Biography - J Blackwell

J. R. BLACKWELL, grocer, Litchfield, was born in Fayette County, Ill., in February, 1844, the city of his birth being Vandalia, the old capital of the State, where he lived about ten years, when he moved thence to Hillsboro, Ill., at which place he lived with his uncle, the Hon. J. T. ECELES; in June, 1861, at the age of sixteen years, he enlisted in the Eighth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, under Col. Richard J. OGLESBY, his company being B, under Capt. STURGIS; under the call for three-months' volunteers, he served three months, during which time the regiment was quartered at Cairo, Ill.; on July 5, 1862, he re-enlisted, at Hillsboro, in the One Hundred and Seventeenth Illinois Volunteer Infantry, in Company B, under Capt. R. McWILLIAMS; he participated in the campaign from Vicksburg to Meridian, Miss., in the Red River campaign, in Arkansas and Tennessee, in the Nashville and for Blakely campaigns, the Tupelo and Price campaigns, in the campaign against Hood in Middle Tennessee, and in the Mobile campaign; thence to Montgomery, Ala., where the regiment was at the close of the war; in all, his regiment marched 2,187 miles, traveled by rail 778 miles, and by water 6,191 miles; they captured two stand of colors and 442 prisoners of war; Mr. BLACKWELL never was wounded, taken prisoner, off duty, nor in the hospital; he was mustered out on July 5, 1865, and would have veteranized if the war had continued; on his return from the army, he studied law with Maj. McWILLIAMS, of Litchfield, where he located for practice, begin admitted to the bar in 1867; he practiced his profession here four years; from 1869 to 1877, he served as Postmaster of Litchfield, and went out under the general order of President Hayes that no re-appointments be made when there was a contest and the incumbent had served eight years; the largest number of names ever signed to a petition was sent to the department from this place, indorsing him and asking for his re-appointment; the petition contained the indorsement of Senator R. J. OGLESBY, Gov. BEVERIDGE and Congressman Gen. J. S. MARTIN, the petitioners numbering 1,500. He was Alderman from the Second Ward two years, and was defeated for Mayor in 1878 by a small majority; in that year, he engaged in mercantile business at Benton, Ill., continuing about two years, when he returned to Litchfield and here engaged in the grocery business; he has now a model grocery, on Kirkham street, called the Wabash Store, and is doing a leading business.
In 1866, he married Miss Hattie, daughter of Rev. P. P. Hamilton, of Litchfield; she died in 1878; to them were born three children, two girls and one boy. He remarried, in 1879, Miss Alice, daughter of Rev. Hugh CORRINGTON. Robert BLACKWELL, the father of our subject, was born near Shelbyville, Ky., in 1802; he learned the trade of printing at Hopkinsville, Ky., and, when a young man, came to Illinois, locating at Kaskaskia in 1815, at which place he became editor of the first paper ever printed in the State; it had been established shortly before the time of his arrival, by Mathew DUNCAN, who was also from Shelbyville, Ky.; the paper was styled the IllinoisIntelligencer. Mr. BLACKWELL became public printer of the new State, and was at one time State Auditor; he was twice elected to the State Senate from that district in Illinois. When the capital was removed from Kaskaskia to Vandalia, he removed there, and resided there thirty years, during which time he was engaged in mercantile business, being a long time the partner of William H. BROWNING, late of Chicago; he died in 1870, leaving one son and two daughters by his second marriage, their mother being a sister of Hon. J. T. ECCLES, of Hillsboro. He was three times married, his first wife, who bore him no children, being a sister of Dr. STAPP, of Decatur, Ill.;his widow, nee Miss Mary SLUSSER, from Ohio, lives at Vandalia; his demise leaves a vacancy felt by the public, and one not easily filled.

Extracted 19 Nov 2016 by Norma Hass from 1882 History of Bond and Montgomery Counties, Illinois, Part 2 Biographical Department, pages 132-133.

Templates in Time