Maybe I read too many Trixie Belden mysteries as a kid.
There’s just something about unraveling the mysteries of the past. A clue drops into your life, stirring your curiosity. Next thing you know, you’re googling day and night, amassing links to reference later, copying and pasting tidbits from far-flung websites into Word docs, promising yourself you’ll organize it all – later, later, when you have time.
That time has come. For about 10 years I’ve been lazily looking for information on a 19th century Rochester, NY, family called Blackall. I have website printouts, copies of letters they wrote, obituaries and the like. Introducing: Burton, Sarah, Gertrude, Florence, Minnie and Robert. Why they have stuck around is beyond me. I guess they want me to tell their story.
I doubt their story, like most, is a true mystery. I don’t expect to uncover anything history-altering. Their time on Earth has simply been long forgotten. Still, you never know… Perhaps the way it tugs at me is the mystery; it is the part of the story I don’t yet know and need to tell.
I’m creating this blog to crystallize what I already understand about the Blackalls and to connect to others who may know more.
Burton Francis (known as Frank) and Sarah (Colman) Blackall married in 1853 and moved to Rochester in 1858. They and their four children were close to Frederick Douglass and his family, and Sarah and daughter Gertrude were active suffragists who were friends with Susan B. Anthony.
In coming posts, I’ll write about what I know and muse about what I don’t. Here’s what I hope: that the process of unraveling and sorting my own notes will lead to a clearer picture of these people and the impact they had during their time in Rochester.
Originally published 3/13/2011
Filed under Blackall Frederick Douglass Susan B. Anthony Rochester NYabolition suffragists