Blackwells Were Among Earliest East Brainerd Settlers

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The Blackwells were among the earliest settlers in the lush valley of East Brainerd. John Lindsay Blackwell became a major for the Confederate army and Oscar Lindsay Blackwell was a beloved doctor in his home neighborhood for 55 years.

The Blackwell genealogy was copied by Rebecca Lindsay Blackwell and handed down in fragments to her granddaughter, Cynthia Warlick. The family traces back to John Blackwell who came to Abbeville, South Carolina at an early day. His sons were Jesse, John, William and Ambrose. The daughters were Kizziah who married a Morris, Leah who married a Pettigrew and later a Satterwhite, Elizabeth who married a Sosebee, and Charity who married a Trimble.

Jesse Blackwell married a Miller, and their sons were William, Lindsay and Jedidiah. The daughters were Nancy and Mary who married Hensleys, Susie who married a Harper, Elizabeth who married a Brooks, and Charity who married a Bowers. William Blackwell, son of Jesse, was born in 1792. He married Rebecca Lindsay who was born the same year. The Lindsays had come to South Carolina from Scotland. Rebecca was the daughter of James and Elizabeth Cunningham Lindsay of Pendleton. James Lindsay's father was killed in the Revolution.

The Blackwells and Lindsays made their way to Franklin County, Ga., where William Blackwell and Rebecca Lindsay were married in 1816. In 1820, the William Blackwells moved to Hall County, Ga. In 1834, they pushed on to Chickamauga Creek on a farm that straddled the Georgia-Tennessee line. Indians had lived along the creek and its west branch for centuries. Many years later some of the Blackwell descendants still could recall the names of many of the Indians who were their neighbors until the Trail of Tears in 1838. William Blackwell added to his holdings by acquiring some land that was lost by William B. Gilliland in 1842 at a sheriff's sale. One tract of six acres Blackwell got for $10 in 1844. When the Western and Atlantic Railroad was being built in the early 1840s, the route led across the Blackwell farm. The Blackwells in 1841 were paid $400 for giving up the 66-foot right of way. Before the first train arrived, William Blackwell died in 1846 and was buried on the home place.

The two eldest children of William and Rebecca Blackwell married Floyd brothers and sisters. John Lindsay Blackwell married Mary M. Floyd and Elizabeth married John D. Floyd. Other children of William Blackwell were Jesse Green who married Mariah Williams, James Perry who married Lucinda Dobbins, Mary who married Louis Clark Graddy, Jedidiah Middleton who married Emily McCary, Rebecca who married David Warlick, and Cynthia who married Dr. Thomas J. Young. The youngest daughter, Emily, at the start of the Civil War married William Hamilton Foster of Tunnel Hill, Ga. He had been to California in the Gold Rush, then returned home by way of Panama and clerked in a store at Graysville. He and his brother, Clark Foster, joined the Confederate forces. After Clark Foster was shot down, William H. Foster was captured while standing over his body. Foster was finally able to return from prison to his family.

William Jackson Blackwell, another son of William, was born in Hall County in 1821. He married Sarah Ann Carter, whose father, E.J. Carter, had ventured into Chattanooga when it was still known as Ross's Landing. She died in 1870, and he afterward married Elmira E. Morgan.

John L. "Lindsay'' Blackwell and William J. "Jack'' Blackwell settled on their father's East Brainerd property near Graysville. Lindsay Blackwell's place was on the Tennessee side,and Jack Blackwell was toward the Georgia side. Their neighbors included the Julians, Davidsons, Taylors, Ellises and Warlicks. A Blackwell chapel and school erected near a spring was a neighborhood gathering spot. It was built of logs with a rough wooden floor, slab benches, a narrow door and a stone chimney. This church survived the war and was in use by the Methodists until September 1873. It was the origin of the United Methodist Church of Graysville. The John D. Floyds were Baptists, who helped organize Concord Baptist Church. The Floyds moved to McDade County, Tex., just after the Civil War. The Blackwell school was a subscription school with about 25 children enrolled for the autumn term of about three months. Teachers were listed as J. Fred Jones, Mrs. Nervina Jenkins and Samuel Wilson. The school owned a library of several hundred volumes.

Lindsay Blackwell fought under Nathan Bedford Forrest and was in the invasion of Kentucky, then in the fighting in Middle Tennessee and the battles around Chattanooga. His unit was held in reserve near Reed's Bridge at Chickamauga and was assigned to Wheeler's Corps for raids in Sequatchie Valley. He received a pistol wound to his right hand and his left hand was wounded when he received an accidental blow and was frost bitten. Unable to use a pistol or saber, he resigned Dec. 1, 1863. He had risen to the rank of major.

Jack Blackwell also went into the Confederate forces, joining his older brother's Fifth Tennessee Cavalry at Chattanooga in 1863. He later was with the First Florida Reserves, where he rose to the rank of sergeant. His family joined him in Florida, and a son, James Jackson Blackwell,was born there in 1864. He was paroled at Madison, Fla., May 15, 1865, and he took the oath of allegiance to the U.S. at Worth County, Ga.,Sept. 22, 1865. Jack Blackwell long kept the receipt for a horse he bought in Atlanta, which he rode back to his East Brainerd home place. He attended the Blue and Gray Barbecue held at Crawfish Springs at Chickamauga Battlefield on Sept. 20, 1889.

Jacob L. Morgan, father of the second wife of Jack Blackwell, was killed at Resaca, Ga., May 14, 1864. He was captain of Co. I of the 36th Georgia Infantry. He had been captured at Vicksburg and paroled, then was in the fighting at Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge. His was one of the units that held off Sherman's assaults at the north end of the Ridge. John F. Morgan, younger brother of Jacob Morgan, was captured while visiting his family at Tunnel Hill.

Lindsay Blackwell moved to Texas in the 1880s and lived until 1893. Mary Floyd Blackwell had died in 1873. Jack Blackwell lived at East Brainerd until his death in 1890. He was buried near his father in the Blackwell Cemetery. His second wife, Elmira, died in 1903.

Children of Lindsay Blackwell were Mary E., Julius W., Bishop B., Linda, George, Thomas B. and Jennie. Children of Jack Blackwell were Martha Jane, Mary M., Elizabeth, Willie, Cicero and Yancy. James Jackson Blackwell, the son born in Florida during the war, married Mollie Davidson. Still another son was Dr. Oscar Lindsay Blackwell, who graduated from the Chattanooga Medical College in 1901. He married Allie Gertrude Higgins and long served the East Brainerd community. Dr. Blackwell's life was "a living example of trust and dependability, of the ideals of honor, service, and charity - fulfilling in all that he did the Christian concept of brotherhood.'' His children were Elmira, Raymond, Carl, Edna, Leon, Melvin and Evelyn.

Children of James Jackson and Mollie Davidson Blackwell were Jessie Victoria who married Jess Hamilton, Loyd Calvin who married Ada Harris, Willie Jackson who died when he was 18, Sarah Maude who married Lon Buff, Nora L. who married Silas S. Brown, James Cicero who married Lena Collins, Robert Lee, Grady Monroe, Willard and Wallace. Flora Raines Blackwell of Rossville, Ga., researched the family. Her husband, Carl Blackwell, was a son of James Cicero Blackwell and grandson of James Jackson Blackwell.

Rebecca Rhodes Eaves, a Blackwell descendant, collected many pictures and documents from the Blackwells and other Graysville families. She and her brother, Wesley Rhodes, continued to live on the Lindsay Blackwell place, a portion of which was developed as Heritage Green. The old Jack Blackwell place was developed as Council Fire. The Blackwell Cemetery is near the 16th hole. Joe Engel, the baseball promoter who long owned the Chattanooga Lookouts, lived on a portion of the Blackwell farm. He had columns topped with baseballs that led to his fine home.


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