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Hon. Wilbur Fisk Blackman


Source: Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Northwest Louisiana
Nashville and Chicago, The Southern Publishing Company 1890

Hon Wilbur Fisk Blackman is a man of more than ordinary energy and force of character, and is now filling one of the most important and responsible offices in the county, that of judge of the Twelfth Judicial District, and is discharging the duties of this position with an energy, efficiency and ability surpassed by few, if any, public officials. His birth occurred in Harris county, Ga., December 10, 1841, being a son of John Calhoun and Achsah G. (Maddox) Blackman, the former a native of the Palmetto State, and the latter of Alabama. John C. Blackman was a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, but also followed planting, and in the capacity of a minister of the gospel, he became well known throughout Northern Louisiana, to which State he had come in 1851, making a home for himself and family at Homer, in Claiborne Parish, where he resided until after the war. He took an active interest in the political affairs of this locality, and was a man whom all revered, respected and loved, for in every respect he was a true Christian, and at all times endeavored to follow the teachings of the Golden Rule. His death, which took place in his sixty eighth years, was at Shreveport, in 1873, of  yellow fever, and that of Mrs. Blackman, aged sixty seven years, in 1884, in Alexandria. There were much regretted by all with whom that had acquaintance.

His father was a member of the Masonic fraternity, in which respect he followed in the footsteps of his progenitors, and he helped to found Homer College, and was especially active in church and all public enterprises, during the early history of Claiborne Parish. Of the family born to him, two children survive: Asa Olin and Wilbur Fisk. The grandfather, William Blackman was a native of the Old North State, and was married to a Miss Williams, also of North Carolina. The Blackman family in America is traced to the settlement in Massachusetts, of a man by that name who came from Scotland, to found a home for himself in the New World. His descendants were active participants in the War of Independence, and also took part in the War of 1812, members of the Maddox family being in the Seminole War. The former were of large stature, long lived, and were very tenacious in their religious faith, that of Methodism.

The immediate subject of this biography Wilbur Fisk Blackman, attained to man's estate in Claiborne Parish, La., and completed a fine literary and classical course in Homer College, La. (Which his father had helped to found), and was graduated from that institution, leaving the same day to join the Confederate Army, becoming a member of the Moore Fencibles, which was composed of the most talented and noblest young men of Claiborne Parish. He was elected second lieutenant of that company, at the age of eighteen years, and was attached to the Ninth Louisiana Regiment of Infantry, under Col. Dick Taylor, subsequently Maj. Gen. Dick Taylor, and served until 1862 in the Army of Virginia, after which he resigned and returned home. At the battle of Mansfield, on April 8, 1864, he led his old regiment, the Twenty eighth Louisiana, in the charge. The fire from a largely superior force of the Federal infantry was centered on his brigade, and so great was the carnage, that the Eighteenth and Crescent Regiments were staggered, and the Twenty eight Louisiana Regiment, with a great loss seemed for a moment to waver, when he ran his horse through the ranks, grasped the colors, and called on his soldiers to follow him. The murderous fire continued. Two hundred and fifty of his soldiers fell, either killed or wounded, in the space of 150 yards behind his colors, but the ranks closed up and on went the column until within a few yards of the Federal lines, when they gave way before his victorious troops. The colors were riddled and his clothes were rent in many places by the enemy's bullets, but he miraculously escaped personal injury. Gen Henry Gray, his brigade commander, in his official report of this battle, paid a high tribute to the conspicuous gallantry of Maj. Blackman and Gen. Dick Taylor, in his published reminiscences of the war, pays an equally high compliment to his gallantry and efficiency as an officer. He afterward enlisted in Company D, under Cheatham, and upon the organization of the Twenty Eight Regiment, he was appointed adjutant by col., afterward Gen. Henry Gray, in which capacity he served in the Trans Mississippi Department, until his promotion to assistant adjutant general of Mouton's Louisiana Brigade of Infantry, composed of the Twenty eight, the Eighteenth, and the Crescent Regiments, Louisiana Volunteers. After the battle of Mansfield he served as assistant adjutant general of the brigade until the close of the war.

He afterward turned his attention to clerical work being engaged to a mercantile store in Homer, and during this time read law at leisure moments, and in October, 1865, as he had always taken as active interest in politics, and was thoroughly posted on all the general topics of the day, he was nominated for the Legislature, and was elected for the years of 1866 and 1867, receiving the highest number of votes on the ticket. This was the last white man's Legislature in the State. In November 1865, he entered the law department of the State University of Louisiana, and in addition to attending lectures, also faithfully and efficiently discharged his duties as legislator. In March of 1865 he was admitted to the bar by the Supreme Court at New Orleans, and commenced practicing in Claiborne Parish.

During the reconstruction period, so dark and gloomy, he was actively engaged in keeping his party alive, and in 1868 he was nominated for the State Senate, serving faithfully and in a highly satisfactory manner from that time until 1872, he having the honor of being both terms he served the youngest member of both the House and Senate. In 1868 he was nominated by his party in the New Orleans Convention, as presidential elector for the State at large, and cast the electoral vote for Seymour & Blair, against Gen. Grant.

In 1873 he sought a new field of work, located in Alexandria, and commenced the active practice of his profession, and was very successful, and three years later, in 1876, received the nomination for judge of the Twelfth Judicial District, and was elected to that position, the district being composed of the parishes of Rapides, Grant and Vernon, and has served continuously up to the present time, with the exception of two years. He has always been a strong party organizer, is an eloquent and forcible orator, and has been frequently urged to run for congress, but has always declined.

His marriage which occurred in Rapides Parish, on September 14, 1869, was to Miss Ellen M. Wells, a daughter of Mumfot Wells, by whom he has two sons and two daughters: Wilbur W. Blackman (who married Miss Sallie H. Fish), Jeanette Dent (wife of Julius F. Ariail, attorney at Alexandria), Ellen M. and John Calhoun (who are at the present in school) The family worship in the Episcopal Church, and are highly honored people in the community in which they reside. The wife of Judge Blackman is connected with several of the oldest and most respected families in Louisiana. She is an accomplished woman is domestic in her taste, and her home indicates refinement and culture to a great degree. Our space will not permit a history of her progenitors.


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