Early life

Laura Christine Blackwell was born 28 August 1875 in St. Catharines, Ontario to Walter and Euphemia (Gordon) Blackwell.   She was the youngest of nine children and the only one born in St. Catharines.  Laura’s father, and her eldest brother John D. Blackwell were both stone cutters/masons and the building of the Grand Trunk Railway tunnels likely brought them to the Niagara area from Georgetown.   Later John D. Blackwell would go on to build the St. Thomas Anglican church in St. Catharines with his brother in law David Rowan. 

Laura and her sister Kezia were very musical and performed regularly at local churches and entertainment venues on a regular basis.  

By 1880, some of the Blackwell’s, Walter, Euphemia, John, sister Kezia and young Laura left St. Catharines for the booming building opportunities in Larimer County, Colorado.  They left sisters Hannah, Mary, and Ella behind, who had either married or were old enough to pursue musical careers on a local scale.   Laura Blackwell would often use St. Catharines as her home base and returned often to perform or spend time with family.

H. Brosius map of St. Catharines, 1875

A view of the town of St. Catharines at the time of Laura Blackwell's birth in 1875.