Skip to main content

Black family papers

Identifier: MS 2745


This collection consists of papers (1800-1916) concerning the Black Family of New Castle County, Delaware, Chester County, Pennsylvania, and Cecil County, Maryland. Papers consist chiefly of financial, land, and legal records. Also included are wills, household inventories, correspondence, Constitution and Minutes of Charlestown Presbyterian Church dated 1823-41, miscellaneous genealogical material concerning the Alexander, Black, Evans, Hasson, Moore, Patterson and Meek, Tuft, and related families.


  • 1800-1916


Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

The reproduction of materials in this collection may be subject to copyright restrictions. It is the responsibility of the researcher to determine and satisfy copyright clearances or other case restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the collections. For more information visit the MCHC’s Rights and Permissions page.


1.46 Linear Feet (4 boxes)

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Gift of William B. Evans, September 1948.

Scope and Contents

John Black

John Black died at White Clay Creek Hundred, New Castle County, Delaware. His Last Will and Testament, proved 5 January 1807, named his brother-in-law, James Black of West Fallowfield Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania, and his nephew, Dr. Thomas W. Black of Charlestown, Cecil County, Maryland, as executors of the estate. Also mentioned in his will were his sisters Rebecca, wife of James Black, and Nancy, wife of Samuel Ferguson.

Other papers relating to John Black include the Letter of Administration granting Dr. Thomas W. Black the right to administer the estate of the deceased, a bill of sale for a negro boy, and a receipt signed by Samuel and Nancy Ferguson acknowledging payment from the estate.

James Black

James Black married Rebecca Black (data unknown), and was the father of Dr. Thomas W. Black, Charles G. Black, John N. Black, Rebecca Black who married John Humphrey, and Frances Black who married Thomas Davis. James Black died in West Fallowfield Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania in July of 1817. By order of the Orphans Court, Rebecca Black was granted the right to administer her deceased husband's estate. She gave power of attorney to her sons, Charles G. Black and John N. Black, thus authorizing them to sell and settle the real estate of her late husband. Rebecca Black died in 1822. In her Last Will and Testament, she appointed her sons Charles G. Black and John N. Black executors of her administration.

The papers of James Black consist of a bond to James Smith, promissory notes, and a receipt acknowledging payment for drawing his Last Will and Testament. However, the bulk of the papers relate to the administration of his estate. These papers include accounts, bills and receipts, claims against the estate, and miscellaneous memoranda regarding arbitration between Rebecca Black and Thomas Davis to recover the purchase money of Gum Tree Tavern Plantation and a five acre meadow lot on Doe Run.

Martha Black

Martha Black was the sister of John Black, James Black, William Black, Jane Black who married William Clingan, Nancy Black who married Samuel Ferguson, and Rebecca Black who married James Black. It is probable that Martha Black was residing in Chester County, Pennsylvania at the time of her death.

The papers of Martha Black consist of copies of the court judgements in the case of Martha Black vs. William Black, Thomas Davis, and William Clingan--administrators of John Black, deceased, and a rough draft of her Last Will and Testament in which she named her sisters, brothers, and many nieces and nephews.

Charles G. Black

Charles G. Black was born in Chester County, Pennsylvania, the son of James and Rebecca Black. On February 25, 1807, he married Sarah Baily of Charlestown, Cecil County, Maryland. They had at least one child, Martha Elizabeth.

The papers of Charles G. Black consist of bills and receipts which relate primarily to the expenses incurred during the administration of his father's estate. Other papers, which were co-signed with his brother John N. Black, include a letter to James Bert and a mortgage to Caleb Brinton. Both items appear to regard the family property known as the Gum Tree Tavern Plantation and the meadow lot on Doe Run.

John Hasson

John Hasson married (Agness) Nancy Meek on December 7, 1802. They had two, possibly three, children: James, John Jr., and Ann. On 3 April 1808, John Hasson died. The family was residing in Charlestown, Cecil County, Maryland.

The papers of John Hasson consist of a promissory note, a bill, and his Last Will and Testament in which he named his wife and three children, James, John Jr., and Ann. Also mentioned were the three children of his brother William and the children of his sister Elenor. His friends, William Howell and Thomas W. Veazey, were appointed as his executors. John N. Black was one of the three men John Hasson requested to have serve as a witness when he signed his Will.

Nancy Hasson

(Agness) Nancy Meek Hasson was born on April 22, 1778. It is probable that she was the daughter of Andrew Meek who died shortly before she was born. Following her own husband's death in 1808, she became manager of the household finances.

Papers consist of miscellaneous household accounts and the guardianship accounts she maintained for her sons, James and John Jr.

John N. Black

John N. Black, the son of James and Rebecca Black, was born in Chester County, Pennsylvania on February 16, 1787. He moved to Cecil County, Maryland sometime after 1805, settling in Charlestown. In December of 1809 he married James Hasson's widow, Nancy. The Orphans Court named him as James and John Hasson Jr.'s guardian. By this marriage with Nancy Hasson, John N. Black had four children of his own: William Washington Black, Martha Jane Black, John Nelson Black, Jr., and Rebecca Ann Black.

When James and John Hasson Jr. became of age, a dispute developed between them and John N. Black over money due them. The case was submitted to arbitration and the judgement was in favor of James and John Hasson Jr. John N. Black was ordered to pay over the disputed amount. A few years later, on his wards' behalf, John N. Black sued William Howell and Thomas W. Veazy for mismanagement of funds.

John N. Black began his career as an attorney. Later, in 1829, he was elected to serve as a commissioner of Charlestown. His political appointments included customs inspector and judge of the orphans court. John N. Black was also a member of the Charlestown Presbyterian Church, and eventually became a member of its Board of Trustees.

John N. Black died intestate on April 20, 1847 at the age of 60. William Washington Black, his eldest son, was named the executor of the estate upon his mother's renunciation of her right to become administor.

The bulk of the papers of John N. Black contain items pertaining to his wards, James and John Hasson Jr., and their father's estate. Included are the guardianship accounts and the miscellaneous papers associated with its settlement. Also included are miscellaneous papers concerning the case against William Howell and Thomas W. Veazy.

The remaining papers consist of bills and receipts, construction accounts, and correspondence. Also included are the papers concerning John N. Black's election as commissioner and his appointment as customs inspector, and the settlement of his estate following his death in 1847.

John Nelson Black, Jr.

John Nelson Black, Jr. was born in Charlestown, Cecil County, Maryland on January 27, 1818, the son of John N. and Nancy Black. He married Elizabeth C. Ewing on January 1, 1856 and became the father of ten children, 9 who survived: Josephine Black, Walter Ewing Black, Isabella Ewing Black, Nelson Montgomery Black, Emma Margaretta Black, Pinckney P. Black, Bayard G. Black, Ressie E. Black, and Edna Maude Black. John N. Black, Jr. died on January 27, 1906.

The papers of John N. Black, Jr. consist of a bill of sale for negroes, agreements, household inventories, and incoming correspondence. Several of these items also concern his brother, William W. Black.

William Washington Black

William Washington Black was born in Charlestown, Cecil County, Maryland on April 13, 1814, the eldest son of John N. and Nancy Black. He married Catharine P. Evans in Baltimore on May 30, 1848 and had four children: William W. Black, J. Nelson Black, an infant son, and W.W. Black.

William W. Black was engaged as a proprietor of a store in Charlestown but later decided to become a farmer. He died on January 4, 1887.

The papers of William W. Black consist of letters of recommendation to the Wilmington and Susquehanna Railroad Company regarding an available position, a leather memo book, bills and receipts many of which relate to the settlement of his father's estate, and miscellaneous land records. Also included are incoming and outgoing correspondence. Subjects concern the death of his eldest son, Willy, and other family related news.

Catharine Porter Evans

Catharine Porter Evans was the wife of William W. Black. She died on July 4, 1897.

Her papers consist of an autograph album, a cookbook, and incoming correspondence regarding Evans family history.

Samuel L. C. Hasson

Samuel L. C. Hasson, attorney, was the son of James Hasson (1803-1878) and Louisa Owens. He was the grandson of John Hasson and Nancy Meek Hasson. Samuel L. C. Hasson married Eva? and had two children: John and Katharine.

His letter written from his home in Kansas City, Missouri to a cousin, possibly J. Nelson Black (1851-?) of Charlestown, relates family news. Subjects include his son who was stationed at the Great Lakes Navy training station and his daughter who was attending Smith College in Massachusetts. Other topics include World War I and an outbreak of Spanish Influenza. Samuel L. C. Hasson mentions Josephine and Walter Ewing Black.

John C. Groome

Senator John Charles Groome was born in Elkton, Maryland on June 8, 1800, the son of Dr. John Groome (1769-1830) and Alice L. Edmondson (1763-1817). In 1836 he married Elizabeth Riddle Black, the daughter of Hon. Judge James Black of New Castle, Delaware. They had at least one child, James Black Groome (1838-1893), who eventually became a U.S. senator and Maryland's 36th govenor. John C. Groome died Novemeber 30, 1866.

John C. Groome's papers consist of a mortage to Ann M. Sewall and James M. Sewall.

Mary Cameron

Mary Cameron [1786-] was the widow of Matthiew Cameron who had served as a soldier in the 49th Regiment of Maryland commanded by Colonel Thomas W. Veazy in the War of 1812.

Mary Cameron's papers consist of an incomplete Widow's Declaration for Bounty Land Claim, dated 1955. The form states that it was filed by William W. Black of Charlestown. Also included among her papers are other incomplete handwritten forms containing statements which grant William W. Black power of attorney.

Savilia E. Black, Constantia F. Black, Rebecca J. Ferguson, And Martha Miller

The papers consist of an indenture of mortgage between Savilla E. Black, Constantia F. Black of Delaware, Rebecca J. Ferguson, Martha Miller of Pennsylvania and Levi Tyson of Maryland. The indenture of mortgage, dated 1855, refers to several parcels of land situated in Charlestown, Cecil County, Maryland.

Charlestown Presbyterian Church

By an Act of the Legislature of the State of Maryland which was passed at the November 1806 Session, the Commissioners of Charlestown were authorized to apply the sum of one thousand dollars of the money received from the rents of public property of Charlestown for the erection of a house of religious worship. This house, when erected, was intended to be for the use of the Presbyterian Church.

On or about the 11th of November 1808 the Commissioners of Charlestown purchased from Col. Nathaniel Ramsay a brick house and lots in Charlestown. This property ultimately became the Meeting House for the Presbyterian congregation.

Fifteen years later, in 1823, the heads of families belonging to the Charlestown Presbyterian Congregation met at their Meeting House for the purpose of incorporating. The Constitution of its Corporation was established, its board of trustees chosen, and its registry of all members of the congregation prepared. The Revd. James Magnaw was pastor. Among the members of the congregation who later came to serve as members of its Board of Trustees were Charles G. Black, John N. Black, William W. Black, James Hasson, and John Owens.

The papers of the Charlestown Presbyterian Church consist of its Constitution and Minutes, both initiated on March 3, 1823. The Minutes detail the election of members to committees and boards, the renting of pews, church accounts, and the suit between the Commissioners of Charlestown and the Trustees of the Church. Also included are memos regarding applications for admission into the communion of the church, correspondence, a summons, a resignation of a Trustee, memoranda, and other miscellaneous papers.

Nottingham Church

Papers consist of notes written by John N. Black regarding the questionable manner in which the Session of the Nottingham Church took the testimony on March 22 and 23, 1838. The notes refer to the case between John N. Black and John Shaw in which John Shaw falsely invited a preacher to come to Charlestown to take pastoral charge of the Presbyterian church.

The Principio Company

The papers consist of a Bill entitled, "An Act to incorporate The Principio Company of Cecil County." It states that the object of the corporation was to be the establishment of a cotton factory or other manufacturing works on the Principio Creek. John N. Black is named as an appointed commissioner.


The genealogical material for the Alexander family consists of a photocopied typescript family sketch taken from A Record of the Descendants of John Alexander of Lanarkshire, Scotland, and his wife, Margaret Glasson, who emigrated from County Armagh, Ireland, to Chester County, Pennsylvania A.D. 1736. It cites the Reverend John E. Alexander as its author. The original family sketch was printed at Philadelphia by Alfred Martien in 1878.

The genealogical material for the Black family consists of two lists of the birth and death dates for the children of William W. and Catharine P. Black. One list notes the date of marriage of William W. Black and Catharine P. Evans.

The genealogical material for the Evans family consists of a photocopied typescript sketch entitled The Alexander Evans Home and two invitations, dated 1 September 1845, from Mrs. Evans of Lancaster, Pennsylvania to Miss Catharine Evans and William Evans.

The genealogical material for the Hasson family consists of notes on some of the descendants of John and Agnes (Nancy) Meek Hasson.

The genealogical material for the Moore family consists of notes on the Thomas Moore branch of the family.

The genealogical material for the Patterson and Meek families consist of a list of birth and deaths of some of its family members (1770-1789).

The miscellaneous genealogical material for the Tuft family consists of a list of births (1837-1841), a receipt dated 1839 acknowledging payment from the estate of Catharine Hinchman, a Western Union telegraph message dated 1884 notifying Reuben Hinchman Tuft of his father's death, and a receipt acknowledging the arrival of a check from the U.S. Treasury in payment of Mrs. Ruth N. Tuft's pension claim.


Items consist of three locks of hair belonging to members of the Black family and an undated, hand-colored valentine.

Miscellaneous Material

Papers consist of miscellaneous bills and receipts, notes, correspondence, a newspaper clipping of marriage and death notices, and two stories written by Edith Jewell Garrells.


John Hasson and Nancy Meeks on December 7-1802

John N. Black, Sr. and Nancy Hasson on December 14-1809

William W. Black and Catherine P. Evans on May 30-1848, in the First Presbyterian Church, Baltimore, Md. by Rev. John Buckess

John Nelson Black, Jr. and Elizabeth C. Ewing on January 1-1856 by Rev. John Squier

John Owens and Margaret J. Black on November 26-1835

Harry M. Cantwell and Josephine L. Black on April 19-1881

Perry Barnes and Isabella E. Black on December 21-1882

Nelson Montgomery Black and Myrtle E. Richardson on May 11-1892

Walter E. Black and Clara Walker on December 25-1916

Bayard G. Black and Nellie Clark on August 4-1909

Harry Barnes and Ressie E. Black on August 17-1899

Franklin Caulk and Edna M. Black on March 27-1935


Nancy Meek on April 22-1778

James Hasson on September 24-1803

John Hasson on February 2-1806

John N. Black, Sr., on February 16-1787

Wm. Washington Black on April 13-1814

Martha Jane Black on March 22-1816

John Nelson Black on January 27-1818

Rebecca Ann Black on December 29-1820

Elizabeth C. Ewing on May 23-1834

Isabella Polk Ewing on August 5-1798

Patrick Ewing, 1790

Infant Child on October 11-1856

Josephine L. Black on November 14-1857

Walter Ewing Black on April 2-1860

Isabella Ewing Black on April 21-1862

Nelson Montgomery Black on November 3-1864

Emma Margaretta Black on January 3-1867

Pinkney P. Black on April 19-1869

Bayard G. Black on August 27-1874

Ressie E. Black on September 19-1876

Edna Maude Black on March 5-1879

John Nelson Black, third son of Bayard and Nellie Black on Oct. 17-1914


John Hasson on April 3-1808

John N. Black, Sr. on April 20-1847

Patrick Ewing on November 7-1868

Isabella Polk Ewing on March 19-1864

Wm. Washington Black on January 4-1887

Emma Margaretta Black on February 12-1890

Pinkney P. Black on February 20-1902

John N. Black, Jr., on January 27-1906

Infant child on October 11-1856

Elizabeth Ewing Black on July 14-1916

Walter Ewing Black on April 27-1922

John Nelson Black, 3d, on December 23-1923

Guide to the Black family papers
Under Revision
Jennifer Sharkey
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Revision Statements

  • 2020-03-17: Manually entered into ArchivesSpace by Mallory Herberger.

Repository Details

Part of the H. Furlong Baldwin Library Repository

H. Furlong Baldwin Library
Maryland Center for History and Culture
610 Park Avenue
Baltimore MD 21201 United States