Origin of the Name
by NATHANIEL BREWSTER BLACKSTONE
Member of N.E. Historic Genealogical Society
ORIGIN OF THE BLACKSTONES AND THEIR NAME
The name of BLACKSTONE is believed to have been derived from the range of hills on the borders of Northumberland and Durham Counties, in northernmost England. New Castle-on-Tyne (Tyne River) in Northumberland County, and the city of Durham in Durham County appear as the earliest recordings of the family with SIR HUGH BLACKSTONE as the first of the line of whom there is definite record.
BARON HUGH (1510-1590) and his only known brother 1517- RICHARD, were the Lords and Masters over the ancient seat and great estates of the family. Their parents, at this writing, are unknown.
Some say that the name was taken from the Blackstone Hills, which was named thus because of the abundance of dark black stones found in the area. Others claim the surname BLACKSTONE appears to be locational in origin, and is believed to be associated with the English, meaning, "one who came from, or lived near, a black boundry stone".
It is said that all of the families of the name are descended from this ancient line and that they are found with at least fifteen different spellings of the name, as BLAXTON, BLAXTONE, BLACKISTONE, BLACKESTONE, BLACKSTON, BLAKESTON, BLAKISTON, BLAKSTON, BLAYKESTON, BLACKISTON, BLACKESTON, BLACSTON, BLACESTON, BLACISTON, BLACKSTONE. Obvious reasons for the different spellings were: (1) the three common accents in those days and times, as English, Scotch and Irish, combined with the spelling being written phonetically, by those who could write. (2) for euphony (more pleasing sound), and having a tendency to greater ease of pronouncing. Writing, in those days, was an art which "society" people did not practice, they had it done for them by others, such as scribes, clarks (clerks), etc.
The Blackstone family reached the peak of its honor and prosperity in the time of QUEEN ELIZABETH (1533-1603) who ruled England for 45 years (1558-1603). The representative of the BLACKSTONE family at that time was 1532-JOHN, who was the father in 1553 of his first son, WILLIAM. He is said to have had 14 other children, two of whom were 1554-MARMADUKE and 1557-JOHN. SIR WILLIAM (1553) was married to ALICE CLAXTON about 1581 and was the father by her of 9 children, six of whom were sons, and living in 1624. Two of these sons were 1594-JAMES, who translated the "History of Larazibe de Tormes", from Spanish in 1653; and 1597-JOHN, who became an Apothecary on Newgate Street, London.
Both 1555-MARMADUKE and 1557-JOHN were living in the County of Durham in the middle Sixteenth century. MARMADUKE, was a deacon of the Church of Durham in 1583, and by 1625, became a dignitary. He registered at the University of Oxford in 1579, at age 24. The Church of Durham is actually a Cathedral and probably the greatest in all England. Nearly all Norman in structure and design; sitting on its hilltop in the center of one of the most composed, sturdiest, and least geared-to-tourism towns in all England; it fairly represents the spirit, the feel, the being of England better, perhaps, than any other. it is a very old structure, considering that the venerable BEDE, who died in 735 and ST. CUTLIBERT who died in 1687, are both entombed there.
1517-RICHARD, a brother of SIR HUGH, was a rector of Cuxwold in 1554, and had a son, 1542-RICHARD, who married MURIEL CLARK, of Ustel, Yorks about 1566, and had two known children, 1567-JOHN and 1568-SUSAN, who later settled in Lincolnshire about the middle of the Sixteenth century.
The BLAXTONS of Horncastle, were a cadet branch of the Yorkshire family of Blaxton and Blaxton. 1517-RICHARD, had three known children, 1542-RICHARD, 1543-WILLIAM and 1544-THOMAS. 1543-WILLIAM married the widow HELEN (BLESBY) LEAKS about 1568. and had a son, 1569-RICHARD, born in Sixhill, Lincolnshire; 1567-JOHN married AGNES HAWLEY of Timberland, and had eleven children, eight of whom were: 1589-RALPH; 1591-NATHANIEL; 1592-FRANCES; 1594-JOHN; 1595-WILLIAM; 1597-ANN; 1599-MURIEL; and 1600-GEORGE.
One of the first to emigrate to the New Country was 1591- NATHANIEL, who settled in Maryland in 1623, and became the owner of a large island in the Potomac River, called "BLACKISTONES' ISLAND". 1595-WILLIAM, NATHANIEL's brother, may have shipped out together as WILLIAM landed in the Plymouth area about the middle of September of 1623. Several branches of NATHANIEL'S family were among the pioneers to the western territories, while others remained in the south, principally in Maryland and Virginia.
1595-WILLIAM, landed at Wessagussett (Weymouth) spent about 2 years there, then moved into the Shawmut area, or what is known today as Boston, Massachusetts. WILLIAM, being a lover of solitude, removed to Rehoboth, RI. ten years later, because of the overcrowding of GOVERNOR WINTHROP and his company.
The next BLACKSTONE known to have emigrated to New England was 1766-WILLIAM, the third son of 1723-WILLIAM, the famous English jurist, and author of "Blackstones Commentaries on the Law." 1766-WILLIAM had become a sea captain, and ten years after his father's death in 1780, along with his older brother, 1764-HENRY, set out in 1790 for New England. HENRY landed at St. Johns, Quebec, where he became comptroller of customs; was later chosen sheriff of Three Rivers (Trois Rivieres), St. Maurice County, Quebec. Meanwhile, 1766-WILLIAM settled in Pownal, Maine, married twice, and had thirteen children, with his line still extending.
Other BLACKSTONES have paid many a visit to New England as seafaring men, as one Captain PETER BLACKSTONE who captained the ship "Supply" and plied between the Virginia Colony and London (Va. Hist. index (9V256-9V258)), primarily, but there is mention made of him in the Genealogical Dictionary of Maine and New Hampshire, as "PETER 'Old' in 1719. In that year, a young man known as THOMAS BLACKSTONE was receiving plank for old PETER, captain of a ship, then in the Piscataqua River, in the vicinity of Dover, New Hampshire." The Virginia Historical Index (9V261) also states that his ship was awaiting convoy July 1705.
It has been said that a Scotch-Irish family of BLACKSTONES came from Ulster to Nova Scotia in 1642. At the beginning of the Revolutionary War, they migrated to Massachusetts, where they took up permanent abode.
From these various branches of the family in America, and from others whose records are not obtainable, are descended the families of the name, who are now to be found in all parts of the United States. It is true that there are some who have just taken the name, or at least are not horn BLACKSTONES. However, the true BLACKSTONE descendents have aided as much in the growth of the country as their ancestors aided in the founding of the nation. They have been noted for their courage, energy, ambition, fearlessness in battle, mental ability, love of solitude, broadmindedness, gentleness, and fondness of children.
Early Blackstones were Barons, Knighted by Royal Command, Lawyers, Judges. Clergymen. Mercers. Vicars, Rectors, Professors, Apothecaries, Deacons, Dignitaries, and, of course some with a less professional status.
Early American BLACKSTONES were naturally faced with making radical changes in their everyday mode of living in coming to this country. Of necessity, they had to be carpenters, cobblers, glass-blowers, farmers, husbandrymen, woodsmen, clerks, blacksmiths, military volunteers, merchants, seamen, and other positions appropriate of the times and conditions.
As the nation grew and improved, more were enabled to secure a better
education, and consequently improve their status quo, thus becoming Doctors.
Dentists, Lawyers. Business Executives, Senators. Artists and Craftsmen,
most all excelling in their chosen field of endeavor. Most all have served
their country in its times of need and a few exceptionally well.
The following is a list of places and their approximate locations in Great Britain, carrying the name of BLACKSTONE:
BLACKSTONE PLACE - Northwest of Worcestershire on the River Severn. 1 mile Southeast of Bewdley.
BLACKSTONE HAMMOCK - West Sussex, 2 miles East of Henfield Railway Station.
BLACKSTONE VILLAGE - Renfrewshire, 2 miles Northwest of Paisley.
BLACKSTONE RIVULET, South County Kerry, flowing 7 miles North to Upper Lough Caragh.
BLACKSTONE EDGE - Range of high hills - Southeast Lancashshire, 6 miles Northeast of Rochdale. Altitude 1,553 feet (near Warrington, England. Va. Historical Index -36V163, 166.)
BLACK STONE OF ODIN-ROCK, North Shore of Shapinsay-Orkney.
BLACKSTON HAMMOCK & RAILWAY STATION - London & N.E. Railroad Southeast Stirlingshire, 4 miles East of Slamanan; telegraph office.
BLAXTON - Local of Blaxton, a township in the Parish of Finningley, West
Taken from the 1935 Atlas:
Pop. Pg. Map Pg
BLACKSTONE, ILLINOIS 5-D 132 240 120
BLACKSTONE SIDING, ME. 2-H - 202 95 Nr. Caribou
BLACKSTONE, MASS. 9-D 4672 204 96
BLACKSTONE, VA. 11-0 1772: 190 89
The object of Heraldry is primarily to distinguish a person by means of symbols clearly recognizable. In its origin, it fulfilled this function both in war and in peace. In the military system founded by WILLIAM the Conqueror (1066-1087), and continued throughout the Middle Ages, based on feudal tenure, the tenants-in-chief were bound to attend the sovereign in his wars and to bring with them men-at-arms, who were likewise bound to them by sub-infeudation. The national army was in the nature of the trencher-fed pack; each member turned up at the meet with his hound, or hounds, which meantime he maintained. It was, therefore, essential that every leader should be clearly recognizable by his retainers.
As steel armour developed, enclosing not only the body, but even the face of the knight, that some outward symbol of his identity became indispensible. It was also necessary that this should be easily distinguished at a distance. Hence, arose the necessity for the Heraldic convention, that color must not be placed on color, nor metal on metal.
In times of peace, apart from its use in the tournaments then so commonly
held, early Heraldry was invaluable to identify the signatory to a deed or
document. It was simpler, no doubt, in those (lays to affix your seal to a
document than to sign it. Writing was an art which "society" people did not
practice, they had it done for them by others; so a seal with Arms was a
great aid to the conduct of business transactions.
Sub-Infeudation: The granting of lands by a vassal Lord, to another, to hold as vassal of himself; also, the tenure of a vassal, so holding land.
Vassal: One who has placed himself under the protection of another, as his Lord, and has vowed homage and fealty; later, a feudal tenant.
THE BLACKSTONE COAT-OF-ARMS AND CREST
It is not known whether any of the BLACKSTONES in early times ever had to actually bear arms. Somehow it would appear rather doubtful, considering the fact that their seal contains nothing of feudal indications. Also, the fact that many held positions in religious work, as well as legal and educational fields. Nonetheless, they did have a coat-of-arms, as it was the thing to do in those days.
Actually, Arms were borne only by the great landowners primarily for identification and recognition in actual warfare and in Tournaments of peace.
Crests were an accessory to a Coat-of-Arms. The Crest was worn on the helmet of a knight, and should properly always be shown on a helmet, to which it is attached by a bar or wreath. Though Crests were in their origin hardly less ancient than Arms, they were at first held to be a mark of great dignity, and their use was much less extensive than Arms. It is for this reason that some ancient Coats exist, which have no Crest. In Fairbairns Crests of the Families of Great Britain and Ireland, Page 55, it describes the Crest for BLACKSTONE, and BLACKSTON, Eng., a cock, gu. P1. 67, Cr. 14. As for other spellings of the name, their Crest is also a gold cock. The only exception being BLAXTON, which, on page 57, reads:
"BLAXTON, Eng. a goat (passant), or., P1. 66, Cr. 1. The only other division of the cock Crests, are whether it is brilliantly colored, or all gold."
The following descriptions are found in the above mentioned book:
Page 54- BLACKESTON, or BLACKISTON, Durham. a cock, or., P1. 67, Cr. 14. BLACKISTON, London, a cock, or., P1. 67, Cr. 14.
Page 55- BLACKSTONE, and BLACKSTON, a cock, gu., P1. 67, Cr. 14.
Page 56- BLAKESTON, or BLAKISTON,
Durham, a cock, or., (collared) combed, and wattled, gu., P1. 67, Cr. 14.
BLAKISTON, Bart., London and Hants., a cock, gu. (Motto: "Do well, and doubt not"). (The only one with a motto!)
BLAKISTON. Bart., London, same crest.
BLAKISTON, or BLAKSTON, Eng., a cock, or., P1. 67, Cr. 14.
Page 57 - BLAXTON, Eng., a goat, (passant), or., P1. 66, Cr. 1. BLAYKESTON or BLAYKESTON, Durham, a cock, or., crested & wattled, gu.. P1. 67, Cr. 14.
Abbreviations: or. - Gold
P1. - Plate
Cr. - Crest
Eng. - England
gu. - gules - (red bands)
Bart. - (No explanation)
Hants. - Hampshire
passant - Walking
The Coat-of-Arms for BLACKSTONE is recorded in ancient heraldic archives the documentation of which can be found in Burke's General Armory. Heraldic artists of old developed their own language to describe an individual Coat-of-Arms. In their language, the Arms (shield) is as follows:
"Ar. two bars gu. in chief three cocks of the second."
When translated, the Arms description is:
"Silver, two horizontal red bands, in top three red cocks."
Above the shield and helmet is the Crest, which is described as:
"A cock, gu."
A translation of the BLACKSTONE and BLACKSTON Crest description is:
"A brilliantly colored cock, with gules - (2 red bands) on shield, red cocks in top chief."
Significantly, the implication is that the BLACKSTONES vast estates produced principally fowl, and its several by-products, so Crest and Shield were used similarly to a trademark.
Newcastle-on-Tyne, Northumberland, England
Durham, Durham County, England
York, Yorkshire, England
Horncastle, Lincolnshire. England
Verification of the information matter by which this writing is based will be found in the following:
The Blackstones and Their Name (5 pages onion skin).
The Blackstone Family, by L. M. Sargent & Lorenzo Blackstone - 1849. (Typewritten - 34 pages).
The Blackstone Family. (As above in pamphlet form).
Rev. William Blackstone - The Pioneer of Boston 1896 By John C. Crane.
The Blackstones and Their Indian Paradise - 1952 by E. Joshua Lincoln.
Mormon Genealogical Library - Miami.
Miami Public Library - Genealogical Dept.
Boston Evening Transcript, under Genealogical Notes and Quiries. (Various dates, #'s Vols., etc.)
Dictionary of English & Welsh Surnames - Beardsley.
Nassau, B.W.I. - Public Library
History of Rehoboth, Mass. - Tilton - 1918
Old Bristol & Noblesboro, Maine. - Vol. 1.
History of Rochester, N.H. - McDuffee - Vols. 1 & 2.
Genealogical Dictionary of Maine & N.H.
History and Antiquities of Boston - Drake - 1856.
Pioneers of Massachusetts - C. H. Pope - 1900
Boston (Births, Baptisms, Marriages & Deaths - 1883.)
History of Dover, N. H. - Scales - 1923
Piscataqua Pioneers - John Scales - 1923.
Three Episodes in Massachusetts History - 1892.
History of Rehoboth - Bliss - 1836.
Daggett's History of Attleborough, R. I.
Winthrop's History of New England - L. M. Sargent
Cushman's History of Newcastle, Maine.
Notes on the Dover Combination of 1640 -Quint - 1879.
Historical Society Collections of Dover - Vol. 1 - 1894.
Landmarks in Ancient Dover - Thompson - 1892.
Rambles about Portsmouth - Brewster - 1859-69.
Portland Centennial Celebration - Hull - 1886.
History of Walpole, Maine - Frizzell - 1963.
History of Winthrop, Maine - E. S. Stackpole - 1925
York, Maine - Charles Edward Banks - 1931-35.
Members of Boston, Massachusetts Military Co. - 1895.
Nantucket, Mass. - Hinchman - 1934.
Blackstone's Commontaries on the Law, - Gavit - 1892.
Old Kent Co., Maryland - George A. Hanson - 1876
Maryland, First Census of, - 1907
Pennsylvania, First Census of, - 1790 - 1908.
Maryland Calendar of Wills - Richardson - 1913.
Research is constant, thus many more references will be added.
OTHER BOOKLETS AVAILABLE
ON OR ABOUT
ORIGIN OF THE NAME - THEIR CREST AND COAT - OF - ARMS
Blackstone Ancestors from 1510
BIOGRAPHY OF THE REV. WILLIAM BLACKSTONE (1595 - 1675)
The First Settler of Boston, Mass.
BIOGRAPHY OF JOHN BLACKSTONE (1660-1743) 6.00
The Rev. William's only child.
BIOGRAPHY OF WILLIAM BLACKSTONE (1691-1779) 6.00
Rev. William's first grandson.
BIOGRAPHY OF SIR WILLIAM BLACKSTONE (1723 - 1779) 8.00
Any Blackstone's own personal direct line, on back
to 1510 (if records are complete) or, on back to the first Blackstone emigrant
(regardless of spelling) to the New World, the Americas. Send for three (3)
Family Forms (no charge); fill out completely and return with the required
fee $200. Refunds will be made, for each generation under ten that are not
available. Any more than ten, no extra charge.. Notification will be made,
with refund, for each generation not on record. Charges are based only on
the number of your generations available.
Our researching is ever constant, and notification will be made of any corrections or additions that come to our attention. Your sincere cooperation, is earnestly solicited in this matter.
PLEASE INDICATE BOOKLETS DESIRED, AND RETURN WITH FEE:
( ) ORIGIN OF THE NAME - THEIR CREST AND COAT-OF-ARMS
( ) BIOGRAPHY OF THE REV. WILLIAM BLACKSTONE (1595-1675)
( ) BIOGRAPHY OF JOHN BLACKSTONE (1660-1743)
( ) BIOGRAPHY OF WILLIAM BLACKSTONE (1691-1779)
( ) BIOGRAPHY OF SIR WILLIAM BLACKSTONE (1723-1780)
( ) PLEASE SEND ME THE FAMILY FORMS TO BE
FILLED OUT BY ME FOR INFORMATION AS TO MY
DIRECT LINE. (No charge)
STATE _________________________ZIP CODE__________
[Note: there was no address to send this to on the
original and Nathaniel B. Blackstone died in 1981.]
James R. Dangel
1504 Sawmill Creek Road
Sitka, Alaska 99835 USA