2 different Black families settled in Covington County

Published 2:57 am Saturday, September 2, 2017

There are records of two different families bearing the Black name who migrated into Covington County.

The first were the descendants of a John Black who was born in 1777 most likely in the State of South Carolina.

He was married to Susannah Catherine Hite (1771-1850). John died in South Carolina in 1850.

Among John and Susannah’s children was a son named John Adam or H. Black.

This John was born in 1800 in Edgefield County, S.C.

He lived out his life and died there in 1870.

He was married to Mary Ann Edwards (1780-1860), who was a native of North Carolina.

Among their children was a son named John Matthew Black, who was born in 1824 when the family resided in Georgia.

Apparently, his father moved back later to Edgefield County, S.C.

John Matthew Black is the ancestor who brought the family into Covington county circa 1859. John M. was a farmer who was actively involved in his community.

Within a couple of years after settling in the county, he volunteered to serve in the Covington County Militia in Captain Hiram Gantt’s Company of Home Guards.

He and his wife already had four young children at the time. He did not choose to re-enlist from the militia into the regular Confederate Army.

During the war years of 1861-1865, John M. Black remained a leader in his community.

In 1867, he was identified as a registered voter residing in Beat Number Five.

The next year, in 1868, he was appointed to serve as a Justice of the Peace for his beat.

In 1880, he homesteaded 80.11 acres of land in the Rawls Township. At the time, he was living in the Shirley Precinct. Then in 1888, he homesteaded an additional 40.06 acres in the same area.

He is believed to have been a miller by trade. John M. lost his wife in 1884, and he died in 1896.

John Matthew Black was married to Elizbeth Jane Tillery in 1850 in Edgefield, S.C. She was the daughter of William Tillery (1789-1870) and Elizabeth ? (1795-1870) and has been considered by some to be full-blooded Cherokee Indian, but no documentation has been found. She was born in North Carolina in 1831 and died in 1884 in Covington County.

John M. and Elizabeth Black were the parents of the following children: Louisa Medora, b. 1850, d. 1900, m. Layfatte Lunsford; Rosanna, b. 1853, d. 1854; Phelby Ann, b. 1854, m. ? Lunsford; William H., b. 1858, m. Mary Jane Bozeman; Nancy Elizabeth Johanna, b. 1864, d. 1928, m. Cicero F. Grimes; James, b. 1864; Mary Ellen Idona, b. 1873, d. 1947, m. William Joseph “Joe” Neese; and Hilera A., b. 1879.

No family data was found for the three sons, William H., James or Hilera A. Black.

However, the children were located for the two youngest daughters.

Nancy Elizabeth Johanna Black was married to Cicero F. Grimes (1861-1828), son of Robert Franklin Grimes (1830-1864) and Martha Ann “Tillery” Smith (1828-1905). Robert Franklin Grimes was the son of John Grimes (1788-1837).

Nancy Elizabeth (Black) and Cicero Grimes were the parents of the following 11 children: Robert Franklin, b. 1889, d. 1937, m. Becky Annie Money (1895-1974); Martha Jane Lucenia “Cennie,” b. 1891, d. 1966, m. Charles Washington Money; Lou S., b. 1892; Jackson Albert Sr., b. 1894, d. 1969, m. Lizzie Owens; Minenne “Mannie,” b. 1896, d. 1947, m. Mary Lavonia “Vonnie” Odom; Marvin, b. 1897; William Robert, b. 1899, d. 1937; Joseph, b. 1900; Walter Grady, b. 1900, d. 1963, m. (1) Bertie Jackson (2) Gladys Elizabeth Worley; Charles “Charlie,” b. 1903, d. 1966, m. Ola Ruth Worley; and Samuel “Sam,” b. 1906, d. 1986, m. (1) 1926 Viola Carroll (2) 1937 Pauline Ross.

The youngest daughter of John M. and Elizabeth Black, Mary Ellen Idona, was married to William Joseph “Joe” Neese (1870-1948), son of Henry Irvin Neese Sr. and his first wife, Clarissa A. Milton.

Mary Ellen and Joe Neese were the parents of the following 11 children: Arrie, b. 1872, m. ? Hamm; Harrison, b. 1895; John Henry, b. 1897; Nancy b. 1898; James Madison, b. 1900, d. 1925, m. Mittie Gilmer; Mattie Lou, b. 1902, m. Beat Gilmore; Percy, b. 1904; Lena Mae, b. 1906, d. 1949, m. William E. Bozeman; Clarcy Jane, b. 1909, m. ? Chancey; Gladys, b. 1910, m. ? Coon; and Argle, b. 1916, m. Bonnie V. Whitman.

The other Black family came to Covington County after 1900 from the Rutledge area of Crenshaw County and were descendants of John Roberts Black.

John Roberts was born in 1850 in Georgia, but he was married in 1880 in Alabama to Mary Elizabeth Harrison who was born in 1860 in Alabama. T

hey were living in Crenshaw County by 1881.

They lived out their lives there, with him dying in 1914, and she, in 1926. Among their children was a son named Cebron Walter “Walt” Black.

Cebron Walter Black was born in 1885 in Crenshaw County and was living in Rutledge in 1900.

A few years later he was married to Lillian Estelle Gardner (1890-1965) and probably moved to Covington County soon afterwards. They lived in the Sanford community where he farmed, and they later moved to the Carolina community where a number of their children made their homes.

Cebron Walter and Lillian Estelle Black were the parents of the following nine children: Cebron Lonnie, b. 1907, d. 1979, m. (1) ? (2) Mable ?; Ferrie Arto, b. 1908, d. 1991, m. Edna Davis (1915-2005); Foy Otis, b. 1911, d. 1976, m. Mary Alice Wright (1916-2001); Ovis Lee “O.L.,” b. 1913, d. 1974, m. Selma Lee Riley (1916-2001); James Robert, b. 1916, d. 1939, single; Mary Trudie, b. 1918, d. 2005, m. Bonnie Bozeman; Jefferson Walton, b. 1921, d. 2002, m. Marjorie Laurette Marie Matthews (1922-2007); Clara Louise, b. 1924, m. Alfred Diamond; and Katie Mavis (or Mavis B.), b. 1928, d. 1958, m. Durwood Douglas.

It is hoped that descendants in both of these Black families will continue to do research for more complete lineage outlines. Appreciation is expressed to Shirley (Black) Helms, daughter of Ovis Lee and Selma Black, for sharing her family records for the coverage of the Cebron Walter Black family.

Other sources included Ancestry.com, Wyley Ward’s Early History of Covington County, 1821-1871, and a family story on the John Matthew Black family, which was written by Lydia Grimes and published in The Heritage History of Covington County, Alabama.

Anyone who might find an error in the above genealogy is requested to contact this writer, Curtis Thomasson, at 20357 Blake Pruitt Road, Andalusia, AL 36420; 334-804-1442; or Email: cthomasson@centurytel.net.



The Covington Rifles Camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans will be meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Thurs., Sept. 7, in the Dixon Memorial Room of the Andalusia Public Library.

Compatriot Jimmy Barlow will be reporting on Confederate Hospitals.

Those interested in Confederate heritage and prospective members are encouraged to attend.