Robert M. Black docket book

Biographical and Historical Notes

Robert Middleton Black was born in Glasgow, Pencader Hundred, Delaware, on December 28, 1811. Black was one of nine children born to Dr. Samuel Henry Black and Dorcas Armitage Middleton, prominent Pencader Hundred citizens. Dorcas Armitage Middleton was a descendant of Thomas Cooch, also of Pencader Hundred. Raised at LaGrange, a farm of over 200 acres located at the intersection of (modern day) Route 40 and Route 896 in Glasgow, Black assumed responsibility for the day-to-day operations of the farm following the death of his father in 1827. He maintained this responsibility, with the assistance of his younger brother, Samuel Henry Black, for the remainder of his life.

Black’s older brother, Charles Henry Black, followed his father’s occupation and practiced medicine in New Castle. Charles married Ann Janvier in 1837 and produced eight children, including John Janvier Black, a prominent New Castle obstetrician during the latter half of the nineteenth century.

In addition to his farming activities, Robert Black served as a Justice of the Peace for Pencader Hundred, beginning around 1860 and continuing through 1872. In this capacity, Black served as judge for numerous cases brought before him, addressing crimes varying from larceny, bastardry, attempted murder, and disturbing the peace, as well as cases of a more civil nature. The most prominent cases brought before Justice Black involved delinquent accounts for goods bought and sold and for services performed.

Robert Black married Susan Zane sometime in the 1860s and they had at least one daughter, Mary Roberta Black, born in 1871. Robert Black died in 1878 and was buried in Pencader Presbyterian Church cemetery.


Scharf, J. Thomas. History of Delaware: 1609-1888, 2 Vols. Philadelphia: L.J. Richards & Co., 1888.

Cooch, Eleanor Bedford Wilkins. The Ancestors of Eleanor Bedford Wilkins Cooch and Edward Webb Cooch. Wilmington, Del.: s.n., 1962.

Content Description

This handwritten book contains a listing of 565 civil and criminal cases, numbered 5824 to 6386, brought before Robert M. Black, Justice of the Peace for Pencader Hundred, Delaware. Each case is described with a charge, verdict, court costs, and other relevant information. Occasional receipts for fines are attached. Primarily, the cases involved disputes related to business and employment transactions.