John P. Black, attorney at law, Pocahontas, Ark. What is usually termed genius has little to do with the success of men in general. Keen perception, sound judgment and a determined will, supported by persevering and continuous effort, [p.375] are essential elements to success in any calling, and their possession is sure to accomplish the aims hoped for in the days of our youth. The jurisprudence of a commonwealth is the most necessary factor toward its growth and permanence, for without a thorough knowledge and administration of the law, no form of popular government could long exist. Mr. Black was born at Black's Ferry, Randolph County, Ark., on the 1st of October, 1822. He is the son of William Black the grandson of David Black, and the great-grandson of David Black, who was a native of Anister dam, Holland. The elder David Black came to
America when a boy, settling at Charleston, S. C., and there learned the blacksmith trade. He died in that State. David Black, Jr., was a native of South Carolina, and was a farmer by occupation. He emigrated to Kentucky at a very early day, settling near
Hopkinsville, where he lived many years, and in 1815 moved to Randolph County, Ark. He settled at Black's Ferry, and lived there many years, but died at Davidsonville, Lawrence County, Ark., at the age of sixty years. The father of the subject of this sketch, William Black,
passed his youth on his father's farm in Kentucky, and moved to Randolph County, Ark., with his parents, in 1815.
After reaching manhood he married Miss Elizabeth Jones (who became the mother of John P. Black), in 1820, and lived at Black's Ferry until his death in February, 1852, at the age of fifty-four years. The mother died in July, 1851, at the age of forty-nine years. She was a devoted member of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The father was a leading and prominent man in this part of the State; was the first sheriff of Randolph County, served in that office two terms, and in 1840 was elected to the State Senate of Arkansas. He served in that body two terms, and during that time acquired a State reputation as a general worker, and an influential man in that august body. He was noted far and near for his liberality and hospitality, especially to new settlers. He was ever public spirited and always ready and willing to do all he could to promote any and all enterprises for the good of the county and State. He and his wife reared a family of seven children, five sons and two daughters, all of whom are highly respected men and women. The maternal grandfather of John P. Black, John Janes, was a native of Virginia, was a soldier in the Revolutionary War, and was wounded at the battle of Yorktown. His wife, whose maiden name was Margaret Arming, was also a native of Virginia, and in 1800 they came down the Ohio River in canoes, settled on Merrimac River, near St. Louis, and there remained until 1809, on a Spanish grant of land. They then emigrated to Randolph County, Ark., settled on Janes' Creek, and there remained until the death of the father in 1826, at the age of eighty-two years. John P. Black assisted his father on the farm in Randolph County, and received his education in the county schools, that is, a part of his education, for the most of it was obtained by his own application at home. He began managing a farm at the age of eighteen years, and this continued until twenty-two, when he went to work for a New Orleans house at Powhatan, where he remained until 1849, after which he came to Pocahontas. He there engaged in mercantile pursuits, which he carried on until 1873, excepting a period during the war, when he served two years in Fagan's command, Confederate army. He returned to the farm in 1872, remained there a few years and then came again to Pocahontas, where he entered the law office of Thomas
Ratliff, as a student. He was admitted to the bar in 1875, and has been actively engaged in the practice ever since. He was first married in
1855, to Miss Isabella Waddel, a native of Arkansas. In 1859 he was again married, taking for his second wife Miss Claude Inman, a native of Indiana. In 1868 he married Miss
Lottie Inman, and in 1875 was united in marriage with Miss Flora Kebler, a native of Arkansas, who bore him six children: Charley, Guy, Hattie, Irene, Lulu and Blanche.