Portrait courtesy of the Arkansas state archives.
An early African American legislator from Arkansas, Blackstone Waterhouse represented Jefferson County in the Arkansas House of Representatives for one term, 1883-1885. Information regarding Waterhouse remains at a minimum, and his exact dates of birth and death remain uncertain. Three census records give conflicting accounts as to Waterhouse's state of birth and family, and are recorded below:
- A 1910 census listing (under the misspelled name Blackstom Waterhouse), records him as a 65-year-old resident of Vaugine in Jefferson County, with his birthplace being given as Arkansas. This same record denotes his wife Sallie as sixty-three-years-old, and his parents being born in North and South Carolina, respectively.
- Another census record from 1900 again records him as a resident of Vaugine and lists his birth year as March 1844. This record denotes his state of birth as Alabama, with his parents being born in Virginia.
- A "B. Waterhouse", born ca. 1840 is recorded in the 1880 U.S. Census as a resident of Pine Bluff, Arkansas. This man is noted as a married black grocer, with a wife, Sallie, and a fourteen-year-old son, William.
In the decades following his service in the legislature Blackstone Waterhouse was active in Baptist church work, and in November 1898 served as a delegate to the Arkansas Baptist state convention held in Pine Bluff. He was named to the committee on Correspondence, and in July 1902 attended the convention of the United Brothers of Friendship and Sisters of the Mysterious Ten, a black benevolent association founded in Kentucky in 1861. A longstanding member of that organization, Waterhouse was named as a Grand Counsellor at this meeting and at a conclave held in 1901 was named to the committee on Rules.
Information on Waterhouse after 1904 remains scant. In May of that year, he took part in a Republican committee meeting in Vaugine, which would select delegates to the Republican state convention that September. Newspaper reports of the time denote his continued affiliation with the United Brothers of Friendship. and in 1910 was named to the grand lodge's finance committee. In 1914 he was named an alternate delegate from Jefferson County to the Republican state convention.
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A burial location for Blackstone Waterhouse remains unknown at this time, as well as his exact dates of birth and death. The period of his life following his legislative service also remains a mystery. If you are a reader or possible descendant and have information that you'd like to contribute, please send along a message via the Facebook link shown at the upper right of this page!