William J. BLAIR, farmer and magistrate of Hardeman County, is a native of South Carolina, born October 19, 1836, the second in a family of twelve children born to Thomas and Editha (Black) BLAIR. The parents were married in Southi Carolina about 1831 or 1832 and in 1836 immigrated to Tennessee and settled in Madison County, where they lived some time when they came to Hardeman County. The father was a native of Southi Carolina, born in 1808 of Scotch-Irish descent, and was a Democrat in politics and a farmer by occupation. He was a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, of which he was elder for a number of years. He died in Madison County in 1872. The mother was also a native of South Carolina and it is thought her ancestors came from Germany. She was born about the year 1810 and died in Hardeman County in 1866 a worthy member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.
William J. has made farming his principal occupation in life but at one time was engaged in schoolteaching. He was reared in Madison County but in 1855 moved to McNairy County where he lived four years, when he immigrated to Rusk County, Tex., where his wife died. He remained there one year and in 1860 returned to Tennessee and in 1863 enlisted in Company C, Seventh Tennessee Regiment Mounted Infantry, under Gen. Forrest’s command and remained with him until the fall of 1864, when he was severely wounded at Collierville, Tenn. He was left near Salem. Miss., with a family named Powell who tenderly cared for him until he recovered. After a partial recovery he returned home and was immediately captured by the Federal forces and was sent as a prisoner of war to Camp Chase, Ohio, but was finally paroled at Vicksburg in the spring of 1865. He then returned home and for eight years was engaged in teaching school.
In 1870 he purchased the farm where he now hives and has been successful in acquiring a competency of this world’s goods, owning 500 acres of good land. Mr. BLAIR has been three times married. His first wife was Miss Nancy SUGGS whom he married February 8, 1854. She was a native of North Carolimia, a member of the Missionary Baptist Church and died July 18, 1860, the mother of two children. December 23, 1868, he married Miss Elizabeth STEWARD, a native of Madison County, and a member of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. She died in March, 1873. They were the parents of one daughter. October 11, the same year, Mr. BLAIR married Miss Minerva STEWARD, a sister of his second wife and to them have been born four children. He is a Democrat in politics and has served his county as deputy sheriff. Mr. and Mrs. Blair are members of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.
Transcribed by David Donahue
Source: Goodspeed Pub. Co. History of Tennessee: From the Earliest Time to the Present ; Together with an Historical and a Biographical Sketch of Fayette and Hardeman Counties, Besides a Valuable Fund of Notes, Original Observations, Reminiscences, Etc., Etc. Nashville: Goodspeed Pub. Co, 1887.