When I first started seriously researching my family tree, I quickly recognized that I should have started this study while my parents and my grandparents were still alive.
I still remember my grandfather, Clyde R. Black Sr., with an impish smile on his face, telling us grandchildren that not much was know about his ancestors since most were horse thieves. I would love to be able to sit down with him today and talk about his family: who they were and where they came from. His father, William Lincoln Black, was the icon of the family. Having been born and raised in a basketball crazed state like Indiana, I remember my father talking about his grandfather being over 6’6”.
William Lincoln Black was born 11 Feb 1865 in Heltonville, Indiana to Catherine Beyers the daughter of Frederick Beyers and Sybil Sidney Ames.
Catherine was born in Ohio and moved with her parents to Indiana. William had married Elizabeth (Lizzie) Chaney on 9 Nov 1889 in Heltonville, Indiana. William was 21 and Lizzie was 16 at the time of their marriage. They would have eight children. One child was my grandfather, Clyde R. Black, Sr.
William Lincoln Black was only 55 when died on 22 May 1920 in Bedford, Lawrence County, Indiana of a sarcoma of lower jaw. He spent most of his life either farming or working as a car man for the railroad.
While working on William Lincoln’s family, I came to a dead end on finding any information on William Lincoln Black’s father. After months of trying to fill in the holes, I decided to work backwards, using information my grandfather gave me.
My grandfather, Clyde R. Black, left a typed letter talking about his family. This document was left with my parents and received by me at my mother’s death. In that document my grandfather said the following:
“ Richard Black, originally settled East of Bedford, North of HGWY #50 near Gutherie (Guthrie) Creek Baptist Church…His wife’s madden name was Miller, her father came with them to Ind. and is buried in the church cemetery… Miller fought under Geo Wash. in Revolution…Pres. Van Buren’s wife was a sister to Mrs. Black. Pres Van Buren gave the original land grant…
Henry Black died young, not too good reputation….My maternal Grandm. was Katherine (Catherine) Byers Hunter. A relative of hers told me at funeral in Oolitic, that she had records that our family could be traced to May Flower group…”
As you can see he only mentions two members of the Black family and they were Richard Black and Henry Black. No relationship was mentioned between neither of them nor between them and any member of my family.
By working backwards, I was able to establish two new family trees that match up with comments made by my grandfather (Richard Black Family and the family of Catherine Byers Hunter). But I could not find a link between the two families.
After many months of research I now feel I have solved the mystery. I now believe that the missing link is the birth of a son out of wedlock that links the two families. I believe that the parents of William Lincoln Black were Catherine Byers (Beyers) and Henry Black.
Catherine Beyers (Katherine Byers) was born in 1838 in Ohio. She moved with her family to Shawswick, Lawrence County, Indiana (1850 US Federal Census). I believe that she had a child by Henry Black out of wedlock in 1865. Henry lived in another township, Owen, Jackson County, Indiana.
Catherine’s sister, Margaret Ames Beyers, married Henry C Hunter. He died in 1859. The 1860 US Federal Census showed that Catherine was living with her sister Margaret as a domestic. Catherine probably joined the family of her sister to help around the house and care for Margaret’s three children after her husband died (1860 US Federal Census).
It was probably while she was living with her sister that she had the affair with Henry Black who lived in a different county, Owen, Jackson County, Indiana. At the time Henry was married to Phetna Martella Vawter. They were married on 24 Feb 1856 in Jackson County, Indiana. Henry had three children at the time he was married to Phetna when he may have had the affair with Catherine Beyers. Henry died at the age of 29 in 1868.
Catherine probably had her child while living with her sister or back home with her parents. William Lincoln Black was born 11 FEB 1865. I cannot find either Catherine or her child listed in any 1870 census records for that area.
John Hunter was living in Lawrence, Indiana when he married Cordelia Montgomery on 22 May 1859. They had six children before she died in 1867.
While in Lawrence, Indiana, Catherine Beyers meet John Hunter, a widower with several children. They were married in 1876. William was 11 years old at that time. John Hunter was the cousin of Henry Hunter who was the husband of Catherine’s sister, Margaret Hunter.
For a while, William Lincoln used the name of this step father and was called William L Hunter (1880 US Census). William later moved out of the house and assumed the last name of his father (Henry Black). Since coming to that conclusion, I found several documents which appear to support that theory.
The “Record of Returns of Marriage” for Lawrence County, Indiana, lists the marriage of William L Black to Lizzie Chaney on December 1886. In that document, William lists his parents as Henry Black and Catherine Byers.
The Lawrence County Health Dept. Genealogy Sheet recorded that William F. Black; deceased parents were Henry Black and Catherine Byers. He was buried in Green Hill Cemetery, Bedford , Indiana.