Alfred "Teen" Blackburn

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Alfred "Teen" Blackburn (born in Hamptonville, North Carolina, April 26, 1842 – March 8, 1951) was the last Confederate Civil War veteran to receive a Class B pension in North Carolina.[1] He was known throughout Yadkin County for his strength, size and longevity.[2] He was the last living person in Yadkin County to have been a slave. He was also believed to be one of the last living survivors of slavery in the United States who had clear recollection of it (i.e.: not born a slave and freed as a child.)[citation needed]

Born a slave[edit]

Blackburn was born a slave on the plantation of the Hampton and Cowles families in Yadkin County, North Carolina. According to family accounts, he was the son of Fannie Blackburn, a Cherokee Indian, and Augustus Blackburn, a white plantation owner.[3]

He described holding "the best job" on the plantation. "It was my duty to shoo the flies from the table, serve at parties when the well-to-do . . . were guests and take care of the children." He said the field slaves were jealous of his job.[4]

Blackburn was the "body servant" of his father, Col. John Augustus Blackburn of Company F, 21st North Carolina Regiment. Blackburn's brother, Wiley Blackburn, is listed in Co. B, 38th North Carolina Regiment roster also as a "body servant".[5]

Blackburn was a cook, servant and helper for the regiment for almost two years during battles, including the First Battle of Bull Run. In a 1938 interview, Blackburn said he did not carry a gun during his service because "a knife was handier." He described defending Col. Blackburn with his knife, "he just turned around and walked off," he said. "He didn't say a word." [4]

He returned to Yadkin County after Col. Blackburn was furloughed due to injuries. At the close of the war, Blackburn described seeing Gen. George Stoneman's men in Hamptonville, "riding three abreast and burning everything along the way." [6]

Post-Civil War[edit]

After the war, Teen Blackburn moved to Davie County and farmed for four years. Then, he worked for Sheriff Tom Watts. He then worked for Clayton Cooper Mines in Ashe County, but quit after one day.

Blackburn returned to Hamptonville. In 1883, he became a contract mail carrier, supervising other carriers, black and white. He worked for 60 years, carrying the mail on foot and later by horse from Jonesville to Hamptonville, a distance of more than 10 miles (16 km) every other day.[7]

In 1880, Blackburn married Lucy Carson – the daughter of Robert Carson, an uncle of Kit Carson – and had 10 children.[8] He worked other jobs around the county and on his 75-acre (300,000 m2) farm, tending tobacco, to help give each of his children a formal education.

For his service during the Civil War, Blackburn received a Confederate Class B veteran's pension of $200 per year.[9] He is buried in the Pleasant Hill Baptist Church cemetery in Carsontown, a community in Iredell County south of Hamptonville.

Blackburn died on March 8, 1951, at the age of 108.

Blackburn's home, which was on Teen Blackburn Road south of U.S. Highway 21 and U.S. Highway 421 was destroyed by a fire in December 2003.[10]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Civil War in North Carolina
  2. ^ An Illustrated History of Yadkin County, 1850-1980, by W.E. Rutledge Jr., Pages 21-22
  3. ^ "Memory of Yadkin's Last Slave Honored," The Yadkin Ripple, February 26, 1998
  4. ^ a b "Northwest Almanac," Winston-Salem Journal, November 1, 1998
  5. ^ The Civil War and Yadkin County, North Carolina, by Frances H. Casstevens, Page 188
  6. ^ The Civil War and Yadkin County, North Carolina, by Frances H. Casstevens, Page 101
  7. ^ Northwest Almanac, Winston-Salem Journal
  8. ^ "Memory of Yadkin's Last Slave Honored," by Charles Mathis, The Yadkin Ripple, February 26, 1998
  9. ^ The Civil War and Yadkin County, North Carolina, Frances H. Casstevens, Page 32
  10. ^ "Fire destroys historic home," The Tribune (Elkin, North Carolina), December 29, 2003