Henderson County, Kentucky Biography


            Paul Alexander BLACKWELL’S paternal grandfather was one of three brothers who sailed from England many years ago for America.  Arriving in this country, they separated, one of them settling on BLACKWELL’S Island, from whom the Island derived its name, another settled in North Carolina and became the acknowledged head of the world-renowned Durham tobacco manufacturers, the third, Robert BLACKWELL settled in Virginia.

            Robert BLACKWELL, served as a Magistrate under King George III, and died in the year 1788.  The maternal grandfather was James JEFFRIES, who lived in Virginia and departed this life in that State in the year 1831; subsequent to the Declaration of Independence, he served as a magistrate.  The maternal grandmother, Nancy HOGAN, was born in Virginia and lived there during her natural life.  She died during the year 1848 at the good and rather remarkable old age of eighty years. 

            Chapman BLACKWELL, the father of Paul, was born in Lunenburg County, Virginia, in the year 1785; he was married to Miss Prudence Russell JEFFRIES, who was born in Lunenburg County in 1796.  Seven children resulted from this union, Mary, James, Nancy, Jane, Paul A., Branch and FrancisChapman BLACKWELL was from boyhood a farmer devotedly attached to that life.  Hearing of the fertile soils of the far West child of old Virginia, its almost limitless productiveness, he determined to immigrate, and to effect that purpose, disposed of such property as he deemed best and set out with his family, overland for Kentucky, in the year 1832.  The comparative wilds of the route to be traveled, the ruggedness of the roads, the privations that immigrants fell heir to, were obstacles to be sure; but with a firm and fixed purpose, a sound and unflinching spirit moving him, he plodded along over mountains and through valleys, recognizing the tediousness of the journey and its lonely surroundings, never once hesitating or brooding over a determination to better his condition in life.  Thus he continued on slowly, but surely, through Virginia, then Kentucky, until he reached Henderson County, where he settled on a track of land near Zion. 

            Here, in the woods he built him a rude log cabin in which to shelter his family, and here he toiled, clearing the forest and tilling the soil up to the day of his death, that sad event occurring in the year 1851.  His devoted wife survived him, and in this there appears a coincidence preternatural in its occurrence.  In the year 1873, twenty-two years afterwards, in the same month and on the same day of the month, the good wife and mother followed her husband in death. 

            Paul A. BLACKWELL was born in Lunenburg County, Virginia, 22 Apr 1826, therefore he was only six years of age when he accompanied his father from his place of nativity over the mountains into Kentucky.  Arriving at school age, he was sent to the neighboring country school, and it was there that he gained his first knowledge of the limitless worth of the alphabet and the multiplication table.  When he had become more advanced in spelling, reading and arithmetic, he was placed under the tutorage of Hon. Philip B. MATTHEWS, now of this city, and who at that time was regarded not only the most capable, but the most reliable instructor of the youth of his neighborhood. 

            Mr. BLACKWELL matriculated at this school in 1841, and his subsequent life furnishes a pleasing testimony of how well he learned and how closely he applied himself.  This was the last school he ever attended.  At the age of twenty-two he returned to Virginia and while there, on 14 Jun 1848, in Lunenburg County, married Miss Martha S. CRYMES, a native of the same county.  He, with his wife, returned to Kentucky a short time afterwards and settled down to farming in the neighborhood of his father.  Unto Mr. and Mrs. BLACKWELL have been born six children: William, Mary, Emma, Ada, Alva and another that died in infancy.

            Mr. BLACKWELL followed farming up to 1855, when he moved into the town and formed a co-partnership with James E. RICKETTS, under the firm name of RICKETTS & BLACKWELL, and embarked in the private banking business in a small frame building that stood then near where George LYNE & Son’s drug store now stands.  At that time the Farmers’ Bank was doing business in the building now occupied by the First National, and were building for a banking house the house now owned by the Presbyterian Church on the corner of Elm and Second Cross streets.  Upon the completion of this house, the books, furniture and funds of the bank were removed to the new building, and RICKETTS & BLACKWELL, by purchase of Dr. Owen GLASS, became the purchasers of the house vacated by the Farmers' Bank.  In this house the firm conducted a lucrative business up to 1862, when Paul read in the war clouds wreck and ruin to all business located on the south side of the Ohio, and immediately sold his interest in the bank to RICKETTS, who continued the business a few years, and died.

            Mr. BLACKWELL then purchased a farm, and operated it for six or seven years, though he never surrendered his citizenship in the town.  In 1869, when his eldest son, William, had arrived at an age to justify him, he opened in Henderson a produce house, and was three years engaged in this business, and at the end of that time he sold his interest to Thomas S. KNIGHT.  Since that time he and his son have been largely engaged in the hardware and agricultural business, carrying at all seasons a very extensive and varied stock, and enjoying as they deserve to enjoy, a very large and prosperous patronage.

            Mr. BLACKWELL has traveled in all of the principal States of the Union, not alone for pleasure, but with an eye to business, and in this his experience has amply rewarded him.  In politics, he is a Democrat of the purest ray serene – a Jacksonian; in religious faith, a Christadelphian, or better known as a Thomasite.  He is better known as an influential, enthusiastic member abroad, than any other one of the county whose name appears upon the church roll. 


Starling’s History of Henderson County, Kentucky, 1887.




Chapman Blackwell, Page 232, House No. 492; (2) m age 15; (1) m age 60; (2) f age 5; (2) f age 10; (1) f age 50.


Chapman Blackwell age 65, Page 51, House No. 444; Prudence age 54; Branch A. (m) age 21; Jane Dunkerson age 34; Robert Dunkerson age 10; Gabriel B. Dunkerson (m) age 8; Angelina Dunkerson age 5 and Julia H. Norment age 12.

Paul A. Blackwell age 24, Page 74, House No. 77; Martha age 23; William W. age 1.


E. L. Blackwell (f) age 20; R. C. Blackwell (m) age 18 and S. Blackwell (m) age 14 are listed with Mary B. Jeffers age 42, Page 10, House No. 84; A. B. Shinnie (f) age 23; Bulie Shinnie (f) age 6; W. B. Jefferies (f) age 7 and Joshua Staples.

P. A. Blackwell age 34, Page 21, House No. 194; Martha age 33; William W. age 11; Mary age 9; Emma age 6; Ada age 4. 

B. A. Blackwell (m) age 31, Page 152, House No. 465; Virginia A. age 28; Viola W. age 3; Prudence R. age 64.


R. C. Blackwell (m) age 28, Page 207, House No. 16; Mary C. age 18; Mary B. Jeffers age 52; Martha Jeffers age 22.

Paul Blackwell age 44, Page 266-267, House No. 230; Martha age 42; William age 21; Marcia age 10; Emma age 17; Amanda age 14; Alva age 5; Jula Minor (B) age 40.

Branch Blackwell age 41, Page 273-274, House No. 32; Virginia age 38; Viola W. age 13; C. T. (f) age 10; Chapman age 8; A. J. (m) age 4; Falura (f) age 1; Prudence age 73; Adarian Priest (m) age 23.


B. W. Blackwell (m) age 57, Page 61, House No. 34; V. A. (f) age 47; Viola age 23; C. F. (f) age 19; Chapman age 18; Adriemie (f) age 13; Mary age 8.

Beck Blackwell age 37, Page 81, House No. 127; Mary age 28; Hester (m) age 9; Lela age 6; Mary Jefferies age 62.

William Blackwell age 32, Marcia age 30 and Ernest age 9 are listed with Floyd Stinson age 60, Page 93, House No. 264; Mary age 51; Mollie age 19; Fred B. Stain age 39; Entie (f) age 22; Jessie (f) age 1; Pheobe Idlet (b) age 17.

P. A. Blackwell (m) age 54, Page 112, House No. 74; Martha age 52; Ada (f) age 23; Alva (m) age 14; Alice Bierly age 24.

Richard Blackwell age 26, Page 190, House No. 258; Mary age 23; Alice age 1; Sarah Thomson age 12 [guardian].


Iva D. Blackwell, 09 Aug 1870 Fernwood, Age unknown, 553, 3
Haydon G. Blackwell, 20 Jan 1874, Fernwood, Age unknown, 553, 4
Eva Blackwell, 02 Oct 1884, Fernwood, Age unknown, 553, 6
Frank F. Blackwell, 18 Jul 1887, Fernwood, Age unknown, 553, 9
Maria A. Blackwell, 27 Oct 1896, Fernwood, Age unknown, 553, 10
R. C. Blackwell, 21 Jul 1923, Fernwood, Age unknown, 553, 7
Mrs. R. C. Blackwell, 13 Dec 1935, Fernwood, 83 yrs, 553, 7

Lura Blackwell, 20 Dec 1875, Fernwood, Age unknown, 28, 6
Lucy Turner Blackwell, 30 Sep 1904, Fernwood, Age unknown, 28, 8
Branch Blackwell, 08 Sep 1913, Fernwood, Age unknown, 28, 4
Virginia Blackwell, 30 Apr 1914, Fernwood, Age unknown, 28, 3
Viola Blackwell, 25 Mar 1937, Fernwood, 80 yrs, 28, 2
Chapman Blackwell, 07 Nov 1943, Fernwood, Age unknown, 28, 9

Ada Blackwell, 04 Oct 1886, Fernwood, Age unknown, 27, 1
M. S. Blackwell, 08 Oct 1891, Fernwood, Age unknown, 27, 2
P. A. Blackwell, 10 Dec 1910, Fernwood, Age unknown, K 27, 3
W. W. Blackwell, 27 Dec 1917, Fernwood, Age unknown, 27, 9
Alva Blackwell, 15 Jan 1918, Fernwood, Age unknown, 27, 7
Mrs. Irene Blackwell, 17 Nov 1920, Fernwood, Age unknown, 27, 10

Laura Blackwell, 12 Jul 1906, Fernwood, Age unknown, CPG, 01 Oct 1920
Nancy Blackwell, 04 Aug 1906, Fernwood, Age unknown, CPG, 01 Oct 1916


Contributed by Netta Mullin, HCH&GS

Copyright 2002 HCH&GS