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Abraham Blackburn, Newburgh, NY, finds his mother after writing 256 letters of inquiry



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A Newburg Colored Man's Long Search for His Mother -- Both Sold in 1862

An incident has just come to light in this city which is a strong reminder of old slavery days in the South, and which illustrates sever- al phases of human character. Mr. Abraham Blackburn, a colored man 35 years old, had been in the employ of the late Rev. John Forsyth D.D., since March, 1878. He has always been sober, industrious, and reliable. Added to this Abraham is intelligent and courteous. In August 1862, Abraham, his mother, three sisters, and three brothers were sold into Rich- mond, VA., to Andrew Blackburn, a large slave- holder. They were by him carried to New Market, Jefferson County, Tenn. Abraham Blackburn, was a mere boy. At New Market the children were all separated from their mother, she being sold again. From New Market Blackburn, the purchaser, took the children to Henderson County, North Carolina, where they were one by one separated from each other, Abraham reaching the North some years ago. The mother was never seen or heard from by any of her children until last night. From the time Abraham reached the estate of manhood he has felt a keen interest in the welfare of his mother, and has long wanted to find out where she was and to see her. Of late years, he has adopted various plans which he thought would lead to the restoration of his mother to him. For the last four years and six months this dutiful son has been follow- ing up every clew that he had a idea would lead to the learning of his mother's where- abouts. He failed repeatedly, until yesterday. Then he received a letter from his aged mother's own hand. It now transpires that the mother has resided in Knoxville, Tenn., ever since the close of the War of the Rebellion. During the long search 236 letter have been written with the hope of finding this young man's mother. That there will be rejoicing when the reunited mother and son meet goes without saying. The mother is alone in the South, except for a sister Eliza, who resides at Richmond, Va. Abraham has written a letter to his mother expressing the wish that she come here and spend the winter, and then she can go back South, if she so desires, in the spring. There appears to be no doubt that the mother will avail herself of the invitation extended by her dutiful son, and that she will reach Newburg at an early date. Of the children who were sold with Abraham Blackburn, at Richmond, in 1862, the latter has track still of the following: William, who is (younger) at Syracuse, N.Y.: Mary (older) in South Car- olina: Clara, in Rutherford County, South Carolina. It is the purpose of Abraham Blackburn to remain at the house of the widow of Dr. For- syth during the the coming winter, where he will be an able assistant, as he always was, to the Rev. Dr. Forsyth, who valued his services very highly. In conversation with Abraham, it transpires that Dr. Forsyth did good work during the last few years in assisting the former in his search for his mother. And the young man speaks in high praise of his late employer for the benevolent and kindly interest he took in assisting him in this direction. Above all, Abraham returns his grateful thanks to God for reuniting him with his mother whom he loves so well. -- Newburg (N.Y.) Journal

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