Biography of the Blackman Brothers

ALANSON A., ELHANAN AND HYRCANUS BLACKMAN. – The father of these gentlemen, Adam Blackman, is a native of Maine; and their mother was Mary (Howard) Blackman, both of whom are still living in the town of Bradley in the above state. The history of communities and of nations is made up mainly of the acts of men who contribute towards directing to a result the efforts of the people by whom they are surrounded. This is equally true whether the actor be a Grant marshaling the legions of a grand army, a Vanderbilt, dictating a nation’s commerce, or the obscure farmer whose harvest is gathered to feed those dependent upon him. The acts of each that have an influence upon any portion of the human family are historic events, and are important in proportion to the result. Every community has its leading men, whose operations exert an influence upon others. Their plans include the capital and the labor of many to execute; and if that labor is benefited or that capital augmented, the ones who planned are public benefactors, great in proportion to the results achieved. Even though it be claimed that the object of such operations was to benefit the designers only, still, if in its detail or results benefits accrue to the public, those who designed and executed nevertheless are public benefactors.

There are persons of this class living between the Cascade and Coast Mountains who have done much for the country where they live; but among them all there is none superior in this respect than the gentlemen whose names head this short memoir, and whose portraits appear in this history. Fertile in invention, comprehensive in judgment, with a tenacity of purpose inherited from their Puritan ancestors, they could not have fallen short of becoming leaders in whatever sphere circumstances may have placed them.

The firm so well and favorable known throughout Washington Territory as the Blackman Brothers of Snohomish, is composed of those gentlemen whose names appear above. They came to Snohomish county sixteen years ago poor men; but through industry and enterprise, guided by financial ability, they have succeeded in building up a very extensive sawmill, lumbering and logging business on the Snohomish river, together with a general merchandise store in Snohomish. Some idea of their extensive business may be gleaned form the knowledge that they employ their different enterprises no less than one hundred and twenty-five men, and keep four large logging camps in successful operation. (A full account and description of the business interests of this firm will be found in its proper place among the industries of Washington Territory.)

The lives of these gentlemen are conclusive evidence of the truthfulness of the adage of “where those who will may win.” As business men, they have the confidence of all who know them; as citizens, the respect to which their character and actions in life have entitled them; and their wealth is the result of judicious labor prompted by their early surroundings, and not the reward of chance or birth. They have gathered the foundation for a competency in the near future, and in doing so have developed a capability and judgment in management that both warrants and deserves success. It is only just to state that the brothers have been ably assisted by the ladies of their families, who aided them in their council, and even for a time undertook the hardship of looking after the household duties in their different logging camps. Whatever enterprise is started that tends towards the benefit of the territory, county or city in which they reside is always met by the brothers by a hasty indorsement and financial aid. In 187 they each built a handsome residence in the city of Snohomish, where they enjoy the comforts of a happy home.

The senior of the brothers, Alanson A., was born in Bradley, Penobscot county, Maine, May 26, 1841, and resided in his native town until his coming with his brothers to Washington Territory, where they arrived in November 1872. He was united in marriage in Bradley, Maine, November 28, 1867, to Miss Eliza J. Howard, a native of Maine. Elhanan was also born in Bradley, May 10, 1944, and was married in the same town December 25, 1867, to Frances M. Osgood, a native of Maine. By this union they have one child, Edith M. Hyrcanus Blackman was born January 4, 1847, in Bradley and was united in marriage at that place May 17,1870, to Miss Ella E. Knapp, a native of the same town. Their children are Clifford A. and Eunice L.

The lives of those three brothers have been indelibly connected since their childhood. They resided on their father’s farm until twenty-one years of age. They were engaged in the lumber business until November, `872, when they came to Puget Sound, and, after looking over the territory for a location, selected Snohomish for their future home, where they now own a large amount of real estate, together with thirty-four hundred acres of timber and agricultural land in the county of Snohomish. The above land contains about one hundred and fifty million feet of standing timber. They are conservative in politics, but vote the Democratic ticket. That party, in the fall of 1878, honored itself by selecting the junior member of the firm to represent Snohomish county in the territorial legislature, a position he filled with ability, and to the best interests of the county, for the sessions of 1878 and 1880.

In conclusion we would say that the men who develop and shape the prospects and property of a country are such men as the subjects of this sketch, – men who by activity, force of character and honorable purposes, guided by superior intelligence, mould for success that which they control, shape for improvement that which falls within range of their influence.



History of the Pacific Northwest Oregon and Washington. 2 v. Portland, Oregon: North Pacific History Company. 1889.

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