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Gurdon Gilmore Black Papers

Identifier: A0130

Scope and Contents

The Gurdon Black Collection consists of correspondence, receipts, deeds, land transactions, account books, and genealogical information. The collection contains the papers of Dr. John Kennedy, including attendance tickets from his university courses at Glasgow University (Glasgow, Scotland), account books noting fees and patient records from his practice, a prayer book, and various land records. The collection also contains papers of John McKnight, which include correspondence and business receipts relating to McKnight's involvement in the Santa Fe trade and land records relating to McKnight's property in St. Louis County. A history of the construction of Clayton Road is filed in Box 1, folder 7. The history provides a description of property lines and other information concerning landowners along the original stretches of the road. The history also includes survey maps and plats. Box 2 and the two volumes contain genealogy notes and charts relating to the Black, Rice, Clayton, McCutcheon, and Yates families. The notes consist of detailed, handwritten copies of land descriptions, personal histories, and family tree charts.


  • 1805-1950

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research use.

Conditions Governing Use

For permission to publish, quote from, or reproduce material in this collection, please contact the Archives Reference Desk at Copyright restrictions may apply. The researcher assumes full responsibility for conforming to the laws of copyright.

Biographical Sketch

Gurdon Gilmore Black, civil engineer and contractor, was born September 5, 1880, in St. Louis County. He was the grandson of a pioneering family to St. Louis, Samuel and Amanda (McCutchan) Black. Black attended Price School, Clayton Public School, and the St. Louis Manual Training School, and graduated from Washington University in 1901 with a B.S. in civil engineering. Following graduation, he worked as a civil engineer with the St. Louis Water Department. When war was declared in 1917, he resigned to enter the army and served in the 314th Engineer Regiment. When he returned from the war, he became an engineer for the McCormack Combs Construction Company, later becoming a member of the firm and its vice president and treasurer. On December 6, 1924, Black married Mattie Lou Maddox, whose forebearers had been pioneers and leaders in Callaway County, Missouri. In 1941, he joined the Fruin Colnon Contracting Company and the Fruco Construction Company. He died in 1953. Dr. John Kennedy was born in Ireland. He attended the University of Glasgow and Medical School. He graduated with his M.D. in 1814. In October 1814, Kennedy received his license to preach the gospel in Rathfryland, Ireland. He emigrated to America in 1819 and arrived in St. Louis the following year. By 1823, Kennedy had bought land in St. Louis County and was living in Bonhomme Township. Later, he and his wife Jane purchased a tract of land near Creve Coeur. John Kennedy died in January 1860. Jane Kennedy died July 7, 1858.


0.84 Cubic Feet ( (2 boxes; 2 volumes))

Language of Materials



The collection is arranged in chronological order.

Physical and Technical Requirements

There are no physical or technical restrictions.

Other Finding Aids

The collection is indexed in the Archives Card Catalog.

Donor Information

Not available.

Processing Information

Compiled by Christopher Gordon, November 2004.

Inventory of Gurdon Black Papers
EAD by Jaime Bourassa using ArchivesSpace
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Missouri Historical Society Library and Research Center Repository

225 S. Skinker Blvd.
St. Louis MO 63105 United States