Alexander Blair - Scotland Immigrant

by

Connie Pede

 

It's a cold day in January of 1903 in Emerson, Manitoba. A group of men are excited watching a man slide a "rock" down a lane of ice. The men shout as the sweepers guide the rock right to the target. One of the men who received a trophy for his efforts is Alexander Blair, a St. Vincent farmer.

Alexander Blair was born in Perthshire, Scotland in the year 1861. During his early life in Scotland, he worked at various kinds of work and sometimes at a large factory where they manufactured various kinds of cloth. Scotland had many of such factories which gave work to a large number of people. He also took an active part in playing football and won several medals for it. He was a member of the Presbyterian Church in Scotland and also of the Masonic Lodge.

Mr. Blair was married to Catherine Daig of Forfarshire in 1891. They came to the country in 1893.

They came across the Atlantic Ocean to this country by steamboat. That was the only means of travel at that time. These boats did not travel very fast and it sometimes took two weeks to cross from the British Isles to Canada or to the United States.

Mr. Blair accepted a position as a blacksmith on the Reid farm near St. Vincent. Then in 1897, he and his wife moved to their own farm which he had acquired. It was his home until his death on April 19, 1955. Alexander Blair died in the Altona Manitoba Hospital.

During his early farming days, he kept and raised livestock as well as grain farming. He kept quite a number of horses which were used to work on the land. He kept cows for milk, cream and butter, pigs were raised for meat, and chickens for eggs as well as for meat. This is called mixed farming, and is still done to a small extent in the St. Vincent area.

Mr. Blair was a very well known farmer, successful and was always interested in any cause for the good of the community and the country.

During his years of farming in our midst, he served as a township supervisor for the St. Vincent township.

Mr. Blair was known to a great many people, not only in this country, but in Canada also.

He was very interested in sports and was very active in the game of curling. He started with the Emerson Club in 1904 and won his first trophy in 1905. He served as President of the Emerson Club and was made an honorary life member of the Manitoba Curling Association and had been honorary President of the Emerson Club for many years. He liked to go fishing with many of his friends and watch baseball games. He liked to visit his friends and neighbors also.

He had three daughters and two sons all of whom have passed away except his youngest daughter, Nellie, who lives in the village of St. Vincent. She remembers her father's life in this way, "His life has been a testimonial to all of us and he has left his imprint upon the same of our time living the principles of justice for all good fellowship and splendid example."

Bibliography

Nellie Blair, St. Vincent, Minnesota, Interview, December 5, 1973