Biography of Robert M. Black

Robert M. Black, the subject of this memoir, came from an ancestry of more than ordinary importance and prominence.

His great-grandfather, with his family, removed from Scotland and settled in Virginia some years before the Revolutionary war, caused by the traitor Arnold in portions of Virginia, volunteered, though far past the age of liability, for military service, and was one of the soldiers, who, under Lafayette and Gen. Wayne, turned and drove back Lord Cornwallis. He was intimately acquainted with Lafayette, Gen. Wayne and Gen. Lord Sterling, who were frequent guests at his house. His youngest son, George Black, the grandfather of our subject, was born on the 8th of July, 1767. He was nine years old when the Declaration of Independence was issued. He was a son of the Revolution and saw and caught the spirit of most of the stirring scenes of that eventful period. George Black, with his family, re-moved from Virginia and settled in Kentucky, some time before the war of 1812. He became a soldier of this war in a regiment of mounted rifleman and rendered important service under the command of Gen. Harrison.

With such an ancestry, whose character and qualities he reproduced and reflected, together passed through the terrors and excitement with his own individual traits, we may under stand the life of Robert M. Black, who was the ninth in a family of thirteen children born to Andrew and Margaret ( Lockridge) Black. Andrew Black and his family left their home in Mt. Sterling, Kentucky, and went to Greencastle, Indiana, in 1850. The life of Robert M. Black dates from December 13, 1845, to June 11, 1899, a period of fifty-three years of great activity and success. His Scotch blood, fired with the spirit of the Revolution, produced a tine type of American patriot and citizen. In his boyhood days- the future man already appeared. Obedient to parents, kind in disposition, solicitous about the welfare and happiness of his brothers and sisters, and loyal and unselfish toward his playmates, he early developed into a true man, who was willing and anxious to contribute his part to the world’s progress as a man and citizen. At the age of sixteen he enlisted in the Seventy-eighth Indiana Regiment and in his first battle, at Union City, Kentucky, was wounded in the knee in the midst of a display of uncommon bravery. Yet his bravery probably saved his life, since, while he was facing the enemy alone, his company being in full retreat, the rebel commander ordered his men “not to shoot so brave a boy.” . Thus early in life, under the most ‘trying circumstances, appeared those sterling qualities which made him prominent throughout his entire life and endeared him with peculiar strength to his comrades, friends and acquaintances. The wound received shortly after his enlistment greatly hindered him the rest of his days, but was borne with the same cheerful bravery with which it was received.

In 1873 he was married to Miss Mary Hutchings, who lived but two years afterward. In 1889 he married Miss Laura Moore, whom, with their four children, he left at his death well provided for. He was engaged in farming and stock business, which took him out over the country and into the neighboring states and caused him to handle a vast amount of money. His business brought him in contact with men, and, on account of his fair dealings and sturdy sociability, he made many friends and exerted a great influence. He was interested in politics and was a stanch Republican. In religion he was a Presbyterian, was for many years a member of the Church, and as a father care-fully brought up his children. His religion was not too sacred to be used in every-day affairs and it was the real foundation of his many excellent qualities shown in touch with his fellow men. His loyalty to his friends knew no bounds. Every true man found in him a worthy and constant companion, and friend-ships, formed upon manly qualities, were never broken. His large heart found pleasure in responding, in a substantial way, to the poor or those in temporary distress. To help others was a real pleasure to him, and being interested in those battling with adversity he was interested in all. He was progressive and public spirited, and in no sense lived for himself alone. Cheerfulness was his constant companion and it never forsook him, although all others were gloomy. He had a source of radiance and sunshine that seemed denied to many of his fellows. Some four years before his demise he moved to this County on a large farm four miles north of Oakland City, and being a careful business man he made money and friends in his new home, and he and his family were soon holding a large place in the affections and good-will of the entire community. A community may with pardonable pride record the name of so true and noble-hearted a citizen in its County history.


Gresham, John M. Historical and Biographical Record of Douglas County, Illinois Logansport, Indiana: Press of Wilson, Humphreys & Co. 1900.

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