James P. A. Black, of Hastings, is a typical western man, plain and unassuming in manner, strong and upright
in purpose, readily adapting himself to changing conditions or the needs of any situation and at all times alert,
enterprising, progressive and honorable. He is largely a self educated as well as a self made man and is one of
the stalwart characters that the west produces, his powers having grown through the exercise of effort. The feeling
entertained for him throughout the community in which he lives is indicated in the fact that he is known as "Jim"
to all of his friends and yet high honors have come to him at the hands of his fellow townsmen and success in large
measure has rewarded his efforts. He is today president of the German National Bank of Hastings and at the same
time he is widely known as a successful lawyer and real estate dealer.
Mr. Black was born in Prospect, Butler county, Pennsylvania, October 10, 1854, a son of Isaac and Jane Black, natives
of Ohio and of Pennsylvania respectively. The father was a teacher during much of his life and in 1860 went to
the Omaha Indian Mission, being sent there as a teacher by the Presbyterian Board of Missions. He continued in
that work until 1867, when he established his home upon a farm in Nemaha county, Nebraska. About 1871, however,
he returned to the Omaha Reservation, where he remained as a teacher in the employ of the government until the
spring of 1879, when he removed to Bloomington, Franklin county, Nebraska, and there lived retired. In 1905 he
came to Hastings, where he passed away at the advanced age of eighty four years. In early life he had been superintendent
of schools in Butler county, Pennsylvania. His entire career was characterized by useful service for the benefit
of others and his influence was of no restricted order. His wife was a native of Butler county, Pennsylvania, where
she was reared and educated, and she too has passed away. They were long consistent members of the Presbyterian
church and their Christian lives constituted a potent influence and example for good wherever they were known.
They had three children: W. Stewart, who died in 1873; James P. A.; and one who died in infancy while the family
were making the trip to the west.
Mr. Black was about five and a half years of age when the family left Pennsylvania and started for the west. His
youth being largely passed amid the Indian tribe of the Omaha Reservation, he picked up the language of the red
men with a readiness with which a child always masters a foreign tongue, and he used the Indian language so largely
that for some time after leaving the reservation he did not speak real plain, pure English. He went to school with
the Indians until thirteen years of age, at which time the family removed to Nemaha county, after which the father
instructed Mr. Black and his brother on the farm. In the spring of 1870 he removed to Peru, Nebraska, where Mr.
Black entered the State Normal School, there remaining until his graduation with the class of 1876. His course,
however, was not continuous, for during that period he taught in the district schools for three years and with
the money thus earned paid his own way through normal. Determining upon the practice of law as a life work, he
began studying with the firm of Cobb, Marquette & Moore, of Lincoln, Nebraska, and in the spring of 1877 was
admitted to the bar, after which he went to Bloomington, where he entered upon active practice, there remaining
until the fall of 1904. He also extended his efforts into other fields, for in 1882 he established the Franklin
County Bank at Bloomington, a private banking institution, which he conducted in connection with a partner. About
1889 this was converted into a state bank with Mr. Black as president and thus he continued until 1904, when he
sold his interest and removed to Hastings. Here he purchased stock in the German National Bank, was at once elected
its president and has since continued in that capacity. He has also been attorney for the bank throughout the entire
period but otherwise does no active professional work at the present time.
In 1883 Mr. Black was married to Miss Kittie Ross, a native of Butler county, Pennsylvania, where she was reared
and educated. They became the parents of a daughter, Edna, who is now the widow of M. O. Bishop. Mrs. Black passed
away in 1885 in the faith of the Presbyterian church, of which she was a consistent member. In December, 1891,
Mr. Black wedded Mrs. Candace W. Tussey, a native of Ohio, but an old resident of Adams county.
In his political views Mr. Black is a stalwart republican and under appointment served as county treasurer of Franklin
county, Nebraska, while for two years he was county, attorney. His opinions have long carried weight in party councils
and he has contributed in substantial measure to republican successes. He studies thoroughly the questions and
issues of the day so that he is always ready to support his position by intelligent argument. Mr. Black was made
a Mason in Joppa Lodge, No. 76, A. F. & A. M., of Bloomington, and belongs to Hastings Chapter, R. A. M. He
has been very prominent in the order, having served as grand orator, grand marshal, grand deacon, grand senior
warden and in 1893 as grand master of the Grand Lodge of Nebraska. He has also taken all of the degrees of the
Scottish Rite and has been a very prominent worker and representative of the craft. His wife is a member of the
Presbyterian church and they occupy a very enviable social position. Aside from his other interests Mr. Black has
dealt largely in real estate and is now the owner of much valuable property, including both town and farm lands.
When Judge Guslin, one of the early noted jurists of Nebraska, passed away it was his request that Jim Black take
charge of the services of the funeral, which he did. This is but one evidence of his standing among his fellow
citizens. He is always approachable, courteous and kindly and his cordiality is unfeigned, for he has a deep interest
in his fellowmen and is thoroughly alive to all conditions of the present and its opportunities. He stands today
strong in his honor and his good name, strong in his ability to plan and to perform.
Past and Present of
Adams County, Nebraska
Supervisong Editor: Judge William R. Burton
Assistant Editor: David J. Lewis
The S. J. Clarke Publishing Company
Adams County, NE
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