F. Black was born June 6,1867 in Milford, Baker Co., Georgia to the
Peter J. and Susan S. (Adams) Black. There were eleven children born to
union. Jacob “Jake” grew up in Georgia, but left
parents and several
of his siblings for Alabama sometime after 1883. They
settled near Dothan, possibly Midland or Headland City. This
is where Jake married Lula Beazell September 20,1891.
first child Carl
was born there in
1893. The family then
moved to Marion Co, Florida in 1894 and on into Citrus County a few
later. They were said to have traveled down the St. Johns River by
Jake and his wife had a second son Willie, born in 1896. His mother
after his birth. Willie always gave his place of birth as Crystal
River, but he
is shown on the 1900 census for Marion County living with his
brother. His father had remarried and was now living in Crystal River.
possible Jake, his wife and boys were living in Crystal River when she
the boys were sent to live with their grandparents until such time
could provide for them, but perhaps they were living in Marion Co.
died and Jake left the children there with his parents and moved to
where his brother Littleton had settled.
Jake married Alice Josephine Martin daughter of John U. and Elizabeth (Brinson) Martin in Inverness, on January 15, 1899, one of the coldest winters Florida has ever seen. The mercury dropped to 16 degrees in February of that year. It is unclear how long after their marriage before Jake sent for his children. They loved their father’s new wife and treated her as if she were their natural mother. The feeling was mutual! Alice thought of the boy’s as her own children. Their mother was her best friend and after she died Alice was concerned about the boy’s welfare. She said that she married their father to “make sure they were provided for properly.”
About a year after their marriage, Jakes brother Littleton, leased to them a home, several fish houses, his nets, a fleet of boats and some cattle and hogs. The lease was for a year at a cost of five hundred dollars, “to be paid at the end of a year.” It is not known how long Jake actually kept everything, because a short time after their agreement, Jake and Alice sold a lot to his brother for five hundred dollars, which makes this look more like an exchange of properties.
Jake and Alice began to have children. Their first child Alma Lee was born November 18, 1901. The second child Albert Koy, was born April 7, 1905. He died seven months later. Grady Dothan was born September 17, 1909 and Hazel Estelle on January 9, 1911. She died at the age of twelve. Along with Carl and Willie the family was now complete.
Jake was a commercial net fisherman by trade and his children were started early into the family business. It served them well! They provided fish to Littleton and his wife who owned a grocery store and fish market in town.
Jake’s father was living in Ocklawaha in Marion County and Jake would visit him often. On several of these visits he was caught seining Lake Weir, a nearby body of water, which had now become a resort area and off limits for commercial fishing. The tourists didn’t want their newfound paradise spoiled by the local fishermen. They complained to the local authorities and the Game Warden was asked to investigate the situation. It was quoted in a local newspaper, “they secreted themselves in the grass, bushes and dog fennel along the lake shore.” Jake was fined heavily, along other members of his family.
Through the years the family would spend a lot of time on the islands off of Crystal River where the family lived, with Shell, Cat and Hog Islands mentioned regularly. During the summer months when the weather was sticky it was not uncommon and a great treat as well, to “head to the islands.” There were some tall tales told about those days. Some were down right spooky! It’s been said that during The Great Depression Jake might even have operated a gambling hall and made corn liquor on one of those islands as well. Newspaper articles have now been found to show that he actually spent time in jail for selling illegal whiskey, thus substantiating family stories.
In the later years of his life, as his health began to wane and he began to have problems with his legs, Jake would crawl down to the Gulf and onto a stool to mend his nets. I have the original picture that was taken of him during this time.
About 1939 Jake and Alice moved to Wall Springs, a small community just outside the city limits of Tarpon Springs, in Pinellas County with his daughter Alma and her husband. Jake was in failing health. He died from Nephritis there on February 19, 1940. He was taken back to Crystal River and is buried along side of his brother Littleton in the old cemetery downtown; west of highway 19. His grave is unmarked, but there is an ornate fence surrounding the graves. The fence had to be removed so he could be placed next to his brother.
I am the great granddaughter of Jacob Black and although he died before I was born, my family including my mother, grandmother and Jake’s wife, my great grandmother told me the stories that made this biography possible.
Author: Linda Flowers