The first Black reunion was thought to be held in Maplewood, PA. in 1909. There
seems to be some discrepancy in record keeping so that it is possible to have
been in 1907. At that time it was suggested that a history of the Black family,
including all known descendants, be compiled. Several worked on the project and
by 1910 were able to present a credible history.
Mrs. Aaron Black was one of the earliest historians for this family, followed by Mrs. Friend Black, Mrs. Milton Black, Jane Black Grebe and presently Carol Black Davis and Arleen Moore Bollinger.
The 1910 history states that David and Jonathan Black were the sons of Hugh
Black of Scotland. Little is known about this Hugh Black but there is a record
of the marriage of Hugh Black and Elizabeth Flatt in Sussex County, New Jersey,
in which 500 pounds was posted to William Franklin, Governor of New Jersey,
that there was no impediment to the marriage. It was signed by Hugh Black and
was dated the 23rd of August 1773. There is no record proving that
this Hugh and Elizabeth Flatt Black were the parents of David and Jonathan but
the Flatts and Blacks were close neighbors in the area in Sussex County.
A Sussex County Courthouse record proves that Hugh Black was in Newton in 1775.
This was about the time that David and Jonathan were born. It was believed that
these boys were born in Scotland but according to Census reports of both Wayne
County, Pa. and Sussex County and Morris County, New Jersey, all the living
children of David and Jonathan state in 1870 and 1880 that their parents were
born in New Jersey. These children were John (Jackie) and William, sons of
Jonathan, and John W. and Margaret, children of David.
New Jersey census records for the years 1790 through 1820 were lost so Hugh's
movements cannot be traced but it is possible that when he returned to Scotland
he left his sons with Flatt relatives. Perhaps his wife, Elizabeth Flatt also
remained in this country. In 1830 in the household of David Black, a female
aged 90 to 100 years was living who could have been Elizabeth.
The name Flatt was shortened in gradual states from Van Vliet which became Fleet
and soon interchanged with Flatt in earlier records. The Van Vliets were early
emigrants from Holland when the Dutch settled New York and Long Island. In the
1700'x, many moved into the Sussex County area from Hudson County, New Jersey.
The 1910 history states that Jonathan Black married Anna Briant and lists their
children as John (better known as Jackie), James William, Patric, David, Hiram,
Abby and Aaron. The approximate birth dates given in census records of these
children are: John born 1801 or 1802; James b. 1808; Patric born 1812; William
born 1814; David born 1820; Abby born 1822 and Aaron born 1824. Later records
substantiate all but Patric and Hiram's dates.
Since that early history much research has been done in census and courthouse
records and information has been found about Jonathan's children: John, James,
William, David and Aaron as well as the children of David, the son of Hugh. No
further record was found on Patric, Hiram or Abby, except their listing in the
1830 Censes of Sussex County.
The first actual records were found in the marriage records in the Sussex County
Courthouse. Jonathan Black was married on June 15, 1800 to Anna Briant and
David Black was married on June 22, 1800 to Sarah Wilson. Both marriages were
performed by Justice of the Peace, Thomas Van Kirk.
Jonathan and David lived in an area that was a sparsely settled, hilly section,
rich in iron ore where they found employment in their line of work; the making
of charcoal, iron furnace work, wood-chipping and mining. On July 25, 1834,
David Black purchased 16 acres of land at the foot of Bowling Green Mountain in
what is now called Milton, Jefferson Township, Morris County, New Jersey, from
William Headley. On February 24, 1847 he purchased 16 acres from Joseph
Headley. He farmed this land until December 1848, when nearing the age of
seventy he sold the land to his son-in-law, Daniel Chamberlain. He died before
1850 and his wife, Sarah, age 65, lived with her daughter Margaret Chamberlain
in 1850. Some of David's children moved to nearby Orange County, New York and
then to Michigan and other mid-western states. Others remained in the area,
working in the silk mills and other industries. We have records of many of
Jonathan lived at Hopewell, just across the county line in Sussex County and
within five miles of David's farm. His neighbors were Matthias Nixon, Benjamin
Flatt and J. Maines. These surnames all appear in Black marriages. His oldest
son, John (Jackie) married Anne Nixon and moved farther into Sussex County near
Jonathan's second son, James, remained in the area and married Eliza Spargo. In
1824 and also in 1844 and 1846, he purchased land there (Morris County deeds).
James and Eliza Spargo had twelve children. Only the three older ones remained
in New Jersey. After James' death around 1861, Eliza moved to Maplewood, Pa.
with the younger children.
On June 22, 1833 in Sussex County, William Black, son of Jonathan and Anna
Briant, married Adilla Van Sickle and they moved at once to Pennsylvania,
settling in the Kizertown/Forest Mills (Cortez/Maplewood) area. They raised a
large family whose descendants we hope to follow in this genealogy.
David, another son of Jonathan, married an Eliza and we have a record of their
descendants. Jonathan's youngest son, Aaron, born 1824, married Charity Goble
and moved farther south in Morris County and we have records of their three
By 1850 Jonathan Black had died, but we have been able to follow the records of
Anna Briant, the female ancestor of most of the Blacks in this genealogy. In
the Washington Township, Morris County Census, she is listed, age 66, in the
home of her son Aaron, where his daughter Ann Elizabeth was one month old. In
that same census at a later date she is listed at the home of John and Sarah
Sheldon, Sparta Township, next to the home of her son James. In 1860 in Newton
Township she is listed at the home of Charity Black's brother, Charles Goble.
This seems to indicate that she worked as a servant after Jonathan's death.
Finally in the 1870 census, an Ann Black age 85 and blind is listed with
70-year-old Catherine Calder. Living nearby are James and Nancy Black Losaw and
other Black descendents, leading us to believe that this is our Anna.
The census records of Wayne County, Pa. where William and Adilla Van Sickle
Black lived became available to us in 1984. The 1850 census of Salem Township,
where Maplewood (formerly Forest Mills) is located was supplied by Alma Black
Ubbens and lists the following data: William Black 36; his second wife,
Catherine 23; John 15; James 13; Ann 11; Elias 9; Emery 6; Garrett 4; and Eliza
2. We believe these ages should be used to give the approximate birth date of
these children. In later census records the age varies slightly, sometimes
older, sometimes younger but this often occurs in census records.
Strangely, in this 1850 census, a Henry Black was listed from New Jersey, age
45. This would make his birth date 1805 and there is a space between John
(Jackie) born 1801/2 and James born 1808 for the birth of child of Jonathan and
Anna Briant. It is possible that the child named Patric could have been Henry
Patric or even Patric Henry. There is no later record of this Patric.
A record states that Elder Henry Black of New Jersey organized the Christian
Church at Osgoods in 1866 and a second one at Chapmantown in 1867 where he
preached for ten years. It was thought that this might be Henry born ca 1861,
the son of James and Eliza Spargo Black. However, an inquiry to the Avoy
Christian Church at Chapmantown, establised that the Edler Henry Black was an
old man when he organized the church there. We have no proof that he was
related to our family.
It has been said that Jonathan Black fought in the War of 1812 but no record of
this was found in Washington, D.C.; records which are admittedly incomplete.
Henry and John, sons of James in New Jersey were in the Civil War as was James
Black, the son of William and Adilla.
When William and Adilla settled in the Cortez/Maplewood area in 1833, the area
was a vast wilderness, large areas of rock spurs jutting from the Moosic
Mountains, with large swampy acreage surrounded by laurel thickets. Wild
animals such as bear, panther and wolf abounded and it was not safe to be out
after dark unless well armed. Sheep and cattle had to be kept in stockades at
William worked at lumbering most of the years, clearing the farms near him. Much
of his time was spent shaving shingles, many of which were used for buildings
in the area, one of which was the old saw mill built about 1865. William made
many trips back to New Jersey carting shingles that were exchanged for produce.
He moved several times as he cleared lumber from the land but never far from
his first settlement. He finally purchased the farm where Eli Black, his son
lived for years. His great granddaughter, Mary Spangenberg continues to live in
Most of the Blacks living in the Maplewood area are descended from William but
some are descended from James as will be shown in the following genealogy.