Past and Present of the City of Rockford & Winnebago County, IL, C. A. Church. Chicago: Clarke, 1905, pp 317-318
John BLACK, whose business ability finds visible evidence in his well improved farm, which has been acquired from his own efforts and improved through his own labors, was born in Sligo County, Ireland, 31 Jul 1846, his parents being Charles and Eliza (HALL) BLACK. The father, who was born in Sligo County, 21 Nov 1821, died on 06 Nov 1902, while his wife, who was born in Oct 1824, passed away 21 Oct 1893. The year 1846 witnessed Mr. BLACK's emigration to America. He landed in NY, made his way to Philadelphia and afterward to Chester County, PA, where he lived for several years. He had been married in 1839, and after a residence of two years in the new world during which time he became convinced that he could provide a better living for his family in this county, he sent for his wife to join him in 1848. They arrived in Winnebago County, IL, in 1856, and after a residence of two years, Charles BLACK purchased 120 acres of land while subsequently he bought an additional tract of 120 acres. He built thereon a house and at once began breaking the raw prairie. Not a furrow had been turned or an improvement made upon the place when it came into his possession. He was one of the pioneer settlers of the community and did as others had to do to meet the hardships and trials incident to life on the frontier. In addition to raising grain he also engaged in the raising of cattle, horses, and hogs, and was actively identified with agricultural pursuits until the last 15 years of his life, when he lived retired. He was known as an energetic, hard working man, persevering in all that he did, and his labor formed the basis of a richly merited and gratifying success.
Unto Charles BLACK and his wife were born 12 children, of whom 11 are still living: (1) James, who married Miss Elizabeth ARMSTRONG, by whom he had five children, is now carrying on farming in Brown County, KS; (2) Edward, who married Miss Mary CHAPMAN, and has five children, resides at Jessup, IA; (3) John is the third of the family; (4) William, who married Miss Amelia GEPHARD, and has six children, is engaged in general farming in Owen Township [Winnebago County, IL]; (5) George, who wedded Miss Mattie HULLET, and has 13 children, is carrying on general farming in Owen Township; (6) Annie, is the wife of Edson MILLER, a resident of Madison, SD, and they have three children; (7) Charles, who married Miss Agnes McMICHAEL, and is living in Owen Township has five children; (8) Charlotte resides on the old homestead; (9) Samuel B., who is married and has five children, makes his home in Brown County, KS; (10) Eliza is the wife of E. O. CAMPBELL [see also the Winnebago County, IL, biography of Edward O. CAMPBELL], of Owen Township, and they had six children, of whom four are living; (11) Lorenzo D., who lived to the age of 24 years, married Miss Mary HARVEY and had four children; (12) Louise is living on the old homestead in Owen Township.
John BLACK was only about two years of age when brought by his mother to America. He was reared under the parental roof, and was a youth of ten summers when the family removed to Winnebago County, where he has since lived. He continued under the parental roof until 20 years of age and gained practical experience in farm work, so that he was well qualified to carry on a similar business for himself, when at the age of 20 years he began farming on his own account. He took up his abode on the place where he yet resides, but at that time it was open prairie without improvement or cultivation. [p 318] All of the buildings upon the place stand as monuments to his enterprise and progressive spirit, and the well tilled fields are the evidence of his life and thrift and industry. He has worked persistently, his labors guided by sound judgment, and in all that he does he is eminently practical. He owns 580 acres of land in Winnebago County and 120 acres in Rock County, WI.
On On 04 Sep 1870 Mr. BLACK was married to Miss Lucy CHAPMAN, a daughter of Edom and Gertrude CHAPMAN, in whose family there were eight children, of whom five are yet living: (1) Minerva became the wife of Thomas LIDDLE, who died 16 May 1904, leaving three children, who with the mother reside in Owen Township; (2) Mrs. BLACK was the next of the family; (3) Elmer is married and lives in Butte, MT, and has three children; (4) Emma is the wife of Frank KING, of Rockford, and has one child; (5) Jeremiah is deceased.
The home of Mr. and Mrs. BLACK has been blessed with eight children, of whom all are yet living: (1) George, who married Agnes POMEROY, and has three children, is engaged in farming in the town of Rockton [Winnebago County, IL]; (2) Lena and (3) Baze are at home; (4) John, who married Miss Bessie FAIRCHILD, has one child, is also a farmer in the town of Rockton; (5) Jay, who wedded Miss Mary GILMORE, is engaged in farming near Beloit [Rock County], WI; (6) Minerva is the wife of Albert SHLAND, of Rocton Township; (7) Edom and (8) Charles area at home.
Mr. BLACK has been called to public office, holding all of the different positions in the town except that of clerk, and at this writing he is supervisor. He belongs to Rockton lodge No. 74, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, and Rockton chapter No. 190, Royal Arch Masons. He contributes to the support of the Methodist Episcopal church, and gives his political allegiance to the republican party.
Submitted by Cathy Kubly.