The Prominence of Judge Adam Black

Judge Adam Black (1801-1890) is remembered in Daviess County as the Justice of the Peace during the period of the Mormon struggles of 1838.

Judge Adam Black (1801-1890) is remembered in Daviess County as the Justice of the Peace during the period of the Mormon struggles of 1838.

Adam Black was born in Henderson County, KY, on Sept. 11, 1801, into a large Virginia family. The family moved to Missouri in 1819 when Adam was 18 years old, stopping for a short time at Boonville before moving into Ray County soon after it was formed from the western part of Howard County (Ray County included all of northwest Missouri until 1822).

In November, 1824, Black was elected Sheriff of Ray County. He held that office until February, 1827, when he served as county assessor for one year. William Black, a judge of the Ray County court (1825-27), was probably the father or older brother of the young sheriff Adam Black. The first census of Ray County was conducted by Adam Black while he served as sheriff.

In September, 1825, Adam Black married Mary W. Morgan, the daughter of Ira and Abigail Morgan. The couple raise nine children, including two girls. The 1830 census shows Adam Black in Ray County with three children and a wife in her 20s.

In 1833 Adam Black selected a new place to settle in the Grand River, just south of what is presently Jameson, MO. He was one of the election judges at Millport in Grand River Township, a voting precinct which included the northeast part of Daviess County and all of the land east of the river. In that election, Adam Black was named Justice of the Peace. He later became a judge of the county court in 1838, serving four years. In 1837 he 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, Black moved up the valley (in 1845) to be on the first grand jury of that county. He served as Justice of the Peace and was a judge of that county court for four years. In February, 1849, Black married Margaret Groom in Gentry County. This couple had no children.

In October, 1857, Black married Sallie Kelley, the daughter of Edward Kelley and this union had three children, including one daughter.

In March, 1861, Judge Black was apoitned by the governor to the commission to organize a new county, to be called 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 that county court as a district judge in 1872 and served three years.

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

Even in his old age, Adam Black continued his interests in politics. His views were conservative, reflecting his family ties to Virginia and to states’ rights. In spite of his service as county judge in Daviess, Gentry, Worth and Livingston counties and his work as sheriff of the vast Ray County, Black considered himself a farmer.

Written by David Stark, Gallatin; October, 2001.