Bat Creek Stone: At a Glance

Major Luther Meade Blackman

Luther BlackmanLuther Meade Blackman was born in Sandy Hook, Newtown, in Fairfield County, Connecticut on February 14, 1834 to Denman and Elizabeth Jane Shepard Blackman. His parents were married January 6, 1831, three years prior to his birth. He was second of six children.

 

At age nine Blackman moved with his family to Tecumseh in Lenowie County, Michigan where he finished up his education and his childhood.

 

His father, Denman, passed away on July 13, 1845. Blackman was only eleven. In 1855, at age twenty-one, another tragedy struck the Blackman family. His mother, Jane, passed away on December 9th. Blackman then decided to move to Knoxville, Tennessee to live with his mother’s brother that same year, leaving his brothers and sisters behind in Michigan.

In Knoxville, Blackman became a letterer and engraver for the marble company Miblo & Smith. He gained much knowledge of the marble business while employed with them. Later on, he used his knowledge and he opened his own quarry on Bat Creek in MonroeCounty with a close friend. It was known as Moser & Blackman Company. The quarry is just a few miles away from the Eve Mills area. Eve Mills Community is where Cedar Lane Farm, his future home, is located. The quarry location is also connected to the Lakeside community.

His business focused on the engraving of tombstones for the community and the surrounding areas. Many tombstones that he engraved are still standing in multiple cemeteries in the Monroe County, Tennessee area. Johnston Mill Post Office was also located at his quarry while he was post master prior to the war.

During the Civil War Blackman found himself a Union man in a city with the majority giving Confederate support. Even at the beginning of the war Blackman knew he wanted to be on the side of the Union. Growing up in the north, he had the northerners view on siding with the government. No one could change his mind on the subject. Besides being a devoted Union man, he was also a devoted Republican.

After a slight disagreement with the Confederate police officials of MonroeCounty, where he was temporarily arrested, Blackman fled the city in search of a Union troop. The local Confederate supporters were out for his blood. He eventually enlisted in Company C, under Col. Edwards. This would later be known as the Forth Tennessee Calvary. First, being granted position of First Lieutenant and Quartermaster, Blackman quickly received his commission as Second Major. Andrew Johnson, who later became president, was the one to commission Blackman. Major Blackman was mustard out of the service at the end of the war.

After his return to Monroe County, Blackman was unable to go straight back to his marble and engraving company. It had been destroyed while he was away serving in the war. He had a choice to make at that time whether to rebuild his business or follow another path. Blackman chose to leave the ruins of his company and rebuild the country through politics. In addition to his new career, he started a new family. He married Margaret Cook, a local of the community.

In addition to practicing law, Blackman was elected on three occasions in the lower branch of his county as a representative. He was a hardcore republican. Following his terms in the legislature he was appointed Assistant District Internal Revenue Assessor. He served in that position for roughly a year before being appointed Special Internal Revenue Commissioner in 1870. After four years in that position he took on being editor of a newspaper in Clinton, Tennessee. Some issues are still on display in various locations around Clinton. Closely a year after that position he decided to return to MonroeCounty for good.

It was prior to being appointed Special Internal Revenue Commissioner that he married Margaret on January 19, 1868. That is when he moved to Cedar Lane Farm. Margaret’s brother Edmond was also a Union soldier, and was very close to Margaret and Blackman. However, her brother James was a Confederate Soldier and remained unhappy with the marriage through out his life. James was never mentioned in any of Blackman’s Diaries. There is no sign that James was ever in the same location as Blackman after the war.

While on the farm he was a farmer, a politician, and even processed claims for the United States. Thanks to him, many of the Union troops who were owed money from the government for claims they made during the war, received their money with as little hassle as possible. In fact, while Blackman was Quarter Master, he wrote up many of the claims that he would later end up processing.

On Cedar Lane farm Blackman hosted the Post Office for the Eve Mills area. His son Wilbur Denman was the Post Master. After the Post Office closed, Blackman used the structure as his office until his death. As of 2011, the office still stands as it did when he was alive, as does most of the farm.

Blackman built several structures on the farm for everyday farming. He also added onto the original cabin which they called home.

Luther Meade Blackman passed away on his farm on July 11, 1919. He was eighty-five years old. He was put to rest on July 15, 1919 at the National Cemetery in Knoxville Tennessee. His son Wilbur Denman, named after Blackman’s brother, stayed with him till his death.  Wilbur took over Blackman’s estate and Cedar Lane Farm. Like his father, he remained on the farm till his death, as did his daughter Margaret.

LM Blackman

 

Section from Bat Creek Stone: At a Glance & Major Luther Meade Blackman: At a Glance by Mandel Cook