Ambrose Blackburn II was born 1750 in NC but due to trouble with the Tories before the Revolutionary War he moved to Greenville, SC. He was a Captain of a company of Rangers during the war, along with Gen. Samuel Blackburn and other members of the family. From DAR Records we find this: "Captain Ambrose Blackburn raised his company near Greenville, SC. He had guns stored in his home. The Tories came one night, ransacked the home, destroying all the furniture, beds, clothing and guns except a very fine one that belonged to Captain Blackburn, even the dainty wardrobe made by the mother for the baby that was soon to be born.
Captain Blackburn, taken captive, was spared when he gave the sign of the Masonry. The Torries then fled, taking all the horses. The next morning he gathered his men and for several days and nights followed the Torries, capturing and killing all that he could. "He did not lose one man."
Captain's Blackburn's own gun, a very complicated one, which was taken from his home, was held by a Tory, who did not know how to fire the weapon and soon recovered it. When the Tory saw Captain Blackburn approaching he called out, "Captain Blackburn, I know you". He said this thinking that Captain Blackburn might show some mercy, but Captain Blackburn called out, "I know you too, and in a few minutes your soul will be in Hell". With those words he shot the Tory. The bullet pierced his body and passed through his shot pouch.
By 1773 there were hostilities leading up to the Revolutionary War such as the historical Boston Tea Party. Obviously, Ambrose Blackburn II had met Frances Jones Halbert because on 20 Oct 1773 they had a baby girl, Elizabeth "Betsy" Blackburn. The couples' marriage was not recorded until 1775 in Greenville, SC. In those days it was often years before a preacher, justice of peace or circuit judge rode through a village to perform the marriage service. Couples sometime had to ride for several days, toting their several children, to another settlement before they could find someone to perform their marriage.
In about 1802 Ambrose and Frances moved to GA and spent about a year there before moving to Maury Co., TN in 1803. The area later became a part of Lewis Co., TN. Ambrose died in 1820 and is buried in the family lot on his estate in Lewis Co., TN. His grave was the first in TN to be decorated by the S.A.R.
A Blackburn ancestor of Ambrose built the first small house for Lawrence Washington. George Washington added to the original building to build the present day house at his Mt. Vernon estate. (Ref. The Benjamin Blackburn Family, by W. A. Challacombe, Carlinville, IL, 1942, page 18 and Benton County History, AR, 1991 - pages 356-357)
Blackburn Farmstead and Pioneer Museum Lewis County Tennessee
One of the few remaining houses on the old Natchez Trace is the Ambrose Blackburn farm. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places is the Ambrose Blackburn House. Constructed between 1806 and 1810, the house also holds the distinction of being the first courthouse in the county and of probably being the oldest house in the county.
Ambrose Blackburn served as a captain in the militia during the Revolutionary War. He is the only Revolutionary War veteran who is known to have settled in Lewis County.
Blackburn cleared his farm and constructed a log house about one mile east of the Natchez Trace. Blackburn died in 1820, and his body is buried in a small family cemetery behind the house. Blackburn's descendants continued to live in the house until the early 1900's.
When the Tennessee Legislature created Lewis County as a memorial to Meriwether Lewis in 1843, it appointed commissioners to determine where the county seat should be located. The commissioners selected the area where the house, then owned by son John Blackburn, was situated. They determined that the county seat should be called "Gordon" after Powhatan Gordon who camped his company there while on his way to Florida to fight in the Seminole War.
The Legislature directed that until a permanent courthouse could be built, the County Court should meet in John Blackburn's home and it was there that the first county business was conducted in March 1844. The Circuit Court also needed a building in which to conduct court. It was decided that the corn crib would be suitable for trials and Edward Dillahunty presided over the first Circuit Court there in March 1844.
The house also served as the first post office for the county. A log courthouse was soon built nearby. Although a small store was built on Gordon, the town did not prosper as a settlement. It appears that the residents considered the Gordon county seat only temporary. Newburg was soon under construction and it seems that there was no opposition to moving the log courthouse and the county seat to Newburg in 1848. When the county seat was moved, Gordon ceased to exist and the Blackburn farm was used solely for farming.
The Blackburn house, corncrib and other out-buildings have remained intact with virtually few changes over the years. The house is said to be one of the best preserved log structures in the area. The farm itself is a great example of the early pioneer farms along the Natchez Trace.
The Blackburn Farmstead is open to the public for tours.
More About Ambrose Blackburn II and Frances Jones Halbert: Marriage: 1772, Greenville District, South Carolina.299, 300, 301
Children of Ambrose Blackburn II and Frances Jones Halbert are: