My BLACK Ancestors

By Wes Patterson

Last Revised: 20 August 2018

My Black ancestors are a difficult family to research. The name is very common and many unrelated families with this surname have often lived in close proximity to each other. Two things are known for certain. 1) I descend from Margaret "Peggy" Black, who married John Patterson sometime between 1786 and 1788 in South Carolina. No marriage record has ever been found. We know they were both from the area around Clarks Fork of Bullocks Creek in what is now York Co., SC. At the time they were born, it was claimed by Mecklenburg Co., NC, however, and then later Tryon Co., NC. By the 1770's it became known as York Co., SC.

2) We also know that my Black relatives were in Augusta Co., VA during the 1740's - 1760's, and then moved to SC. By the 1790's there were in western NC in Buncombe and Burke Counties. Many of these Blacks moved into eastern TN into Cocke and surrounding counties, while others in this group moved into northern GA. As for prior to Augusta Co., VA, there were some Blacks associated with our Pattersons and other relatives in Sussex Co., DE, but it is still unclear if they were related.

I am told that the Blacks of York Co., SC who settled along Clarks Fork near Kings Mountain were descended from Matthew and Mary Black. I do believe there was an older Matthew Black in Augusta Co., VA that was the father of this group who migrated to Clarks Fork. What I cannot prove (or disprove) is whether or not this older Matthew moved to SC as well, OR what his wife's name was.

However, I am convinced that the Matthew Black of Clarks Fork was NOT the father of these men, but rather a brother to these men who moved to Clarks Fork, so that would make him Matthew Black Jr. There are records from Orange and Augusta Co VA that show us an older Matthew Black and also a Gowen/Gawin/Gavin Black. These men are seen as early as 1740 and through the 1750's. We do not see Robert Black, son of Matthew, in VA until the late 1750's and early 1760's. Other Blacks that were prevalent in Augusta lived further south near Staunton, VA. The ones who migrated to Clarks Fork area of SC during the 1760's, were seen living along Linville and Cooks Creeks in old Augusta Co., VA just to the west of modern day Harrisonburg, VA.

During the 1760's in SC along Clarks Fork, we see grants associated with Gowen Black, Matthew Black, Robert Black, and Joseph Black. We also see other Blacks recorded as chain bearers such as Thomas Black and James Black. By the mid 1770's in SC we also know of a John Black.

Of these seven men, Joseph and John both married daughters of Robert and Sarah Patterson. Joseph married Sarah Patterson no later than the early 1760's, and both of them appear to have been born ca. 1740/45. On the other hand, John Black appears to have been younger, as he did not acquire any land, nor was he recorded as a chain bearer. We just know that he married Lydia Patterson by 1775, give or take a year or so. I would estimate John and Lydia's birth years to be ca. 1755/58. So it's possible that this John Black could have been either a son old Matthew Sr, or even a son of Robert or Gowen Black.

Speaking of Gowen Black, I cannot say with 100% certainty that the one of VA is the same that moved to Clarks Fork. They "could have been" father and son, or uncle and nephew. But given the fact that the name Gowen or Gawin or Govin/Govey shows up several other branches of these Clarks Fork Blacks, I would certainly say that old Gowen Black was related. So I don't know for sure if the old Gowen Black of Va was a son of Matthew Sr or a brother. But I imagine they were related.

Robert Black shows up in the records of Augusta Co., VA in the early 1760's and was clearly associated with the Matthew Black of Cooks Creek. I believe it is safe to say that Robert was an older son (if not the oldest) of Matthew Black. Robert married into the Cravens family of Augusta Co Va. He married a daughter of Robert Cravens Sr and Mary Harrison. This daughter was named Madge, also spelled as Majey, Majy, Magy, Maggie, etc.

By the time Robert and Magy Cravens Black began acquiring land on Clarks Fork in what would later become York Co., SC, we also start seeing what presumably were brothers of his, as well, such as Joseph Black, Matthew Black (Jr), and even a Thomas Black. Again, a Gowen Black obtained land along Clarks Fork, and appears to have been near Matthew, Robert and Joseph, but there were not ever seen together on any one specific land record. William Wilson (and James Wilson as a chain bearer) are seen as neighbors, however, to both Matthew, Robert, and Joseph Black, as well as Gowen Black. And Thomas Black was a chain bearer with Matthew Black on one particular survey, so it seems to me that for sure, there were brothers named Robert, Matthew, Joseph, and Thomas. And another James Black appeared as a chain bearer in those early 1760's surveys, so it is possible he was yet another brother. But James and Thomas never acquired land along Clarks Fork.

Robert Black married Magy Cravens in Augusta Co., VA. No official record has survived, but they were certainly married by 1760, if not sooner. Robert Cravens Jr and William Cravens were neighbors along Clarks Fork with Robert Black and they were also brothers to Magy. Robert Cravens Jr owned a tract of land but never lived there. It is assumed that William Cravens lived on his brother's land during the seven years he and his family lived there.

Matthew Black (Jr) married Margaret Ponder on January 7, 1762 at the Peaked Mountain Church in Augusta Co., Va. Margaret Ponder's parents and siblings moved to Clarks Fork as well. Her parents were Daniel Ponder Sr and Jemima Bennett. Two of Margaret's siblings married into the Patterson family. Daniel Ponder Jr married Elizabeth Patterson, and Mabel Ponder married Robert Patterson Jr. Both of these Pattersons were children of the afore-mentioned Robert and Sarah Patterson. Matthew Black spent years in York Co., SC before later moving to Burke Co., NC. Many of his descendants lived in Burke and/or Buncombe Counties in NC, and some later moved on to Cocke Co., TN, while others moved into north GA to Union and surrounding counties.

Joseph Black married Sarah Patterson, daughter of Robert and Sarah Patterson. Joseph and Sarah were my 5x-great-grandparents. Their children and grandchildren moved into Buncombe Co., NC and later into north Ga.

My BLACK ancestors are as follows, beginning with the oldest generation: 

  1. (?)Matthew Black (b. ____; d. ____)
    m. (?)Mary ____
  2. Joseph Black (b. ca 1740; d. ca 1783/90)
    m. Sarah Patterson
  3. Margaret "Peggy" Black (b. ca 1767; d. ca 1850/60) [pedigree]
    m. John Patterson [pedigree]
  4. George Patterson (b. 1800; d. 1860) [pedigree]
    m. Rebecca Chastain [pedigree]
  5. William Harden "Bill" Patterson (b. 1832; d. 1883) [pedigree]
    m. Elizabeth Akins [pedigree]
  6. Joseph Elijah "Lige" Patterson (b. 1871; d. 1957) [pedigree]
    m. "Nannie" Ammons [pedigree]
  7. Clinton Willie "Clint" Patterson (b. 1904; d. 1975) [pedigree]
    m. Wilma Stephens [pedigree]
  8. Francis Oliver "Frank" Patterson (b. 1940; d. 2015) [pedigree]
    m. Vanza Davis [pedigree]
  9. Charles Wesley "Wes" Patterson (b. 1968)
    m. Ginna Fishburne

Families of Interest that were associated with the Blacks

The following surnames make up some of key families of interest that may been maternal lines - but as of yet are not proven. If you have any info on any of these families that you'd like to share with me, I'd certainly appreciate it. Thank you.

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