Isaac Blackford

Isaac BlackfordIsaac Blackford

Location: Northeast corner of Blackford and New York Streets, Indianapolis, IN 46202 (Marion County, Indiana)

Installed 2011 Indiana Historical Bureau and Indiana Supreme Court

ID#: 49.2011.1

Text

Born 1786 in New Jersey;i admitted to the bar 1810.ii Residing in Vincennes, Indiana Territory in 1815;iii later elected Speaker of the first state House of Representatives.iv In September 1817, Governor Jennings appointed Blackford to Indiana Supreme Court. v He served 1817- 1852,vi publishing the Court's decisions in his eight- volume, nationally acclaimed Reports of Cases.vii

Blackford invested in Indiana land, including properties in new state capital, Indianapolis; purchased land here, 1832.viii He helped establish Indiana Colonization Society,ix and promoted education.x In 1855, U.S. President Franklin Pierce, appointed Blackford to U.S. Court of Claims, Washington, D.C.; xi he served until his death; buried in Indianapolis January 1860. xii

Annotations

[i] Born 1786 in New Jersey;

Logan Esarey, Ed., Messages and Papers of Jonathan Jennings, Ratliff Boon and William Hendricks, 1816-1825, (Indianapolis, 1924), 43, fn 1 (birth date nov 6); W.W. Thornton, edited by Douglas Fivecoat, Isaac Blackford: The Indiana Blackstone (Indianapolis, 2005), pp. 1-2; "Isaac Newton [sic] Blackford," Find A Grave, (accessed November 30, 2010 through www.findagrave.com); Leander Monk, Courts and Lawyers of Indiana (Indianapolis, 1916), vol. 1, p. 187 gives November 6 as birth date.

Note on Sources: Thornton does not provide primary source documentation for much of the biographical information given on Blackford and there are inconsistencies/errors in Thornton.

[ii] admitted to the bar 1810.

E-mail, Christine A. Lutz, Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library, Princeton University, to Indiana Historical Bureau, May 19, 2010; Isaac Blackford, November 10, 14, 1810, Attorney Certificates 1783-1938, Supreme Court of New Jersey, New Jersey State Archives; e-mail, Bette Epstein, New Jersey State Archives, May 21, 2010, to Indiana Historical Bureau; Esarey, Vol. 3, 43-44; Thornton, 4-5.

[iii] Came to Vincennes, Indiana Territory by 1816;

Territorial Court of Common Pleas, Franklin Co, Indiana, May 10, 1813, vol. B, p. 118; James Snodgrass, Muster, Pay, and Receipt Rolls, War of 1812, vol. 4, p. 597, Digital Collections at IUPUI (accessed July 28, 2010); Logan Esarey, ed ., Messages and Papers of William Henry Harrison (Indianapolis, 1922), vol. 2, pp. 660-63; ); (Vincennes) Western Sun, June 24, 1815; January 20, May 25, August 2, 3, 1816, December 25, 1819; General Index of Deeds, 1814-1829, Knox Co., Indiana, Indiana State Library, microfilm; Thornton 6-9,

[iv] elected Speaker of the first state House of Representatives.

(Vincennes) Western Sun , August 5, 10, 1816; January 1, 25, August 4, 9, 1817; Dorothy Riker and Gayle Thornbrough, Indiana Election Returns, 1816-1851 (Indianapolis, 1960), 183-85; Thornton, 11; Esarey, Jennings, Boon, and Hendricks, 44.

The election for members of the first state legislature was August 5, 1816. The (Vincennes) Western Sun reported on August 10, 1816 that Blackford was "believed" to have been elected, although final results were not yet in. Blackford was elected again to represent Knox County in August, 1817.

[v] In September 1817, Governor Jennings appointed Blackford to Indiana Supreme Court.

(Vincennes) Western Sun , September 20, 1817; Esarey, Jennings, Boon, and Hendricks, 43; Dorothy Riker, Executive Proceedings of the State of Indiana 1816-1836 (Indianapolis, 1947), 42; Riker and Thornbrough, Election Returns, 138-39; Thornton, 12, 27.

[vi] He served 1817- 1852,

"The Late Judge Blackford," Indianapolis Journal, January 16, 1860; James Madison, "Race, Law, and the Burdens of Indiana History" from The History of Indiana Law, David J. Bodenhamer and Randall T. Shepard, eds. (Athens, Ohio 2006), 42; Thornton 12, 27.

Note on Sources: See footnote 5 for sources on his 1817 appointment. The Indianapolis Journal gives 1852 as Blackford's last year on the Supreme Court. Monk, 1:246, states that newly-elected Supreme Court reported to work first Monday, Jan 1853.

Cases: Blackford was involved with a series of cases that helped develop the body of Indiana law. For example, the cases of State v. Lasselle and the Case of Mary Clark, Woman of Color, helped define Indiana law in relation to slavery and indentured servitude. See: 1 Blackford 60 (1820), 1 Blackford 122 (1821). Also, Hudson v. The State, 1 Blackford 317 (1824); Townsend v. The State, 2 Blackford 151 (1828); Warren v. The State, 4 Blackford 150 (1836).

[vii] publishing the Court's decisions in his eight-volume, nationally acclaimed Reports of Cases.

Isaac Blackford, Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the Supreme Court of Judicature of the State of Indiana, vols. 1-8 (Indianapolis, 1820, 1834, 1836, 1840, 1844, 1845, 1847, 1850); Indianapolis Journal, January 29, 1827; Esarey, Vol. 3, p. 45; Thornton, 43; David J. Bodenhamer and Randall T. Shepard, eds., The History of Indiana Law (Athens, OH, 2006), 8-9; Elizabeth Osborn, "Indiana Courts and Lawyers, 1816-2004," from Bodenhamer and Shepard's The History of Indiana Law (Athens, OH, 2006), 258-59.

Note on Sources: Blackford announced his intention to publish the reports of cases as early as 1827 in the Indianapolis Journal. According to Esarey and Thornton, his first report was published in 1830, second in 1834, third in 1836, fourth in 1840, fifth in 1844, sixth in 1845, seventh in 1847, and the last in 1850. According to Osborn, the 1851 Indiana Constitution required publication of all the court's written opinions by a reporter who was not a judge, "thus ending the work of Judge Isaac Blackford who singlehandedly had undertaken the first publication of the court's opinions in Blackford's Reports." According to Bodenhamer and Shepard, "The respected supreme court reports compiled by Isaac Blackford, the leading Indiana jurist of his day, also promoted the notion that the state's case law aligned with the national legal culture."

[viii] Blackford invested in Indiana land, including properties in new state capital, Indianapolis; purchased land here, 1832.

Isaac Blackford, Indiana Public Lands Database, 1817-1818, Indiana State Digital Archives (accessed August 6, 2010 [1379 acres in 4 purchases, Spencer and Warrick counties]; Isaac Blackford, General Index of Deeds, 1814-1829, Knox County, Indiana, Indiana State Library, microfilm, n.p.; [April 31 {sic}, 1819, house and part of lot in Vincennes]; Isaac Blackford, Indianapolis Donation Lands Database, www.in.gov/icpr/2614.htm (accessed August 2010) [9 certificates indicate 9 separate purchases of public lots]; Isaac Blackford, Indianapolis Donation Payment Record Book, May 28, 1832, vol. 2, p. 19, Indiana State Archives, photocopy [Certificate numbers 1018-1020, lots 152-154; deeds executed April 1, 1835]; Isaac Blackford, Indianapolis Donation Lands, January 24, 1825, uncited, n.p., Indiana State Archives, photocopy; Eliza G. Browning, "Lockerbie Assessment List of Indianapolis, 1835, Indiana Historical Society Publications, vol. 4, no. 7 (Indianapolis, 19??), 407 [Blackford paid taxes on lots in Squares 65 and 68]; Isaac Blackford, Marion County Deed Record Books, Indiana State Library, microfilm [staff looked at indexed books 1838-1851; found 8 sales of land listed; not comprehensive]; Boston Daily Atlas, July 10, 1843, Issue 7, col. B, 19th Century U.S. Newspapers, infotrac.galegroup.com (accessed May 14, 2010) [a frame home in Columbus, Ohio, "property of Hon. Isaac Blackford" was destroyed by fire].

[ix] He helped establish Indiana Colonization Society,

Isaac Blackford, "An Address at the First Stated Meeting of the Indiana Colonization Society," (Indianapolis. 1829) n.p.; Gayle Thornbrough, ed.,The Diary of Calvin Fletcher, 9 vols. (Indianapolis, 1972), 1:186, 404; Thornbrough, 4:380; Indiana Journal, November 12, 1829; Indiana Journal, February 11, 1837; "State Society of Indiana," African Repository and Colonial Journal, January 1830, American Periodicals Series Online (accessed December 27, 2010) [Indiana Society formed, Blackford, vice president]; "Review," African Repository and Colonial Journal, May 1830, American Periodicals Series Online (accessed December 27, 2010) [Isaac Blackford's speech, December 14, 1829, reviewed]; "Auxiliary Societies," African Repository and Colonial Journal, April 1836, American Periodicals Series Online (accessed December 27, 2010) [Indiana Society met December 1835, Isaac Blackford, President]; "Indiana," African Repository and Colonial Journal, July 1843, American Periodicals Series Online (accessed December 27, 2010) [Isaac Blackford, President, reprinted resolutions of Indiana Society]; "Prospects Brightening in Indiana," African Repository and Colonial Journal, January 1846, American Periodicals Series Online (accessed December 27, 2010) [Meeting held November 3, 1845, Indianapolis, Isaac Blackford, President]; "Appeal to the Humane," African Repository and Colonial Journal, August 1848, American Periodicals Series Online (accessed December 27, 2010) [Appeal to ministers and churches to take up collection for "African colonization," Isaac Blackford, President]; "Colonization in Indiana," African Repository, January 1830, American Periodicals Series Online (accessed December 27, 2010) [Legislation for State Board of Colonization passed April 28, 1852, Isaac Blackford appointed to advisory committee]; "Forty-third Annual Report of the American Colonization Society, January 17, 1860," African Repository, January 1860, American Periodicals Series Online (accessed December 27, 2010) [Reported death of Isaac Blackford, a member of the Executive Committee of American Colonization Society for more than one year]; James H. Madison, "Race, Law, and the Burdens of Indiana History" from David J. Bodenhamer and Randall T. Shepard, eds., The History of Indiana Law (Athens, Ohio, 2006), 44-45; Thornton, 45-46.

[x] and promoted improvement of education.

"State Seminary, Bloomington, Indiana," Western Luminary (Lexington, Ky.), November 28, 1827, State Seminary Board of Visitors; "Indiana College," Western Luminary (Lexington, Ky.), November 19, 1828, Indiana College Board of Visitors; "Indiana College," Western Luminary (Lexington, Ky.), December 1, 1830, Indiana College Board of Visitors; "Education Convention," Indiana Journal (Indianapolis), January 13, 1837, Friends of Education; (Vincennes) Western Sun, May 19, 31, June 4, 11, 1847; "Common School Convention," Indiana State Journal, May 31, 1847; Indiana State Journal, June 11, 1847; Donald Carmony,Indiana 1816-1850: The Pioneer Era (Indianapolis, 1988); Thornbrough 4:11, 21, 44; Thornbrough 3:#; Richard Boone, A History of Education in Indiana (New York, 1892 / Indianapolis, 1941), 96;

Note on Sources : According to Carmony, Blackford attended a convention of Friends of Common Education in Indianapolis in January 1837 and was appointed vice president of the organization.

Fletcher wrote that Blackford was nominated as president of the Common School Convention in 1847. According to Boone, Blackford presided over the first in a series of State Common School Conventions starting on May 26, 1847. Both the Vincennes Western Sun and the Indiana State Journal announced his presidency and printed the proceedings. In June 1847, the Journal reported that Blackford and others met in the State Library to form an auxiliary to the Board of National Popular Education and that Blackford was appointed chairman of the organization.

According to Thornbrough, a branch of the Board of the National Popular Education was formed in Indiana in 1848 with Blackford as president. The purpose of this organization was to send qualified teachers from the east to western schools. Also in 1848, Fletcher wrote that Blackford was involved in planning for a "high female school" to be organized, and he attended the State Education Society conference held in Indianapolis.

[xi] In 1855, U.S. President Franklin Pierce, appointed Blackford to U.S. Court of Claims, Washington, D.C.

"Appointments by the President," New York Times, March 8, 1855, p. 5; "Judge Blackford and the Court of Claims," (Indianapolis) Daily Journal, March 8, 1855; add Senate confirmation from LOC.

[xii] He served until his death; buried in Indianapolis, January 1860.

"Death of Judge Blackford of the Court of Claims," New York Times, January 2, 1860, "Washington City, Monday, Jan. 2. "Hon Judge Blackford of the Court of Claims, died in this city last evening of pneumonia."

"Obituary," New York Times, January 4, 1860, "Hon. Isaac Blackford . . . died in Washington on the evening of the 31st ult."; "Death of Judge Blackford," The (Indianapolis) Daily Journal, January 4, 1860, "Last Sunday night, the first of the new year, Judge Blackford . . . died in Washington city."

The Weekly Vincennes Western Sun , January 7, 1860, "Hon. Isaac Blackford . . . died in Washington City on Sunday night last." Vincennes Gazette, January 7, 1860, "Judge Isaac Blackford died . . . on the night of January 1st, 1860."

"Judge Blackford Funeral," Indianapolis Journal, January 11, 1860, no date mentioned; James Morrison, "Tribute of Respect," Indianapolis Daily Journal, January 13, 1860, no date mentioned;

"Judge Blackford's Funeral," "Death of Isaac Blackford," Indiana Daily Journal, January 14, 1860, no dates mentioned in either article; "Isaac Newton [sic] Blackford," Find A Grave, (accessed November 30, 2010 through www.findagrave.com), date inscribed on monument, December 31, 1859;

New York Observer and Chronicle , January 12, 1860, "The Hon. Isaac Blackford . . . died at Washington city at noon of Saturday, December 31."

Crown Hill records indicate that Blackford was reinterred at Crown Hill Cemetery, November 4, 1868.