, and she had four daughters by him.
Anna Blackman (1789 1816) was married first to John Cole of Fayetteville, NC. They had a son named Joseph John Cole and a daughter named Betsey Ann Cole.
“Joe John” was an alcoholic and gambler. (His lands lay where Oscar Bizzell lived just south of Newton Grove and contained a colonial cemetery of about three acres. Bizzell attended the last burial there, William W. West, in 1932. West was the husband of Mary Louisa Cox who was buried there in 1906. She has several family lines back to the Blackmans. The cemetery no longer exists.)
Anna (1789 1816) married 2nd to William Cox, who came to the Newton Grove area from Onslow County. Their children were: Joab Blackman Cox, Susanna R. Cox and Anna Blackman Cox. Joab’s daughter Anna (1789 1816) died in Onslow County.
Joab Blackman (b.1755) was a successful farmer and businessman. He and brother Josiah were slave traders. Joab served in the militia at age 20 and in the Revolutionary War in 1783. He served in the NC Legislature from 1801 1810.
Josiah Blackman was born in 1760 and died in 1815. His first wife is unknown, but at least 2 children were born to them. His second wife was Mary Esther Williams (1865-1819). She was the sister of Susanna Williams who was the second wife of Joab Blackman. (Sisters married brothers). It is believed Josiah married Mary Esther Williams in 1786.
Josiah Blackman also was in the Revolutionary War. He was in the NC Legislature in 1800. At the time of his death he owned 4,486 acres. His total estate was conservatively valued at $29,180. Today, this amount of property would probably be worth $3,000,000.
The first child of Josiah and _______ was William Blackman (1782 1818). He was known most of his adult life as Colonel William Blackman. His first wife was Avery Williams, who died about 1808. His second wife was Polly King. Colonel Blackman was serving as a NC Legislator at the time of his death in 1818. At the time of his death he was settling the estate of his father Josiah Blackman. In less than six months, Joab Blackman (brother to Josiah), was also dead. On February 15, 1819, Mrs. Polly Blackman came into court and dissented to the will of Colonel William Blackman.
Colonel Blackman had four children, two by each wife: William Williams Blackman (1806 1840) married Mary Catherine Middleton in 1834. Louisa Blackman (1808 1839) married William Hicks. Josiah Blackman (1810 18__) married Betsy Jernigan. Polly Blackman was born in 1812 and we believe she married Joseph Bryan.
Josiah’s second child was Mary (Polly) Blackman (1784 1828). She married Colonel Barnabas McKinnie. They received 881 acres from her father’s estate. She apparently had no issue and Barnabas McKinnie must have died before 1828.
Josiah’s third child was Sarah (Sally) Blackman (1787 1819). She married John Fellow, and they received 465 acres from the estate of her father.
Josiah’s fourth child was Susannah (Susan) Blackman (1796 1865), who married Colonel Harry Bryan. They received 625 acres from her father’s estate. The Bryan children were: William Hardy, Susan E. Cox, Josiah Harry, Sarah A., John D., and James.
Josiah’s fifth child was Anne Blackman (1799 1829). She married John Sellers and they received 1348 acres in Johnston County from Josiah’s estate. They lived in Sampson County until 1820 and then moved to adjoining Johnston County. They had no children. She was not alive for the 1830 census. John Sellars was an NC Senator (1826 1827). He was appointed a guardian to the children of Col William Blackman after Blackman’s death.
Josiah’s last two children were Esther (b.1802) and (Josiah Jr. b.1805). Both died unmarried in 1825. They had received about 600 acres each from their father’s estate. Colonel William Blackman was their guardian and his bond was set at $14,000. When Colonel Blackman died, Colonel Harry Bryan took over that duty and his bond was set at 25,000 pounds. Ester and Josiah Jr. had 1200 acres combined, and as it turned out, that was a lucky break for Harry Bryan.
On the surface this looks to be an ideal family but it did not turn out that way. These are the death years for some of the closely related ones: Elizabeth Lee- 1811; Josiah –1815; Josiah Royal-1816; Anna Cole-1816; Colonel William-1818; Joab-1819; Sarah Fellow-1819; Esther and Josiah Jr.-1825; Mary McKinnie-1828; and Anne Sellers-1829.
After Sarah Fellow died in 1819, her husband, John Fellow was appointed the first postmaster of Blackman’s Store Post Office on February 27, 1824, which later evolved into the town of Newton Grove, and he served until September 18, 1824, not quite seven months. Thereafter, he is said to have became insolvent and left the state of North Carolina. Then Harry Bryan was granted guardianship of Esther and Josiah Jr., and he wasted the monies from their estate. In 1826, Harry Bryan was sued by his in-laws, John and Anne Sellars for their part of the estate. John and Anne were awarded $6,696.98. Harry Bryan claimed to be insolvent and would not pay. In 1828, when Mary Blackman McKinnie died, her land was given back to the other heirs. In that same year, John Sellers sued the sheriff of Sampson County because his office refused to help collect this debt from Harry Bryan. I could find no record of the debt being paid. By 1830, Susanna Blackman Bryan and Edith Blackman Royal were about the only heirs left. (Reference a Duplin County marriage bond dated 1779). Harry Bryan recovered from his insolvency and by 1850, he and wife Susan were well to do, and living near Newton Grove. Harry Bryan died in 1857. Susan left a will when she died in 1865. This Bryan family later gave an elegant library to the Town of Newton Grove.
Getting back to the family of Joseph Blackman, Edey as listed in the will of Joseph has been a problem to identify because Bennett, Joseph’s brother, also had a child named Ede. I am sure that Edey, daughter of Joseph, married Young Royal as listed in a Duplin County marriage bond dated 1779. She is listed as Edee Blackman and her bondsman was Francis Hill. Family records show that she died in 1845 and was 82 years old (b.1763). Family records show her name as Edith Royal. Edith and Young Royal had eleven children. One was Mary, one was Sally, and the youngest was named Josiah. Josiah Royal died one year after Josiah Blackman. More on Young Royal in a future Royal article. Edith was the fourth child of Joseph and Elizabeth Blackman.
A mystery lady from the family of Joseph and Elizabeth Blackman is their sixth child, a daughter, Elizabeth Blackman, born March 18, 1767. She died Christmas day in 1811. She was never in her father’s will but is identified in the Lee family records. She married Jesse Lee (1767 1831) and they had the following children: Joab Lee (1787-1859); Pharaoh (b.1792); Elizabeth Lee (b.1797) married Samuel Ingram of the Bentonville community; John Lee (b.1801): Josiah Lee, deceased by 1831; Jesse Lee, Jr. (b.1805) who married Phereby Bundy; and Joel Lee (b.1807). Jesse Lee married second to Susanna Langston in 1812 and had at least five more children with her.
Another mystery child from the family of Joseph and Elizabeth Blackman was a daughter, _______ Blackman born c.1765, their fifth child. For some reason, she was not in her father’s will either. She was thought to exist because of the close relationship between the family of John Crumpler Jr. (c.1756 1803) and Joab and Josiah Blackman. It is believed that John’s wife was sister to Joab and Josiah. This is documented in the 1800 1810 Sampson County court minutes.. John Crumpler married second Edith Gurley of Wayne County.
__________ Blackman Crumpler must have died about 1799 as John did not list a wife during the 1800 Sampson census. She did, however, have three children: Blackman Crumpler (1784 1861) who married Jane Holmes; Redman Crumpler (1788 1845) married a Sarah _________. They moved to Georgia and later to Florida. The third child, Bethsheba Crumpler (b.1793), married Thomas Sutton Jr. and moved with him to Louisiana.