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BLACKWELL, John Lindsey
Transcribed from: The History of Florida: Past & Present, The Lewis Publishing Co., Vol.
Pesented by Nancy Rayburn
III, page 228, 1923.
BLACKWELL, JOHN LINDSEY is upholding both in character and professional achievement the high
prestige of a family name that has been significantly honored in the State of Florida and
that was founded in the South in the Colonial period of American history. He is established
in the successful practice of law in his native city of Live Oak, and is one of the representative
lawyers of the younger generation in this section of the state.
Mr. BLACKWELL was born at Live Oak, judicial center of Suwannee County, on the 5th of August,
1889, and is a son of Hon. BISHOP BLACKWELL, who was born at Chickamauga, Tennessee, in the
year 1853, and whose death occurred in 1902 at Jasper, Hamilton County, Florida. BISHOP BLACKWELL,
was a son of JOHN L. BLACKWELL, who served as a soldier of the Confederacy in the Civil war,
soon after the close of which he came from Tennessee to Florida and established the family
home in Suwannee County, both he and his wife having here passed the remainder of their lives
and he having been prospered in his agricultural enterprise and other undertakings. BISHOP
BLACKBURN gained his preliminary education in the schools of Tennessee and Florida, and he
studied law under the able preceptorship of Judge JOHN F. WHITE, who long presided on the
bench of the Circuit Court of the Third Judicial District of Florida. After his admission
to the bar he continued in the active practice of his profession at Live Oak until 1892,
when he moved with his family to Jasper, county seat of Hamilton County, where he continued
in the practice of law and also became the founder and executive head of Blackwell Banking
Company. Later he became president of the Live Oak Bank, which was organized by him, but
he was a resident of Jasper at the time of his death. Mr. BLACKWELL long held secure status
as one of the leading members of the Florida bar, and in his professional career he appeared
in many cases of major importance, he having been a specially skillful trial lawyer. He
served as state's attorney of Suwannee County, as a member of the State Senate, and was
specially influential in the councils of the democratic party in Florida. He served many
years on the Democratic Executive Committee of the state and was presidential elector from
Florida at the time when Grover Cleveland was elected President of the United States. He
was earnest and sincere in his religious faith and was an active member of the Methodist
Episcopal Church, South, as is also his widow, whose maiden name was ELLA STEWART and who
was born and reared at Jasper, Hamilton County, this state, she being now (1922) a resident
of Gainesville, Alachua County. Mrs. BLACKWELL is a daughter of the late Judge HENRY J.
STEWART, who came to Florida in the early '40s and whose death, at the age of eighty years,
occurred at Jasper, this state, in 1895. He became the owner of a fine plantation in
Hamilton County, and he became captain of the company which he recruited in that county for
service in the Confederate Army in the Civil war. Incidentally it is worthy of record in
this connection that a boy who was a member of his company was hanged, with Mrs. SURRATT,
in connection with the conspiracy that resulted in the murder of Seward about the close of
the war, this boy having given an assumed name when he was apprehended. Judge STEWART
served as state's attorney and county judge in Hamilton County, was one of the pioneer
and distinguished members of the bar of that county, and he gave able service also on the
bench of the Third Judicial District of Florida. He was at one time grand master of the
Masonic Grand Lodge of Florida.
JOHN L. BLACKWELL continued his studies in the Jasper schools until he had profited by the
advantages of the high school, and thereafter he attended Emory College in the State of
Georgia two years. He having there become affiliated with the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity.
For two years, 1909-10, he held the position of assistant cashier of the Live Oak Bank,
and in the following year he was a student in the law department of historic Washington
and Lee University, Lexington, Virginia. In 1912 he continued his technical studies in
the law department of the University of Florida, and in 1913 he was admitted to the bar
at Live Oak, where he has since continued in active general practice and has built up a
substantial and representative law business. He is now (1922) serving as city attorney,
is active in the local councils of the democratic party, did much to advance local patriotic
activities in the World war period, and he and his wife hold membership in the Methodist
Episcopal Church, South.
In June, 1913, was recorded the marriage of Mr. BLACKWELL and Miss PEARL SMITH, daughter
of JOE P. SMITH, who was at that time a leading lawyer at Thomasville, Georgia, and who is
now established in practice at Doerun, that state. Mr. And Mrs. BLACKWELL have two daughters,
MARTHA and EMILY.
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