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Bay Co. Biographies

Transcribed from: The History of Florida: Past & Present, The Lewis Publishing Co., Vol.
III, page 135, 1923.

BLACKWELL, JACOB BECK. While Bay is one of the newly organized counties of Florida, owing
to the exceptionally capable men in charge of its different offices its affairs are in a
most flourishing condition, and its business is transacted as promptly and efficiently as
are matters in the older communities. Among these dependable men of affairs who have been
connected with the county since its organization none stands higher than does JACOB BECK
BLACKWELL, tax collector, who was first appointed by the governor in 1914, and successively
reelected ever since, his present term not expiring until January 1, 1925.

JACOB BECK BLACKWELL was born October 7, 1874, at Florence, South Carolina, a grandson of
JOHN BLACKWELL, and a son of BIRCH and SARAH (ALLEN) BLACKWELL, both of whom were born in
South Carolina, and are deceased. During the war between the two sections of the country
BIRCH BLACKWELL cast his lot with the Confederacy, and served in a South Carolina regiment
of infantry all through the war. After General Lee's surrender he returned home, took up
the obligations of civilian life once more, and devoted the remainder of his life to farming.
His marriage occurred after his return.

During his boyhood JACOB BECK BLACKWELL attended the district schools of his native state,
but his father dying his mother moved to Georgia, and from the time he was fifteen he went
to the schools of Lawrence County, that state. At eighteen he began to be self-supporting,
at that time entering the employ of WILLIAMSON & GLOVER, who were in the turpentine industry,
and remained with this firm until he reached his majority, learning during this period the
turpentine business from start to finish. Coming to Florida, Mr. BLACKWELL, together with
Mr. GLOVER, went into the turpentine business in Levy County, and the partners were doing
well when the severe storm of 1896 so changed conditions as to necessitate their removal,
and Mr. BLACKWELL returned to Mr. WILLIAMSON, then operating at Compton, Walton County,
Florida. After a year he and Mr. GLOVER bought a turpentine plant at Isagora and once more
went into the turpentine business. They remained there for two years, and then Mr. BLACKWELL
went to Vernon, Florida, and organized a turpentine business of his own, conducting it most
successfully for four years.

Going back once more to Georgia, he opened a general mercantile business at Brewton, and
for the following five years found its operation ample employment for his time and energy.
At the termination of the five years he sold this business and came to Saint Andrews Bay,
then beginning to attract considerable attention, and went into the mercantile business
at Southport, and from 1908 to 1914 conducted it most successfully, and built up a large
and valuable trade. The matter of organizing Bay County had in the meanwhile come before
the people, and Mr. BLACKWELL had been one of the workers for this action, believing that
the best interests of everyone would be furthered were a new division made. His effective
work in this connection, combined with his high business standing, led the governor to
appoint him as tax collector of the new county, and when he came before the people as a
candidate for it at the following election they endorsed his appointment by electing him
by a large majority, and have since kept him is this office.

In January, 1909, Mr. BLACKWELL married at Southport, Florida, SARAH ANDERSON, both of
whose parents were natives of North Carolina. Mr. And Mrs. BLACKWELL have four children:
LOUISE, JACOB BECK, Junior, CLYDE and CARRIE BELLE. In the faith of the Baptist denomination
Mr. BLACKWELL finds expression for his religious views, and he is a valued member of the
local church. He is a Blue-Lodge, Chapter, Knight-Templar and Shriner Mason, and also
belongs to the Independent Order of Odd Fellows. A keen, capable and honorable business
man, Mr. BLACKWELL is conducting his office in a manner that wins approval from all concerned,
and in this connection is rendering a much-appreciated service to Bay County and Panama City.

Transcribed by Nancy Rayburn

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This page presented March 11, 2010