Robert Black Grant County, New Mexico

Robert Black, a contractor and builder of Silver City, came to this place March 2, 1872. He was born and reared in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and in 1859 entered Harvard College, so that in his youth he enjoyed splendid educational privileges. He resided at Cambridge until twenty-seven years of age. On leaving Boston he spent one year in Denver, Colorado, and was induced to come to Silver City from that place to construct a quartz mill. From that time to the present he has been closely associated with the material progress, the intellectual development and the up-building of the city along those lines which contribute to civic virtue and civic pride. He was engaged as a contractor and builder until 1883, when he was called to public office and later he resumed operations in that direction and has erected nearly all of the important buildings in the city and county in many years. He put in the first wood working machinery ever installed in the territory, building the first complete planing mill, which was shipped in sections from Boston, Massachusetts.

On the 1st of May, 1883, the railroad was completed to Silver City, and Mr. Black, as mayor here, had the honor of driving the silver spike. The town had been incorporated in May, 1878, and in April of that year Mr. Black had been elected its first mayor, in which capacity he served for two terms. In 1880 he was elected a member of the territorial legislature as the representative for the five southern counties and filled that position for two years. He has been the champion of many feasible movements for public good and while in the legislature was the author and introduced the first public school bill. The cause of education has ever found in him a stalwart friend, and he has been president of the school board of Silver City for the past twenty-one years.

He was instrumental in securing the establishment of the normal university here, and for eight years has been a member of the Board of Trustees of the Agricultural College. He is also a member of the New Mexico Pioneer Society, which includes all men who became residents of the Territory prior to 1880. He served on the Board of County Commissioners for one term of two years, and in various positions to which he has been called he has shown himself abundantly worthy of the trust and confidence reposed in him.

Mr. Black is a member of Silver City Lodge No. 8, A. F. & A. M., and has taken the degrees of the Commandery and of the Mystic Shrine at Albuquerque. He also belongs to the Eastern Star, and is the oldest Knight of Pythias in the Territory, but has not identified himself with a local lodge of that organization. His affiliation with the Masonic craft covers a period of more than forty years, during which time he has been a worthy exemplar of the beneficent spirit of the order, which promotes mutual helpfulness, brotherly kindness and charity among its followers.

BackGrant County Biographies

Source: History of New Mexico, Its Resources and People, Volume II, Pacific States Publishing Co., 1907.

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Created 1996 by Charles Barnum & 2016 by Judy White

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