|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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