JOHN C. BLACKMER.
Prosperous Merchant, Brave Soldier, and Valuable Citizen.—Brief Sketch of a Well-known Gentleman.
A great deal of interest is always taken in anything that is said or printed about a veteran of the late civil war, even to the present generation of people who were yet unborn or too young to understand the full import of that great struggle. It is, therefore, with added pleasure that the MIRROR this week prints the brief sketch of the career of one of these battle-scarred veterans, together with his portrait.
Mr. John Collins Blackmer was born August 25, 1840, in the village of Factory Point, the name of which has since been changed to Manchester Center. His parents were Hiram J. and Fanny (Collins) Blackmer, and Hirana’s father was Dr. Jonathan Blackmer, who married Ruth Harman, a daughter of Reuben Harman, who coined copper money at Rupert, under the authority of the State of Vermont, some time about the year 1786. Fanny Collins Blackmer, mother of the subject of this sketch, was a daughter of Elijah Collins, son of Nathaniel Collins, one of the early settlers, and who at times served with the Continental troops during the Revolutionary war.
John C. Blackmer received his education at the public schools, followed by a few terms at Burr and Burton Seminary. In the spring of 1855 he commenced his business career in the store of Mr. Gilbert Bradley at Sunderland, but in February, 1860, he went to Attica, Indiana, and took a position in the dry goods store of Porter, Trigler & Co. Answering the call for men to assist in suppressing the rebellion, in June, 1862, he enlisted in Company K, Sixteenth Indiana Volunteers, as a private, but was afterwards promoted to sergeant and first lieutenant in the 116th and 135th regiments of Indiana Volunteers. He was mustered out of the service in September, 1864.
Mr. Blackmer’s military service was principally in the states of Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi, and he served under General Grant at Vicksburg, Miss., during the winter of 1862-63. He was wounded in one engagement and once taken prisoner. The wound he received proved to be a very troublesome one in after life and finally resulted in necessitated amputation of one of his legs, after the most intense suffering for many years. After being wounded, a ball was removed from the leg, and it was then thought he would receive no further trouble from it. Afterwards it was found, however, that there were originally two bullets in the wound, instead of the one that was removed; but the second one had been there so long that nothing but amputation could save his life. Today, with the aid of a wooden limb in place of the amputated one, he gets about quite comfortably and is enjoying comparatively’ good health.
In 1865 Mr. Blackmer returned to his native town and soon after entered the employ of Mr. G. W. Bradley of Sunderland, where he remained till 1869, coming to Manchester Depot in November of that year and commencing business in the mercantile line. He has been in business there during the whole intervening time, and his “New York Store” is one of the busiest mercantile establishments in the northern part of Bennington county. He has adopted the cash system, and it has become pretty well understood that a dollar has no greater purchasing value anywhere in this section of the country than at Blackmer’s.
In May, 1874, Mr. Blackmer was united in marriage to Janett Pratt, daughter of E. M. and Fanny M. Pratt of Cambridge, who is none the less popular among their wide circle of acquaintances than Mr. Blackmer himself, who is one of the most generous, open hearted and charitable gentlemen that it is one’s good fortune to meet and know. They reside in a comfortable residence at the corner of River and Center streets in the village of Manchester Depot, a short distance from Mr. Blackmer’s place of business.
Mr. Blackmer is a member and vestryman of the Episcopal Church, a member of the Grand Army of the Republic, Vermont Commandry of the military order of the Loyal Legion, also of Adoniram Lodge, F. & A. M., and Adoniram Chapter, 0. E. S. He has been postmaster at Manchester Depot since 1874, with the exception of four years, and has held the offices of town grand juror and justice of the peace. In politics, Mr. Blackmer is a strong republican, but does not let politics interfere with friendship or business.
There are hosts of MIRROR readers who will be pleased indeed to find Mr. Blackmer’s portrait gracing the first page of this issue and know that he is now experiencing much better health than for many years in the past.