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editor - John D. Blackwell (John stopped publishing this newsletter around 1989)
Vol. 1, No. 3, September, 1979

The Blackwell's of Durham Tobacco Company

(Blackwell Newsletter Vol. 1, No. 3, September 1979 pages 2-4)

(This information comes from Mr. & Mrs. Jack M. Campbell of Sherman, Texas)

"Blackwell Durham Tobacco Company" (Source: HANDBOOK OF DURHAM, NC) (Durham, 1895), pages 32-35.

In 1865, in a small building where now stands the immense tobacco works of the above named company, Mr. J.R. Green, in a crude way was manufacturing what today is know the world over as the most popular brand of smoking tobacco in existence, viz.: the celebrated "Bull Durham." In 1870 Mr. J.S. Carr purchased from Messrs. W.T. Blackwell and J.R. Day (who had previously bought all interest and title in said business) an equal partnership, and under the firm name of W.T. Blackwell & Co. an extensive trade in this and foreign countries was had. Mr. Day shortly after, sold his interest to his partners who still continued under the same name until 1883, when Mr. Blackwell retired, and under the name of the Blackwell Durham Tobacco Company a charter was granted to Messrs. J.S. Carr, M.E. McDowell, Samuel H. Austin, Jr., and Jno. A. McDowell, to continue the business of manufacturing smoking tobacco.

From an insignificant factory in 1865, to the large and extensive business of 1883, much could be said which would require a good size volume to fill, suffice it to say that this great achievement in so short a time was principally due to the executive ability of Mr. J.S. Carr, who presided at the helm as financier during these years of growth and prosperity, and since then as president, continued to direct the affairs of this corporation to such an issue as to make it an institution of immense profit to the stockholders, as well as a pride to themselves and the whole state.

This factory is located opposite the passenger depot of the Southern Railway. Is a four story brick building with an eastern and western wing of same height, together with machine shop building and engine and boiler house. On the premises are large and conveniently arranged stable buildings, fire house, lumber and storage houses, besides eight immense buildings for storage of leaf tobacco. In addition to these, this company has in various sections of the town a number of other houses used for the same purpose, all of them being constantly filled with the natural leaf. In all, this company owns buildings with a capacity of 10,000,000 pounds outside of their manufacturing buildings, which enables them to carry a two years supply of the unmanufactured product.

The main building is well proportioned. Is substantial and attractive, and contains twelve departments for various manufacturing purposes, each of which has a superintendent with a general superintendent in charge of the whole works. On the first floor are the granulating, shipping, bag manufacturing departments and business offices. On the second floor are the stamping, printing, paper-box making, storage and supply departments and storekeeper's quarters. On the third floor are the packing, wood printing, and wood box making departments, while on the fourth floor is the flavoring department.

The entire building is provided with fire escapes, is heated by steam, and lighted at night by their own electric plant. Every department is well ventilated, and every convenience applied for the health and comfort of employees. The business offices, adjoining which the president has his private office, is large and well supplied with safes, vault and office furniture. From the president's office to every part of the building is arranged a system of electrical call bells.

This company employs 500 hands; has a capital stock of $4,000,000 and a manufacturing capacity of eight million pounds of smoking tobacco per annum.

Mr. Julian S. Carr, the president of this company, has spent the larger portion of his life in developing the industrial interests of Durham. Besides the Herculean task of supervising and directing his own interests as principal, he has innumerable duties to perform as an officer and director of many industrial and charitable institutions. His investments are scattered all over the country in manufacturing, mining and farming operations, never losing sight of the fact however that Durham is his first consideration. His ability as a financier and executive is acknowledged in that, that his counsel and aid is so universally sought in every undertaking throughout the State . .. (The article ends with a listing of the many interests in which Mr. Carr was involved.)

"History of Durham: Biographical Sketches" ---- The Father of Durham, pp. 130-133.

To undertake a faithful history of Durham, dissevered from the world-famed name of BLACKWELL, would be as unjust and incomplete as to attempt to write a history of the American Union, the heroic struggles, sacrifices, and glorious trophies of our forefathers, and exclude that name of all other names, crowned and embalmed with imperishable glory - Washington; a name that fills every true patriot's heart with sacred pride, love and veneration.

This deservedly popular gentlemen was born January 12th, 1839, near Woodsdale, Person County, NC, and is the son of Mr. James L. Blackwell, now a resident of this city. In his youth he received a common school education. In the years 1862 and 1863 he taught school in his native village. He began life as a broker and trader in every description of merchandise. He early began to devote especial attention to speculating in plug tobacco, and , purchasing a wagon and team, traveled through the country, in conjunction with James R. Day, peddling tobacco until the close of the war. He then, in copartnership with Mr. Day, opened a jobbing tobacco house in Kinston, continuing his itinerant traffic. The principal part of their traffic was in the tobacco manufactured by J.R. Green, at Durham, then an obscure water station, whose brand had gained considerable local reputation. It soon became apparent that there was a greater demand for this tobacco than Mr. Green could supply, and arrangements were consummated in 1868, whereby the capacity of the factory was enlarged and Messrs. Blackwell & Day became partners with Mr. Green. The business thus received a new impetus and began to thrive; but Mr. Green, who for some time had been in failing health, died in 1869, and his interest was purchased from his heirs by the remaining partners. In 1870, Mr. Julian S. Carr joined the firm, and since that time Mr. Blackwell has been senior partner of the celebrated firm of W.T. Blackwell & Co. He remained, however, sole proprietor of the trade-mark, until his interest was bought by M.E. McDowell & Co., of Philadelphia. Mr. Blackwell, as judge of tobacco, has few equals. While a member of the firm, he gave exclusive attention to selecting and purchasing the tobacco manufactured by the firm, every pound of which passed under his inspection, and his intelligence and experience as a buyer was an important factor in the extensive popularity of the Bull Durham Smoking Tobacco. He was married December 27th, 1877, to Miss Emma Exum, daughter of W.J. Exum, an extensive planter of Hillsboro and formerly of Wayne County, NC.

To W. T. Blackwell mainly belongs the honor of founding the town of Durham through the establishment and successful conduct of his Tobacco manufacture, and to him equally belongs the credit and renown of having fostered and sustained a community which has grown from a straggling village of 273 persons to a busy town of 5,000 or more inhabitants. As a benefactor of his kind, as the promoter of the best and truest interests of the people of Durham County, W.T. Blackwell deserves even more than has been conferred by a partially appreciative public. And the universal popularity of the brand of tobacco established by him, is a just tribute homage to one of the most illustrious representatives of American industries. By assiduous energy and judiciously applied business sagacity, he has worked his way up from poverty and obscurity to great affluence and wealth. He was wrought out for himself a name and fame which will be handed down with pride from generation to generation so long as Durham occupies a place in the annals of history. His philanthropic acts and aims in protecting the cause of labor, in administering to and alleviating the wants of the poor has enshrined his name deep in the hearts of the people. Truly may be applied to him the famous encomium, "he went about doing good." An example, potent with the results of enterprising devotion to business, has been afforded by this worthy custodian of the natural industries of North Carolina, where is to be obtained adequate supplies of the material, which has become so indispensable to manufacturers of people. "Honor to whom honor is due" must be remembered by the good people of the "Old North State," and the full need of praise be rendered to W.T. Blackwell, the Father of Durham and the friend of the people. A man who has attained the high and honorable distinction of being foremost in resuscitating the spirits and hopes of his race, which were well nigh paralyzed by the late great civil conflict; who has taught us to extract precious beams of hope from the darkest clouds of despair; who has demonstrated to the world the efficacy of close, assiduous vigilance to all the minutest ramifications of business; who has strengthened and fortified the foundation of a future position in manufactures pregnant with vital interest and importance, should and will receive honorable mention by the honest historian of the future, and the hearty thanks of the world. Each great manipulator of material resources, as pandering to the general cause of industry, should be accredited with a place in the category of the distinguished and the noble. Within the unchecked flow of the genial current that animates the heart of W.T. Blackwell is to be found kindly impulses and that devotion to the cause of right and truth and justice, which invest with honor and embellish with distinction. Through him Durham has thus been given a forward move in the tobacco industry, and the example has been productive of the inauguration of other and prominent establishments. Nowhere on the American continent is better tobacco produced than in the vicinity of Durham, and nowhere can its manufacture be more successfully conducted, as has been proven by W.T. Blackwell & Co., whose reward is written on every building in the town, and whose names will be honored in grateful remembrance as long as time holds on its tireless flight.

Historical and Biographical Sketch of the Blackwell Family

BLACKWELL NEWSLETTER Vol. 1, No. 3, September 1979. Pg. 6-10

Thank you to Mr. Charles M. Blackwell of Chattanooga, TN who provided the following article. In his letter he makes the following comments:

The enclosed material was compiled 1937 by the National Research Society, Washington, D. C. Its intent was limited and general in scope, and the bibliography is not very scholarly; but, at least, it summarizes, I believe, the Blackwell genealogical material in Freeman, Savage, Spooner, and Pratt with excerpts from the chapter on the Blackwell family in Hardy's, COLONIAL FAMILIES OF THE SOUTHERN STATES OF AMERICA which consists of 22 pages of annotated, rather comprehensive genealogical records of the Blackwells of Virginia and their descendants down to 1909.


Lower's Dictionary of Family Names, states the name Blackwell is derived from parishes etc., in Counties Derby, Durham, Worcester and Cumberland. It is quite readily perceived that the place of residence or the locality in which an individual was born was easily a likely origin for the name assumed as family name. Several localities called Blackwell can be cited, one a parish of Derbyshire near Alfreton, another of Darlington, County Durham. Blackwill and Blackwall are other forms of the name.

Guppy in his Homes of Family Names, states Blackwell is an old Gloucestershire surname, perhaps originally derived from the parish of Blackwell in the neighboring county of Worcester, England, and gives further residences as Buckinghamshire and Derbyshire. Early records of the name are:

1. Margery de Blacwelle, county Cambridgeshire, 1273.

2. Thomas Blakewell, 1379 (P.T. Yorks).

3. Margareta de Blakwell, 1379 (P. T. Howdenshire).

4. Richard Blackwell, county Derbyshire (Register University Oxford) Vol. 11.

5. John Blackwell, county Gloucestershire (Register University Oxford) Vol. 11

6. William Blackwell married Jemima Fowle in 1753 (St. George Chap. Mayfair).


Alexander Blackwell (died 1747) adventurer. He was probably the brother of Dr. Thomas Blackwell. He practiced as a printer in London, 1730. Studied medicine and agriculture. He was physician in ordinary to the King of Sweden. Published works on agriculture.

Elizabeth Blackwell (fl. 1737) Botanical Delineator, wife of Alexander Blackwell. She published A CURIOUS HERBAL, 1737, containing illustrations of medical plants, which she executed, engraved and coloured.

George Blackwell (1545?-1613) Archpriest. Graduated from Trinity College, Oxford in 1562. Entered English College at Donay 1574; ordained priest 1575; appointed archpriest over secular clergy 1598. He published theological works.

John Blackwell (1797-1840) Welsh poet. He was educated by friend's liberality and graduated with B.A. degree from Jesus College, Oxford, 1828. He edited a Welsh illustrated magazine "Y Cylchgrawn". His poems and essays were published in 1851.

Thomas Blackwell, the elder (1660-1728) Scottish Devine. He was the Presbyterian Minister at Paisley, Renfrewshire 1694 and at Aberdeen in 1700. He was professor divinity at Marishal College 1710-28. He also published theological writings.

Thomas Blackwell, the younger (1701-1757) Classical scholar. Studied at Marishal College, Aberdeen. Professor of Greek, 1723-57. His works included "An Enquirey Into Life and Writings of Homer", 1735, and "Memoirs of the Court of Augustus", 1753-1755.


The name Blackwell appears as early as 1637 in the records of Sandwich, MA. The actual settlement of the place dates from April 3, 1637 when ten men were given by the Plymouth Court a place to settle with sufficient land for threescore families. The same year, fifty other settlers came, chiefly from Lynn (Sangus) Duxbury and Plymouth, most of them bringing their families and the name Blackwell was among them. The Blackwells of Sandwich does not appear until somewhat later. Michael Blackwell appears on Sandwich, MA town records in 1651 regarding fishing privileges. In 1655, he subscribed to a building fund and in the same year, he is listed as a church member. He was appointed overseer of fishing in 1670. In 1675, he is recorded as having the rights and privileges of the town of Sandwich, MA. The name was often called "Black" and James Savage, the historian, says "Hardly can I doubt that this man is designated in the Colonial list of those able to bear arms, 1643, as Miles Black." If Michael's son of the same name died at the age of twenty-five as stated by Savage, Michael the first settler, must have survived him as "Mich. Blackwell" was recorded in 1675, as one who had a "just right to the privileges of the town" of Sandwich. Also, Michael Blackwell was one of the two men who took the inventory of Edmond Freeman in 1682. He died in Sandwich, January 6, 1710. Children: (1) Michael, born June 1, 1648, died May 29, 1673, aged twenty-five years, probably unmarried; (2) John, of whom further; (3) Joshua, married before 1682. He had several children; and (4) Jane.

John Blackwell, son of Michael Blackwell, died in 1688, the inventory of his estate being taken November 28, 1688. The record mentions several children, but does not name them. John Blackwell was one of the persons commissioned in 1679 to hold Select Courts in Barnstable County. His name had been recorded four years before (1675) as one of those who had "just right to the privileges of the town". In 1677 (Goodman) Black was appointed to lay out two acres of land "formerly his father's". In 1678, the town of Sandwich, MA voted that John Blackwell have paid him two shillings for a copy of the records of Town Neck, and again that the town pay him for use of his bogs. On July 4, 1678, John Blackwell and John Blackwell Jr., are on list of those taking the fidelity oath. (In one record the name is Black). John Blackwell married Sarah Warren. Of the children of the marriage various authorities differ. The seventh and the eighth children listed below are to be found in Savage's "Genealogical Dictionary", the other authorities not giving them. Savage also lists a Nathaniel, born December 16, 1676, as does also the "Spooner Memorial". There seems in this case, some confusion with the son Michael listed below, where birth date is so recorded. Children, births recorded at Sandwich: (1) John, born December 26, 1647-75; married Lydia (2) Michael, born December 16, 1681, married, probably William Spooner (3) Desire, born December 16, 1678 (4) Alice, born May 6, 1681 (5) Jane, born March 3, 1682-83 (6) Nathaniel, born December 27, 1686, died at Dartmouth (Acushnet) MA, March 16, 1749-50, married probably Joanne (7) Lettice (8) Caleb, married Bethiah.

Jeremy Blackwell came in the "Truelove" aged eighteen years to New England in 1635. A Joshua Blackwall settled at Sandwich, MA. He was a brother of John, who settled at Boston and purchased in 1684, a large tract of land from MA. Joshua married and had issue: (1) Joshua, born January 12, 1683 (2) Mary, born October 5, 1684 (3) Samuel, born April 13, 1689 (4) Michael (5) Sarah (6) Jane and (7-10) four daughters, names unknown.

The Blackwells of Virginia, the descendants of whom are scattered throughout the United States are descended from an ancient English family. There were the traditional three brothers, who emigrated to the colonies from England in the early 17th century, and these brothers were men of high standing and education, being graduates of Oxford. Hon. Joseph Blackwell, the progenitor of the Virginia family is supposed to have been the eldest. Hon. Robert Blackwell, the progenitor of the New (L. I.) family came to this country, a widower with several children. The name of his first wife is unknown. He married a second in America, Mary Manning. Robert Blackwell owned the estate of "Ravenswood", which is now Long Island City. He died in 1717, leaving issue: Hon. Samuel Blackwell, the progenitor of the Carolina family, located in what is now Caswell County, North Carolina, and called his estate, "Blackwell's". The name of his wife is unknown. The Blackwell's of Virginia have ever been prominent in affairs of Church and State. A marble tablet in the Court Room of the Northumberland County Court House dedicated to the memory of a number of distinguished Blackwells of Virginia reads thus:

1. Samuel Blackwell (1680-1732) Vestryman and Justice.

2. Captain Samuel Blackwell (1710-1762) Member of Legislature and Vestryman.

3. William Blackwell (1713-1772) Sheriff of Fauquier County, Virginia.

4. John and Joseph Blackwell - Revolutionary Patriots.

5. Colonel Samuel Blackwell (1785-1833).

6. Major Hiram Blackwell - War of 1812.

7. Colonel Ferdinand Blackwell - Commonwealth Attorney (1846-1856).

Major Joseph Blackwell of Fauquier County, VA, was born in 1752. He took a prominent and active part in affairs of both Church and State. He was a Vestryman of Dittengen Parish and Prince William County and a Burgess from Prince William. He signed the Westmoreland Protest of 1776; and served as Major in the Subsistence Department Virginia line in the Revolutionary War and received a large grant of land in Kentucky, for his services. He married in 1783 - Ann (Eustace) Hull.

Antoinette Louisa Brown Blackwell (May 20, 1825-November 15, 1921) Reformer. In 1852 she became the pastor of the Congregational Church in South Butler, New York. During the early years of the Civil War, she was prominent in the movement for the immediate emancipation of the slaves and until the end of her life, remained active in the causes of woman suffrage and prohibition. She married in January 24, 1856, Dr. Samuel C. Blackwell. She became the mother of six children.

Elizabeth Blackwell (Feb. 3, 1821-May 31, 1910), was the first woman doctor of medicine of modern times. She was born in Bristol, England. She received her M.D. degree from Geneva Medical School of Western, New York in 1849. During the Civil War, Dr. Blackwell was active in the organization of a unit of field nurses, which did much to win sympathy for the feminist movement in medicine. In 1875, she became professor of Gynecology in the London School of Medicine for Women.

Henry Brown Blackwell (May 4, 1825-September 7, 1909) Editor. He was one of the earliest advocates in America of woman suffrage. In 1867, he wrote a message to the southern legislatures proposing the extension of woman suffrage in the South as a counter-balance to negro suffrage.

Sarah Ellen Blackwell, artist and author, was born in Bristol, England in 1828. In 1891, she published "A MILITARY GENIUS (LIFE OF ANNA ELLA CARROLL, the great unrecognized member of Lincoln's cabinet)."

Emily Blackwell, physician, born in 1826. She studied "The Lying in Hospital" at Edinburgh, Scotland, under the renowned James Young Simpson. Also studied in St. Bartholomew's Hospital in London.

James Shannon Blackwell, educator, chairman of the faculty of the University of the State of Missouri (1891) was born in KY, November 30, 1844. His parents came from VA where his family of English stock had been domiciled since 1688, contributing many notable characters to the history of the Old Dominion. He was a member of the Philological Society of Great Britain.

Otto Bernard Blackwell, telephone engineer, born at Bourne, MA, August 21, 1884.

Robert Emory Blackwell, college president, born at Warrengton, VA, Nov. 14, 1854. President of Randolph-Macon College.

Alice Stone Blackwell, journalist born at East Orange, NJ, Sept. 14, 1857.


The Blackwell Coat of Arms from Sprouston Hall, County Norfolk, is described as follows: (Note: this coat of arms pertains only to the family of Sprouston Hall, Norfolk; the line became extinct in 1899. -the Editor.) --------

AMORIAL COAT: Paly of six argent and azure on a chief gules, a lion passant gardant, or all within a bordure ermine.


ARGENT: white or silver, signifies peace and sincerity.

AZURE: or blue, signifies loyalty and truth. It was the colour devoted to the Virgin by the Roman Church.

GULES: or red, denotes military fortitude and magnanimity. It is also the "Martyr's Colour".

OR: yellow or gold, denotes generosity and elevation of mind.

ERMINE: a fur of heraldry has so long been associated with the robes and barons of royal and noble personages, that is easy to understand why it should be considered as a perfect emblem or dignity in any Coat of Arms.

THE CHIEF: which occupies the whole of the top and one third of the total surface of the shield of arms, signifies dominion and authority and it has often been granted as a special reward for prudence and wisdom as well as for successful command in war.

THE LION: has always held a high place in heraldry as the emblem of deathless courage. Guillim, speaking of the lion says, "It is a lively image of a good soldier who must be valiant of courage, strong of body, politic in council and a foe to fear". It is the emblem of St. Mark. In Venice it is borne with wings.

THE BORDUE: is an ordinary and is used as an augmentation of honour.

THE FAMILY CRESTS: Several are described as follows -

1. A demi-lion holding between its paws an anchor por.

2. A dove, issuing.

3. A swain's head and neck erased argent ducally gorged or.

4. A Marlet.

THE FAMILY MOTTO: Petit Ardua Virtus. (Courage aims at hard things.)


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