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Edward Blackburn was born about 1700 in Yorkshire England. We know little about Edward, but a bit more about his brother, Richard Blackburn. They immigrated to Virginia together about 1720.

A book Blackburns, Today & Yesterday by Frances Blackburn Hillard gives the family and some details on Richard. It states he was born 1706 at Rippon Hall, Yorkshire England; educated at Balliol College, Scotland and emigrated to America to inherit a fortune left to him by an aunt in the Virginia colony. He was a prominent figure in Colonial Virginia.

Balliol College is part of Oxford University. However, the provost of Balliol college of Oxford said that no Richard Blackburn every attended that school.

There was another Blackburn in Virginia that seems to have an unknown connection. The Blackburn Family by Louisa D. F. Hogue quotes the tombstone of Capt. William Blackburne who died in 1714 and was buried in Gloucester county VA. It said he was born in Newcastle on Tyne in Great Britain Sept 17, 1653. That town is also in Durhamshire, north of Yorkshire. Is there a connection? Maybe, but it is unknown at this time.

Edward and Richard are officially connected in a number of documents;

1. On Jan. 9, 1734 Edward Sr. signed over power of attorney to his brother Richard. The court record is signed "Edward of Bermuda". He left his son Edward Blackburn Jr. in the care of Richard. This is found in Prince William County Deeds 1732-1799 Book B, page 427.

A history of Bermuda entitled Bermuda in the Old Empire, page 287 carries a footnote with expanded information; "The Reverend Edward Blackburn of Bermuda appointed his brother Richard of the Parish of Hambledon, Prince William County, VA his attorney, 8 Jan, 1734 and later sent his son Edward to him. Wm. Browne to Lord Sydney, 16 Dec. 1785. Francis Forbes, 211."

Edward Jr. was raised in the home, Rippon Lodge built by his uncle Richard. One history has it that Richard and Edward Sr. built the house in 1725. Rippon Lodge is listed in Homes and Gardens in Old Virginia. It was named for Ripon, the cathedral town in England from whence Richard and Edward came.

2. Tyler's Quarterly Vol. 31 page 42 has an excerpt of the will of Col. Richard Blackburn. It reads "I give unto my nephew Edward Blackburn, son of my brother Edward Blackburn of Bermuda 25 pounds current money, 30 barrels of Indian corn, 15 bushels of wheat and 600 lbs of pork. Dated July 1757"

It is harder to nail down Edward's history in Bermuda. Early Bermuda Records 1619 - 1826 on page 56 notes in an Assessment taken between June 21 & July 10, 1727 of Edward Blackburn of Pembroke 424. Each individual was given a number. It goes on to say he was a young man. That term meant "over age of 21 but living with or under their parents or under the charge of another person." Numbers 417 - 424 were all young men. They may have been living in the same house. #416 was a William Dunscomb. Perhaps he was the man in charge

Just a few weeks before the Assessment, on June 6, 1727 Edward Blackborne or Blackburn of Pembroke "Taylors" was "bound by recognizance for his speaking sev'e unmannerly words to the Chief Justice, the same is ordered to Lye for a further consideration." This was in the Bermuda Archives Assize, O & T, 1726 - 1735 page 76

Other notes from the same file indicate a young man growing more responsible. June 2, 1729 he was a witness for an arbitration bond and on Dec.1 1730 he was a Grand juror.

We find Edward a leader in St. John's parish. From St. John's Parish Church, Register of Vestry Minuets 1730 - 1743 on March 31st 1741 Mr. Edward Blackbourn was chosen to serve as Church Warden. Again in 1742 he was chosen for some position at St. John's. The page is torn and spotted making it very hard to read. His name occurs 3 times on that page.

St. John's is the historic Anglican church of Pembroke. The first building was completed in 1625. The church was rebuilt in 1721 and again in 1821. So when Edward arrived in Bermuda St. John's had a brand new building.

From the genealogical collection of Rev. Moore of Bermuda held at the archives comes the following items;
On Feb. 2 1744/5 Mr. Edward Blackbourne's wife was buried.
On June 2, 1745 Edward Blackbourne married Elizabeth Harriott.

The question is who was the mother of Edward Blackburn Jr. It had been assumed that he was turned over to the care of Richard in Virginia because his mother died. It was further assumed that this happened at the time of the Power of Attorney was created, but it is not really known when he moved to live with his Uncle Richard.

So it is possible that Edward married about 1728/9 and she died in 1734. It is also possible that it was his first wife that was buried in Feb. 1744/5.

No children, other then Edward are known for sure, but there are official records of people to could have been Edward's children. Further research needs to be done to fit all the pieces together. From the Middleton Files held in the Archives we find;
1. William Blackburn, "batchelor" wed Eliza Ball widow on Dec.24, 1764 at St. George's. had son John baptized in 1766
2. John Blackburn of Pembroke, wed Susan Godfrey, of Spanish Point on Dec. 28, 1768 in Pembroke. John and Susan probably had a daughter Elizabeth who wed William Nusum in 1780.  William Nusum was ansigned Admin to Johns estate when he died intestate in 1786

Then this item ties the brothers together. William died intestate in 1780. "His brother John administ the estate".

3. St. Georges parish had a new pastor in 1772: Rev. Blackburn. It gets very confusing. In one place his name is Edward Blackburn, a footnote in Bermda in the Old Empire makes Rev. Edward Blackburn the same Edward Blackburn that sent his son to Richard in 1734. Possible but doubtful because within 3 years, 1775 the Rev. Blackburn had not been paid and he found "life too difficult, so he decided to move to America to take his chances in the storm gathering there." From the Mercer records held at the archives .

The confusion is that the Mercer Records call him Rev. Mr. Blackbourn. Someone inked in "Benjamin" and we find in the List of Emigrant Ministers to America Benjamin Blackburn from Bermuda, Jan. 7, 1774/5.  Upon a recent return trip to Bermuda I found  Chronicle of a Colonial Chruch 1612-1826 Bermuda by A. C. Hollis Hallett. In it's history 1744-1790 on page 151 there is a one paragraph bio of Rev. Benjamin Blackburn.  It says that he was born 1749 in Norwich England and Matriculated at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge in 1768.  He served in England until "he was granted the bounty for service in Bermuda "  January 1774.  He satyed but a year and moved on to Colleton Sount Carolina in August 1775.  The died there before the end of that year.  So there is nothing to connect him to our family, except the coincidence of place and name.

To complete the Virginia/Bermuda connection three final notes.

Thomas Blackburn, Richard's son was active in the "storm" of the Revolution. He had planted on the estate Ripon Lodge tea bushes imported from Bermuda in protest of the English Tea tax. Homes and Gardens in Old Virginia

Richard Blackburn's granddaughter was sent to Bermuda when she developed TB. Sorry I can't find the source.

On Sept 2, 1785 Benjamin Williams witnessed a deed between Edward Blackburn, artist, of Fairfax Ct. VA and Henry Hutchings of Spanish Point . 12 1/12/ acres for 75 pounds. From the Middleton files in the Bermuda Archives. We can only guess that it read attorney, not artist. Also, it would be possible this would have been Edward's share of land inherited from his father. Guesses only.

It is not known when Edward Blackburn died, or his last known wife, Elizabeth.


If you know the answer please CONTACT US

1. When was Edward born?

2. Who were his parents?

3. Check Balliol College for notes on Richard's parents. Perhaps Edward attended also.

4. Find the Aunt that bequeathed Virginia estate to Richard

5. Edward's grandson was named Edward Lewis Blackburn. Was there a Lewis, maybe a Jane Lewis who could have been his mother.

6. Did Edward hold property in Pembroke? What became of it?

7. What were the names of all his children?

8. When did Edward die?

9. Was there a will?

10. Is Edward buried at St. John's ?

11. Where are his wives buried?




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