From: "Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler and Brown Counties,
Illinois 1892", by Biographical Review Publishing Company, Chicago, Illinois;
page 616-617; a reprinted by Stevens Publishing Co., Astoria, Ill., 1971, is
sold by the Schuyler County Historical Society, Rushville, Illinois.
Richard S. Black, an intelligent, progressive and highly esteemed
citizen of Mound Station, Illinois, and a representing one of the best families
of Schuyler county, was born in Woodstock township, this county, May 28,
His father, Richard Black, was a native of Mecklenburg county, North
Carolina, where he attained to manhood. Of an adventurous and progressive
disposition, he removed from his native county to Hancock county, Kentucky,
in an early day. The spirit of emigration, however, was too strong
for him to resist, and after a few years' sojourn in Kentucky, we again see
him moving Westward. His second settlement was made in Dubois county,
in what was then Indiana Territory. In 1826, he again moved toward
the setting sun, moving by team overland to Schuyler county, Illinois, accompanied
by his wife and four children. Arrived at his destination, he purchased
of Willis O'Neil a claim to the land which is now the site of the city of
Rushville. On the organisation of Schuyler county, this claim was selected
as the county seat, and it was consequently taken from Mr. Black, the county
afterward reimbursing him in part. Thus deprived of his home, he removed
five miles southward, near the present sit of Bethel Church, where he bought
a tract of patent land. He erected on this a log cabin sixteen feet
square, for the roof of which he rived clapboards, and split puncheon for
the florr, while he made his chimney of sticks and clay, called in those
days a"cat-and-stick chimney." He, later, built an addition, making
a double log cabin with an entry between, at that time a very pretentious
residence, where he dwelt until his death, in 1853. The maiden name
of his second wife was Elizabeth Fowler, a native of Jefferson county, Kentucky.
She reared eight children, two of whom were her husband's by his former marriage.
These children were: Elizabeth, William, Isaac, Cecelia, John L., Richard
S., the subject of this sketch; Austin S., and Monroe. The devoted
wife and mother survived her husband and spent her declining years in comfort
with her son Isaac.
Richard S., whose name heads this biography, was reared and educated
in Schuyler county, where he was born. He attended the pioneer schools,
which were held in log houses without any floors. The seats were made
of small logs, slit and hewed smooth on one side, with wooden pages for legs.
A piece of puncheon, supported by wooden pins inserted in the sides of the
building, served as a writing desk for the larger scholars. the country was
sparsely settled, all land that was not patent or soldier's land being owned
by the Government. The country was mostly inhabited by wild Indians,
while game abounded in great profusion, such as deer, bear, rabbit, turkey,
prairie chicken, grouse, etc., and the streams were alive with the choicest
fish. No mills were in the country at that time, and all grain was
ground by hand. The pioneers subsisted on wild game, fish, and such
products as they raised on their land. All clothing was of homespun,
which was manufactured by the women of the family, who carded and spun the
materials and afterward cut and made garments, and that at a time when sewing
machines were unknown.
The subject of this sketch resided with his parents until he attained
his majority, when he commenced farming for himself on rented land in Bainbridge
township. After a few years of industry and careful management, he
had sufficiently prospered to be able to buy land, which he accordingly did,
purchasing a tract in the same township. He continues to farm this
land until 1869, when he sold out and bought another tract in Brown county,
on which he remained for three years. This, he also sold, and removed
to Adams county, purchasing a farm in Concord township, where he resided
until 1884. He then again disposed of his interests and removed to
Lawrence, Kansas, where he engaged in the manufacture of cider and vinegar
for eight months. The climate there not agreeing with him, he returned
to Mound Station, and entered the mercantile business, which he successfully
continued for five years. For the last two years he has been prosperously
conducting the principal hotel of Mound Station.
Mr. Black was first married, in 1857, to Harriet Terrill, an estimable
lady, daughter of Andrew and Elizabeth Terrill, who were early and prominent
settlers of Bainbridge township, where their daughter, Harriet, was born.
This marriage was dissolved by death in 1883, the devote wife and mother
going to her reward. Matilda, the only surviving child, is now the
wife of John M. Anderson, a well-to-do farmer of Huntsville township, Schuyler
county. They have three children: Hattie, Ora and John Richard.
In 1887, Mr. Black was again married, his second wife being Mary M.
McBrackney, a native of Clayton, Adams county, Illinois. Her parents
were Robert and Elizabeth (Marshall) McBrackney, both born in Ireland, of
Scotch ancestry. Her parents resided in their native country until
1834, when they removed to Clayton, Adams county, this State, where the father
purchased and improved land, on which he resided until his death. Both
parents were devout members of the Presbyreian Church, in which faith they
reared three children.
Mr. Black is, politically, a Democrat, and has been elected by his
constituents to various offices of trust. He was for seven years an
efficient member of the Adams county Board of Supervisors, and for the past
two years has represented Lee township on the Brown County Board. He
and his worthy wife are esteemed members of society, being as widely respected
as they are known. 1861 Militia Roll