a little bit of serendipity

Last week while going through some old Montana newspapers, I just happened upon this news article that mentions my great grandfather David Lyman Blacker. I’ve searched his name on many occasions – but this is an article I’ve never come across. So it was a great find!

Mineral Land Convention

Also listed in the article are John Keating, my great grandfather’s business partner, and Moses Morris, a close friend who was at my great grandfather’s bedside when he died years later in 1911.

The source for this newspaper article is:
“Mineral Land Convention,” The Helena independent. (Helena, Mont.), 28 Nov. 1889, p. 1, col. 3; image copy, Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress (www.chroniclingamerica.loc.gov : accessed 28 November 2016), Digitized Newspapers.

A transcription of the article follows here:


Delegates Who Will Represent This
County at Encore Hall Tuesday.
The delegates from this county to the last
meeting of the Mineral Land convention
met last evening and added several gentle-
men to their number. The convention
meets on Tuesday at Encore Hall, at 2 p.
m. The following is a full list of the Lewis
and Clarke Delegation:

J. S. Harrris, Thomas Cruse,
H. M. Parchen, Moses Emanuel,
Moses Morris, C. B. Vaughn,
E. R. Tandy, Geo. B. Foote,
J. B. Wilson, John Keating,
James W. Carpenter,  R. C. Wallace,
Chas. Runley, Henry Klein,
E. D. Weed, Chas. Rinda,
James Gourley, Wm. Hickey,
John Shober, C. K. Wells,
Wm. Coyne, Clarence Kinna,
Ed Zimmerman, P. H. Constans,
Henry Jurgens, Niel Vawter,
John Steinmetz, Joseph Davis,
A. M. Thornburgh, Samuel Word,
John T. Murphy, J. B. Sanford,
John Steinbrenner, Albert Kleinschmidt,
Jacob Sweitzer, James Sullivan,
L. H. Hershfield, Mike Burns,
R. P. Barden, A. K. Prescott,
Ben Price, M. M. Holter,
David Blacker,  W. E. Cox,
B. P. Carpenter, Thomas G. Merrill
And all the members of the house and
state senate from Lewis and Clarke county.

” . . . 4,000 tons of fine ore on the dump . . .”

A newspaper account of the March 1872 mining activities of David Lyman Blacker and his partner John Keating in Radersburg, Montana.


Helena weekly herald. (Helena, Mont.), 14 March 1872. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84036143/1872-03-14/ed-1/seq-7/>




Quartz Mining at Radersburg.

Keating & Blacker are vigorously at work taking out quartz from the Keating and Ohio lodes.  They have nearly 4,000 tons of fine ore on the dump, which will average about $16 per ton.  Their mill has been idle since last fall, but it has been thoroughly repaired and will commence crushing in about two weeks.


Great finds on eBay!!

Recently, I’ve been hearing and reading that it’s possible to find family-related items on eBay just by searching either on a surname or location. So I thought I’d give it a try. I didn’t have much luck searching on surnames but I did have some luck searching on place names.

The first item I located was a postcard of Hudiksvall, Sweden – where my Swedish great grandparents Andrew and Brita Dalin lived before they came to the U.S., and where Andrew was most likely born.

Undated postcard of Hudiksvall, Sweden

I asked my husband, who has some knowledge of vehicles, if he could date the postcard based on the car coming down the road. He thought the earliest date could be about 1935. Although my great grandfather was born much earlier in 1859, it was still fun to find this image of a street scene – possibly a street my ancestors may have walked down.

I also found a great magazine article about the mining town in Montana where my great grandfather David Lyman Blacker and his partner John Keating had their first mining success in 1866 – and where my great grandparents David and Ada lived until they moved to Helena in late 1882, early 1883.

1969 05 00 magazine article_The True West Frontier Times_coverThe real bonus came when I actually located several references to my great grandfather and his partner Keating in the article, although my great grandfather’s name is misspelled as “Blackner” – which explains why the surname search was unsuccessful.

1969 05 00 magazine article_Radersburg-Mining Town That You Can Reach_interior shot

And here I’d like to give a special “thank you” to Tom Russell who dedicated his retirement to searching for and acquiring items related to “Old Western History and Memorabilia”. Then he spent hours indexing articles like this one and posting them on eBay for some lucky family historian like me to discover. Sadly, Tom passed away in 2014 but his daughter Debbie continues to post and sell his items on eBay. Thanks, Tom and Debbie!

Everybody should try searching eBay. You never know what you might find!

“Dave Blacker Answers Call”

Yesterday, I wrote a post here about the passing of my great grandfather David Lyman Blacker. Today I would like to share two newspaper articles that appeared in the local papers the day after he died.

The articles are interesting and informative – and quite often incorrect. I’ve transcribed both articles and included footnotes so you can see what I mean.

The first is titled “Death Claims David Blacker”. A transcription of the article is below the image.

Obituary for David Lyman Blacker
“Death Claims David Blacker”, undated clipping from unidentified newspaper. Privately held by Nina Jean (Blacker) Dalin. 2016.


David Lyman Blacker, one of the best known pioneers of Helena died at the family home on Rodney street last evening after an illness extending over a period of several months. He had been suffering with paralysis and this coupled with his his [sic] extreme age was the cause of death. In his passing the city loses one of its most highly esteemed and venerable citizens, and the state one of its oldest pioneers. Mr. Blacker was a native of Missouri1 and at the time of his death was approaching his eighty-second year. he was married in this city, February 22, 1879, to Miss Ada Buchenau2, and leaves surviving him his wife, three daughters, Misses Helen katherine and zetta, a son, Jack, whose home is now in Seattle and a brother, J. C. Blacker, a resident of Radersburg. His family with the exception of his son Jack, was at the bedside when the final summons came, as was Moses Morris, an intimate friend of nearly half a century.
Upon his arrival in the west, Mr. Blacker located in Colorado where he conducted a bakery in several of the mining camps of that state. In 1863, after spending three years in Colorado he joined in the rush to Alder Gulch in this state, where with associates he engaged in the mining business. Two years later he came to Helena3 and has since made his home in this city, although his operations have been extended to different parts of the state. For a number of years he was interested and successfully conducted some mines at Radersburg with John Keating. Later he embarked in the cattle business in which he also achieved considerable success.
Mr. Blacker was a member of King Solomon lodge of the Masonic fraternity and the funeral will be held under the auspices of that order, but as yet the day and the time have not been decided upon.
George F. Ingram, vice-president of the Lewis and Clark society of Montana pioneers has appointed a committee, comprised of A. M. Holter, Con Kohrs, T. C. Power, Henry M. Parchens, Williams Simms, J. C. Sanders, Ben Benson, Harry Hay Sr., S. T. Hauser and J. B. Willson to represent the soceity at the funeral of Mr. Blacker. The vice-president also requests that all members of the society attend the funeral.

The second article is titled “Dave Blacker Answers Call”. Transcription of the article is below the image.

Dave Blacker Answers Call
“Dave Blacker Answers Call,” The Helena Daily Independent, 18 Apr 1911, page and column unknown. Copy provided by Historical Society of Montana Library, 14 Aug 1980. Privately held by Nina Jean (Blacker) Dalin. 2016.


Well Known Colorado and Montana Pioneer Expires at Home in Helena.


Old-Time Resident Had Lived in Helena Since 18654 and Had Numerous Friends Throughout the State–Date Due to Old Age–Date of Funeral Not Yet Decided Upon.
David Lyman Blacker, pioneer of Colorado and Montana, and good citizen, died last evening at the family home, 335 North Rodney street, after a lingering illness, death being due to old age. When the end came, Mr. Blacker was surrounded by his wife, three daughters, a brother and Moses Morris, his friend for over half a century.
Mr. Blacker was born in Missouri5 August 29, 1829, and was married in Helena February 22, 1879, to Miss Adah Buckner 6. In 1860, Mr. Blacker went to Colorado, where he conducted bakeries in the well-known mining camps of that state. In 1863 he was attracted by the discovery of gold in Montana and went to Virginia City, where he engaged in mining in Alder gulch.
Lived Long in Helena
      Two years later he came to Helena 7, and this has been his home ever since, although he has conducted operations in various parts of the state. In Radersburg, Mr. Blacker was interested in mining, being in company with John Keating. Later he branched out into the cattle growing business, in which he was very successful.
   Mr. Blacker leaves a wife and three daughters, Zetta, Katherine and Helenn [sic], and one son, Jake [sic] Blacker, who is now in Seattle; as well as a brother, J. C. Blacker, whose home is in Radersburg.
   Arrangements for the funeral will not be completed until the day of the son’s arrival is ascertained.
   Mr. Blacker was a member of King Solomon lodge of the Masonic fraternity, under the auspices of which the funeral will be held.

  1. After a careful review of all sources for his birthplace and birthdate, of which there are many, I believe it is more likely that “Mr. Blacker” was born in Pennsylvania. I previously wrote a blog about this issue which you will find here. At this time, I think the basis for the statement that he was a native of Missouri may be that he spent a number of years there prior to moving on to Colorado and then Montana.
  2.  David and his wife Ada were married in Doniphan County, Kansas on February 22, 1871. See Doniphan County, Kansas, Marriage Records, Book A, p. 80, David Blacker-Ada Buchenau, 1871; Probate Judge’s Office, Troy.
  3. Numerous records, including the birth records of his first three children, and a newspaper article stating he was moving his family to Helena in 1882, indicate he did not move to Helena until some time in late 1882.
  4. See footnote #3.
  5. See footnote #1.
  6. Her name was “Ada Buchenau”.
  7. See footnote #3.