Blackburn, William

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William Blackburn (1814-1867) came overland with three brothers to the Santa Cruz area from Missouri in 1846, becoming one of the most prominent Santa Cruz residents of that era. Blackburn was elected alcalde of Branciforte/Santa Cruz and, after the new state and county were established, the first elected county judge (previous judges served on the temporary "Court of Sessions", from April to September, 1850).

William's wife Harriet Mead Blackburn (1831-1920), who he met in Santa Cruz, outlived him by 53 years and became a major Santa Cruz land owner/developer after his death. She is one of the few women to have her own biography in Harrison, other than N.D.G.W. members.

William's youngest brother Jacob also stayed in this county. Two other brothers, Daniel and James, had local involvement in the earlier 1850s: Daniel (1816-1901) operated the Blackburn Gulch sawmill for a time, and James (1820-1888) ran a store in Watsonville. The two were among the founders of the town of Paso Robles in 1857. Two Blackburn sisters married and remained in the gold fields area of the Sierra Nevada foothills. The Blackburns' mother Margaret (1781-1857) came to Santa Cruz in 1852.