Attorney at law. For over three centuries the Blount family has occupied a distinguished position in English history and in the public affairs of this country. Charles Blount, Earl of Devonshire, who was contemporaneous with and an intimate friend of Sir Walter Raleigh, both being of the same county in England, (Devonshire), distinguished himself under Lord Montjoy in the suppression of the Tyrone rebellion in Ireland in 1603. Prior to this the Earl of Devonshire had interested himself in Sir Walter Raleigh’s colonization schemes in America, and several of the former’s relatives, including two nephews, sons of his brother, came over with Sir Walter and settled in North Carolina. From these sprang the Blount family of the United States, all the different branches of which came originally from that state.
The first one to attain to prominence in this country was General Thomas Blount of North Carolina, who volunteered in the Revolutionary army when sixteen years of age and in 1780 became paymaster-general. He also commanded a battalion at the battle of Eutaw Springs, and was raised to the rank of major-general. He served in the third, fourth, fifth, ninth, tenth and twelfth Congresses, as a "Republican" or Democrat.
Another distinguished member of the family was Governor William Blount born in North Carolina, in 1744. He was a member of the House of Commons of North Carolina In 1780 to 1784, and was also a member of the Continental Congress from 1782-1787. He was then appointed governor of the territory south of the Ohio, and was chairman of the committee that formed the first constitution of Tennessee, an instrument which he himself drew. He was afterwards elected governor of that state and subsequently United States Senator.
Honorable William G. Blount belonged to the same family. He was a member of Congress from Tennessee and Secretary of State of that state. Honorable James H. Blount, of Georgia, recent member of Congress, also comes of a branch of the original North Carolina family.
The branch to which Captain Samuel Blount, the subject of this sketch belongs, settled in Maryland from North Carolina in an early day, and from that state the captain’s father removed to Kentucky where the son grew to manhood. Captain Blount was born in Barren County, Maryland, on the 20th of December, 1805. Brought up in Kentucky in an early day, his advantages for an education were very limited; in fact, it may be said with entire truth that he educated himself.
The English are firm believers in the doctrine that "blood will tell." And it must be confessed that there is much in the history of birth in that country and this to support their opinion. Take the family name of any of the historic personages in England and trace the name through the history of this country; it will be found in almost every instance that the same family has become distinguished in affairs on this side of the Atlantic.
The Blounts have been identified with law and politics for three centuries, the same characteristics appearing in each generation, it matters not in what circumstances the individual member may be placed. Ambitions, resolutions and strong convictions are the leading traits of their character. For a Blount to be a mudsill of society would be as impossible as for an eagle to be a common barn-yard fowl. Their early opportunities may be no better than those of the most humble, but such is the strength of their character that they force their way into the place in society for which they are fitted by their talents and personal worth.
Captain Blount is a striking illustration of this characteristic of the family. As has been said he had practically no opportunities at all in early life. Yet notwithstanding this he rose superior to all obstacles; he educated himself and studied law; and by the strength of his own character and his natural abilities forced his way to a front position in his profession.
He was married in Kentucky on the 9th of April, 1830, at which time Miss Sarah Smith became his wife. She was originally from Virginia, and was a most amiable and excellent lady. Immediately after his marriage Captain Blount came west with his young wife and settled in Callaway County. Here he has since resided, a period of nearly fifty-four years. His first wife died in April, 1863, leaving him eight children: John R., Louisa A., Allex B., Samuel L., Isabel S., Franklin P., Mary Elizabeth and Frances.
His second wife was a widow lady, Mrs. Jane C. Pemberton, originally from Tennessee. But she, too, was taken from him by death. She died in 1878. Two years after her death he was married to his present wife, Mrs. Sarah Crosswhite, a widow lady and a worthy true-hearted woman.
In keeping with the traditions and characteristics of his family, Captain Blount has always taken a deep interest in politics. It is a remarkable fact that in the whole history of this country a Blount has never been known to falter in his allegiance to the Democratic Party. General Blount of Revolutionary fame, although a personal friend to Hamilton and Adams, was one of Jefferson’s most ardent supporters, and from that day to this every one of the name has been a steadfast, earnest democrat. Nor is Captain Blount any exception to this rule. Indeed he is a striking exemplification of its application. For fifty years and more he has taken an active part for the Democratic party in every campaign that has taken place. Such has been his activity and zeal in political matters that years ago he won the title of "The Old Democratic War-horse of the Kingdom of Callaway," a title which he still bears and fully merits.
Captain Blount was captain of a military company for ten years, from 1836 to 1846.
He has been engaged in the practice of the law for half a century and as a lawyer is one of those old-time practitioners of the Judge Hicks school, now unfortunately passing away, who were better learned in the minds and hearts of men than in legal aesthetics and kid-glove etiquette. He tried cases to win them by influencing the minds and hearts of men, and not to pick some little flaw in the crossing of "t" or the dotting of an "i" in order to take the case up and reverse it. Despising all trickery in practice, he relied for his success on his ability to present his cause in the light of justice, brightened and beautified by that higher and purer light, human sympathy.
As a man and citizen, no one in Callaway County holds a higher place in the esteem and confidence of the people.
Few men who have ever lived in Callaway County were more universally known than Captain Samuel Blount. He came to Callaway County more than fifty years ago and as a farmer, maintained himself for many years in agricultural pursuits. He was a man of great energy, with an active brain and original process of reasoning. While engaged in agricultural pursuits, he was frequently called upon to adjust or arbitrate differences and disputes between neighbors, and this led to an examination of statute law. These examinations familiarized him with the statutes, and he often appeared in the justices’ courts as an attorney for plaintiff or defendant. His native talent was his principal resource, as his early education, from some cause had been neglected. But his ingenuity, his quick perceptions and his ardor in whatever cause he expoused, stood him in hand. And he coped ably and often successfully with men whose opportunities had been better and whose resources of early training and large libraries gave a decided advantage in the preparation and trial of litigated cases.
Having practiced for many years in the lower courts of the county, he quit the farm, and for many years – about thirty – has resided in Fulton, where, having been admitted to practice in the circuit and county courts, he became permanently identified with the Fulton bar.
Captain Blount was a man of many excellent qualities. He had an instinctive appreciation of justice, was ever recognized as honorable and, to the extent of his ability, liberal. He was an unskilled, but forceful speaker and a tireless worker. He never forgot the interests of his clients, but worked industriously and effectively for all who entrusted their business to his hands. Fidelity to whatever cause he espoused was a leading characteristic of the man, and he toiled and wrought with energy and ambition to accomplish the end he sought.
Captain Blount was a just and honest man. While he toiled for his client, he never forgot the rights of his opponent, and, though he employed every resource of law to achieve victory, he never sought a verdict by questionable methods.
Age, toil and a gradually declining physical energy, brought mental depression and rapid decay. For the cure of the former, he was sent to the lunatic asylum about a year ago. But the infirmities of age were upon him, and neither youth nor manly vigor could be restored. He was a captain of militia for many years, but , we believe, was never engaged in actual warfare. He was honest, fearless in the right, true to his convictions and sincere in his appreciation of duty. Peace to his ashes.
No two men in this country were better known, no two men have figured in every public movement of any note in the Kingdom of Callaway, no two came as near knowing and becoming familiarly by every old resident. In fact, no two men ever deserved the name of thorough and typical Callawegians more than Thomas B. Harris and Captain Samuel Blount. Both of these old patriots and landmarks passed away on the same day, January 6, 1892. Mr. Harris died at 6 PM and Captain Blount at 10 PM, the former 76 and the latter 86 years old. Both were Kentuckians and came to Missouri away back at the beginning of business in the west. Both were uncompromising Democrats and men of fixed opinions generally. Both were quick to forgive a fault in a friend but their enmity was not desirable. Mr. Harris was a consistent member of the Baptist Church and unusually well informed on religious topics and doctrines. Captain Blount united with the Methodist Church several years ago and was a consistent member of that denomination. Like most other men, they had their enemies, both of them possessed more than the usual admirable traits of character and did much to make this county what it is today. La Grippe killed both of them.
In the Circuit Court of Callaway County, Missouri December term, 1891, in the matter of the death of Samuel Blount, an attorney at law and member of this bar:
WHEREAS, The fact has been made known to this court and this bar that Samuel Blount, its oldest member departed this life on the 6th inst., at the city of Fulton, and, whereas, it is manifest to every one who has known Capt. Blount during his active life, as a citizen, a neighbor, and lawyer, that he was a man faithful and devoted in every duty incumbent on him in all the relations of life, it therefore becomes us, as his associates in our profession to recognize his virtues in this official way that their recollection may be preserved on our records. Therefore, be it
Resolved, That the judges of this court and the members of this bar do hereby declare that Samuel Blount, who died in the eighty-seventh year of his age, was true to every duty as a lawyer, ever to a client and prompt in the discharge of his duties, possessed of fine native legal ability and of great force in impressing his judgment on court and jury. That we regret having been forced, by course of nature’s law, to part from his company and association. We can only commend to ourselves his virtues.
Resolved, That we extend to the widow and family our sincere condolence. That as a token of respect we attend his funeral and that these resolutions be saved on the records of this court.
John A. Hockaday, Judge.
D. P. Bailey.