First GenerationJames Blair is supposed to have been born before 1710 in the British Isles (northern Ireland?) and to have married a woman Mary Colbert, but documentation for this is lacking. They are thought to have been in Pennsylvania before about 1730, and to have moved from there to northern Virginia.
Most Blair genealogies state that this James Blair is the one who died in 1776 and is buried at Alamance Presbyterian Church in Guilford County, NC. I think there are good reasons to believe this is NOT true. Does anyone have hard evidence either for or against this assertion?
James "Blear" who died in March 1776 and is buried at Alamance Presbyterian church is almost certainly the James Blair whose will is recorded in Guilford County that year, naming wife Mary, and children John and Agnes. Agnes was under age, probably a young child, since she was still unmarried in 1796 (she is named in her grandmother Mary McConnell's will). Our James Blair, if that is in fact his name, has to be old enough to be the father of a son born before 1730, thus probably born before 1710 himself. While he might still be fathering children after 1760, the mother of those children must be a younger woman, i.e. she would have to be a second wife. I believe that the couple buried at Alamance are James Blair and Mary McConnell, and I am not convinced they have any connection to our family.
James Blair's wife's name is often given as Mary Eosentrice Colbert. Gene Blair has convinced me that this is a mis-reading of the words "wife Mary Executrix" in the aforementioned will. There is no other support for Eosentrice as a middle name.
James and Mary are said to be the parents of Colbert Blair, who is usually said to have been born about 1729-1730 in Bucks Co. PA, although proof for this is lacking. There is better documentation for the Blairs being part of the "Scotch-Irish" settlements of early Augusta Co. VA. Most likely they did immigrate through the port of Philadelphia, but I haven't found any record yet of any permanent residence there.
A James Colbert Blair is involved in land transactions in Amherst Co. VA in 1766, and both a James Blair and a Colbert Blair were testators in a land transfer there in 1770. Most Blair genealogies state that Colbert moved to Guilford Co. NC about this time. However, this rests on the assumption that James Blair of the 1776 will mentioned above is Colbert's father. I know of no evidence that Colbert himself ever resided in Guilford County.
Colbert seems to have settled about 1774 at Choate's Creek, then Rowan Co. NC. He and his son John moved from there to Cedar Valley, Caldwell (then Burke) Co. NC about 1799. Colbert is listed in the 1800 Burke Co. NC census. He died about 1805/1806 and is buried at Cedar Valley Methodist church, Caldwell Co. NC.
A purported will of "Colbard Blair" was posted on the web in 1998. There are good reasons to believe that this is a fake (thanks to Allan Poe for this analysis).
Tradition holds that Colbert's wife was Sarah Morgan, daughter of John Morgan and Sarah Lloyd, who moved from Pennsylvania to Virginia and were probably neighbors of the Blair family there. Stewart Baldwin has done extensive research on the Morgan family, and his work supports this conclusion. It is also consistent with a family tradition that I heard as a child, that the Blairs were somehow related to Daniel Boone, whose mother was John Morgan's sister Sarah. Our Sarah Morgan Blair would then be Daniel Boone's first cousin.
Second GenerationProbable children of Colbert Blair and Sarah Morgan
Enos Blair (1750-1834) m. Hannah Millikan (1756-1852)
Mary Blair (ca. 1754-1827) m. Moses Guest (1750-1837), moved to Franklin Co. GA
Isabel Blair (1758/1759-1855) m. John Grider (1855-1838)
Colbert Blair (ca. 1760-1780) m. Margaret Sudderth
James Blair (1761/1763-1839) m. Elizabeth Powell
John Blair (1764-1846) m. Frances Hill (1768-1853)
Mary Blair does not appear in all lists of Colbert Blair's children, nor does Isabel. Some sources make Isabel the daughter of James Blair II rather than Colbert.
Colbert II married in 1779 and died in 1780 at the Battle of King's Mountain. He left one known son, James Blair born about 1780.
The Blair DNA project has found that samples from two men who are descendants of Enos and John Blair, respectively, do not match each other, nor does either match two samples from Colbert's son James. [A look at the analysis on the Blair DNA project web site will make this clearer.]
This could mean that Colbert was the father of only one of these sons, that the paper genealogy for one or more of the DNA donors is wrong, and/or that there were one or more non-paternity events (e.g. adoption, birth out of wedlock) somewhere in the lines of these families.
We need more samples to confirm or disprove these results. If you are a male with surname Blair and a probable descent from one of the sons of Colbert Blair, please consider participating. I will help pay for a test for a descendant of Enos and Hannah's son John (b. 1800; see below.) Please contact me.
A sample from a descendant of James Blair of Guilford County would also be very valuable for settling the question raised above.
Third GenerationEnos and Hannah Blair lived near Archdale, NC, in northern Randolph County, and were members of Springfield Friends Meeting in southwestern Guilford County. Sarah Morgan came from a family associated with the Quakers in Pennsylvania, but I have no evidence indicating that the earlier Blairs, or Colbert's other children, were Quakers. Enos and Hannah Blair and and their family were received at Springfield from Center Friends Meeting in 1793. Unfortunately most of the early records of Center Meeting were lost, and we can't document the history of this family there.
My hypothesis is that Enos came south with some of his Quaker cousins on his mother's side, the Morgans, Baldwins and others, and that he joined the Quaker community prior to marrying Hannah Millikan. I think it's doubtful that his father and brothers were in Guilford or Randolph county for any length of time. It seems more likely to me that they went straight from Virginia to settle in western NC, and that Enos came separately to Guilford/Randolph Co.
Children of Enos Blair and Hannah Millikan
Fourth GenerationChildren of Jesse Blair and Anna Smith
Rebecca Blair (1806-1880) m. Christopher Hill (1804-1856)[error in his name corrected January 2005]
Deborah Blair (1806-?), may have died young
Ruth Blair (b. & d. 1809)
Madison Blair (1811-1814)
*John Smith Blair (1816?-1864) m. Eliza Johnson (1817-1865)
*Hannah Blair (1816-?) m. Solomon Frazier
Enos Addison Blair (1820-1890) m. Eunice Frazier (1825-1899)
Jesse Milton Blair (1823-1895) m. Mary Rush (1827-?)
Levenia Edney Blair (1823?-?)
*I have conflicting birthdates for John and Hannah. Probably they were not twins, and one was born in a different year. John's information is supported by cemetery records, so it's probably Hannah's that is in error. There are also conflicts in the birthdates for Jesse Milton Blair and Levenia Edney Blair.
Children of Abner Blair and Abigail White
Children of Solomon Blair and Nancy Clark
Children of Josiah Blair and Jane Tomlinson
I'm having problems reconciling the 1850 Randolph County NC census with information received from other sources. Can anyone help?
Josiah Blair age 58
Children of Nathan Blair and Sarah Kimes Tillery
Children of John Blair and Elizabeth Tomlinson
SourcesJudith Mower Goodman et al., History of the Blair Family, Springfield Memorial Association, August 17, 1969 ms
Hinshaw, Encyclopedia of American Quaker Genealogy, vol. 1
Randolph County, 1779-1979, published by Randolph County Historical Society and the Randolph Arts Guild, Hunter Publishing Co., Winston-Salem NC 1980
Ragan, Elizabeth H. (1976). The Lineage of the Amos Ragan Family, Quaker Collection of Guilford College, Greensboro.
Shaw, Jesse Owen (1955). The Johnsons and Their Kin of Randolph.
Springfield Friends Cemetery 1780-1991, Guilford County, High Point NC, prepared for Springfield Memorial Association by Brenda Gray Haworth, Historian and Editor
Randolph County NC 1850 census
Thanks also to Gene Blair and to the Blair Society for Genealogical Research
Other Blair ResourcesKen Blair, coordinating Blairs in Australia and New Zealand.
John A. Blair's page including the Blair DNA project
BLAIR-L list. Send a message to BLAIR-L-REQUEST@rootsweb.com with the one word 'subscribe' in the body of the message.
This page was extensively revised on February 22, 2005. A couple of errors were corrected on January 20, 2007, and some links revised on February 10, 2008.
Elizabeth Harris, firstname.lastname@example.org