James Albert Blakeney, Sr.1856 - 1928 (72 years)
Name James Albert Blakeney Suffix Sr. Born 1 Aug 1856 Union, North Carolina Gender Male Died 13 Sep 1928 Mecklenburg, North Carolina Person ID I16429 Yatesville History & Genealogy Last Modified 1 Jul 2011
Father Reese Blakeney, b. 21 Dec 1834, South Carolina , d. 18 Jun 1864, Virginia (Age 29 years) Mother Caroline Kirkley, b. 25 Nov 1833, South Carolina , d. 18 May 1911 (Age 77 years) Married 12 May 1854 Family ID F6335 Group Sheet | Family Chart
Family Margaret Tomlin Martin, b. 28 Apr 1864, d. 1917, North Carolina (Age 52 years) Married 1890 North Carolina Children 1. Bessie Blakeney, b. Abt 1891, North Carolina , d. 1935, North Carolina (Age ~ 44 years) 2. Lina K. Blakeney, b. 1894, North Carolina 3. Harriet Caldwell Blakeney, b. 1894, North Carolina 4. Margaret T. Blakeney, b. Abt 1900, North Carolina 5. James Albert Blakeney, Jr., b. 28 Jun 1901, North Carolina , d. 1973, North Carolina (Age 71 years) 6. Grace Hoge Blakeney, b. 1904, North Carolina 7. Udora Blakeney, b. 1907, North Carolina Last Modified 8 Oct 2021 Family ID F6338 Group Sheet | Family Chart
- By Dr. William H. Huffman January, 1986
The James A. Blakeney House in southern Mecklenburg County is an endangered species. This once model farm that was toured by schoolchildren is now in danger of disappearing along with many others in rural Mecklenburg County, victims of ever-spreading suburban development. Built about 1905-06, the house still retains a fundamental soundness in addition to its rural charm that evokes the sense of the pace of turn-of-the century farm life.
About 1890, a precedent-setting occasion took place at Providence Presbyterian Church: the minister, Roger Martin, officiated at the wedding of his daughter, Margaret Tomlin Martin (1864-1917) and James Albert Blakeney (1856-1928). It was the first wedding ceremony performed in the church; previously, couples were married at home. The preacher, a Richmond, Va. native, served Providence from 1888 to 1892, when he took the pastorate at Mallard Creek, a post he held until his death in 1900.1
James A. Blakeney's father, Reese Blakeney, a South Carolina native, had gone into the Confederate service during the Civil War, and had not returned at war's end, his fate unknown. His mother, born Caroline Kirkley, subsequently married J. P. Doster, and about 1883 they settled near the present Blakeney House to farm in southern Mecklenburg County. 2 James Blakeney and his stepfather farmed together on the latter's land for several years, and in 1887 Blakeney bought just over 39 acres of his own, and built a log cabin to live in. 3 It was here that the newlyweds set up housekeeping about 1890.
About 1897, the Dosters moved to Hickory N.C., and James bought about half of their holdings, a 60-acre tract (he bought their remaining 76 acres in 1911) near his own. 4 On this larger property, he built a one-story residence for his growing family on the site of the present house which sat next to the road that bisected his farm. The farm prospered and the family continued to grow. but it was a fire a few years after the turn or the century that made a new house necessary, and so the one we see today was put up about 1905 or 1906. 5
By 1910, the Blakeneys were farming about 232 acres and had brought eight children into the world (seven daughters and one son), six of whom survived to adulthood. 6 Unfortunately, about 1913 James Blakeney suffered a stroke, and management of the farm was undertaken by Dr. Alexander Martin, Margaret's brother, who came up once a week from Rock Hill, S. C., where he was pastor of the Oakland Avenue Presbyterian Church for many years. 7
When he came of age, James A. Blakeney, Jr. (1901-1973) took over management of the farm, and about 1930 married Wilma Alma Blount (1906-) of Roper, N.C., a descendant of Capt. James Blount, who died in North Carolina in 1686. 8 During their long tenure on the farm, James A. Jr. and Willie Blakeney raised three children, Margaret, Frances and James III. And it was also during this time that schoolchildren used to tour the farm to see, among many other wonders, old wagons and farm implements now found only in museums. 9
Following the death of James A. Jr. and Willie Blakeney's move to a nursing home, the house suffered some neglect, but since 1983 it has been reoccupied by Margaret Blakeney Bullock, who has undertaken careful interior restoration of the fine farmhouse, and intends to continue the efforts to completion.
The James A. Blakeney House is a splendid representative of a vitally important part of our cultural heritage, and these days, an ever rarer one. Its preservation would insure that we would always retain a strong sense of our own development; what we are, and who we are.
1 Louise Barber Matthews, A History of Providence Presbyterian Church (Matthews, NC: Providence Presbyterian Church, 1967), pp. 176 -181; interview with Eudora Blakeney Garrison, Charlotte, N.C., 30 January, 1986.
2 Interview with Eudora Garrison: interview with Margaret Blakeney Bullock. 16 January, 1986. Mecklenburg County Deed Book 33, p. 137, 16 Feb. 1883.
3 Deed Book 224, p. 662, 1 Feb. 1887; interviews with Eudora Garrison and Margaret Bullock.
4 Deed Book 117, p. 116, 27 Jan. 1897; Deed Book 269, p. 708, 8 March 1911.
5 Interviews with Eudora Garrison and Margaret Bullock.
6 Bessie Blakeney McAlwaine (1891-1935), a longtime missionary to Japan; Lina B. Ardry (1893-); Harriet Caldwell Blakeney (c.1894-1900); Edmonia Martin Blakeney (1896-1950); Margaret Blakeney Richardson (1900-c.1980); J. A. Blakeney, Jr. (1901-1973); Grace Hoge Blakeney (1904-1906); Eudora Blakeney Garrison (1906-).
7 Matthews, History, cited above; interview with Eudora Garrison.
8 Family Bible of Wilma Alma Blount Blakeney; interviews with Eudora Garrison and Margaret Bullock.
9 Interviews with Eudora Garrison and Margaret Bullock.
- By Dr. William H. Huffman January, 1986