Judge Black during “The Mormon War”

Judge Adam Black is noted in Daviess County history as the justice of the peace during the period of the Mormon struggle which erupted here in 1838.

Judge Adam Black is noted in Daviess County history as the justice of the peace during the period of the Mormon struggle which erupted here in 1838.

Adam Black was born in Henderson County, KY, on Sept. 11, 1801, into a large family from Virginia. The family moved to Missouri in 1819, stopping for a short time at Boonville before moving into Ray County soon after it was formed from the western part of Howard County. Until 1822 when Clay County was formed, Ray County included all of Northwest Missouri.

In November, 1824, Black was elected sheriff of Ray County which included eight of today’s counties. As sheriff, he conducted the first census of Ray County. He held that office until February, 1827, when he became county assessor for one year. A relative, William Black, was a judge of the Ray County Court 1825-27.

In September, 1825, Adam Black married Mary W. Morgan, daughter of Ira and Abigail Morgan. The Blacks parented seven sons and two daughters. The 1830 census shows Adam Black in Ray County with three children and a wife in her twenties.

In 1833, Adam picked out another spot to settle in the Grand River valley of Ray County. This was just south of present day Jameson. When the first election took place in Daviess County, Adam Black was one of the election judges at Millport in Grand River Township (which included the northeast part of Daviess County, including all land east of the river). In that election, Black was made township justice of the peace. He became a judge of the county court in 1838, serving four years.

In 1837 Black was commissioned to lay off the road districts in Grand River Township, and in 1841 he built the first county bridge across Muddy Creek on one of those roads. The 1840 census shows Adam Black with wife and seven children in Daviess County.

When Gentry County was formed in 1844, Black moved up the valley and served on the first grand jury of that county. He served as justice of the peace and also for four years as judge of the Gentry County Court.

In February, 1849, Black married Margaret Groom in Gentry County. There is no further mention of this marriage. In October, 1857, he married Sallie Kelley, daughter of Edward Kelley. To this union came two sons and one daughter.

In March, 1861, Judge Black was appointed by the governor to a commission to organize Worth County. Because of the Civil War, Black left that county court job and moved to Jackson Township in Livingston County. He was elected to the Livingston County Court as a district judge in 1872 and served three years.

From 1861 to 1890, Judge Black resided in Poosey land in Jackson Township. His farm was near the old Lilly Grove Church. He is buried just east of there in Hutchinson-Black Cemetery. His grave is in the Poosey State Forest, north of Indian Creek Community Lake.

In his old age, Adam Black continued his interest in political matters and his views were conservative reflecting his family ties to Virginia and states’ rights. In spite of service as County judge in Daviess County, Gentry County, Worth County and Livingston County as well as his service as sheriff of a vast Ray County, Black considered himself as a farmer.

Written by David Stark, Gallatin