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 James Blair

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James Blair

  • Birth c.26 Sep 1786 Lancaster County, South Carolina, USA
  • Death 1 Apr 1834 Washington, District of Columbia, District Of Columbia, USA
  • Burial Washington, District of Columbia, District Of Columbia, USA
  • Plot Range 30, Site 72
  • Memorial ID 7374147

US Congressman. Nicknamed "The Waxhaw Giant". Elected to represent South Carolina's 9th District in the US House of Representatives, he served four terms, from 1821 to 1822 and from 1829 until his death. Blair was born in South Carolina's Waxhaw Settlement to a family of Irish-Scots immigrants. He became Sheriff of the Lancaster District while in his early 20s, and in 1818 was elected General of the State Militia's 8th Brigade. From roughly 1820 he operated a successful plantation along the Lynches River in the Kershaw District. Blair won his first term in the US House as a Republican only to resign after 14 months, citing "personal concerns", and for a time he seemed content with life as a gentleman planter. But the rise of the Nullifier Party - whose members claimed that individual states had the right to overrule federal laws - was abhorrent to his Unionist beliefs. He won reelection to Congress as a dedicated Jacksonian. Blair was one of Washington's more colorful figures of his era, both loved and feared by his colleagues. At 6'6" and 350 pounds, he was renowned for his physical strength and tales of his incendiary temper, drinking and fighting were legion. Future South Carolina Governor and US Senator James Henry Hammond was one of several men he challenged to duels, though in this case a peaceful settlement was reached. His behavior grew even more erratic in later years, when he began mixing alcohol and morphine to alleviate the pain of rheumatism. In December 1832, Blair brutally assaulted newspaper editor Duff Green for comparing Unionists to Tories (Americans loyal to Britain during the Revolution) because of their opposition to States' Rights. The journalist was left with several broken bones and Blair was fined $350. On another occasion, while attending the theatre, the Congressman was so displeased with the performance he drew his pistol and shot at one of the actors. Washington society was horrified. In a fit of depression not long afterwards, Blair turned his gun on himself. He was the first US Congressman to commit suicide while in office. Burial was at Congressional Cemetery in Washington DC.

Bio by: Bobb Edwards

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Originally Created by: Garver Graver
  • Added: 22 Apr 2003
  • Find A Grave Memorial 7374147
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for James Blair (c.26 Sep 1786–1 Apr 1834), Find A Grave Memorial no. 7374147, citing Congressional Cemetery, Washington, District of Columbia, District Of Columbia, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .