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Hon. William C. Blair

The distinguished lawyer and honored official whose name appears at
the head of this article holds worthy prestige among the leading men of
his profession in Southern Illinois and for a number of years has not only
figured prominently in the affairs of Jefferson county, but made his influence
felt in various ways throughout the entire state. Judge William C. BLAIR
was born May 24. 1861, at Nashville, Illinois, and is a son of William
and Mary J BLAIR, both natives of Missouri and early settlers of Washington
county, Illinois, the father locating south of Nashville about the year
1827 and subsequently taking up his residence in that town. He was a mason
by trade and worked at stone and brick laying in Nashville. Francis BLAIR,
the judge's grandfather, a Georgian by birth, and representative of an
old Irish family that came to America in an early day, settled in Georgia,
went to Missouri many years ago and later changed his residence to Washington
County, Illinois, where in due time he became a prominent citizen. The
judge's mother, whose maiden name was Mary J. CRAIN, and who as already
indicated, was a native of Missouri, belonged to an old family that migrated
to that state in an early period from Tennessee. She accompanied her parents
to Illinois as long ago as 1827 and grew to maturity in Washington county,
where she married William BLAIR, and in due time became the mother of eleven
children, seven of whom are living, namely: Mrs. Nancy PARKER, of Mount
Vernon; Mrs. Caroline PIERCY, of Jefferson county; James R., a prominent
railroad man, formerly president of the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific
Railroad Company, with headquarters at Kansas City, Missouri; Miss Sallie
LOVE, of Iola, Kansas; William C., of this review; Prof. Francis G. BLAIR,
of Springfield, Illinois, superintendent of public instruction; Mrs. Minnie
PHILLIPS, wife of Rev. C. R. PHILLIPS, of Metropolis, this state. 
The deceased members of the family were, Thomas L. and George W., the others 
dying in infancy. 

Judge BLAIR spent his childhood at Nashville and when a mere lad
removed with his parents to Jefferson County, where he grew to manhood
and with the history of which his subsequent life has been very closely
identified. He was reared to farm labor, enjoyed such educational advantages
as the country school afforded and while still a youth decided to make
the law his life work. Accordingly he took up the study after the labors
of the day were over and spent the evenings pouring over his books, frequently
devoting the greater part of the night digging into unravelling the mysteries
of legal science. In this way he prosecuted his studies and researches
until his admission to the bar in 1896, since which time he has devoted
his attention very closely to his piofession in which his career has been
eminently successful and in the highest degree creditable. In 1892 he was
elected police magistrate of Mount Vernon, which position he held four
years, when he was further honored by being elected State's Attorney, proving
one of the ablest and most successful prosecutors the county of Jefferson
ever produced. Politically the judge is pronounced in his allegiance to
the principles of Democracy, stands high in the councils of his party and
there has not been a campaign within recent years in which he was not subject
to call for service and in which he was not found diligently assisting every 
nominee of the party's ticket. His active political work covers a period of 
twenty years, during which time his voice has been heard and his influence felt 
in every part of Jefferson county besides valuable services rendered the cause 
of Democracy in district affairs and masterly leadership on state and national 
campaigns. His ability as a forceful and eloquent speaker has long been recognized 
and appreciated, and as a member of the joint state committee. In the campaign of 
1896 he was sent to meet and answer leading Republican orators in various parts
of the state. His familiarity with the political history of the state and
nation together with his shrewdness and tact as a leader, and commanding
influence as a master of assemblages, renders him a skillful and powerful
antagonist. the pride of his friends and the dread of his political foes
in discussing the leading questions at issue.

Judge BLAIR in the year 1883 entered the marriage relation with Miss Laura E. JOHNSON, daughter of Leander C. and Martha JOHNSON, natives of Indiana and Illinois. respectively. The union resulting in the birth of five children. namely Ethel May, wife of George H. STEIN, of St. Louis, Missouri, where the husband is practicing law; Mary J., living at home; Katherine L., a teacher in the public schools of Mount Vernon; WiIliam Lee, a student in the high school of the same place, and Aihert W., who is pursuing his studies in the city schools. Judge and Mrs. BLAIR have a host of warm friends and admirers in the city of their residence and are highly esteemed in the social circle' of the community. They belong to the Methodist Episcopal church, in the good work of which they are both active and influential and all laudable means to alleviate suffering and distress enlist their hearty co-operation and support. Fraternally the judge is a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and Knights of Pythias, in both of which he has held important official positions from time to time and he is also identified with the Fraternal Order of Eagles, the Court of Honor and Modern Woodmen.  Source: Walls History Of Jefferson County, Il 1909 Submitted by: Submitted by Misty Flannigan Oct 29, 1997

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