Oregon Pioneer Biographies - John B. Blair

Oregon Pioneer Biographies


From "History of Central Oregon," published 1906
Biographical Sketches of Lake County, pgs. 905-906

Transcribed by: Sherrain Glenn


John B. Blair, a prominent citizen of Lakeview and formerly county assessor of Lake county, is a native of Lee county, Iowa, born March 23, 1844. His father, Hon. Colbert P. Blair, was one of the earliest pioneers of southern Oregon coming here with an ox train, of which he was captain, in the summer of 1853. He was a native of North Carolina, born January 1, 1805, and for the past fifteen years has made his home in Pendleton, Oregon. Although on the eve of his on hundredth year he is as hale and hearty as many men a quarter of a century his junior. He is a veteran of the Black Hawk and Rogue River Indian wars, in both of which he saw active service as a scout and much server fighting. After coming to Oregon he settled in Benton county, which county he at one time represented in the state legislature. Our subject's grandfather was Colbert Blair, a native of Scotland and a soldier during the Revolutionary War. Mr. Blair's mother was Elizabeth (Hill) Blair, also a native of South Carolina and of Scotch parentage, her father being Henry Hill. He, too, served in the Revolutionary War. The mother lived to the age of sixty-five years, when she died in Benton county, Oregon.

The brothers and sisters of John B. Blair are: Thomas J., Pendleton; James H., and Mrs. Meeky Trapp, both of Lincoln county, Oregon. One brother, Oliver P. Blair and four sisters, Mrs Fally Scovel, Mrs. Cloe Jane Skipton, Mrs. Sophia Irwin, and Martha B. Blair are dead.

Mr. Blair crossed the plains with his father and family, the family at that time consisting of the parents and eight children, and assisted his father in opening a ranch in the wild and unsettled prairie in Benton county, Oregon. Opportunities for attending school were at that time decidedly meager. But notwithstanding that fact our subject managed to obtain a fair common school education by applying himself to study at home. He was married during August of 1867 to Jennie Fuller, and in the spring of 1872 he came to the Chewaucan valley, now Lake county, but at that time Jackson county, Oregon. The valley at that time contained only five settlers and was not improved even by as much as a public road. The following spring he went to Summer lake valley and took a preemption and worked for wages in order to make improvements on his ranch. Later he traded his claim for cattle and engaged in the stock business. Returning to the Chewacucan valley, he took a homestead, upon which he made his home until 1901. In 1900 he was elected to the office of county assessor and two years later he was elected to succeed hlimself. He was elected on the Republican ticket, and was the first man in the county to be elected to the office of assessor a second time. He removed to Lakeview in 1901, where he has since made his home. He is one of the most highly respected citizens of Lake county, where he is universally regarded as a man of ability and of honor. As an example of the trust reposed in him by him by his fellow citizens we may mention the fact that he is at the present time executor for two estates, the testator in each instance appointing him with the request that he perform the duties of the position without being placed under bond.

Mr. Blair has been a member of Lakeview lodge, I.O.O.F. for twenty-five years, that being the only secret order with which he is affiliated.

To Mr. and Mrs. Blair, five children have been born: Wellington S. married to Birdie McDonald and residing at Paisley, Oregon; Dollie Viola, deceased; Tracy C.; Richard, deceased; and Dovie Maria, the wife of James Reeder, of Silver Lake, Oregon. Wellington and Birdie Blair have three children. Tracy C. Blair, the second son mentioned, is married to Annie Miller and has one child. He is a surveyor and civil engineer of prominence in Anaconda, Montana. He has been a surveyor on the Great Northern railroad for three years, and is now in the employ of the Anaconda Copper Company for which he engineered the flume and great smoke-stack at Anaconda.

It is pleasant to state that since the above was written, our subject went to Pendleton, Oregon, and there, January 1, 1905, with other members of the family, celebrated the one hundredth anniversary of his father's birth, Hon. Colbert P. Blair.

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