William Blacker

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William Blacker
Born (1777-09-01)1 September 1777
County Armagh, Ireland
Died 25 November 1855(1855-11-25) (aged 78)
County Armagh, Ireland
Occupation Military leader, government official, author

Lieutenant-Colonel William Blacker (1 September 1777 – 25 November 1855[1]) was a British Army officer, Commissioner of the Treasury of Ireland, and author.[2] His published work is sometimes attributed under the names Fitz Stewart or Colonel Blacker.

Life and career[edit]

Born in Carrickblacker House, in the Oneilland East barony in County Armagh, he entered the University of Dublin in the 1790s. Blacker was a participant at the Battle of the Diamond. There, Blacker became one of the original members of the Orange Institution. After earning his degree, Blacker obtained a commission in the 60th Regiment of Foot, then serving in the West Indies, but poor health compelled him to return home. In 1806 he was promoted to its majority, and in 1812 rose to his final rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. In 1816 his uncle Sir George Hill, 2nd Baronet appointed Blacker to the Commission of the Treasury of Ireland. He was confirmed Lord Dublin and was the great grandfather of Sir Cecil Blacker Commandant of Horse.

In 1829, he inherited the family estate upon his father's death. He resigned his military office shortly after and retired to Carrickblacker House. Blacker was buried in Portadown in the Old Seagoe Cemetery.


Blacker and his relative Valentine Blacker were both lieutenant-colonels, and both were published authors. Because some of the work was published pseudonymously, the two are sometimes confused or conflated in texts. In The Dublin University Magazine, where his work often appeared, they wrote, "We know not why Colonel Blacker has chosen not to own himself the author of some papers which in the pages of our own Magazine have excited attention of which any man might feel proud."[3]

Blacker authored a popular poem on military service, Oliver's Advice, originally published in 1834 under his occasional pseudonym, "Fitz Stewart."[4] The poem was widely anthologized.[5][6] The poem popularized a phrase attributed to Oliver Cromwell as part of a "well-authenticated anecdote." Each stanza ends with a variant of the line, "put your trust in God, my boys, and keep your powder dry." The line appeared in Bartlett's Familiar Quotations attributed to Colonel Blacker.

His 1818 song "The Crimson Banner" commemorates the Siege of Derry during the Williamite War in Ireland.


  1. ^ Burke's Peerage gives information for two contemporaries named William Blacker. Page 103 gives and brother of Valentine Blacker with 1776 as birth and 20 October 1850 as death. Page 104 gives a distant relative of Valentine Blacker with 1 September 1777 as birth and 1855 as death. It appears the distant relative, whose father was Dean Blacker (died 1 December 1826) was the author and subject of this biography.
  2. ^ John Burke, Bernard Burke, Peter Townend, ed. (1875). Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry. H. Colburn (p. 103).
  3. ^ Lieut.-Col. William Blacker. The Dublin University Magazine, Volume 17, Number 101, May 1841
  4. ^ "Fitz Stewart" (1834). Oliver's Advice." The Dublin University Magazine
  5. ^ Charles Gavan Duffy, The ballad poetry of Ireland, 4th ed. (1845), p. 83.
  6. ^ John O'Hanlon, The Poetical Works of Lageniensis [pseud.] (1893), p. 140.

External links[edit]