In the passing away Wednesday morning of Kate B. Blackburn, Jacksonville loses one whose life has been spent in the good works that mean the betterment of all life. The hosts of friends who mourn her loss are scattered from these communities where she spent her early years to the Balkans of Europe where she worked among the Bulgarians during the active years of her maturity.

Always broad in outlook, she was strongly optimistic; deeply religious, cheerful in attitude; quick to see the best both in people and events; courageous, persistent, hard-working, loved by all with whom she came in contact, her influence always exerted for what she believed the right.

Miss Blackburn was born Jan. 26, 1865, eldest daughter of Edmund and Sarah E. Blackburn, of the Ebenezer community. There she spent her early years, attending the country school, a general favorite among the families of the countryside.

When eleven years of age she became a member of Ebenezer Methodist Episcopal church and at about eighteen joined Ebenezer Auxiliary of the Woman's Foreign Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal church in whose membership she remained throughout her life, giving it the service of a rarely unselfish devotion.

Graduate of MacMurray

In the class of'83 she was graduated from MacMurray College, ever a loyal daughter of the beloved alma mater, keenly interested in its growth and development. One of the great joys of her life was in attending the fiftieth anniversary of her class.

Further preparation for her lifework was secured at the Chicago Training School for Hom and Foreign Missions under the inspiring guidance of Lucy Ryder Meyer. From this school she was graduated in 1891, and the following year she was sent by the Woman's Foreign Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal church, to its school for girls at Lovetch, Bulgaria. Her Ebenezer friends recall yet the stormy evening, Nov. 17th, 1892, when they met to say good bye to the girl about to start on what was then like a journey into the unknown.


Bulgaria's population were represented in its enrollment. In that fine atmosphere of genuine democracy daughters of high government officials, of simple villagers, of city merchants, of doctors, of lawyers, of rich, of poor, of homes as varied in rank as Bulgaria's mountains and valleys produce -- all were given equal opportunity to learn the lessons that such community of daily life can offer, guided by the daily loving leadership of such a woman as Miss Blackburn proved herself to be.

It is a joy to her friends at home in America to know how many of her pupils did profit by the opportunities furnished by Miss Blackburn's school in Lovetch; the great majority of them in their own homes giving fine evidence that the lessons learned in Lovetch influenced them for life. Some are now in America, citizens of our land, giving loyal service to humanity in the land of their adoption.

When Miss Blackburn was completing her thirtieth year of service as principal of the American School in Lovetch her Bulgarian friends celebrated the event as a jubilee.

It was planned and carried out as a complete surprise.

Former pupils both graduates and undergraduate students, gathered at Lovetch to do her honor. At the public meeting the mayor accompanied by the ranking officers of the municipality presided, all paying tribute to the public-spirited service of Miss Blackburn to Bulgaria.

In the school itself pupils and teachers vied in showing their regard. In true Bulgarian style floral decorations were made to show their personal regard, conspicuous among the many mottoes the significant "All for other; nothing for self."

Those of the immediate family of Miss Blackburn who were with her at her last moments included Mrs. Frances Campbell, of Tuscola; Mrs. Annitta B. Scott, Mrs. Elizabeth Martin, Mrs. Mary Dinwiddie, Miss S. Luella Blackburn, Miss Ella G. Blackburn and Fletcher J. Blackburn, all of Jacksonville, besides nieces and nephews. Miss Dora Davis of Bay View, Petoskey, Mich., colleague of Miss Blackburn in Bulgaria, is also here. Charles E. Blackburn of Kansas City was here in August.

The funeral of Miss Blackburn will be on Friday afternoon at 2:30 o'clock at Ebenezer church, in charge of Dr. J. R. Harker, assisted by Rev. W. M. Hailey, pastor of Ebenezer church. Interment will be in Ebenezer cemetery.

Submitted by: Cheryl (Curtis) Behrend

Return to Cemetery Listing

All material contained on these pages are furnished for the free use of those engaged researching their family origins. Any commercial use, without the consent of the host/author of these pages is prohibited. All persons contributing material for posting on these pages does so in recognition of their free, non-commercial distribution, and further, is responsible to assure that no copyright is violated by their submission.