Friday, October 25, 2013

Holbrook line: Peter Black, mason, teamster, farmer, soldier, father and husband

The early life of Peter Black is a mystery. There are statements on the internet that he was the son of a Hessian soldier who stayed here after the Revolutionary War.  There is another statement that he was the son of a German boy who came to America during the Revolutionary War and settled in Pennsylvania.  The first name is variously listed as Ulrich or Frederick, and the last name is given as Swartz or as Black. (Black is the English translation of the Swartz name.)  The only clue I have found is that there was a man named Ulrich Black in Adams County, Pa in 1798, listed on a tax record.  Could this be Peter's father?  I've found no other records, on line or at the Allen County Public Library, listing Ulrich, so as of now his father is officially unknown, as is his mother.

The first thing we really know of him is that he was married in Baltimore, Maryland to Martha Amos, daughter of  Benjamin Amos and Elizabeth Amos (cousins; the Amos tree is complicated!) on August 16, 1812 in the First Methodist Episcopal Church.  Peter was a veteran of the War of 1812, according to on line biographies, so the most likely place for him to have served or would have been the Baltimore area.  As of this date, I haven't been able to verify the claim to service, but it is likely since most of the men of Baltimore served when it became apparent that the British, who had just burned Washington DC, intended to make Baltimore their next target.

His early training was in the manufacture of brick and the trade of masonry.  A few years after his marriage, the family moved to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania where he was a teamster.   A teamster then was someone who drove horses, delivering goods and perhaps people from one place to another.  This job involved uncertain hours and uncertain pay, but Peter apparently did well enough to have a nest egg to take with him in 1833, when he and his family moved to Richland County, Ohio.  There he was a farmer, again rather successful, as the 1850 census shows him with real estate valued at $6000.

Three years later, all of the Black family except for one son, Frederick Amos (noted as Amos in the 1850 census), who had gone on ahead, and Elizabeth, who stayed behind with Isaac Hetrick and their large family, moved to Noble County, Indiana. This was probably quite a move for a 64 year old man!  Peter and Martha settled in Jefferson Township, Noble County and farmed for the rest of their days.  By the 1860 census, he had real estate valued at $8000 and personal property of $2000, and there was a 17 year old servant girl living in their home. The census shows his birth state as Maryland. In his biography, he is noted as being a Democrat and an industrious and honest man.   

Peter died on October 23, 1863, and is buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Jefferson Township, Noble County, Indiana. The cemetery is on land originally donated by the Black family, so his farm was undoubtedly nearby.  It was an honor to visit the cemetery on Memorial Day in 2009, and place a flag on the grave of a veteran of the War of 1812! 

The children of Peter and Martha were Frederick Amos, Owen, Elizabeth, Oliver P, Cyrus, Davis, Benjamin, Naomi, Peter Mark, and James.

Our line is: Peter Black and Martha Amos
Elizabeth Black and Isaac Hetrick
Mary Alice Hetrick and Louis Stanard
Etta Stanard and Loren Holbrook