Jonathan H. Blackwell

Scannell's New Jersey's First Citizens

JONATHAN H. BLACKWELL---Born at Hopewell, Mercer County, December 20.
1841; son of Stephen and Francenia (Hunt) Blackwell; married at
Hopewell, N. J., on October 5, 1865, to Susan Weart, daughter of Spencer
Weart of Hopewell.

Children: Stephen Weart, (who was lost in the sinking of the Titanic),
Clara May, William Jewell and Henry Clayton.

Jonathan Hunt Blackwell, former State Senator from Mercer County, traces
his descent back to an ancient English family. No less than six towns in
that country bear the family name of Blackwell and his coat of arms is
in Ricker's "Annals of Newtown."

Robert Blackwell, the founder of the Blackwell family in America, is
recorded, in the seventeenth century, as engaged in business in
Elizabethtown, whence he moved to Newton in 1676. His second wife, Mary
Manningham, was of Manning's Island, in the East River. Mr. Blackwell
became the proprietor of this island, gave it his name and cultivated
the farm situated thereon and it has remained in possession of this
family until within recent years.

Robert Blackwell, son of Robert Blackwell who died in 1757, was the
first one of the name to settle in Hopewell, Mercer Co.,  Capt. Stephen
Blackwell, greatgrandfather, served as a private in Captain Israel's
Troop of Light Horse, New Jersey Militia, Hunterdon County, during the
Revolutionary war, and rose to be a Captain, Stephen Blackwell,
grandson of Captain Stephen Blackwell, was a successful merchant of
Hopewell. He was twice married, his second wife, Francenia A. Hunt,
being the daughter of Jonathan Hunt, of the family that figured
prominently in the early history of New Jersey. Francenia Hunt's cousin,
Wilson Price Hunt, was the first white man to cross the Rocky Mountains,
at the head of the fur trading expedition of John Jacob Astor. Her
uncle, Lieutenant Colonel Abraham Hunt, was a prosperous merchant of
Trenton, and postmaster there under the crown as well as during the
Revolution.

Jonathan Hunt Blackwell was educated in the public schools of his native
place, at the New Jersey Conference Seminary at Pennington and in the
Claverack Collegiate Institute on the Hudson. Upon leaving school at
eighteen, he began his mercantile training in his father's store at
Hopewell, and remained there until attaining his majority. Desirous of
obtaining a wider experience, he accepted a position in the business of
William Dolton, a wholesale dealer in groceries at Trenton. Here he
remained for a period of one year, then went to New York City and
engaged in business, remaining there until 1864.

At that time he returned to Trenton, and formed, with his former
employer, William Dolton, a partnership which continued until the death
of the latter. Mr. Blackwell then conducted the business under the firm
name of William Dolton & Co. until 1902, when the firm was reorganized
under the title of J. H. Blackwell & Sons.

In addition to Mr. Blackwell's private interests he has always shown
great activity in local as well as state affairs. In his political
affiliations a Democrat, he was in 1873 elected a member of the Trenton
Common Council, serving for three years, and the succeeding year was
nominated as candidate for State Senator and won the election in a
Republican district. Although the youngest member of the Senate, he
served on among others the Committee on Education, and on Banks and
Insurance companies. During the session of 1877, he was chairman of the
first-named Committee, and of that on Claims and Pensions; was a member
of those on Militia, on Lunatic Asylums, on State Library, and on
Printing. Of the latter he was also Chairman. In 1878 he was appointed
Commissioner to the Paris Exposition by Governor McClellan.

Mr. Blackwell was appointed Commissioner of the State Sinking Fund April
6, 1885, by Governor Leon Abbett. On the death of George M. Wright,
January, 1885, the legislature not being in session, Governor Abbett
appointed him State Treasurer on January 12, and he served until the
legislature elected his successor. Mayor Gnichtel of Trenton made him
one of the Commissioners for the erection of the new City Hall for
Trenton.

Mr. Blackwell has been President of the Interstate Fair Association;
President of the Trenton Transportation Company; Director of the First
National Bank; of the Standard Insurance Company; of the Mercer Hospital
Board; of the Trenton Railroad Company and several other companies. He
is also President of the Lotus Club of Trenton and of the Spring Lake
Golf and Country Club, member of the Board of Managers of the State Sons
of the Revolution and a member of the Sons of the Colonial War.

Related Biographies:

John Jacob Astor
Stephen Weart Blackwell

Acknowledgements

From Scannell's New Jersey's First Citizens, 1917-1918; William E. Sackett, Editor-in-Chief; Paterson, N. J., J. J. Scannell, 1917.

Contributor

Mark Baber

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