Abraham Black Family

Abraham Black + Elizabeth (unknown)
In Greenbrier

Abraham Black was probably born Bef. 1750, perhaps in Germany, and died Bef. 26 May 1828 when his will was proved in Cabell County, (West) Virginia court.  He married Elizabeth (unknown) Bef. 1769.  Elizabeth was probably born Bef. 1755, and died between 28 October 1817 and 12 October 1820 in (West) Virginia.

We believe the Abraham Black who died in Cabell County, and was in Greenbrier County, (West) Virginia from 1793 until approximately 1820, was also the Abraham Black who was in Fauquier County, Virginia in the 1780s and Loudoun County, Virginia in the mid-1770s.   We have come to this conclusion after researching records of that time and area, and using some of those records to draw conclusions.  It is also possible the Abraham Schwartz/Black in Frederick County, Maryland and York County, Pennsylvania in the early 1770s is also the same person as the one we are writing about here.  The reasons for these conclusions are presented here.

Abraham appears in Greenbrier County records for the first time in 1793.  In the county court of Thursday 28 March 1793, Abraham is impaneled on the jury of Daniel Javins vs Elijah Richards, in debt, and on Friday 29 March 1793, he is impaneled on the jury of Mathias Kisinger assignee of George Dixon assignee of Wm. Davis plaintiff vs Mathias Keen, in debt.  In the county court of Thursday 30 May 1793, John Flynn vs Jacob Hutsonpiller, plaintiff not further prosecuting, suit dismissed and plaintiff pay defendant his costs.  The court ordered Hutsonpiller to pay Henry Swobe and ABRAHAM BLACK 260 cents each for 5 days attendance as witness for him at the suit of Flynn.  The above court information is from "Greenbrier County, West Virginia Court Orders 1780-1850" by Helen S. Stinson, published by author 1988.  Later material will suggest the Black family had not been in Greenbier very many months.  Although he is in Greenbrier County for more that 2 decades, he does not appear as a juror again.  It may be as David A. Norris wrote in the article "County Court Days and the Records They Left Us" in the January/February 2008 issue of Family Chronicle magazine "Petit jurors, who heard the actual cases, could be picked from spectators in the court...Some men came on court days hoping to be selected, because jurors were paid for their service."  Was this jury duty a means of making some money to tide him over until he was better established in the new location?

1793 is also the first year that Abraham Black appears in the Greenbrier County Personal Property Tax (PPT) lists.  Other families of Blacks appear in Greenbier PPT entries starting with the first PPT lists of 1782.  There appears however to be no connection between Abraham and the other Blacks present in Greenbrier.  Abraham appears continuously in the PPT lists for Greenbrier from 1793 through 1817, except for 1808 when Virginia did not collect a personal property tax.  After 1817 Abraham no longer appears in the PPT lists for Greenbrier.  The lists for 1804-1807 also identify a location, and Abraham is identified with the Sinking Creek location.  It is on this creek that Abraham's 24 January 1800 land grant (surveyed 22 November 1795) for 170 acres was found.  It would appear from the Greenbrier County Deed Book, Vol. 1 that Abraham did not wait until 1800 to begin farming.  The land was surveyed 22 November 1795 and on page 623 of Deed Book 1 Abraham on 27 December 1795 enters into an indenture for 45 10 shillings for livestock and farm implements from Peter Black.  Jerry Jordan, another researcher of the area, states "Abraham Black's land (170 acres) is located south/southwest of Williamsburg (about 2 miles) and east/southeast of Cornstalk about a half mile."  The 1799 entry shows Abraham being taxed for 12 Reates (whatever that is) and then in 1814 he is taxed for 5,000 Reates and 1 grist mill.  Evidently Abraham was using the power of the creek to operate a mill.

The only document that has been located thus far that identifies the name of Abraham's wife is his 28 October 1817 deed that sells the 170 acres in Greenbrier to Christopher Shaver (Shaffer) for the sum of $1,000.  That deed (Greenbrier County Deed Book 6, page 543-545) identifies his wife as Elizabeth - "This Indenture made this 28th day of October in the year of Our Lord Eighteen Hundred Seventeen between Abraham Black & Elizabeth his wife of the County of Greenbrier & State of Virginia of the one part & Christopher Shaver of the County & State afore said of the other part...".  There were two additional court transactions between this Black family and Christopher Shaver (see the Adam Black page), and Christopher was also listed in Abraham's estate settlement as owing a debt to the estate.

Abraham last appears in the 1817 Greenbrier PPT lists, but does not appear in the Cabell County PPT lists until 1820.  There he is enumerated on the same date as his son Adam.  On October 12th of that same year, Abraham marries the widow Tabitha McComas.  This implies that Elizabeth died between 28 October 1817 and 12 October 1820.  It is unknown whether she died in Greenbrier or Cabell County.  We make these assumptions for two reasons.  No PPT entries for Abraham would indicate a son named Abraham coming of age, and there were no other Abraham Blacks in the PPT entries in that timeframe.  Secondly, Tabitha Black marries Reuben Wyatt in Cabell County in 1832.  Reuben and Tabitha can be found in the 1850 District 38, Mason County, (West) Virginia census page 436B #1046-1064:

Reuben Wiatt 83 M Va Blind & pauper
Tobitha Wiatt 81 F Va (cannot read or write) Pauper
Beniah H Turly 3 M Va
It is not impossible, but it is rather improbable that a 53 year old woman in 1832 would have married a 20 to 25 year old man.  Additionally, Tabitha and Reuben are both listed among the creditors on Abraham's estate settlement.   Hence our conclusion that there is only one Abraham Black in Cabell in 1820, the father of Adam and the Abraham from Greenbrier, and that he is the one who married Tabitha McComas on 12 October 1820.

Melody Black, in researching among The Fred Lambert Papers in the Special Collections, Morrow Library, Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, came across the following item involving Tabitha.  "When David McComas was taken in his last illness and preparing to make his Will at the special requeest of this def't in the presence of no other person and the wife of this def't, this def't prevailed on David McComas to give his wife Tabitha, a life estate in the farm and of the farm, and which he did.  David McComas died.  This deponent then moved into the house where David McComas died and his widow remained living with him until she made a second marriage contract, and at the request of Tabitha and her betrothed, this def't took Tabitha to the home of Mr. Huggard in the neighborhood of Adam Black and was shortly afterwoods married to Abraham Black.  They lived together until Black's death Adam Black since then she married to Wyatt.  Her right as given by her first husband David McComas, to the land in controversy this def't has no claim to nor does he ever believ that she ever disposed of it.  It was given her by David McComas at the instance and a request of this def't and he is willing for her to have it, never deprived her of it and never will contest her right.  By Thomas McComas."  Source: Fred Lambert Papers, Manuscript 76A Box 5 Notebook B Page 87.  Melody apologized for not making note of the court case or date.

Abraham's estate settlement will prove as a springboard for additional research efforts, so we present a trascription here:

Cabell Co, WV Will Bk 1:160 Abraham Black Settlement 23 July 1833
"We the undersigned being appointed by order of Court, to settle & adjust the Estate of Abraham Black Decd. with Adam Black Executor of said Estate do find the same to stand. Thus---

Dr Cr
To amount of Bill sale $30.63 3/4 By amt paid Clerk of Cabell as per fee bill $5.59
To articles appraised & not sold by admn $26.00 1/4 By amt paid Tabitha Wyatt per rect. $63.40
To one bond on James T. Carroll $98.00 By amt paid N. Everett $.50
To one Do on Christopher Chaffer $47.00 By amt paid R Wyat per rect. $10.00
To one Do on Joseph Hugart $129.40 By amt paid Comrs per rect. $2.00
To one Do on Conrad Dearing $33.00 By amt of A Black's acct $7.00
By amt allowed exr by court $18.20
By amt clerks fee for receiving this settlement $.49
--------------- ---------------
$364.04 $107.18
"In persuance of an order of the County Court of Cabell County we the undersigned Comrs after being sworn as prescribed by the act of assembly do say upon settlement with Adam Black exer of Abraham black Decd. that there remains in his hands belonging to said Estate $256.86 cents after allowing all just credits he exhibited by his voucher given under our hands this 23d day of July 1833.
John Samuels Comrs
Solomon Thornburg
"Cabell County Court Nov. 1834 The settlement of the estate of Abraham Black Decd. was presented in court and ordered to be recorded.
John Samuels CKCC"

Dr. Virginia Easley DeMarce has done extensive research on the John Black family found in Fauquier County, Virginia in the 1780s by extension of her extensive research on the pioneers of Boone County, Missouri.  John married Rebecca Davidson in 1792 in Fauquier County, and it is thought he was the son of an Abraham Black present in Fauquier County at the time.  She queried in late 2006 asking what was known about the Greenbrier Abraham Black prior to the Greenbrier years.  At that time, nothing was known about Abraham's life prior to 1793.

More information on Abraham can be found on the next page.

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