Holmes and Blackwell Family Obituaries

Obituary of T. H. Holmes

Magnolia Gazette
Saturday, February 4, 1905
page 3

Mr. T. H. Holmes, one of our oldest citizens, died at his home Jan. 26th. "Uncle Tommie", as he was familliarly known, was a consistent member of the Salem Baptist Church and also of the Masonic fraternity. He was buried with Masonic honors and Rev. A. F. Davis conducted the religious exercises. We regret to lose such a man from our community, but we are consoled in the thought that he has gone to a brighter and better world than ours. Our heartfelt sympathy is extended to his bereaved family. A FRIEND.

Submitted by Michael E. Shotwell

Obituary of Samuel A. Blackwell

The Magnolia Gazette
September 21, 1910

Mr. Samuel A. Blackwell, one of the oldest citizens in this county, died here at the residence of his son-in-law, Mr. J. C. Fortinberry, last Thursday night. Mr. Blackwell was in his 84th year and had been in feeble health for several months. He was buried in Magnolia Cemetery Friday afternoon, Rev. R. L. Bunyard, pastor of the Baptist church, conducted the religious exercises. In addition to Mrs. Fortinberry, Mr. Blackwell was the father of Mrs. William Rimes and Mr. Cornelius Blackwell, of Kentwood.

Transcribed by Judy Bond of The Magnolia Gazette and mailed to me, Michael E. Shotwell, in December of 1981.

Background information:

1. Mrs. Ella P. (Blackwell) Fortenberry (1872-1935) is the first daughter mentioned in the obituary. She was the wife of J. Calvin Fortenberry. Ella was one of nine children (six daughters and three sons) born to Samuel A.  Blackwell and his second wife Sarah "Sally" ( Morris) Blackwell (1837-1922). Sarah is buried next to her husband in the Magnolia Cemetery. The marriage date of Samuel and Sarah Blackwell is preserved from one record as Feb. 1858.

2. Frances Narcissa (Blackwell) Rimes (1856-1934) is the second daughter mentioned in the obituary. She was the wife of William Simmons Rimes and they reared their family at Simmonsville in Pike County before moving to Kentwood, Louisiana in their last years. She is said to have gone by her middle name, Narcissa, and was one of the two children who survived to maturity born to Samuel A. Blackwell and his first wife, Violette Jane Fortenberry (1835-1857).

3. William Cornelius Blackwell (1855-1931) was the only son named in the obituary. His wife was Sophronia L. ( Holmes) Brock, the widow of H. Richmond Brock. Cornelius went by his middle name (as did his mother) and was the only known son born to Samuel A. Blackwell by his first wife, Violette Jane ( Fortenberry) Blackwell. Jane Blackwell is buried in the Pittman Family Cemetery near New Zion in what is now Walthall County.

Nancy Blackwell, another daughter of the first marriage, was born in 1857. Her mother died of childbirth on Sept. 22, 1857. Nancy is believed to have died before 1870. It is interesting to note that the church minutes of New Zion Baptist Church (where her father had been a member) shows that a "Nancy Blackwell" was received into Christian fellowship with the church during this same period. The LORD shows mercy and love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments. -- Exodus ch. 20, v. 5-6 The LORD does all things well though we do not possess a vantage point which allows us to see or understand the things God chooses to keep secret.


SAMUEL A. BLACKWELL was the son of Thornton Blackwell and Permelia "Amelia" ( Godman) Blackwell. Thornton and his family came from Henry County, Kentucky about 1830 and settled on the land grant belonging to his brother, Steptoe Blackwell, who had become a successful merchant in New Orleans. My grandmother, Alva "Alvie" (Blackwell) Holmes Harrell, recalled having been told that the Blackwells were of English descent and had traveled by ox wagon from Kentucky. The land grant on which the family settled was situated on the Pushpatapa Creek in Washington Parish. This land was inherited by the family when Steptoe Blackwell died. Though Samuel was born in Henry County, Kentucky on Sept. 11, 1826, he was reared on this land near the Mississippi line in Washington Parish amidst a vast primeval forest full of fresh water and game. In August of 1851 his name appears in the church minutes of New Zion Baptist Church as having been received into Christian fellowship. {His mother had been received much earlier into the fellowship of the same church by experience in Nov. of 1837.} He married about 1853 to Jane Fortenberry of eastern Pike County. She was the daughter of Calvin K. and Narcissa Fortenberry. Jane gave birth to three children and died from the results of childbirth in 1857. Samuel did not remain a widower long with three small children to rear. He married again to Sarah "Sally" Morris, the daughter of Jim and Melva ( Magee) Morris of Pike County. Samuel came to make his home south of Jim Blackwell's home, 4 miles east of New Zion. His old home place is said to have been the former residence of Bill "Spanish" Fortenberry. This was just north of the Louisiana line from where his father lived on the Pushpatap.

A few years after his second marriage war erupted in the South and the nation. In 1862 Federal troops had invaded Mississippi. On June 5, 1862 at Holmesville, Samuel A. Blackwell was commissioned by Lt. Col. Hoover as Jr. 2nd Lieutenant with the Minute Men (Mississippi State Troops - also known as Quinn's State Troops), Company H, 2nd Regiment, C.S.A. Company H was under the command of Capt. James Conerly.

Family tradition claims that Samuel's father, Thornton Blackwell, had served in the War of 1812 -- though his widow was denied her pension when she had applied for it (after the War between the States). Samuel's grandfather, James Blackwell of Jefferson County, Kentucky, had also served with the rank of lieutenant with the Fauquier County (Virginia) Militia during the first War for American Independence. After the war, in 1785, James Blackwell took his family and traveled with a caravan to Kentucky with his brother-in-law, Armistead Churchill, and others. They are said to have received land grants for their service in the war. (It is said that Churchill Downs is named for Armistead Churchill and his family who owned the land that the racetracks are on today.)

After the war, Samuel returned to farming and family life. Two slaves were listed in the 1860 census -- neither fully grown. It is not known what became of them. One of Samuel's great-granddaughters said that he served the county as Justice of the Peace. His grandfather is known to have been a magistrate in Kentucky and many of his earlier forefathers served as justices of the county court in Northumberland County, Virginia. Samuel's son, C.F. Blackwell served as Justice of the Peace for several years in Pike County. After rearing his children in eastern Pike County (later becoming Walthall County after his death) he and his wife moved to Magnolia and were living with their daughter Ella at the time of Samuel's death. He was known as "Sam A." Blackwell to many.

The children by his second marriage are as listed:

1. Mary E. Blackwell (1860-1916) md. F. "Boss" Stogner
2. Columbus Felder Blackwell (1864-1936) md. Rebecca Jane Stogner;
3. Olivia Jane "Livie" Blackwell (1866-1919) md. Thomas J. Futch, Jr.
4. Sarah A. Blackwell (1867-1887) md. Charles E. Pigott
5. Charles E. Blackwell (1868-1921) md. Olevia N. Fortenberry
6. Ann L. "Annie" Blackwell (1871-1933) md. Lucious Otho Stogner
7. Ella P. Blackwell (1872-1935) md. J. Calvin Fortenberry
8. James Murray Blackwell (1873-1944) md. Florence Acenith Stogner
9. Lilly O. Blackwell (1875-1965 -- last living child) md. Albert Crawford Futch.

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