W. W. Blackburn Letter, contributed by Alex Hightower,
Mrs. Ann L. Rodick found this letter in the George Coon library in the
1980's and transcribed it for me. It took me a long time to realize what a mine
of information it was for information about other families who eventually
intermarried with the Blackburns. It seems to principally focus on people who
settled around Farmersville. Ann transcribed exactly as written and I have
done the same. The letter is otherwise self-explanatory.
Rufus, Ky April 17th 1900
The Honorable William Marble of Princeton Ky. The last interview I had with him he made an earnest
request that I write a sketch of those I new when I was a boy. First let me say I was 76 years old
the of Nov last and it cannot be expected that I can write fluently. I will commence with my
grandfather William Henry Blackurn. He was born in Virginia in 1757. He joined the rebellion against
the Mother country for Independence. His Father's name was, I think, Edward his Mother's Maiden name
was Harrison. He moved to North Carolina whear one daughter and two sons was born I.E. Margaret,i
John, Zebulon. He then moved to Wilson County, Tenn. His wife was Sarah Baird he lived their untill
his wife died and he got his House and two Negroes burned up. He then at about the age of 70 quit
House keeping and came to Caldwell County and lived with his son Zebulon (my father) the most of the
time untill his death at the age of 84 years 9 month and 1 day. He was a Strong Man and a Staunch
My Father Zebulon Blackburn was born in North Carolina in 1793 Dec. 15 and died Dec 12th 1863 of Heart
trouble. he came with his Father at 3 years old to Tenn and lived their untill 1814 when he came to
then Livingston Co on Donaldson Creek and Married Lois Asherst.ii he continued to live there until his
My other grandfather Wm. Asherst iiiwas born and reared in South Carolina about the year 1759. He also
belonged to that Spartan Band that fought for their Independence. He was in the Battle at Gilford
Court House. He was a very concientious Chistian man and a Member of the Baptist Church. He married
Mary McChesney and Moved to Hopkins Co. Ky when my mother was 5 years old. He lived there a few years
and moved to this, then Livingston Co and located on Donaldson Creek near whear Farmersville is
located. He lived to be over 90 years old. He donated the lot on which the Baptist Church was built
Next I think of Spencer Calvert a native of South Carolina a Whig and a Baptist. He accujalted or
raised some property I.E. Negroes, he had ordinary Carolina Intellect. He lived to be Some 75 years
old. He left 5 sons and two daughters. One of his daughters married ___ Fryer and the other Wm.
Next I remember Joseph Jones and his brother Saml. iv Joseph was a good Farmer for those days and
lived above want. He lived to be about ___ had a large family. All of them are dead now. Samuel
Jones was rather a blow. He loved Strong drink and Squandered what property he had in his younger
days, they were both good Whigs.
I now call to mind John F. Morse another South Carolinian. He brought some negroes with him about the
year 1800. He had 5 sons and 4 daughters all of whom have been dead for years leaving but little
property to the 3d generation as he was killed by a tree. He was a Baptist but of limited Influence as
was his 3 Brothers (but quiet citizens). Next I call to mind Walter McChesney a grand uncle of mine.
He was what was called at that day a good liver. He had Some land estate that passed to his children.
He was a Strong Jackson Man. He died at about 70 leaving 6 sons and 5 girls all of them are now
Next I rember two of the Smiths, Abner and James.v Abner was a Magistrate under the apppointment of
the govenor. Also Sheriff by Senority when that office was bought and Sold like property he was a
man of Some Influence. He was a Whig. His brother James was rather an ordinary man. Liked strong
drink. Both familys have passed away (they lived on Traidwater). William and Al___ McDowell was
concidered good citizans especially Wm. They were both Baptists and Democrats.
James W. Mansfield was a Virginian a good preacher of his day. He preached for Donaldson Baptist
Church fom Octr 1823 untill about 1850 and doubtless he was a means under God in bringing many to
repentence. He died in perhaps about 1855.
Now I will give you a Sketch of Joseph Leech. He was a Nimrod. He had a little dog that would Slow
track a Deer all day, which he delited in More than Farming. Next I notice Thos Simpson who delited
in Hunting and drinking Whiskey more than work but was generly quiet. He lived to be some 80 years
I will now try to give and Imparcial Sketch of My Father. He was born in North Carolina viDecr 15th
1793 and died Decr 12 1863. He filled Several offices during his life. I think he had the
confidence of the people in general. He was constable for many years. He was deputy Sheriff under
the 1st Sheriff that was Elected in this county. After that he was elected Justice of the peace
Several times. He had been a member of the Baptist Church for about 30 years. His wife's maden name
was Lois Asherst. They was married Aug 30 1814. She was also a member of the Baptist Church. She died
in Feb. 1864. They lived above hear and left about 3000 worth of property which I distributed among
them 7 in all. I do not like to Speak of myself but will say I am the only Son of parants against
whom I never heard any Said by a responsible party. I was born Nov 11th 1823. I was married the 23d of
Octr 1845. To Miss Cathrine Street of Union County, viia Godly woman with whom I lived happily until
her death which occurred in Feb 1862. viiiI was Indorsed by the voters for Justice of the peace for 8
consecutive years. I have been a member of the Baptist Church Since Apr 1841.
W.W. Blackburn i Margaret Blackburn m. Solomon Ray in Rutherford Co, TN 2/26/1816. Solomon Ray sued
for divorce by first wife Peggy ____ in Wilson Co, TN 1811. Granted on grounds of abandonment.
ii Lois Asherst (Asher) was dau. of William Asher and Mary McChesney. Marriage bond recorded August
30 1815 , Caldwell County.
iii Wm. Asher Rev War Pension applied for August 20, 1832,Caldwell Co. Wm. Asher and Mary McChesney
m. bond 9/15/1782 Rockbridge Co, VA.
iv Sons of John Jones d. 1811. Will recorded Caldwell Co. names wife Martha, sons Samuel and
Joseph and daughter Sally Parker.
v Sons of George and Charity Smith per death record of Abner Smith. A George Smith appears in
Livingston County Census in year s 1801 and 1802. Abner appears in the 1810 Caldwell Census near
Samuel Jones. Abner signed marriage bond for Sally Smith when she married Joseph Jones;bond dated
12/15/1818 Caldwell County. Originally from Spartanburgh Dist, SC.
vi Wilkes Co, NC
vii Daughter of Nimrod Street and Catherine Parrack or Enoch. Marriage recorded Union Co. Her
headstone (Morse Cemetery) gives her death date as 1/5/1862.
viii W.W. Blackburn married Martha M. Traylor 1/1/1863. W.W. died 5/26/1902.