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Welcome to The Blann Family Page, which furnishes historical detail beyond the site index, exploring nine generations of Blanns in the line of Thomas Bland of Caroline Co., Maryland. We also examine the evidence for a tentative identification of three further generations of Blands before Thomas, toward the bottom of this page.
 

1. Claire Anura Lillah Blann --Born Sept. 12, 1983, in Nashville, TN. The only child of Gregory Blann and Sylvia Watts (Blann), Claire graduated with honors from Overton High School in 2001, and received two bachelor.degrees from the University of Tennessee in 2006.





 

2. Gregory Boone Blann --Born Oct. 14, 1952, in Staten Island, NY. Second surviving child of Troy R. Blann and Sue Boone (Blann). One brother: Dr. Troy Robinson Blann, Jr. ("Rob," born 1948), an English professor at Trevecca Nazarene University (married Barbara Sue Brooks -b.1949), with two  children: Jennifer (b.1981) and Tristan (1984-1992). Raised in France (1956-59) and America, Gregory earned a BA in music and art at Peabody College-Vanderbilt University. He married Sylvia Watts on Aug.12, 1973, in Percy Warner Park in Nashville.

 


3. Troy Robinson Blann (Sr.) --Born Nov. 15, 1919, in Mineral, Virginia. The Blann family lived in upstate New York, where Rev. Melvin Blann was a Pilgrim Holiness pastor. Troy went to Business College in Gloversville. NY, worked briefly for General Electric, then joined the U.S. Army in 1942. A Master-Sergeant E-8 in the Army (he retired with 20 years service in 1962), Troy was stationed at Ft. Campbell, KY. for a time during WWII and spent several weekend furloughs with the Boones, a Nazarene family, in Nashville. There, he met and subsequently married Sue Boone in Nashville on May 5, 1944, with Sue's brother-in-law, Claude Galloway and Rev. Wise officiating. Troyís siblings were: Melvin R. Blann II; 1917-1983, an upstate New York piano tuner, church organist and Freemason. Mel married Ellen Merchant and had 5 children: Melvin III, Judy, Diane, Chris & Debbie. Troy's two sisters were: Magdalene "Maggie" (Mills), 1921-1997, a registered nurse and missionary to Swaziland and Rhodesia in the 1950's. She married Maryland widower Carl Mills in 1963 who had three children from a previous marriage: Richard, Gloria and Glenda. Troy's youngest sister was Linda Lee (1925-2006) a nurse, who married Millard Insley of Maryland in 1964 and had no children. During Troy's tour of military service, he and his family were stationed in Washington DC, London, England; Naples, Italy; Bayonne, New Jersey; Yuma, Arizona; Malsherbes (near Fountainbleau & Paris), France; McCordsville, Indiana, & Columbus, Georgia (2nd Infantry Division). In 1962, Troy retired and settled with his family in Nashville, TN. where he died on Feb.19, 1999, at age 79. He is buried at Spring Hill Cemetery in Nashville.

4. (Rev.) Melvin Raymond Blann I --Born April 26, 1891, in Talbot Co., MD; died July 7, 1953, in Trappe, MD. Buried at Springhill Cemetery in Easton. He married Anna Matthews on June 29, 1916, in Trappe, MD. His siblings were: George Thomas (b.1871), Roland Solomon (1873-1949), Sarah Wilhelmina (Willie) b.1875, Percy Robinson (b.1878), Effie Ellen (1880-1964), Arthur Elwood  (1883-1969; also a preacher), Hattie Melvina (1885-1979), Clifford Nelson (1887-1975). Melvin had only a sixth-grade education (his sister Effie being the only one of his siblings who graduated from High School). As a young man he attended half a year at "Godís Bible College" (where his brother Elwood had gone), but his training was interrupted when his father had a stroke and Melvin returned to help out at home. He subsequently became a pastor in the Pilgrim Holiness Church (a now-defunct Protestant sect that continues as the Wesleyan Church) in various churches in Maryland (Broom's Island, 1917, where Melvin II was born), and Virginia (Mineral, 1919-21, where Troy & Maggie were born). At the urging of his brother, Elwood, Melvin moved with his family to upstate NY and pastored several churches there (Wells, Port Jervis, Monticello & Onianta), some of which, as a carpenter, he built himself. For reasons now lost to us, Melvin was often called "Dick" by his siblings and church associates. In 1952, he retired with his wife to Maryland, bought a retirement cottage in Trappe, and died there six months later.

5. Robert Arthur Bland --Born in March 5, 1840, in Denton, MD (Caroline County). Arthurís parents were Thomas Bland and Elizabeth Stevens. Thomas died before 1850, when (Robert) Arthur was a youth, apparently leaving the family in debt. Young Arthur was separated from his mother (Elizabeth, who remarried John R. Willis in 1853), and his sisters, Lizzie and Mary Jane (no brother known) and was farmed out, probably as an indentured servant, to help pay off the debts. According to his son, Nelson, Arthur ran away from the family that kept him as an indentured servant because he was forced to eat leftovers and to live and sleep in the barn with the animals. After living under deprived conditions with several families, Arthur signed on with Captain Hardcastle at Lloyd's Landing, running a steamboat on the Choptank River, hauling people, farm produce and plants back and forth from Baltimore to the Eastern Shore. He also developed a long-term alcohol habit during this period. After some years at sea, Capt. Hardcastle put Arthur ashore on one of Hardcastleís farms at Millerís landing. There, on Jan.3, 1871, Arthur married Annie Robinson, a very religious woman, and together they had nine children. (There is a record of a Robert Bland who joined the Union Navy in Washington D.C. in 1861, and afterward transferred to the Army, but it is not certain whether this is Robert Arthur, 21 at the time, or his uncle, Capt. Robert J. Bland, who would have been 43.) The 1870 Talbot Co. Census shows 30 year-old sailor, Arthur Bland, boarding in Trappe with a farmer named Nathaniel Clifton. By 1880, he is listed as a 40 year-old farmer and husband in another house in Trappe, married to Annie, age 29, with four children. Arthur stopped drinking alcohol and began to attend church in his old age, dying in Talbot County, MD, on April 12, 1916, (according to his tombstone at the Springhill Cemetery in Easton, MD). He was known as "Otts" (ahtz) Bland, a shortened form of Arthur. At some point during his later years, Arthur (or another member of his family) changed the spelling of the surname to Blann.

6. Thomas Bland --Born in 1810 in Denton, Caroline Co., MD and died between 1840 and 1850. He married Elizabeth Stevens (b.1810) and had three children, Elizabeth (Lizzie) who married Dave Evans, Mary Jane (b.1836) who married a McCracken, and Robert Arthur (b.1840). After Thomas' death, his widow remarried John Willis (April 4, 1853) and had another daughter, Mollie Willis (b.1856) who married Walter Griffith. John's other two older children were Thomas and Elizabeth A. Willis. Thomas Bland's parents are not definitively proven, but a George Bland of Caroline Co., son of Joseph Bland and Sarah Andrew, is the likeliest candidate for his father, as the 1820 census shows George as having two unidentified children the right age to be Thomas and perhaps his brother, Robert. (Also the name George appears frequently in the next few generations of Thomasí family.) Thomasí mother was probably Clara or Clair, widow of Peter Collins who remarried widower George Bland in Caroline Co. in 1809 (he was earlier married to Elizabeth "Betsy" Caulk from 1797 to 1808).
    Note: Thomasí granddaughter, Hattie believed that her father, Arthur, had an aunt and uncle, Millie and Robert Bland, who lived in Easton, MD. While there seems to have been a black servant named Robert Bland in the 1850 & 1860 Caroline & Talbot Co. censuses, there is also a Robert J. Bland (b.1817/18 and his wife, Millie (Amelia Noble) and several children (their first-born is named George) on the census in Caroline and Dorchester counties from 1850 to 1890. It is almost certain that this Robert is the brother of Thomas Bland. The 1850 census of Caroline Co., MD, (household #1299) shows Robert Bland, aged 32, carpenter, Milly 19, George 10. (Note: This George is too old to be a son of this 1849 marriage. A George T. Bland, possibly this same George?, appears on the Caroline Co. civil war rosters of volunteers in Company E). The 1880 Census of Dorchester Co., MD, household #143/150 Cedar St., Cambridge shows Robert Bland, aged 63, carpenter, Amelia 47, wife, Charles 20, son, George 18, son. His other children were Mary E. (b.1855) and Ellen (b.1858). A "Denton Journal" obituary of July 3, 1897, records the death of local Capt. Robert J. Bland from a stroke of paralysis.

7. George Bland --Although Thomasís parentage has not yet been definitely proven, it is extremely likely that George Bland (ca.1760-1820), the son of Joseph Bland Sr. of Caroline Co., MD., is the father of Thomas Bland and his brother, Capt. Robert J. Bland. There are only a few other Blands in Maryland during this time and none whose information tallies as closely as Georgeís does as a candidate for Thomasís father. Maryland records show that George Bland was the son of Joseph Bland and Sarah Andrew, and that he was born between 1760 and 1765 in Caroline Co. He was a militiaman in Charles Co. in 1777 and, after a 20 year unknown period, married Elizabeth "Betsy" Caulk, daughter of Henry and Frances "Frankie" Caulk, in Caroline Co. in 1797. George appears on the Caroline Co. censuses from 1800-1820. In 1800 he has two young daughters, Sally and Arianne, and one 16-26 year old male (a son from a first marriage?). A court document of early 1809 by Betsy Caulk Blandís sister, Deborah, transferring all of the land which their late mother, Frances Caulk, had bequeathed her 2 daughters to George (with the provision that he build her a small house on the land), clearly infers that Georgeís wife, Betsy, was already deceased at the time. Soon after this (in Talbot Co. on Dec.28, 1809), George married Clara Collins, widow of Peter Collins (1778-1808, son of Isaac Collins and Ann Nancy Andrew) whom she had married in 1802. Clara (Clair or Clear--maiden name unknown) brought to the 1809 marriage three young children, who appear on the 1810 census in Georgeís household: Lisha, Isaac (both born ca.1803-7), and Peter (b.1808). The 1810 census duly reflects this, showing George married with two additional males under 10, and another girl under 10 in his household. The 1820 census (which shows two George Blands) indicates that still two more young males 0-10 were now living in his household (These most likely are Thomas and Robert, born respectively in 1810 and 1817, especially, since there are no other Bland households in the area who show two unidentified males under 10). George apparently died not long after the 1820 census was taken.

8. Joseph Bland (II)--The father of George Bland, Joseph was born ca.1718/19 in Kent Co., Delaware (a border area of the state later re-zoned as part of MD). Sometime before 1746, he married Sarah Andrew (d.1799), daughter of George Andrew (b.ca.1685?; died after 1755; the son of John Adams) and Eleanor Adams (d.1745, daughter of Richard Adams, who d.1709 in MD, and Abigail Williams). Joseph & Sarah moved to Dorchester Co., MD (which became Caroline Co. in 1773) sometime before 1775. Joseph appears on the 1775 Car. Co. census, married with 3 sons & 3 daughters under 16, himself approx.57 years old. In the 1790 census, he has one additional son under 16 and another daughter. .Joseph Blandís documented children are Selah (b. before 1755, married George Andrew Jr.), Joseph Jr. (III) (b.ca.1750; d. before 1795, who married Rhoda Andrew--a Joseph Bland, either Jr. or less likely, his 59 year-old father, was a militiaman in Caroline Co. in 1777), Elizabeth (appears on 1850 census in Car. Co.), George (born ca.1755/65-1820), Tamsey (married James Towers in 1788), Ann (married Charles Manship in 1778), and Sarah (married Aaron Manship in 1778-double wedding.) There were probably two additional sons. Joseph died around 1799/1800 and does not appear on the 1800 census.

9. Joseph Bland (I)--The father of Joseph Bland II* (ca.1718-1800) appears to have been another Joseph (b.ca.1690-died after 1764), although LDS lists Josephís* parents as Theoderick and Sarah Bland (possibly this could have been Josephís* fatherís middle name or his grandfather). The evidence for the fatherís name being Joseph comes from a record of a land purchase by a Joseph Bland made in 1736, when Joseph II* (b.1718/9) would have been only 17 or 18 years old. (Minors couldn't purchase land and at best Joseph*(Jr.) would have been 18, a little young even in the colonial era.) Further confirming the existence of a father named Joseph is the later sale of the land in 1764, which mentions both Joseph Bland Sr. and Joseph Bland* Jr. (b.1718/9) and Jr.ís wife, Sarah Andrew, showing that he used "Jr." until the death of his father after 1764; then he was Sr. in respect to his own son named Joseph (this Joseph III, being the father of the second, younger, George Bland (designated as Jr.) who appears on the 1820 census). (Thanks to Parker Todd for supplying most of the information relayed here concerning Joseph Jr., Sr. and George Bland.)
 

     Most likely, the Maryland Blands were closely related to the Virginia Blands. These include the famous Theoderick Bland Sr. (1629-1671) of Virginia, father of Theoderick Jr. (1663-1700) and Richard Bland Sr.(1665-1720), who lived in Prince George Co, Virginia from 1653 until his death. Richardís son, Col. Richard Bland Jr. of Williamsburg lived from 1710-1776). Richard Sr.ís grandson, Theoderick lived from 1740-1790. In Charles Blandís 1982 book, A Vision of Unity: The Bland Family in England and America, he cites a Thomas Bland, a relative of the VA Blands, from Sussex County, England, who came to Maryland between 1666 and 1672, traveled about, and had land around the Anne Arundel Co. area, but he seems to disappear (apparently childless?) from the MD records around 1690 (one source says he left MD in 1700). The earliest Bland cited in the Charles Blandís book whose children immigrated to America (Virginia) is the English Adam Bland (1528-1598), father of Gregory Bland (1567-ca.1627) and a relative of John Bland of Kent Co. England, the Marian martyr. The name Bland (sometimes spelled Blann, Bran, Braun, Blin and in France: de Bland) was said to have originated in a hamlet in Westmoreland County, England named Bland. An early Robin Hood era figure mentioned by author Howard Pyle, was named Sir Roland of Bland.

 

 

 

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