John R. Black

JOHN R. BLACK. No name stands higher in the mercantile circles of Mount Pleasant than that of John R. Black, who comes of an old Mercer county family. His grandfather, Adam Black, was a man who figured conspicuously in local, state and national affairs, and for several years represented Mercer county in the Pennsylvania legislature. He was prosperous and had the reputation of being wealthy. He and his wife had the following children: Harriet, married Scott McCready, of Bedford, Pennsylvania; Sarah, married J. M. Fitzgerald, of Maquoketa, Iowa; Caroline, married T. W. Morrow, of Butler county, Pennsylvania; a daughter who died single; and Henry Calvin, mentioned hereafter. The death of Mr. Black occurred in Harrisburg, in 1848, while he was serving his fourth term as a member of the legislature.

Henry Calvin Black, son of Adam Black, was born in 1838, and was reared on the farm in Mercer county, being but ten years of age at the time of his father's death. He was educated in the public schools and at Duff's Business College, Pittsburg. When a young man he engaged in mercantile business in Blacktown, Mercer county, and later moved to Harrisville, Butler county, where he was in business more than thirty-seven years. He was a successful merchant, and was prominent in public affairs. He was one of the recognized leaders of the Republican party in that section of the country, and was ever ready to aid the best interests of the organization. Though frequently urged to accept office he invariably declined, but often acted as delegate to conventions. He was an active member of the Presbyterian church, in which for many years he held the office of elder. Mr. Black married Adaline, daughter of P. N. and Jane (McCoy) Painter, of Mercer county, and the following children were born to them: 1. Robert Newton, who was a dry goods merchant at Grove City, Mercer county, and died October 8, 1903 at the age of forty-two, leaving a widow and one child. 2. Austa M., wife of W. C. Hawn, a merchant of Butler county. 3. John R., mentioned hereafter. 4. Florence E., wife of C. W. Hood, a druggist of East Pittsburg. 5. Nora M. 6. James G., who was educated at Grove City College, and engaged in the dry goods business; he married Mabel Carson of Maquoketa, Iowa, and they have two children: Marguerite, and Harold Calvin. Mr. Black, the father, died October 1894 at the comparatively early age of fifty-four.

John R. Black, son of Henry Calvin and Adaline (Painter) Black, was educated at Grove City College, and learned the dry goods business from his father by whom he was ultimately taken into partnership, the name of the firm being H. C. Black & Son. After the death of his father the firm assumed its present style of J. R. Black & Company, the junior partner being Florence E. (Black) Hood, mentioned above. In 1899 they moved from their native Butler county, where they had hitherto dwelt, to Mount Pleasant where they succeeded to the business of King & Mullen. The establishment has since been enlarged in every respect and is now the largest of its kind in the borough. Mr. Black belongs to Mount Pleasant Lodge, No. 868, B. P. O. E., the R. A., the Maccabees, and various other fraternal orders. He and his wife are members of the United Presbyterian church. Mr. Black married, in 1897 in Harrisville, Pennsylvania, Ida M., daughter of Hon. W. P. Braham, of that place, and they are the parents of two children: Helen and Carl Braham Black.

Source: Page(s) 149-150, History of Westmoreland County, Volume II, Pennsylvania by John N Boucher. New York, The Lewis Publishing Company, 1906.
Transcribed March 2006 by Nathan Zipfel for the Westmoreland County History Project
Contributed for use by the Westmoreland County Genealogy Project (

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