Bryson M. Blackburn
Biography

From: "Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler and Brown Counties, Illinois 1892", by Biographical Review Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois; pages 369-370, a reprinted by Stevens Publishing Co., Astoria, Ill., 1971, is sold by the Schuyler County Historical Society, Rushville, Illinois.
  Bryson M. Blackburn was born in Ohio, on the line between Butler and Hamilton counties in 1828. His father was James Blackburn, of the same place, born in 1805, and his father, Bryson Blackburn, came to Ohio from Pennsylvania at an early day, with his wife. Three brothers had preceded him, and the oldest of the family had been killed by the Indians in the same State. The latter left a family. One of the remaining brothers sought to avenge the blood of his brother, named Patterson Blackburn. He was finally lost in the West, after having been in the Lewis and Clark expedition. James Blackburn, the father of our subject, was one of three children. His brother, Hamilton, and his sister, Polly, who married John Mattson, a nephew of William Henry Harrison. The mother of our subject was Pennie Sparks, of Maryland, though born in Kentucky. She was a daughter of Matthew and Prudence (Conway) Sparks. They were farmers who came to Schuyler county in 1830, when Rushville was a very small hamlet. Mr. Blackburn was a tanner and currier, who started a small tannery and soon built up a good business, which he sold out in a few years at a handsome profit. He again embarked in business with a partner who proved a rascal and bankrupted him. He then started anew by taking up eighty acres of land near Plymouth. This was military land, and after making a home and improvements here he found that his title was not good; so lost it. Having studied medicine under the then famous Dr. Thomas, of Cincinnati, he began practicing and soon had a large practice. In 1835-'36 the cholera became epidemic, and he returned to Rushville, against the wishes of his wife and children, to assist the sick.
  Mr. Blackburn was one of eleven children: Robert, Bryson, Prudence, Orville, John, Amanda, Amelia, Ann and Thomas: the other two died in infancy. Mr. Blackburn had but a limited district schooling, but he endeavored to improve himself and taught school one winter. He has followed farming and carpentering all his life, for which he had a natural talent.
  He was married in Huntsville, Illinois, in 1852, to Susan Brumfield Overstreet, a daughter of Buckley and Nancy Overstreet. Her parents came from Kentucky and Virginia. She was born in Kentucky in 1829, and came to Illinois in 1836. Her parents died in Huntsville, he aged sixty-eight, and she seventy years.
  Mr. and Mrs. Blackburn have buried four children in early childhood. They have six still living: Kate, wife of Warren Whitson, of Brooklyn; Frances A., a maiden at home; Fred W. married Sophia Wells and resides near Brooklyn, on a farm of 500 acres; Neppie, wife of Elmer Brown, resides at Brooklyn; Mary M., the wife of George Kruter, lives in McDonough county; and R. H. is a young man at home.
  Mr. Blackburn bought his present house and farm in 1854. He has 110 acres of very fertile land. He considers himself a poor financier, although an industrious man. He voted with the Democrats until the Civil war, and did not vote for president until Hayes. He is a stanch Prohibitionist now. He has served the town in some of the minor offices. He and his wife are members of the Methodist Church, and are well known and influential citizens.



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