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Below is a family biography included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Hempstead County, Arkansas published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1890.  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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William W. Black, now just in the prime of life, has made his way to the front ranks among the energetic farmers of Hempstead County, and owing to the attention he has always paid to each minor detail, he has accumulated a fair share of this world’s goods. He has resided on his present farm, which is situated six miles northeast of Washington, on the old military road, for the past eight years, and of the 160 acres which he owns he has sixty acres under cultivation. He was born in Central Point, Ark., in 1840, but since four years of age he has resided in Hempstead County. His parents, Cary A. and Rhoda (Alexander) Black, were born in West Tennessee and Potosi, Mo., in 1810 and 1813, respectively, but when Mrs. Black was four years of age she was brought to Hempstead County, Ark., by her parents, James and Hannah (Wakelee) Alexander, and here her early life was spent, her parents dying in this county, the father dying in 1835 and the mother at about the age of ninety years. Mr. Black came to Hempstead County in 1832, was married four years later, and lived at Central Point until 1844, after which time he resided in Hempstead County until his death, which occurred March 27, 1888. He was a member of the A. F. & A. M., and was a son of Thomas Black, who died in West Tennessee, a farmer of Scotch descent, his wife being an Irish lady. The great-grandfather, James Black, was a soldier in the War of 1812, was at the battle of New Orleans, and died in Texas. The immediate subject of this sketch was the third of ten children, two sons and two daughters now living, four sons serving in the Confederate army and two dying while in the service. James died at Little Rock and Newton in prison. William W. spent his early life on a farm in the country, and like the majority of farmers’ boys attended the common schools near his home. In 1862 he joined Company A, Arkansas Infantry, serving one year, after which he joined Etter’s battery, and served until the close of the war, being in the Trans-Mississippi Department. Besides being at Little Rock he was in a number of smart skirmishes, and surrendered at Alexandria, La. His younger brother, John, was kept in the prison at Rock Island, Ill., for nineteen months, being captured at Caddo Gap, Ark. In 1866 William W. Black married Amanda, the daughter of John and Elizabeth Hampton, who removed from Alabama to Hempstead County, Ark., before the war, and here spent the rest of their lives. Mrs. Black was born in Alabama and died in the month of February, 1874, having borne three children, only one daughter now living. Mr. Black’s second marriage took place in 1875 to Mrs. Jane Sears, a sister of his first wife, but she died the year following her marriage, and he is now living with his third wife, whom he married in 1878, and whose name was Mrs. Laura Williams, a daughter of John and Caroline Spears, who were Tennesseans, but removed to Hempstead County, Ark., about 1850, and were engaged in farming until their respective deaths. Mrs. Black was born in Hempstead County in 1851, and has borne Mr. Black one son and four daughters. Seymour received Mr. Black’s first presidential vote in 1868, he being a Democrat, and he and Mrs. Black are members of the Methodist Episcopal Church.


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This family biography is one of 131 biographies included in Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Hempstead County, Arkansas published in 1890.  For the complete description, click here: Hempstead County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

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