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Below is a family biography included in The History of Benton County, Arkansas published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1889.  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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J. A. C. Blackburn, who is the recognized “lumber king” of Northwestern Arkansas, was born in War Eagle Township, Benton Co., Ark., in 1841 and is a son of Rev. Sylvanus and Catherine Blackburn, both of whom were born in 1809, in Georgia and North Carolina, respectively. They became residents of Arkansas in 1832, and are still living. J. A. C. Blackburn is their sixth child and his boyhood days were spent in assisting his father in the grist-mill. In 1861 he joined the Confederate army, and was a faithful soldier for four years, and in 1865 returned to Arkansas; here he engaged in the peaceful pursuit of farming, succeeded in accumulating some money, which, in partnership with his father he invested in a general mercantile store, and at the end of six months bought his father’s interest. Here he remained from 1867 till 1878, and then moved his stock of goods to War Eagle and erected the mills at that place, and also continued to carry on merchandising. He continued in the saw and grist milling business at War Eagle until 1884, when he succeeded Peter Van Winkle as proprietor of the Van Winkle Saw and Planing Mills. He has been so successful in the management of these mills that he has often been called the ‘‘lumber king” of Northwestern Arkansas. His principal mill is situated nine miles east of Rogers. The engine is 150-horse power, the cylinder 22x80 inches and the balance wheel is twenty feet in diameter and weighs 20,000 pounds. He has three large boilers, each twenty-four feet long and forty-two inches in diameter, with four 12-inch flues, and has one circular saw, two rip saws, three cut-off saws, one gang lath machine, one shingle machine, two planers, two moulding machines, one scroll saw, one mortising machine and one automatic emery wheel. He has another mill in Madison County, which is twenty-five horse power, with a capacity of 20,000 feet of lumber per day. Besides this he has two other mills cutting lumber for him by the thousand. He handles 8,000,000 feet of lumber per annum, and owns in connection with his mills 15,000 acres of fine timber lands. There has not been an enterprise started in Benton County in which he has not taken a deep interest, and in the majority of cases become a heavy stockholder, the Stock Bank, Fair Association, Roller Mills and Water Works being some of the enterprises in which he has been interested. He was first married to Miss Ellen Van Winkle, who died November 10, 1884, having borne three children: Carrie, Lucy M. and Laura May. Mrs. Belle Harris, widow of Mack Harris and daughter of C. Petross, became his second wife. Mr. Blackburn is a Democrat and an A. F. & A. M, of the highest order, and belongs to the Knights of Honor.

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This family biography is one of 240 biographies included in The History of Benton County, Arkansas published in 1889.  For the complete description, click here: Benton County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

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