Niblack Family Chronicles

The Niblack Chronicles and Genealogy Records

Niblack Family Chronicles

Some flew east, and someflew west and some flew over the cuckoo’s nest.

English Nursery Rhyme

When I was in my early teens I asked my father whether we were related to anyone famous. He replied that my triple great-grandfather was a friend of Daniel Boone. Research indicates that this may be true. I found the prospect of writing a book about our family rather daunting! A voracious reader, I never aspired to write, but three of us cousins found the need to research our family and put the results into a book. Here it is—still a work in progress. This book is dedicated to those who went before—links in a chain. A significant influence was my great-aunt Persis Niblack, the youngest of my great-grandparents’ children, who never married, but instead cared for her family. Perhaps all the Niblacks have insatiable curiousity like Kipling’s elephant’s child; certainly my father did. Persis was a teenager when my father, Howard, just a little boy, asked her so many questions that, in exasperation, Persis said, “Howard, if you ask me another question, I’ll turn into a little bird and fly away.” After a few minutes of silence he inquired, “Which way will you go?” A handwriting analysis of some of the characteristics in the writing of Sanford Lee Niblack , our great-grandfather (father of Persis) shows that he had a strong personality, initiative—he saw what needed to be done and did it—there was a tendency to harken back to the past, a lot of defiance, and generosity but competitiveness in that he wanted things that he didn’t want others to have. Strangely, the hand writing analysis done today doesn’t agree with historical legend: his store in Wheatland, Indiana, almost failed because he lacked the initiative to collect bills. But his wife took over. So much for clues from the past and present. It is difficult to get at truth. All of the Niblacks that I have known seem very sensitive people, usually intellectually interesting, often going into the teaching profession. Not many were warriors. They aren’t particularly gregarious in our branch, but close to kin. Certainly family solidarity and a sense of history have characterized many Niblacks. In early days they married close to home. In nineteenth century America the radius of the average pool of potential spouses was about 5 miles. This was about the distance a man could comfortably walk twice on his day off, when he went courting. With the invention of the bicycle the radius was

The Niblark Family Chronicles

eigrrhe Niblack family has an advantage given. tr0000nly ecre:gairannfta,moilt • A •ca It can evidently trace its roo ne eentnh cenintuenry,.and almost all. Niblacksw(Ntioblocinkscri) ccaan. trace their heti-91hren of this new arri A c’ne c’ bs ne in the Third Creek cemetery near Salisbury, NTcoam ts n tive of Scotland, went to Rowan County i—n-1750-anatniead’in 17talt..hMe wasanyNa descenhclaadntsho,arevdenthifettraheYdhitamdonemvear, visited the cemetery of the original ancestor, “the original Niblack came from Scotland and. hved in North Carolina.” That much seems clear. That he had not directly come to North Caro-lina also seems clear. Past that we need to sort out details. . Two accounts seem pertinent, because they are from earlier generations. Both are from the John Niblack of Kentuckydline, wrheseichnties_fr,00mmtchreetahierd generation in America, These accou.nbts shoulrhbse spoor mods, a.m. redia The first is from Admiral Albert NI lack, pe p five. Admiral Niblack was Commander of the American Fleet in the Medi-terranean Sea in World VVar I and was eventually vice-admiral of the U.S. Navy. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery. USS MICHIGAN Southern Drill Grounds September 5, 1915 DearAustin [his nephew] Yourfilther is sixty-one years old today and I am writingyou a letter about the history ofthe Niblackfamilyfor t.Atfe deposit° til 1 such time as you may become old enough to appreciatefamily histo ty . Mark Twain says that ifyou go bath far enough, you are sure tofind at least one ofyour ancestors on the end ofa rope, so there everything in knowing when to stop looking backwards. The Niblacks. .were Scotch-Covenanters in religion and of Scotth-lrish de-scent, and emigratedfrom Clacmonon, Scotland to theneighborhood of what is now Indiana, Pennsylvania at least as early as 1 750. The original George [Wil-liam;]Niblatk wentfrom there with a large colony to Saulisbuty, County, North Carolina, where they established a settlement called the Tenmylvan, Settlement’ in t.neighborhood of the present town of Saulisbury. IV.C. This George had two som. The oltkr one, also named George, became Registrar ofthe Saulisbury County, N.C. and thereby establ,hed the written history ofthe family. He built the origi-nal Presbyterian Church there and died in 1815 kaving three sons. . .Ourfamily descendedfrom the younger son,John Niblack, who was born at the Pennsylvania Settlement in 1755. John Niblack 2 son of George Niblack Born 1755 Pennsylvania Settlement, Salisbury County, NC

The Niblack Family Chronicles
Died 1825, Clark County, Kentuthy Married 1779, Elizabeth McNary at the Pennsylvania Settle. John Niblack 2 was a Scot. Covenanter. These were a class ofPresbyteri-ans who sang psalms instead ofhymns and were exceedingly strict in the observa-tion of the Sabbath and everything ofa disciplinary tharaaer in rdigion.. those 1559 991 Colonial laws ofCreat Britain were &Vora in North Carolina and under it the oldest son received most oft, estate. . There was a row between the brothers over the estate. John had married Elizabeth McNary in 1779 and thry had one son, born in 1781, but that did not deter himfrom emigrating with his family to Kentucky in 1782, a year before the dose of the Revolution, War. The controversy between the brothers never healed and there was neverArther com-munication between the families of George and John. [Admiral Niblack goes on to describe the fortunes of the John Niblack line as it crossed the mountains into Kentucky. This account is induded in the appendix.]
The next account worth noting is from William E. Niblack, thc father of Admiral Niblack. William E. Niblack was Congressional Representative during the Civil War for the state of Indiana. He is also from the Kentucky John Niblack line, having been born in Indiana, the eldest of eight children, 1, 1/22, the son of Kentucky John Niblack’s son John.
Indianapolis, Indiana 1893
I have often promised the members ofmy family to kave at least a briefmemo-randum of the hist, of it on both sides, and my condition of health admonishes methat a ought to be done soon, sf I am to do it at The name Niblack is a peculiar and unusual one in this country, and I never yet met any person bearing st who did not trace st back to the same ongm and to the same part of the country. It is Scandinavian, and probably camefrom either Sweden or Denmark to Scotland several centmies ago. . learned from official circles, thirty years ago, that the name was a very usual one in Denmark. There were Nib/at., Neblacks and perhaps other similar forms of spelling the name in Scandinaviafrom Denmark, but ‘cannot give particulars. . .Thefamily first landed in Pennsylvania, . .but it was very early in the history of the settle-ment I think. From there my bran, of the family emigrated to North Carolina where my grandfatherJohn Niblack was born—at ail events he was reared there. That neighborhood was only afro milesfrom Saulisbury and was known as the Pennsylvania Settlement. . My grandmother’s maiden 1199 15/ Elizabeth

7, Niblack Family Chronicles
McNary, who is said to have been a very handsome and attractive woman in her Nrwfirsry Jotter was theewasenoUgh to tau break-up e an estrangement in theftmily athis death. GwArgcnveX,:octhkcehnatsuLf:mmisleyarmchemthbeatr,haPshailisfiNerichnlatcstggciccsscriconntsdt.frothme origin of the family name. Scotch and Scotch-Irish (Scots who settled in Northern Ireland in the 17th cen-tury)are arguably apart ofan evengreaterfami y havir, its origins in Germany, The original Scotch Niblocks may have come from Germanyfleeingfrom either the turmoil of the Reformation or the Thirty Years War. The original religious settlement in Germany provided for only two tolerated churches in German-Catholic and Lutheran. South there were many Reformed (Calvinists.) It would be only natural that they migh tflee to a land where the Reformed faith was bring established, as it was in Scotland. Tbefamily name, (iffrom Germany) was probably something like Knoblaucb or Knoblock or Niblig. Many of. original GermanWiblco. came to America directly in the Great German migrations olt h e 18th century, which explains most of the Noblest, Noblock, and other such families today. The Niblack, Niblock, Niblick name may thus, a distinct Sodas h Anglization of these earlier German names. The name as brought toilmerica (from Scotland) was apparently Niblock, which was probably pronounced either Nibloch or Nibl-luck, which during three generation in Rowan County, North Carolina, slowly led to the spelling Wiblack. as an alternate. . Of the meaning or the original of the name, very hide is known. The Oxford English Dictionary pronounces it yobscure formation.’ There are several theo-ries, however. Knob and loch carry a variety of German meanings, including a crest ofa hill and a lake, and as such it could rifer to a particular village so situ-ated. It also meant a means ofgrapphng or twisting. obscure English usage, MR, was one who structured and cut stone and an instrument used 10 do the same thing. This may be the origin of. goliclub named ‘niblick’ (interestingly enough we remember the game was invented in Scotland.) If this were the case club and the job may have given rise to the family name Niblock entirely in-dependent of any German, and ourfnmily heritage may have had nothing at all to do with the Knoblauchs of Germany. The first Niblochs thus might have been stone cutters. However thefirmily emerged in Scotland, they were certainly there by the early 1600’s. It seems findy apparent that they were a part of what is known as the owlan d Scots, living probably on the western side or the islands of. West Scottish coast.
The Niblack Family Chronicles
[Philip discusses the fact that some Niblocks did migrate to Northern Ireland under James .planting” of Scotch Protestants in the islands to displace the Catholics he had conquered. He goes on to state that a Niblock name first appears on the hearth money rolls of County Antrim in 1664 and speculates that our original ancestor William Niblock came from Northern Ireland. He also records that these Niblocks came to Pennsylvania, from whence they emigrated to Salisbury County, North Carolina.] He adds details about life there:
The Niblocks went south down the edge of the mountains into. Great Valley of Virginia to the Salisbury vicinity in 1750 (Rowan County be created in 1753.) Here they stayed west of Salisbury in the general vicinity of the Yadkin River and its tributaries, Third and Fourth Creeks. 1754, William Niblock bought 350 acres on Fourth Creek from Humphrey Montgomery. At his death he was married to a woman named Elizabeth, who bore him at least three children anelpossiblyfour4ohn, William Margaret and George. (There is also a daughter Martha and possibly Elizabeth.) There William Niblack died in 1761 and was buried in the Third Creek Church cemetery…. The three sons apparently lived and farmed in Rowan County until after the Revolutionary War in which at least one fought. Then two ofthem joined thefint wave ofwestern migration. ohn married Elizabeth McNary whose family had recently migrated from NewJersey. (1777).He moved to what is now Ken-tucky (modern Fayette County). . .ThisJohn Niblack is the progenitor of t, In-diana Niblocks and the direct ancestor ifthe Fulton, Missouri, Niblacks. William married Divonia Tsar and moved eventually to Camden County, Georgia, where he died in 1828 (through him are daanded the Florida Niblacks and perhaps other Nibladu in the Deep South and Southwest.) With this second generation it appears that the spelling ofthefamily name be-gins to undergo the change from Niblock to Niblack. William Niblock, name on this grave is spelled with an George’s, however, though,: many plates is spelled with an `0,. is also spelled with an if and is so spelled in his wilt George had first married a woman whose name was Esther. They stayed in Rowan County and he inherited the major part of William Niblock’s holdings.To this marriage were born Thomas, WilliamJohn, Georgelohnston and Esther (who was to marry a Luckey.) About 1790 George’s first wife died and , married Francis Wilson Morrison (February 15, 1793) and had Levi, Wilson, Jane and Fanny and an-other child. [Philip goes on to describe the later history of Wilson Niblack’s son Maas, whose journey in 1818 with another family established the Niblack family

The Niblark Farnily Chronicles flourished and still exist today. See Appendix for resin rtleVissoheirierithNelbYlack narractiv:L many similarities which make • Anakzing dr!, ehnuraets wcptiOns as definitely as is possible in dealint; P.sibhle 7inmdredutmars ago. VVilliam Niblacly possibly accom: pwitle-dby°ifie wof man who wa’s already his wife and by a niece, Rhoda Ni-black, did arrive in America in the mid-Zhetranttrahzinotun zhiriicli:eplanzslvtahn i a. jAin tut’: d”r ta7770h,atvhearcac nnot be possible. About 1740 is ‘dime I71,g 7 ca’coun is the likely spot rather than Indiana Penn-sylva—nirase’Admnirala’Nr iblacaought. The Daniel Boone connection is a -n g • the family well documented. Daniel Boone moved wi”;115 h-i-sparetts” t’onNe oinrth Carolina’ when he wThas sixteen from the_ area of thc Pennsylvania Dutch near the Susquehanna. e ort Scotch-Irish settle-ment west of the Susquehanna was there, where the oones lived, reaching only slightly IVCSI and north of Lancaster. After staying in Pennsylvania for a while, they did decide to emigrate, certainly did settle near Salisbury, North Carolina, where i. original ancestor VVilliam raised his children. Thcy then scattered to become the ancestors of those of us who bear the name. Was the original ancestor from Scotland or Northern Ireland, His tornb-stone states he was bom in Scodand. Philip’s hypothesis may be correct, or there may be another answer. William Niblock may have been Scotch, but he joined the huge Scotch-lrish population swelling immigration into the colonies when he came.

A further word about the Scotch-Irish is in order. James I of England, of both blessed memory for having the King James Bible translated and of notorious memory for having a decadent and riotous court, sent Scotch se, tiers into northern Ireland, into Londonderry and other towns like Eniskillen and Belfast to “civilize the Catholic population.” The Scotchmen and women sent to Ireland were Protestants, most of them Presbyterians who followed the teachings of John Calvin strictly, and they built their Presbyterian churches in Northem Ireland and drove the Catholics off the land, claiming it for their own. They fought the Battle of the Boyne in 1690 against the lords of Catho-I ic Northern Ireland, a battle which they won and still celebrate in Londonderryand the North, causing affront to the present-day Catholic population. In the eighteenth century, England did not treat its trans lanted Scotch-Irish settlers well in the North of Ireland. It refused to letPthem sell their linen cloth at a fair price, allowed absentee landlords from London to i .100,
The Niblack Family Chronicles

povcrish the land, and in general forgot about the needs of the land across the Irish Sea. The hard-worldng and intelligent Scotch Irish population could not advance in life, anmetimes could not even live under the heavy taxation and bad economic policy, and starting in the 1720s began to emigrate from Northcrn Ireland. The first settlers came to Connecticut and at first WCre welcomed. In a few years, however, the New England Congregationalists had had enough of the enterprising farmers and merchant Scotch-Irish Pres-byterians, and closed the danrs to more settlement from Ireland. In the 1730s and 40s somc hardy Scotch Irislunen did choose to settle in Pennsylvania. Because title to lands the Indians vvere still claiming was in question, they were “squatters” and were often evicted from the lands so their existence in the 40s was precarious. Most Scotch-lrish immigrants would have entered the coun, at Chester, Pennsylvania, then travelled into the country already being setded by the Peansylvania “Deustche.” If the Niblock family joined the arca where the Boone family lived, induding young Daniel as has been said, they would have been in beautifully rolling countryside just west of the Susequehanna, where white stone homes were being built and farms carved out of the rocky but fertile soil. Soon, by 1751, Carlisle Pennsylvania became both the gather-ing, and the jumping off place, for the Scotch Irish population, which headed wcst instead of south. It was in large part because of Scotch Irish immigra-tion and settlement into the area around John Harris’ Ferry on the Susquehaana. By 1751, the Indian titles had been given up, though Shaw-nee and Delaware and NIunsee were still in the arca. A virtual tide of set-tlers, most of them Scotch-lrish now arrived to claim land that could now be sold to them properly by the colony. Soon after they arrived thcy fought thc French and Indian War to drive the Indians beyond the Alleghenies and make the land safe. But that is a Instory of a later date. Earlier arrivals, like the Niblocks, of-ten grew dissatisfied with the inadequate colonial land policy and worn-out lands they had to farm. In these earliest migration days of the forties, the days when William Niblock arrived, the pattem was to filter into Virginia or North Carolina, where good lands were available. The settlers built a new trail through the wilderness known as the Great Wagon Road. Starting at John Harris’ Fe, (now Harrisburg), the 435-mile road wandered south through Pennsylvania into western Maryland, south along the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia into North Carolina and emerged north of Winston-Sa-km. It was this road that the Niblocks, Boones and other early Scotch-lrish pioneers took into the new promised lands. Nang Niblack Baxter, who has often written about the Scotch Irish in America in her historical novels (The Movers, Lords of the Rivers, The Dream

The Oa, Family Chronic. Dioida4 has this to say about the somng out of “Scotch-Irish” and “sco,.. The Salth-lrishuvre the/argot Immigrant group the 18th.eentury–, v. tualflood In the 18405 17:impel/led temporarily rn Smaller nu: bed of immigrantsfrom Scotland were aho arrTing at this time, and the ytuo quickly… been assandatedmto the Scoich-ldsh coninnimly, to whom, of,:d theyseere dos4 related and whose rehgton the, .1 shared: The two grouPing s ahnost interebangrable,and men if {Wham Niblocad I not share th e exact ,oe,,,• of departureftr Ainerita as th o hhe bt m Amerda,.rt soon did not matter. , children martial among th Scott ra community, they were al I ofon,00: e of the Scotch-lrish h. certainly been evident • M ra&t,n,’ t charactir. h were known as a prickly, aggressive people Th’ey’ ‘wilderness scouts, Indian traders and fighters i to the unexplored hinterlands. and 1°”- hunt’ • •eers’innNorth Carolina entered a hunter’s paradise. Insh oa., poplrs, hickories and ash trees siicty stvanhe d-eareddesdee’r,re’ll:and squirrels so numerous they threatened crops. The Niblack family rifles would have been both their livelihoods and their protection. John Niblack (son of Tom, great-grandsohn of John H) in Redlands, California, has the original handsome rifle of is ancestor Ken-tucky John Niblack, son of William. No doubt William Niblack and his sons dressed as other Scotch Irish pio eers, wearing the “hunting shirt” which reached halfway down their thignhs and was belted at the waist. The hunting shirt was usually fringed, and it could be supplemented with a fringed cape or wool blanket for cold weather. Accounts of Scotch Irish pioneers in North Carolina show them enjoy-ing social life at reaping parties, log rolling, cabin raisings and weddings. Scotch Irish weddings were unique. The wedding party assembled at the home of the groom, father, then marched double file for safety along a nar-row. to the bride, home. A whiskey bottle would be hidden at the bride, home; twoyoung men would race for it. After the ceremony, the gues. would feast on roast pork, venison and bear paw. The weddi, cake was brought in separate layers by various guests: spice cake layers held together with applesauce: Dancing to the fiddle and sometimes bagpipes would beim, Mg. Thc bride and groom would be put to bed at 9 p.m., t ey wis e to or no the,. middle of the night to partake of the feast, whether h Slow*Iyh, dtho,h, the settlemen gr • thc log cabins. The Revolutionary’ Weawr .splirtictkheansdtastet7theohughlsetsherTlaoctecdh

Thc Niblack Family Chronicles

Irishmen were supportive of thc colonies and fought at the Battle of Cowpens to help free America from Great Britain. VVar records for the Niblack you, men have not been found, though records in thc National Archives show Rhoda Niblick, wifc of James Craig, was widowed during the war and ap-plied for a pension for herself and her four children. And, finally, as the earlier first-hand reports show, after their father’s death and in the midst of a seeming controversy over the estate, the Niblack sons scattered: to Georgia and thence to Florida and thc rest of the south, to Missouri, to Kentucky and to Indiana and—all points beyond. We can find their stories only in fragments after that. And yet, it will be fruitful to take the Kentucky John Niblack contingent along their hazardous trek across the mountains into the new promised land, because it is typical in most war of all the Niblack family in this second generation, starti, out as “Movers” to establish thc family in different set-tings and economic opportunites. Then we will attempt to see how the William group coped with the difficulities of the wilderness South in the late 1800s, and then moved over the cuckoo’s nest—to gl points beyond.


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