Family Stories

William Berry Blackburn and Martha Watkins Buried in Versailles Cemetery – Woodford County

Good morning, everyone! It’s been about a week since I’ve posted, but what week! Son Linton was in from Seattle and we devoted all our time to him. He visited last year about the same time, so there was much catching up to do. Plus we were able to get COVID tests to visit our daughter and her family in Canada – the family was together once more. This week is back to normal.

I’ve pulled three photographs from those taken in Versailles Cemetery in Woodford County – Col. William B. Blackburn and wife Martha Watkins Blackburn, and their daughter Prudence Elizabeth Blackburn Moore.

Gravestone of Col. William B. Blackburn and Martha Watkins Blackburn in Versailles Cemetery, Versailles, Woodford County, Kentucky.

From History of Woodford County by William E. Railey:

The home of George Blackburn was located a mile below Spring Station on the Louisville and Nashville Railroad.  He located there about 1792 and erected his home soon thereafter.  He also built a stockade around the spring that was in the yard, and in easy reach in case of emergency.  This stockade was built not only for the safety of the family, but for the better protection of the community as well.  Whenever an uprising of Indians was imminent, or even suspected, all persons livening in the vicinity took refuge in “Blackburn’s Fort.”

George Blackburn married Prudence Berry, in Virginia, in 1771, and I will here give a brief mention of some of their descendants not mentioned in the former sketch, which will include William B.  This is at least a partial list of the children of George Blackburn and Prudence Berry:  William B., who married Martha Watkins, a half-sister of Henry Clay; Johnathan, who married Prudence Buford; Mary, who married Captain George Holloway; George, Jr., who married first Julia Flournoy, second Anna Branham; Luke, who likely never married; Edward M. (Uncle Ned), who married Lavinia Berry; Elizabeth, who married Samuel Lewis; Mildred, who married William White; Margaret, who married John Kinkead; Ann (Nancy), who married Anthony Bartlett, and Dr. Churchill, who married first Eleanor Arnold, second Lydia Paxton.

He lived there for many years and reared a large family of children.  The farm is now owned by James Withrow.

Know all men by these presents that we, William B. Blackburn and Lewis Young, are held and firmly bound unto James Garrard, Governor of Kentucky for the time being in the just and full sum of fifty pounds to the payment hereof well and truly to be made to the said Governor and his successors. We bind ourselves, our heirs, executors and administrators firmly be these presents, sealed with our seals and dated this 30th day of November 1802.
Whereas there is a marriage shortly intended to be had and solemnized between the said William B. Blackburn and Martha Watkins, for which a license hath issued. Now if there is no lawful excuse to obstruct the said marriage then this obligation to be void or else to remain in force. William B. Blackburn, L. Young

Mr. George Brook, Clerk of Woodford, you are hereby requested to issue a license to William B. Blackburn to marry my daughter Martha, he having obtained my consent to do so. Given under my hand this 30th day of November 1802. Henry Watkins. Test. John Watkins, Sr., John McQuire

William B. Blackburn and Martha Watkins had these children:  Henrietta, Henry C., Prudence and Jonathan.

Henrietta was three times married, each of her husbands being her cousin, and each a cousin of the other.  The first marriage was to Dr. David Flournoy, and by this marriage was David Flournoy, Jr.  By the second marriage to Thomas Bartlett were William and Prudence Bartlett, both blind from birth.  The third marriage was to Francis P. Holloway, with no issue.

Henry C. Blackburn was, by the will of his father, executor of his estate, and named without bond.  He married Susan Chiles and had William, an only son, and likely an only child.  He moved with his family to Rock Island, Illinois, before the Civil War.

Know all men by these presents that we, William Moore and William B. Blackburn, are held and firmly bound unto the Commonwealth of Kentucky in the just and full sum of fifty pounds, to which payment of well and truly to be made. We bind ourselves, our heirs, jointly, severally and firmly by these presents, sealed with our seals and dated this 29th day of June 1835.

The condition of the above obligation is such that whereas there is a marriage shortly intended to be solemnized between the above bound William Moore and Prudence E. Blackburn. Now, if there should be no lawful cause to obstruct said marriage, then the above obligation to be void, otherwise to remain in full force and virtue. William Moore, William B. Blackburn

Daughter Prudence is not mentioned in the above history, other than her name as child #3 of William and Martha.  The marriage bond for Prudence Elizabeth Blackburn and William Moore is dated June 29, 1835.  Her father was bondsman.  She died 18 months after her marriage – possibly from childbirth – and is buried beside her parents.

Mrs. Elizabeth P. Moore departed this life December 14, 1836, in the 18th year of her age.

William B. Blackburn was Acting Lieutenant Governor 1818-1819, and Lieutenant Governor in 1835.

Mrs. Martha W. Blackburn departed this life March 7, 1836, in the 51st year of her age.

Martha Watkins Blackburn died nine months before her daughter Elizabeth Prudence.

William B. Blackburn lived an additional seven years after his wife’s death.

Col. William B. Blackburn departed this life February 23, 1843, in his 60th year of his age.

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