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Capt Matthew Blair

Capt Matthew Blair

Birth
County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Death 21 May 1891 (aged 68)
Forreston, Ogle County, Illinois, USA
Burial Forreston, Ogle County, Illinois, USA
Memorial ID 40262308 · View Source
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Matthew Blair was born May 14, 1823 in Raloo, County Antrim in northern Ireland, the son of Patrick Blair and Janet Drummond. He came to America with his father and stepmother, Mary Sloan Bell, in 1835. The family settled near Blair relatives in Woodcock Township, Crawford County, Pennsylvania. When reaching adulthood he moved with several siblings (Mariah, Jeanette & Nancy) to Ogle County, Illinois. On October 14, 1849 he married his second cousin, Sarah Ann Blair of Adeline. Sarah came West with her parents, Samuel and Mercy (Chidester) Blair in 1837.
In the early 1850's Matthew, with a party of others, went overland to California in search of gold. He came back by ship around South America and then inland from the Atlantic. He brought with him $1800 in gold. In the spring of 1855, when Forreston was made a station, he moved there and built a residence, and in company with Samuel Mitchell, from Adeline, opened a small grocery store which they operated for a year or two. In 1856, when the township of Forreston was severed from Brookville, he was elected its first supervisor. During his lifetime he was connected with the history of the township in various responsible positions, such as Postmaster, Township Treasurer, Justice of the Peace and School Director. In March 1864, during the Civil War, when great demand came for more men, he enlisted and went to the front as Captain of Co. F., of the re-organized 15th Regt. Illinois Infantry. A GAR garrison was named in his honor following the war. He was an authority on all legal matters and people would turn to him in matters of wills, probates and all sort of legal matters. He was a real estate broker and speculator and at various times owned properties in Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota. In 1873 he bought into a local company, Salter and Hunter, and thus it became, Salter and Blair. They were engaged in carriage making; had commodious workshops, painting shops and salesroom. They employed nine workmen and manufactured about 50 carriages a year.
Matthew and Sarah had eight children: Alice Irene Blair, born 1851, married John W. Gibson; James Drummond Blair, born 1854, married Helen Jane Perrin; Francis Preston Blair, born 1856, said to be the first child born in Forreston, died in 1864; Dr. Edward Samuel Blair, born 1857, married Ida R. Williams; Matthew William Blair, born 1860, married Mary Rebecca Johnson; Jackson Grant Blair, born 1864 and Mertie Mabel Blair, born 1870, both died of diphtheria during an epidemic in 1875; Mary Jeanette Blair, born 1865, married Charles S. Peters. Most of Matthew and Sarah's children moved on West from their home state of Illinois. There are many descendants scattered throughout the country.
Matthew died of Bright's disease May 21, 1891 and is buried in White Oak Cemetery. The local paper summed up the character of this man. "Universal sorrow and regret was expressed last Thursday morning when the bells tolled and the announcement was made that Matthew Blair was dead. No man in the community was better known, nor more universally loved and respected than was Mr. Blair. He lived in this place almost since the village was staked out, and it is not known that he ever did a dishonest or dishonorable act, though he has held many positions of trust."
For more information on the family-descendants and ancestors, please visit www.kinsleuth.com/blair.htm
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Gravesite Details Aged 68 Ys, 7 Ds, Co. F 15th Illinois Inf.
  • Maintained by: Kinsleuth
  • Originally Created by: Ben Jacobson
  • Added: 4 Aug 2009
  • Find A Grave Memorial 40262308
  • Kinsleuth
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Capt Matthew Blair (14 May 1823–21 May 1891), Find A Grave Memorial no. 40262308, citing White Oak Cemetery, Forreston, Ogle County, Illinois, USA ; Maintained by Kinsleuth (contributor 47637925) .