Sunday, June 16, 2013

Mystery Monday - Joseph A. "Frank" Blackman

**Please see my update on Joseph A. "Frank" Blackman**

Joseph A. Blackman was my great-great grandfather.  He married Virginia "Jennie" Smith on November 15, 1872 in the home of her parents, James Luther and Henrietta D. Smith of Sicily Island, Catahoula Parish, Louisiana.

The marriage license below is the first known documentation I have found of Joseph.

The 1878 Voter Registration list for Catahoula Parish published on RootsWeb shows a Joseph A. Blackman born in Louisiana in 1851.  A trip to the Catahoula Parish Registrar of Voters office proved futile as the original records were destroyed in a fire back in the early 1900s.

Notes belonging to my father state that Joseph was also known as Frank and that he was originally from the LaSalle or Grant Parish area.  Also included in my father's notes was a reference to a Linnie Adair Carter being a first cousin of his grandmother, Mary Virginia Blackman, daughter of Joseph.

For this kinship to be possible, Linnie's mother and Joseph had to be siblings.  I began my search for Linnie Adair and discovered that her mother was Elizabeth Blackman, daughter of Burrel/Burrell Blackman.  One researcher suggested that this Elizabeth Blackman was actually the daughter of a Cotten but was raised by her stepfather, Burrel Blackman.

I was able to locate the 1850 census record for Burrel Blackman showing him married to a Margaret and having a daughter (or stepdaughter) named Betty (likely short for Elizabeth).  The family was living in Natchitoches, Louisiana.

If the 1878 Voter Registration roll was correct and Joseph was born in 1851, I would need to locate the 1860 census record for the family. 

Unfortunately, the only 1860 census record I have found to date for Burrel/Burrell Blackman does not list any other family members.  Burrell is living in Alexandria, Rapides Parish, Louisiana in 1860.  Joseph would have been nine years old at the time.

The 1870 census record shows Burrel, Maragret, two of their children and a grandchild living in the same household in Ward 3 of Grant Parish, Louisiana.  By this time, Joseph would have been almost twenty years old and possibly living on his own prior to marrying Jennie in 1872.

I went back to the 1850 census and pondered on whether the Jacob listed could possibly be Joseph.  While the transcription clearly matches the image, could the census taker have simply written down the wrong name?  Searches for a Jacob Blackman returned no results, leaving me to assume one of two things.  Jacob died prior to 1860 or the Jacob listed was really Joseph.

Joseph's wife, Jennie, died several weeks after giving birth to their second daughter in 1876.  According to stories handed down through my family, Joseph is reported to have died two years later in 1878 in a sawmill accident in Rodney, Jefferson County, Mississippi.   No record of death has been found to date.

Other tidbits from family stories include the following:

  • Joseph was related to the Blackman family from Alexandria, Rapides Parish, Louisiana of whom one was a judge and another operated a dry cleaning business
  • Joseph was the son of Charles and grandson of Elisha Swift Blackman and Octavia Weakley

Both of these stories have been researched with no evidence of a connection to Joseph A. "Frank" Blackman.

As of now, the "brick wall" still stands.  I re-visit my research on him regularly in hopes of chipping away pieces of the wall.

If anyone researching the Blackman/Blackmon families of central Louisiana has any information on a Joseph A. "Frank" Blackman, please leave me a comment or contact me at 

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