Black, William J.

Born: 1827-XX-XX Vandalia, Illinois

Died: 1861-11-24 Saint Louis, Missouri

Flourished: Springfield, Illinois

William J. Black was an attorney, city clerk and attorney, and newspaper editor in Springfield, Illinois. In 1850, he was living in Springfield and reading law. In April 1852, Black won election as Springfield city attorney and clerk. Black was active in the local and state Whig Party, and in July 1852, the Sangamon County Whigs selected him to represent Sangamon County at the Whig Party State Convention. During the presidential election campaign of 1852, Black supported Winfield Scott, and he served as president of the Springfield Scott Club. In August 1852, he represented Sangamon County at the Whig convention for the Sixth Illinois Congressional District, and delegates elected Black secretary of the convention. In April 1853, he won reelection as Springfield city attorney and clerk. The next year, he joined the Springfield Gas Light Company’s board of directors. In November 1855, he married Caroline Lamb. He declined to run for city attorney on the American Party ticket in 1856, but he did support Millard Fillmore, candidate of the American Party for president that year, founding and editing The Conservative, a campaign paper promoting Fillmore’s candidacy. In 1860, Black was practicing law in Springfield and living in the household of James L. Lamb, his father-in-law. He owned real property valued at $20,000 and had a personal estate of $10,000. During the presidential election campaign of 1860, Black supported the Constitutional Union Party and John Bell and Edward Everett, the party’s candidates for president and vice-president, respectively, and he served as a delegate to the Illinois State Constitutional Union Party Convention.

John Carroll Power and S. A. Power, History of the Early Settlers of Sangamon County, Illinois (Springfield, IL: Edwin A. Wilson, 1876), 436; Illinois Daily Journal (Springfield), 21 April 1852, 3:1; 6 July 1852, 2:2; 13 July 1852, 3:2; 27 August 1852, 2:2; 19 April 1853, 3:3; Daily Illinois State Journal (Springfield), 14 August 1856, 3:1; Illinois Daily State Journal (Springfield), 13 August 1860, 3:3; 26 November 1861, 3:2-3; 27 November 1861, 3:2; Illinois Statewide Marriage Index, Sangamon County, 19 November 1855, Illinois State Archives, Springfield, IL; U.S. Census Office, Seventh Census of the United States (1850), Springfield, Sangamon County, IL, 111; “An Act to Incorporate the Springfield Gas Light Company,” 27 February 1854, Laws of Illinois (1854), 189; U.S. Census Office, Eighth Census of the United States (1860), Springfield, Sangamon County, IL, 134; Gravestone, Oak Ridge Cemetery, Springfield, IL.