James D. Black, deceased, was for many years a resident of Racine and such were his sterling qualities that he enjoyed the friendship and high regard of many with whom he was brought in contact. He was born in Winchester, Virginia, February 14, 1844, a son of George W. and Elizabeth (Stipe) Black. The father was a son of a soldier of the War of 1812 and was of Scotch descent. He learned the blacksmith’s trade and in June, 1844, he removed with his family to Marseilles, Illinois, where he lived for about a year and then went to Ogle County, Illinois, where for thirty years he engaged in blacksmithing. He there passed away in 1887, as did his wife, who, like her husband, was born in Winchester, Virginia, and was the daughter of a veteran of the War of 1812.
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James D. Black was but an infant when taken to Illinois and in the common schools of Ogle County pursued his education. When sixteen years of age he began serving an apprenticeship at the carpenter’s trade, but after a little time decided on another occupation and turned his attention to farming, in which he engaged at the time of the outbreak of the Civil war. He was a youth of but seventeen years when, on the 16th of August, 1861, at Mount Morris, Ogle County, he enlisted for active service at the front as a member of Company H, Thirty-fourth Illinois Infantry. He was mustered in at Camp Butler in September of that year and under command of Colonel E. N. Kirk the regiment went to Cincinnati in order to protect that city against the troops under General Kirby Smith. With his command Mr. Black afterward went to Louisville and then through the northern part- of Kentucky and on southward, watching the movements of the Confederate troops and taking part in several skirmishes. At Green River the regiment was assigned to the Fifth Brigade under General Wood and the Second Division under General Alexander -McCook, and in that connection Mr. Black served in the battle of Shiloh, the siege of Corinth, the engagement at Farmington and fought Morgan’s men at Clayville. He was also in the battle of -Murfreesboro, Mission Ridge, Tunnel Hill, Buzzard’s Roost, Resaca, Dallas, New Hope Church, Kenesaw Mountain, Peach Tree Creek and Atlanta and later went with Sherman on the celebrated march from Atlanta to the sea, while subsequently he was in action at Bentonville. North Carolina. He participated in the Grand Review at Washington, where the victorious Union troops marched down Pennsylvania avenue and passed the stand on which the president reviewed the army. For bravery in action Mr. Black had been promoted to the rank of sergeant in 1862 and was so discharged at Chicago with the close of the war.
In 1866 Mr. Black returned to Ogle County and in 1868 removed to Marshalltown, Iowa, but after a year returned to Shannon, Illinois, and two years later entered the employ of the St. Paul Railroad Company. In 1876 he removed to Racine, where he was employed in the car department, continuing there for several years. He afterward worked at the carpenter’s trade, but still later resumed railroad work as an employee of the Northwestern, with which corporation he continued for eight or ten years.
On the 9th of July, 1874, Mr. Black was married to Miss Sophronia Chitty, a. daughter of the Rev. R. L. Chitty, a United Brethren minister. They became parents of three children. Oscar H. is a clerk in the post office at Cooper Station. Arthur E. is engaged in the insurance and real estate business. He married Grace A. Simms, of Jacksonville, Illinois, and has one child, Virginia Catherine. Mildred is the wife of Phillip Heibering, of Racine, and they have one son, James. Mr. Black was a member of the Masonic fraternity and exemplified in his life the beneficent spirit of the craft. He passed away in 1906. Mrs. Black still resides in Racine. She was instrumental in organizing the Women’s Relief Corps of Racine in 1885, has served as president and has held offices continuously since its organization. She is interested in all patriotic movements that tend to the betterment of the community. She possesses remarkable business and executive ability, most carefully and wisely directs her interests and is winning success there from.