JAMES M. BLACK, dealer in hard coal and wood, was born in Indiana county, Pennsylvania, October 12, 1835. He was the son of John W. Black of the same county, who was one of thirteen children. All grew to maturity, and the sons were mechanics by trade. John W. Black was a blacksmith by trade. After he came West he was foreman of the Boyles Scales Company of St. Louis, Missouri, for some years, and, later came to Beardstown and established himself with Mr. T. A. Fisher, another old blacksmith. He was later With Messrs. Milner and Hill. He did business as a smith and a manufacturer of wagons and buggies. He went to Pike's Peak in the early sixties and was a miner there for some time. He secured his claim, but later came back to Vandalia and died there, about fifty years of age. He was married in his native county, to Marget A. Shankle, of early English ancestry. She was born in Indiana county, Pennsylvania, where her parents lived and died. She died when in St. Louis, after the birth of five children, when she was in the prime of life.
James M. Black came to this town, Beardstown, in 1851. From here he went to Iowa, and after residing there for six years came to Beardstown in 1861 and engaged in teaming until 1870, when be established his coal business.
He was married in Polk county, Iowa, June 11, 1857, to Miss Mary Shepherd. She was born in Kentucky and came with her parents, Benjamin and Minerva Shepherd of Kentucky, to Polk county, Iowa, and for some years following the marriage of their daughter. Mr. Shepherd died in Peoria county. Mrs. Shepherd still lives there, about ninety years of age. Mrs. Black died at her home in Beardstown, in 1878. She had three children, namely: Francis Ellen, born January 21, 1862, died May 6, 1864; Edward Franklin, born March 1, 1865, married Grace Putnam, and now lives in Virginia, where he is agent for the Quincy & Missouri Railroad; and Harry L., born October 6, 1870, who is still at home and assists his father. Mr. Black is a Republican and is chairman in one of the local district Republican central committees. He is a member of the Methodist Church. He is a working member of the A. O. U. W., and has managed their financial affairs for six years. He has been the representative to the Grand Lodge.
Biographical Review of Cass, Schuyler and Brown Counties, Illinois, Biographical Review Publishing Co., Chicago, 1892, page 174.
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