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Blackwelder/Schwarzwalder Genealogy
John Blackwelder & Elisabetha Maushardt

Historical Narrative
Descendant Listings
Documentary Sources
Discussion Groups
Other Links
DNA Research


Most, if not all, of the white Blackwelder families in the USA trace their ancestry to John Blackwelder (Johannes Schwarzwalder) and Elisabetha Maushardt. This web site is intended to be a compendium of the research done on this Blackwelder family. Much has been published on this family in various historical books and family histories, some of it accurate, some not so accurate. As is often the case with family histories, once something is in print, it often is considered to be "gospel". It is my hope that this web site will facilitate a critical examination and discussion of the facts, legends, and myths surrounding this Blackwelder family and enable us Blackwelder researchers and descendants to learn more about our origins and our relatives' contributions to early America. The best way to separate fact from fiction and to resolve conflicting information is to go back to the primary sources (see Documenting Your Genealogy Research - Guide to Citing Sources). These include records of marriages, births, deaths, and burials, census listings, Bible records, tax lists, probate and land records, etc. The information in the descendant listings on this web site will include documentation of the primary sources as much as possible, and transcriptions of many of those sources will be presented in links below. This is a working document and not necessarily definitive, since much of it is based upon information found on the Internet or in published secondary sources. It will be modified and (hopefully) improved as more researchers provide input and, most importantly, evidence.

Historical Narrative

The immigrant ancestor of most of the Blackwelder families in America was John Blackwelder, who was born Johannes Schwarzwalder on 29 January 1684 in Monchweiler, Wurttemberg, Germany. His parents were Jacobus Schwarzwalder and Margaretha -----. Monchweiler was in Germany's Schwarzwald (or Black Forest). On 27 November 1708, in Durrn (a town in Wurttemberg, about 60 miles north-northeast of Monchweiler), Johannes Schwarzwalder (a wheelwright) married Elisabetha Maushardt. Elisabetha, a daughter of Andreas Maushardt and Barbara -----, was born in 1688 (possibly in Lienzingen, a few miles to the east of Durrn).

Johannes and Elisabetha had at least six children, three of whom survived infancy: Johann Adam (born 30 September 1719), Gottlieb (born 8 November 1722), and Anna Margaretha (born 29 Oct 1725). The Schwarzwalder family were members of the Evangelical Lutheran Church at Durrn. Elisabetha died in Durrn on 27 March 1734. Johannes remarried there on 7 May 1737 to Christina, widow of Johannes Keller.

Not longer after his marriage to Christina, they applied to leave Germany for America and, on 29 March 1738, were granted a permit to do so. They sailed in the ship Friendship, which arrived in Philadelphia on 20 September 1738. Not long after arriving, they anglicized the surname from Schwarzwalder to Blackwelder. According to the declaration of importation found in Brunswick County, Virginia Order Book 3, p. 27, dated 3 April 1746, "John [Johannes] Blackwelder made oath that he imported himself, his sons, John [Johann Adam] and Caleb [Gottlieb] and daughters Elisabeth and Margaret [Anna Margaretha], and his sister Catherine Blackwelder directly from the Marquisite of Durlach of Germany into the Province of Pennsylvania . . ." There was no mention of his wife Christina and it is not known if she made the trip to America or if she died after their arrival. No record of a daughter Elisabetha has been found in the Durrn church records nor is anything else known about her.

On 25 August 1742, in Williams Township, Bucks County (the part of which became Northampton County in 1752), a Johannes Schwarzwalder married Elizabeth Bernhardt, daughter of William Bernhardt. It is not known whether this Johannes Schwarzwalder is of the same family that immigrated to Pennsylvania in 1738.

The Blackwelder family next appeared in Brunswick County, Virginia in 1744. A patent of land granted to Martin Phifer dated 16 June 1744 described the land as "adjoining Blackwelders". Martin Phifer (son of Caspar Pfeiffer) married to John Blackwelder's daughter Margaret on 1 October 1745. According to Virginia Land Patent Book 26, pp. 159-160, John Blackwelder was granted 290 acres of land on 12 January 1747 "in the County of Lunenburg on both sides of Horsepen Branch of Allen's Creek". (Lunenburg County was formed from Brunswick County in 1746. The part of that county in which the Blackwelders lived was subsequently divided into present-day Mecklenburg County, Virginia in 1764.) John Blackwelder, Caleb Blackwelder, and Martin Phifer appeared in tax lists of Lunenburg County from 1748 to 1752. (John Adam Blackwelder's name did not appear in these tax lists.)

On 7 September 1756 (see Lunenburg County, Virginia Deed Book 4, p. 313), John Blackwelder conveyed his 290 acres of land on Horsepen Branch of Allen's Creek to Caleb Blackwelder. The deed was signed by John and Margaret M. Blackwelder. The date of John's marriage to Margaret not known. Nor is the date of John's death. There was a marriage of a Margaret Blackwelder in Cumberland County, Virginia on 26 November 1763 to Thomas Wilks, so presumably John died in southern Virginia between 1756 and 1763.

Margaret (Blackwelder) Phifer and her husband Martin moved from Lunenberg County, Virginia to Anson (now Cabarrus) County, North Carolina around 1757. Martin Phifer was living on Cold Water Creek as early as 1758. On 29 October 1760, he was granted 278 acres of land on Cold Water Creek (see Mecklenburg County, North Carolina Deed Book 1, p. 152). (Meckleburg County was formed in 1762 from Anson County. Then, in 1792, Cabarrus County was formed from the part of Mecklenburg County where Martin Phifer lived.) Martin died in 1791; his wife Margaret in 1803. They had at least four children.

Caleb Blackwelder deeded the land received from his father to William Philps on 19 January 1760 (see Lunenburg County, Virginia Fiduciary Book 4, p. 41). He then moved with his wife Betsey Phifer to Anson County, North Carolina around 1760. Caleb and his family belonged to the Dutch Buffalo Creek Lutheran Church, formed in 1745. This was later known as St. John's Lutheran Church, now located near Mount Pleasant in Cabarrus County, a few miles east of Concord. Caleb died 1794. He and his wife Betsey are buried at St. John's Lutheran Church. They had at least eight children. Most of the Blackwelders of Cabarrus County are descended from Caleb Blackwelder and Betsey Phifer.

Gravestones of Caleb Blackwelder & Betsey (Phifer) Blackwelder

Not much is known about John Adam Blackwelder. He married Catherine ----- (probably in Virginia in the 1740s). On 24 June 1762, he received a grant of 156 acres of land in Anson County North Carolina (in an area that soon became Mecklenburg County and then Cabarrus County in 1792). They had sons John and Charles, and possibly a son Christian, as well as a daughter Mary. (I am still seeking proof that Mary was a daughter of John Adam.) Mary was married around 1769 in Mecklenburg (now Cabarrus) County, North Carolina to John Shaver. (These are my 4th-great-grandparents and their descendants can be found on my John Shaver website.) On 26 September 1794, John Adam Blackwelder and his wife Catherine deeded the 156 acres of land on Little Cold Water Creek (which he was granted in 1762) to their son Charles. The date of John Adam's death is not known, but letters of administration were ordered in Cabarrus County for the estate of his wife Catherine on 16 April 1805. Sale of the property was held in July 1805.

Blackwelder Surname Distribution (1990 census)

Most of the Blackwelder descendants in North Carolina still live in and around Cabarrus, Rowan, and Iredell Counties. For a detail map of the counties and townships in this area, click the following image :

Descendant Listings

Here are listings of descendants (through six generations):

[Note: To view the Adobe Acrobat files, you will need the Adobe Acrobat Reader software. This can be downloaded free from You can download the files to your disk to view them, or use your web browser with the appropriate plug-ins.]

Children of John Blackwelder & Elisabetha Maushardt (Adobe Acrobat document; 120 KB; 21 Feb 2003)
    Descendants of John Adam Blackwelder (#4) & Catherine ----- (Adobe Acrobat document; 325 KB; 12 Jan 2011)
    Children of Caleb Blackwelder (#5) & Betsey Phifer (Adobe Acrobat document; 116 KB; 15 Jun 2006)
       Descendants of Catherine Blackwelder (#51) & John Paul Barringer (Adobe Acrobat document; 144 KB; 15 Jun 2006)
       Descendants of Isaac Blackwelder (#52) & Mary Phifer (#64) & Mary Reidling (Adobe Acrobat document; 713 KB; 3 Aug 2008)
       Descendants of Jacob Blackwelder (#54) & Elizabeth Quilman & Susannah Bost (Adobe Acrobat document; 523 KB; 29 Dec 2009)
       Descendants of Martin Blackwelder (#55) & Elizabeth Meisenheimer (Adobe Acrobat document; 299 KB; 20 Aug 2008)
       Descendants of Rachel Blackwelder (#57) & John Henry Cress (Adobe Acrobat document; 130 KB; 15 Jun 2006)
       Descendants of Daniel Blackwelder (#58) & Elisabeth Dschuck & Maria Frank (Adobe Acrobat document; 244 KB; 20 Aug 2008)
    Descendants of Margaret Blackwelder (#6) & Martin Phifer (Adobe Acrobat document; 198 KB; 8 Mar 2003)
    Index of Names (Adobe Acrobat document; 434 KB; 12 Jan 2011)

Explanation of Format of Descendant Listings [See here for explanation of numbering system for descendants.]

There are a number of Blackwelders who have not yet been placed in this Blackwelder family. If you know where they belong, please let me know.
Miscellaneous Blackwelder Descendants (Adobe Acrobat document; 88 KB; 12 Jan 2011) [Note: The prefix for these descendants is "z".]

Some individuals with the surname Blackwelder are of African ancestry, probably descendants of slaves owned by the Blackwelders in the southern states (primarily North Carolina): Black Blackwelder Descendants (Adobe Acrobat document; 155 KB; 8 Mar 2003)  [Note: The prefix for these descendants is "x".] (I'd welcome correspondence from these families, too.)

Documentary Sources

USA Federal Censuses:

1790 (Adobe Acrobat document; 99 KB; 17 Jan 2004)
1800 (Adobe Acrobat document; 20 KB; 12 Jan 2011)
1810 (Adobe Acrobat document; 23 KB; 12 Jan 2011)
1820 (Adobe Acrobat document; 32 KB; 12 Jan 2011)
1830 (Adobe Acrobat document; 50 KB; 12 Jan 2011)
1840 (Adobe Acrobat document; 81 KB; 12 Jan 2011)
1850 (Adobe Acrobat document; 461 KB; 12 Jan 2011)
1860 (Adobe Acrobat document; 465 KB; 12 Jan 2011)
1870 (Adobe Acrobat document; 502 KB; 12 Jan 2011)
1880 (Adobe Acrobat document; 993 KB; 12 Jan 2011)
1900 (Adobe Acrobat document; 1,519 KB; 12 Jan 2011)
1910 (Adobe Acrobat document; 1,405 KB; 12 Jan 2011)
1920 (Adobe Acrobat document; 1,651 KB; 12 Jan 2011)
1930 (Adobe Acrobat document; 2,126 KB; 12 Jan 2011)

USA State Censuses:

1875 Kansas (Adobe Acrobat document; 13 KB; 23 Sep 2007)
1895 Kansas (Adobe Acrobat document; 75 KB; 23 Sep 2007)

USA Notes (Vital Records, Wills, Deeds, Tax Lists, Cemeteries, etc.):

Alabama (Adobe Acrobat document; 152 KB; 15 Oct 2005)
Arizona (Adobe Acrobat document; 29 KB; 3 Aug 2008)
Arkansas (Adobe Acrobat document; 99 KB; 13 Aug 2005)
California (Adobe Acrobat document; 280 KB; 12 Jan 2011)
Colorado (Adobe Acrobat document; 116 KB; 13 Aug 2005)
DC (Adobe Acrobat document; 105 KB; 15 Feb 2003)
Florida (Adobe Acrobat document; 176 KB; 12 Jan 2011)
Georgia (Adobe Acrobat document; 285 KB; 3 Aug 2008)
Idaho (Adobe Acrobat document; 88 KB; 15 Feb 2003)
Illinois (Adobe Acrobat document; 113 KB; 27 Jan 2002)
Kansas (Adobe Acrobat document; 148 KB; 26 Jan 2002)
Kentucky (Adobe Acrobat document; 95 KB; 15 Jun 2006)
Minnesota (Adobe Acrobat document; 34 KB; 29 Dec 2009)
Missouri (Adobe Acrobat document; 86 KB; 12 Jan 2011)
Montana (Adobe Acrobat document; 98 KB; 13 Aug 2005)
North Carolina (Adobe Acrobat document; 1,052 KB; 12 Jan 2011)
   North Carolina (Deaths) (Adobe Acrobat document; 814 KB; 12 Jan 2011)
   North Carolina (Cabarrus Co.) (Adobe Acrobat document; 687 KB; 29 Dec 2009)
      North Carolina (Cabarrus Co. Births) (Adobe Acrobat document; 459 KB; 23 Sep 2007)
      North Carolina (Cabarrus Co. Marriages) (Adobe Acrobat document; 436 KB; 12 Jan 2011)
      North Carolina (Cabarrus Co. Deaths) (Adobe Acrobat document; 490 KB; 12 Jan 2011)
   North Carolina (Iredell Co.) (Adobe Acrobat document; 834 KB; 12 Jan 2011)
   North Carolina (Mecklenburg Co.) (Adobe Acrobat document; 440 KB; 12 Jan 2011)
Ohio (Adobe Acrobat document; 77 KB; 3 Aug 2008)
Oklahoma (Adobe Acrobat document; 119 KB; 15 Feb 2003)
Oregon (Adobe Acrobat document; 91 KB; 15 Feb 2003)
South Carolina (Adobe Acrobat document; 192 KB; 15 Jun 2006)
Tennessee (Adobe Acrobat document; 98 KB; 20 Aug 2008)
Texas (Adobe Acrobat document; 247 KB; 3 Aug 2008)
Virginia (Adobe Acrobat document; 111 KB; 20 Aug 2008)
Washington (Adobe Acrobat document; 95 KB; 15 Feb 2003) Miscellaneous (Adobe Acrobat document; 125 KB; 15 Jun 2006)
World War 1 Draft Registrations (Adobe Acrobat document; 580 KB; 12 Jan 2011)
Revolutionary War Pension File - Charles Blackwelder (#43) (Adobe Acrobat document; 5,222 KB)
Revolutionary War Pension File - Isaac Blackwelder (#52) (Adobe Acrobat document; 6,238 KB)

See my library of digital images (photos, newspaper clippings, etc.) related to this family.

Discussion Groups

GenForum - Blackwelder
RootsWeb - Blackwelder
Facebook - Blackwelder Group

Other Links

I am a 4th-great-grandson of Mary Blackwelder (#41), who married John Shaver. Their family is the subject of  John Shaver & Mary Blackwelder of North Carolina, Tennessee, & Arkansas.

DNA Research

A new tool in genealogical research is the use of genetic markers in DNA to establish family relationships. See Genetics, DNA and Health History. The y-chromosome is passed down from father to son to grandson to great-grandson, etc. along the male line (as are surnames in many modern western societies). Occasionally, due to random mutations, one or more of the genetic markers may change in an individual and be passed down to his son that way (similar to a surname changing from Schwarzwalder to Blackwelder). Standard tests are available (based on a cheek swab) to identify 12, 37, or 67 markers on the y-chromosome. (The more the markers, the more precise the idenfication; I strongly suggest 37 or more markers, in order to be useful for genealogical purposes.) All direct male descendants of John Blackwelder would have a very similar, if not identical, set of markers (or haplotype). Someone with a surname of Blackwelder (or some variation), whether or not they had done in-depth genealogical research, could compare their haplotype to known John Blackwelder direct male descendants to see if they were likely to be a direct male descendant of John Blackwelder. This may also let us establish whether the "Miscellaneous Blackwelder Descendants" (see above) were from the line of John Adam Blackwelder or of Caleb Blackwelder (assuming that a mutation of one of the markers occurred somewhere on either line). Likewise, the John Blackwelder haplotype could be compared to haplotypes of other families to see if these families were closely related in Germany. I would like to establish a confidential database of haplotypes of John Blackwelder's direct male descendants to give us a tool to identify John Blackwelder descendants and to find closely related Schwarzwalder families from Germany. Ideally, we would need several samples from direct male descendants of each of John's sons. The Family Tree DNA testing service is one of the most well-known. If anyone is interested, please contact me by e-mail. The tests range in price from $99-$248, depending upon the number of markers, when ordered from Family Tree DNA as a part of the Blackwelder DNA Project. To help defray the cost of the testing, I have set up a Blackwelder DNA Project fund that will allow those of us without the Blackwelder Y-chromosome (such as females born with the maiden name of Blackwelder) to jointly share in the cost of this project. If everyone interested in this avenue of research can contribute a little from time to time, it will greatly help to increase the level of participation by direct male descendants with the "right" DNA. Those of us not fortunate enough to have the Blackwelder Y-DNA chromosome may help others out by contributing.

Several of the descendants of John Blackwelder and Elisabeth Maushardt have participated in the Blackwelder DNA Project and their Y-chromosome haplotypes are posted (on the y-Results page). These haplotypes should be almost identical to the haplotype of John Blackwelder (Johannes Schwarzwalder). More samples are needed from descendants of Caleb and John Adam to confirm the exact haplotype of John Blackwelder. Mutations in the Y-chromosome markers in the generations since John Blackwelder may actually be helpful in identifying which branch of descent a particular Blackwelder male in the US belongs to (corroborating historical records). The Y-chromosome haplogroup to which the John Blackwelder sample belongs is "E1b1b1a2"; this subclade is also known as "E-V13". This haplogroup has its highest European prevalence in the Balkan peninsula in southeastern Europe, indicating that as a possible homeland for our Blackwelder (Schwarzwalder) ancestral line prior to arriving in Germany. As more samples are gathered for comparison, we may find close matches to Schwarzwalder and other families in Europe and elsewhere.


This web page is a result of my own research over 40 years, and includes the collective works of many, many others to whom I owe a great debt of gratitude. I would like to acknowledge them here.

If you find this information useful and would like to contribute a small (or bigger) amount to help fund this research, please consider selecting one of the options below. This helps me pay for subscriptions to web sites (e.g.,, reference materials (maps, books), supplies (paper, ink, binders, folders), time, and travel.

Amount to Contribute

If you would like to comment on any information contained within, or wish to correspond with me about this family, please send me an e-mail message at: Additions and corrections are greatly appreciated. I am especially interested in receiving information obtained from primary sources (census listings, Bibles, cemeteries, vital records, probate and land records, etc.) and photographs and digital images relating to the Blackwelder family so that I can incorporate them into this page. Also, I would like to provide links to other pages on the Internet that deal with Blackwelder genealogy.

Mark B. Arslan

Last updated on 12 January 2011