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Below is a family biography included in Book of Biographies: Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens, Cortland County, New York published by Biographical Publishing Company in 1898.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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WATSON J. BLACK, a prosperous farmer of the town of Scott, was born July 3, 1838, and is a son of Eli and Louisa (Hull) Black. The Black family is of New England stock, George Black, the grandfather of our subject, being born at Blandford, Mass. In the old Bay State he grew to manhood, married and spent most of his life. He was engaged in agricultural pursuits, but when the Revolutionary War broke out he cast aside his work and hastened to the aid of his country. He was in many fierce battles and was with Washington’s army during the winter spent at Valley Forge, which was the darkest and most gloomy period of the war. It is almost impossible to realize the sufferings of those brave men; they were but half clothed, and many of them left a trail of blood behind them, for they were without shoes and the frozen snow and ice cut their feet. He also took part in the battle of Cherry Run. Mr. Black became the father of thirteen children, whose records are as follows: Riley; Henry and Eli settled in the south-west part of the town of Scott; Russell and Archibald settled in the town of Homer, but subsequently sold their property and went to Ashtabula County, Ohio; Joseph finally located on a farm near Buffalo, N. Y.; William went to Cooperstown, Oneida County, N. Y.; Polly came to Scott, married Isaac Neff, and then removed to Wisconsin; James left home and was never again heard from; Lectia married a Mr. Morgan and lived in Tioga County, Pa.; and the other two died in Massachusetts.

Eli Black was the first of the family to come to this county, where he bought a farm of one hundred acres, thickly covered with timber. He then returned to Massachusetts, and the following year he again came to Scott, accompanied by his two brothers, William and Henry; Russell followed them shortly after. Eli Black cleared up his land and put it into a state of cultivation; he subsequently sold that farm and purchased the farm upon which his son, Norman C., whose sketch appears on another page, now resides.

In politics, he is a Democrat, but all his brothers were Whigs. Mr. Black chose as his companion in life Miss Louisa Hull, a daughter of Jerry Hull of the town of Homer. Three children blessed this union, namely: Dwight, who died at an early age; Norman C.; and Watson J., the subject of this sketch.

Watson J. Black was born and reared on the old Black homestead, and received his primary education in the district schools, after which he attended Homer Academy. He left school at the age of twenty and began farming on his father’s farm. Three years later he located on a farm near by, in the northwest part of the town of Homer, which was originally settled by Mr. Hull. Here he has since lived and followed farming and dairying. The farm contains 140 acres of good farm land, is well stocked, and supplied with large, neat and substantial buildings.

Mr. Black was united in marriage with Belle Gillette, a daughter of Harley Gillette of Scott, in 1862. They became the parents of one child, Loyal E., who formed a matrimonial alliance with Miss Inez Niver, by whom he had one son, who was christened Harley. In politics, our subject is a Democrat, but has never sought office. He takes an active interest in church affairs, and is a member of the M. E. Church of Scott; at present he is steward and trustee of that organization. By his own unaided industry and activity Mr. Black has made a success of this life. He is well known throughout the county, and has a large number of friends and well-wishers.

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This family biography is one of numerous biographies included in Book of Biographies: Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens, Cortland County, New York published in 1898. 

View additional Cortland County, New York family biographies here: Cortland County, New York Biographies

View a map of 1897 Cortland County, New York here: Cortland County, New York Map

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