Portrait & Biographical Record Winnebago & Boone Cos., IL. Chicago: Biographical Pub. Co., 1892, pp 1155-1156
Among the prominent agriculturalists of Rockford Township, Winnebago County [IL], is James BLACKLAWS, who was born in Kincardineshire, Scotland, 10 Jan 1833. His father, William BLACKLAWS, was a native of the same shire in Scotland, where he carried on agricultural pursuits, and spent his entire life. The maiden name of his wife was Margaret MILNE, also a native of Scotland, and who, upon emigrating to America, departed this life in IL.
Our subject was 17 years of age when he accompanied his mother to the New World, they setting sail from Aberdeen in Aug 1850, embarking on a sailer commanded by Captain PEASE. After a tedious voyage of five weeks and two days, they landed at Quebec, soon after which they came to Winnebago County, via the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario to Lewistown, NY, where they boarded a train which conveyed them to Buffalo, then by [p 1156] way of the [Great] Lakes to Chicago, thence by railroad to Elgin [Kane County, IL], which was then the Western terminus of the road. The remainder of the journey was made with team.
James BLACKLAWS, on making his home in Winnebago County, engaged to work out at $9 per month on farms. He was very industrious and economical, and after being engaged in various kinds of work, purchased a well drill, which was one of the first ever used in this county, and which he operated together with a harvesting machine. After his marriage he located on the farm where he has since resided, and which, by proper rotation of crops, is made to yield handsome returns.
The first marriage of Mr. BLACKLAWS occurred in 1859, at which time Jessie (RANEY) SIMPSON became his wife. She was born in Scotland and departed this life 21 Aug 1866. In 1870 our subject was married to Ellen WALSH, who was born in the North of Ireland, of Scotch parents. The children born to Mr. BLACKLAWS by his first marriage were Henry W., Albert, and Lewis. The eldest son married Hattie FELCH; he was born in Feb 1860, and died 21 Aug 1891. Lewis married Stella ATKINSON; Albert died 29 Nov 1892. The present union of our subject has resulted in the birth of four children, namely: Nellie, Hattie, James, and Walter.
Mrs. BLACKLAWS, who was a member in good standing of the Westminster Presbyterian Church, in which body she was an active worker, died 13 Dec 1891. Our subject, who is interested in all measures which tend to the upbuilding of his community, votes the straight Republican ticket.
Submitted by Cathy Kubly.