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Joseph Black, Sr
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Birth: Feb. 22, 1747
Frederick County
Virginia, USA
Death: Mar. 25, 1825
Blount County
Tennessee, USA

*** US Veteran - American Revolution ***

DAR Ancestor #: A010651

Patriot, Pioneer, Judge, and Soldier. Established Black's Fort later becoming Abingdon, Virginia and with others drafted the Constitution of Tennessee. He is resting in the Eusebia Cemetery located in Prospect, Blount Co., Tennessee. He served our nation serving in the American Revolution as a Captain in the Virginia militia.

There is a single grave marker and the text of the marker reads: "Joseph Black Sr. Capt VA Militia Revolutionary War Feb 22 1747 March 25 1825"

Military Service:
He served as a Captain in the Virginia Militia in the American Revolution.

In September of 1780, Col William Campbell's regiment mustered at Black's Fort then joined Tennessee regiments at Watauga Sycamore Shoals in the first Volunteer military expedition. Joseph Black was a Lieutenant in Captain Dysart's company of the Campbell regiment. They tracked the British to King's Mountain where, for the first time, the patriots soundly defeated the British on Saturday October 7, 1780. George Washington was surprised that such an armed force could be raised from over the mountain and pleasantly surprised that the British were so soundly beaten.

Upon their return to Abingdon, Virginia, the soldiers learned that the Cherokee had used the absence of the men to plunder numerous homesteads. General Martin's wife, a sister of one of the Cherokee chiefs, asserted that this time, it was not just a few renegades, but some of the chiefs involved in the raids. Many of the soldiers rallied again to bring revenge upon the Cherokees. The settlers defeated the Cherokees at the battle of Boyd's Creek. On Christmas Day 1780, the soldiers rode through the cities of the Overhill Cherokee on the Little Tennessee River burning homes and destroying crops. During the return to Black's Fort, the soldiers scouted the land south of the French Broad where several would later settle.

On June 16, 1792, Joseph Black Sr. was commissioned as captain in the Knox County Tennessee Militia by Territorial Governor William Blount,

Other Service:
Joseph Black served in the first general assembly of the Tennessee House of representatives in 1796 to 1797 representing Blount County, Tennessee. He was a delegate to the first Constitutional Convention for Tennessee in 1796. The 1796 Tennessee Constitution was drafted in Knoxville over a four week period by a convention of fifty-five delegates (two delegates from each of the territory's eleven counties). These delegates included William Blount (president of the convention), James Robertson, William Cocke, and Andrew Jackson. The convention delegates never intended to present the Constitution to the citizens for ratification. Instead, the delegates hurried to finish the Constitution in order to present a copy to Congress before their spring adjournment. After much contention, members reached a compromise giving Tennessee immediate statehood on the condition of having only one representative in the House. The bill was signed by President Washington on June 1, 1796.

Biography and Family:
Joseph Black was born on 22 February 1747 on a farm near Cedar creek located on the Frederick and Shenandoah county lines in Virginia. His father was John Blackburn who shortened his name to John Black. His mother was Elizabeth Colville, descendant of Scottish Lord of Cleish. He had two brothers according to the Frederick County deed book #8, named Andrew and Samuel Blackburn. His father died in 1750 and in 1754 his mother remarried Samuel Newell.

His older sister Christian married Christopher Acklin while his oldest sister Janet married John Vance. His sister Martha married John Cusick in Tennessee. He was Half-brother to Samuel Newell, who also was a member of Tennessee General Assembly and Secretary of State for the aborted state of Franklin.

Joseph Black Sr. married in Frederick County, Virginia, before 1769, to his wife Jane () Black and they had one son, Joseph Black, Jr. who was born on 6 July 1781 and died 12 May 1864 after marrying Ruby Katherine Henry.

About 1771 he moved to Beaver Creek at Wolf Hills where he was one of the founding members of the Sinking Springs Presbyterian Church.

He may have attended the Augusta Academy at Raphine, Virginia.

During Lord Dunmore's War in 1774 he built Black's Fort just south of the property now known as Mont Calm along Eighteen Mile Creek. As a result he created the oldest English speaking settlement west of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The fort was capable of sheltering up to 600 settlers from Indian attacks. It consisted of a log stockade, a block house, with a few log cabins all surrounded by a palisade, to which nearby settlers were to retreat in event of attack.

Early settlers recognized the importance of this location as Black's Fort was constructed at the crossing point of two great Indian trails, themselves following ancient animal migration trails, thus presenting a logical location as a trade center and access point to the west and south.

In 1776 the Black's fort was harassed by the Cherokee Indian Warrior Dragging Canoe. On July 4, 1776, an attack on Black's Fort left several dead or wounded. As a result, messengers were dispatched to other settlements north and west of the area to warn of possible encounters with the natives. Black and pioneers Samuel Briggs and Dr. Thomas Walker donated the 120 acres of land upon which the original town of Abingdon was laid out. Black's Fort became the county seat of the newly formed Washington County Virginia in 1776. In 1778 Black's Fort was renamed to Abingdon after Martha Custis Washington's English manor. Joseph Black served as a Washington County, Virginia, judge.

About 1784 Joseph Black moved to the Tennessee country and established Black's Station, also called Black's Blockhouse, at head of Crooked Creek, in portion of Knox County to fall later within Blount County.

In 1795 he was named to the commission to select county seat for Blount County, Tennessee, and served as a justice of the peace for Blount County.

Other Sources Used:,_Virginia
Book: History of southwest Virginia, 1746-1786: Washington County, 1777-1870 By Lewis Preston Summers

More about Blacks Fort:

From: "History of southwest Virginia, 1746-1786: Washington County, 1777-1870" By Lewis Preston Summers.

"Captain Joseph Black, who settled on Eighteen Mile Creek nearly south of the present residence of Colonel Arthur Cummings, with the assistance of his neighbors, erected a small fort near his residence for the protection of the neighborhood from attacks by the Indians, which fort was called "Black's Fort," and this fort was used until the summer of 1776.

In the spring of this year, 1776. the Cherokee Indians, after twelve years of comparative peace and friendliness, decided to wage a war against the whites, and to exterminate or drive them from the waters of the Holston and Clinch rivers; and in the month of July news came to the settlement, which extended down as far as Eaton's Fort, seven miles east of Long Island of Holston, that Dragging Canoe, a noted Indian chief, at the head of seven hundred Indian warriors, was marching upon the settlements, which news created great consternation, and every settler, with but few exceptions, gathered his family and traveled with all speed for the older settlements.

There was but one public highway passing through this section at that time, which was known as the Great road and passed directly by Black's Fort.

By the 20th of July, 1776, fully four hundred men, women and children, had assembled at Black's Fort, and, at the suggestion of their leaders, determined to build a substantial fort and contest the further progress of the Indian invasion.

While the building of this fort was in progress, the battle of Long Island Flats was fought and resulted in an overwhelming victory for the settlers. The news of this battle reached Black's Fort on the following day.

Upon the receipt of this good news, the Rev. Charles Cummings had all work upon the fort suspended, assembled the multitude, and, kneeling in prayer, thanked God for the deliverance of the people.

The work upon the fort was continued until completed and, when completed, it was one of the best forts upon the frontiers.

During the week following the battle of Long Island Flats the settlers at Black's Fort were greatly annoyed by small bands of Indians traveling through the settlements, killing the settlers indiscriminately, burning their homes and driving off their property.

Three parties of Indians came within the vicinity of Black's Fort. One party scalped Arthur Blackburn and left him for dead, another succeeded in killing and scalping Jacob Mongle, and a third party assailed the Rev. Charles Cummings, his negro servant, Job, William Creswell and James Piper, and succeeded in killing William Creswell and crippling James Piper by shooting off one of his fingers.

After the battle at Long Island Flats, the settlers were greatly encouraged, and, at the same time, felt very much outraged at the depredations of their Indian neighbors, and a portion of the settlers at Black's Fort, with the assistance of a few men from Bryan's Fort, succeeded in killing and scalping eleven out of a party of Indians that visifcd the home of James Montgomery, near the South Fork of Holston river, about eight miles south of Abingdon. The scalps of the eleven Indians were brought to Black's Fort and tied to the end of the longest pole that could be found in the vicinity, and this pole was planfed at the gate of the fort as a warning, we suppose, to future invaders that they would meet a like fate,

The county of Washington was established by an Act of the Assembly of Virginia in the fall of the year 1776, and by the provisions of that Act Black's Fort was designated as the first place of meeting of the County Court of the new county. The time of the meeting was fixed as January 28, 1777."

(Ref: 6168) 
Family links: 
  Jane Black*
  John Black (1776 - 1845)*
  Joseph Black (1781 - 1864)*
*Calculated relationship
Eusebia Cemetery
Blount County
Tennessee, USA
Created by: Mark Persons
Record added: May 13, 2011
Find A Grave Memorial# 69750330
Joseph Black, Sr
Added by: Mark Persons
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Honoring Joseph Black, Sr., one of the Heroes who fought at the Battle of King's Mountain
- Vonnie Cantrell
 Added: Sep. 2, 2014

- Elaine
 Added: May. 17, 2014
- Samuel Kirk
 Added: May. 16, 2014
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