David Lyman Blacker: A Short Sketch of His Life and Road to Montana

David Lyman Blacker
               David Lyman Blacker

David Lyman Blacker arrived in Virginia City, Montana in 1864 – during the exciting early days of the Montana gold rush, probably via the Montana Trail.  By 1866, he and his business partner, David Keating, had discovered the Keating Lode two miles northwest of Radersburg.  Several years later, they were also mining the Leviathan and Ohio Lodes, and had built a 15-stamp mill in order to process the many tons of rock being taken out of the mines.

In 1871, David married Ada Cordelia Buchenau and brought her back to the Montana Territory to live  in Radersburg.  In 1873, the Helena Weekly Herald reported that “very few men in all the mines of America have a “better thing” than have Messrs. Keating & Blacker” [1].  Later that same year, David and Ada welcomed the first baby into their family, a little girl named Muzetta.  She was the first of five children born to the couple between 1873 and 1889.

Having been successful in his mining endeavors, Mr. Blacker soon expanded into the stock raising business.  And in 1882, he purchased a residence on Rodney Street in Helena and shortly thereafter moved his family into a beautiful new home.  Life was good and the family was able to enjoy the fruits of David’s labor, including several extended trips to the “States” to visit family and attend the World’s  Fair in Chicago.  In 1899, when he was 70 years old, David spent the summer in Alaska – prospecting for gold!

So that’s a lot of information – and I have lot more to report in this blog.  But here’s an interesting point of mystery about Mr. Blacker.  Having been born on August 29, 1829, in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania – the son of German immigrants Lewis Blacker and Margaret Loury Blacker – David left home prior to turning 21 and basically disappeared for about 15 years, and then reappeared in Denver, Colorado, some time prior to his journey from that location to Virginia City in 1864.  One day soon, I hope to write a blog post which solves the mystery of his location during those missing years.

After living a long and eventful life, David passed away at the age of 81 in 1911. He was survived by his wife Ada and four of their children, including my grandfather, John David Blacker.  He is buried in Helena at the Benton Avenue Cemetery next to his daughter Lelia Nina, who died when she was only four years old.


[1] Helena weekly herald. (Helena, Mont.), 24 April 1873. Chronicling America: Historic American Newspapers. Lib. of Congress. <http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84036143/1873-04-24/ed-1/seq-7/> : Accessed 7 Oct 2015.

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