More about the Blackshers

Published 12:12 pm Wednesday, April 7, 2004

By Staff
I wanted to continue with the information on the Blacksher family. As I have said, the family of Jeptha had more descendants to stay around this area.
David Wesley Blackshear (notice that the spelling is interchangeable) was the oldest child of Jeptha and Martha Mayo. He was born 22 Sept. 1841 and died 9 Feb. 1901 in Escambia County. He married Martha Elizabeth McGowin of the Samuel McGowin family and they owned a lot of timber land. In fact David Wesley went into the lumber business with his brother, James Uriah Blackshear. David Wesley and Martha Elizabeth McGowin were the parents of three children, Jeptha J. Blackshear (1871-1928) who married Mazie Packer, James Uriah Blackshear (1876-1934) who married Willie Mae Coleman and Agnes Lee Blackshear (1883-1956) who marriedOwen Lott.
The second child Jeptha and Martha was James Uriah Blackshear (19 March 1848-19 Feb. 1899 who married Martha E. McGowin. He owned some 26,000 acres of land in Escambia and Baldwin Counties and the town of Blacksher is named in his honor. He, along with his elder brother were in the timber and lumber business. I believe that Uriah, Ala. was named in his honor, but that may not be correct. He and his wife were the parents of three children, Maggie Idell Blackshear (1870-abt 1874), Erasmus Manford Blackshear (4 Aug. 1878-23 April 1957) who married Mary Cockrell and Margaret Elizabeth Blackshear. This last child may have been the same as Maggie Idell, the first child named.
I don't have a lot of information about the rest of the children.
Erasmus Manford Blackshear, the son of James Uriah Blackshear, perhaps had the closest ties to Brewton. He owned many acres of land around May Branch on the outskirts of Alco. He ran a dairy farm and it was he who built the home that has been allowed to run down in Alco. The house sits at the end of a dirt road that turns by Alco Baptist Church and must once have been quite a beauty. It has been used and abused over the last several years until if something isn't done, the place will be gone. It would be such a shame to see that happen as it could be such a beautiful place again with the right amount of care and concern.
Erasmus Manford Blackshear and his wife Mary Cockrell lived in the home and raised their children there. They were James Uriah Blackshear (20 Sept. 1909-26 Sept. 1927), Erasmus Manford Blackshear Jr. (25 Dec. 1913-16 July 1960), Frank M. Blackshear (30 Nov. 1920-18 Jan. 1955) and Martha Blackshear who was born in 1911. Martha Blackshear married a Conner and their descendants now own the place in Alco. I hope to make contact with them and see about some history on the house.
I did talk to Mrs. Henry Hildreth and she told me that she knew the family pretty well. In fact she dated one of the sons, Bill. Now I have noticed that I have no listing for a William Blackshear, so he must have been overlooked in my material.
Anyway, Mrs. Hildreth said that the family used to have some of the best parties and dances at their home. Everyone old enough to drive had their own car and they had made their own swimming place down on May Branch.
Mrs. Hildreth said that she had never seen a family pull together as much as the Blackshears did during the time the bottom fell out of the stock market followed by the depression. Mary Cockrell Blackshear went back to teaching and all the young people got jobs. "They pulled together," said Mrs. Hildreth. "You would never have known that they had lost as much as they did. "

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