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BLACK, William E. - 1912 Bio (1856-1933)


Posted By: Debbie Nash (email)
Date: 10/20/2003 at 16:11:27

From the History of Jefferson County - 1912, Volume II
Pages 452-453


“William E. BLACK, who has been a lifelong resident of Jefferson county, is a descendant of one of its pioneer families, whose members have aided materially in developing the agricultural resources of the county and have also been intimately associated with the wars which have been important in the national history of the United States, his grandfather, Samuel BLACK, having been a soldier in the Revolutionary war and his uncle William BLACK having served in the Mexican war.

William E. BLACK’s birth occurred on the 17th of May, 1856, in Polk township, upon the farm which is his present home, his parents being Jacob H. and Sally (McREYNOLDS) BLACK, the former of Dutch and the latter of Dutch and Yankee descent. The father, who was a native of Ohio, went to Indiana with his parents when only twelve years of age and in 1849 came to Polk township, Jefferson county, and located upon the two-hundred-acre farm which his father had entered from the government. This farm was Jacob BLACK’s home until his death on the 28th of August, 1911. He gave up active farming in 1901, turning his farm of two hundred and seventy-six acres over to his son William E. BLACK and his son-in-law Levi A. HARRISON. Throughout his career he was closely connected with the social life and development of his community and took an active part in the capture and execution of Keppart, the infamous murderer who was hanged in the presence of five hundred witnesses many years ago, after he had murdered a woman and two children in Wapello county. The murderer had brought the bodies of his victims in a covered wagon and thrown them in Cedar creek, an act which so outraged the community that a posse of farmers from Polk and Des Moines townships set out in pursuit and after having captured him near Birmingham, placed him in jail at Fairfield, but public opinion was so strong against him that he was taken from the jail forcibly and brought to the spot where he had disposed of his victims and there paid the penalty for his crime.

William E. BLACK has spent his entire life in Polk township, first attending school in district No. 2 and then assisting his father in the cultivation of his farm until 1879, when he removed to a home of his own, which is on his father’s farm. Throughout his active career William E. BLACK has devoted his time and energies to the cultivation of the home place, a task which he has accomplished with a good measure of success because of his labor, well planned methods and good judgment.

On December 5, 1878, Mr. BLACK was married to Miss Rachel A. SUTTON, who is a daughter of Amariah and Narissa (McCREERY) SUTTON, both of whom were of Dutch and Yankee descent. Their eldest son, James A. SUTTON, served in the Civil war. The father was a native of Ohio and came west in the early ‘50’s, locating on a farm one mile north of Martinsburg, Keokuk county, Iowa. About 1874 he came to Jefferson county and settled on a farm in Polk township, where the family resided until the death of the father and mother, in 1903 and 1885 respectively. To Mr. and Mrs. BLACK one child has been born, Bessie, who is the wife of Aurel SPRY, a farmer of Keokuk county, and they have been the parents of two children: Grace, aged three years; and Merle, who died at the age of ten months.

Mr. BLACK gives his political support to the democratic party and has served as a director of the schools of his district for nine years. Both he and his wife are members of the Methodist Episcopal church of Pekin, Iowa. As a citizen Mr. BLACK is active in promoting any measures which pertain to the educational and social development of his community and because of his consistent stand for the right has won the respect and regard due to a man whose life has been devoted to the best interests of his fellowmen.”

I am copying this for genealogical purposes and am not related to said individuals.


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