Learner Blackman was born in 1781 at English Creek, Atlantic Co., NJ. He was the son of David Blackman (1747-1821) and Mary Clark (1753-1827) and was the second son in a family of three girls and six boys. Learner was converted at age 16 during his brother-in-law's first sermon. His brother-in-law (John Collins) had married Learner's sister Sarah.
He joined the Philadelphia Conference on trial in the year 1800. His charges included the following:
1800 - Kent Circuit, Delaware
1801 - Dover Circuit, Delaware
1802 - Russell Circuit, Virginia
1803 - New River Circuit, Virginia; Holston Circuit, Tennessee
1804 - Lexington Circuit, Kentucky
1805 - Natchez Circuit, Mississippi
1806-07 - Presiding Elder, Mississippi District
1808-09 - Presiding Elder, Holston District
1810-11 - Presiding Elder, Cumberland District
1812-14 - Presiding Elder, Nashville District
Note: During the War of 1812, he was chaplain to the Tennessee Volunteers under Gen. Andrew Jackson
1815 - Presiding Elder, Cumberland District
The Methodist Church did not waste much time after Louisiana was purchased by the United States in 1803. The first recorded Methodist preaching in Louisiana was by Lorenzo Dow in 1804. But nothing came of it. Later in 1804, Learner Blackman was appointed to the Natchez Circuit. Dow reported to Blackman of the need to send someone to Louisiana. So, Blackman was the first regular circuit rider to venture into Louisiana.
In 1805, Blackman asked for a preacher to be sent to New Orleans. Elisha W. Bowman was sent by the bishop to cover the Opelousas Circuit (which covered all of southern Louisiana). Blackman suggested that he start in New Orleans. Bowman, not finding success there, moved on to the Opelousas area. This extended from south central Louisiana up towards the northern portion of the state. Blackman visited Louisiana and preached at locations on occasion.
After his service in the Mississippi/Louisiana area, he moved on to serve in the Tennessee area. He met his death while crossing the Ohio River at Cincinatti in June 1815 while heading home after a visit with family (John & Sarah Collins). He was buried in the Old Stone Chapel (Wesley Church) in Cincinnati, OH.