Clinton County links to Roe v. Wade

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May 5—MOOERS FORKS — The leaked U.S. Supreme Court draft opinion on Roe v. Wade rocks the nation, and the historic and polarizing 7-2 decision trends again on news cycles.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Harry Blackmun authored the majority opinion in Roe v. Wade, and he has North Country roots.

Julie Dowd figured it out while writing Clinton County Historical Association's Facebook Civil War Soldier Vignette of Andrew Perkins Blackman or Blackmun.

"(Blackmun) is probably rolling over in his grave right now," Dowd said.

"I don't know anything about the family other than the Civil War soldier."

Dowd wrote the soldier's vignette in February 2016.

"I saw the connection because the guy was born in Mooers Forks, and then I did some descendant trees to see what was going on and found out that one of his grandchildren was Justice Blackman. They used the name Blackman and Blackmun interchangeably."


Andrew Perkins Blackman who was born on February 1, 1839, in Mooers to William Sherman Blackman and Philena Manning who settled at Blackmun's Corners, according to Dowd's research.

Andrew enlisted in Mooers on November 19, 1861, in Mooers.

On December 9, he was mustered into the 96th Infantry Regiment, Company F.

A month later, his younger brother, William, enlisted in the same regiment, known as McComb's Regiment or the Plattsburgh Regiment.

Both brothers were in the same regiment recruited mainly from the Mooers and Chazy area.

The regiment stayed near Washington for a few months then joined the Siege of Yorktown in March 1862.

They fought in Virginia and North Carolina for the next two years, their major battle being Fair Oaks where 11 were killed, 27 wounded and 27 who went missing.

On January 1, 1864, Andrew enlisted again as a veteran for a bounty of $200 and fought for the next 15 months in Virginia.

The 96th Regiment's last engagements were near Petersburg, and the soldiers were there when the city fell on April 2, 1865.

According to his Muster Roll Abstract, Andrew wasn't with them. He was recorded as having been sick and absent from April 15, 1864.

He was transferred to David's Island in New York Harbor for convalescence and was finally discharged for disability on July 15, 1865.


By 1870, Andrew had married Eliza Jane Manning, and was living in Minnesota, where he stayed for the rest of his life.

Manning is a local family name.

"They give her as Eliza Jane Cooley (1845-1926)," Dowd said.

"She was born in Champlain. They had 11 children."

They were: Clara E. Blackmun (1866-1945), Nellie B. Blackmun (1868-), Annie P. Blackmun (1870-), Edward E. Blackmun, (1872-), Adah Eadie Blackman (1872-), Florence Elsa Blackman (1874-1939), Flornes Blackmon (1875-), Arthur Perkins Blackman (1879-), Corwin Manning Blackmun (1881-1947), Iva Dell Blackmun (1883-1948) and Lula Eliza Blackmun (1888-1939).

"Not all of them were born locally," Dowd said.

"Some of them were born in Minnesota after the family went out there. It was pretty common for Civil War veterans to go out there, you know. They probably got land through the Homestead Act."

In 1882, Andrew filed for and received an Invalid's Pension. When he died Eliza Jane filed for a Widow's Pension on December 12, 1921, in St. Paul, Minnesota.

They are both buried in Newport Cemetery in Newport, Minnesota.


Andrew's son, Corwin Manning Blackmun, and his wife, Theodora Huegely, had a son, Harry Andrew Blackmun, who was an Associate Justice on the Supreme Court of the United States from 1970 until 1994, according to Dowd's research.

Harry was appointed by Republican President Richard Nixon and became one of the most liberal justices on the Court and is best known as the author of the Court's opinion in Roe v. Wade.

Justice Blackmun is buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.

"I went, 'Ooh, that's interesting,' so I just put it in as a fact more than anything else," Dowd said.

Wednesday, Dowd checked telephone directories to locate Blackmans or Blackmuns in Clinton County.

"There are a couple," she said.

"There are some in Plattsburgh, but I don't know if they are directly related or not."