ISAAC A. BLAIR, one of the largest land-holders of Madison County, a representative of one of the oldest families of Nelson, was born in this town January 26, 1830, the third son of Jeremiah and Susan (Clark) Blair, natives of Massachusetts. His grandfather, Enoch Blair, moved with his family from Massachusetts to this part of Madison County in the year 1800, journeying by the primitive conveyance of those days, an ox-team, much of the way, belike, being through a roadless wild, where they could shoot all the game they desired and occasionally have a parley with the Indians, who continued to roam the forests. Selecting land in what shortly after became the town of Nelson, he cut down trees, and with his family passed the nights sheltered under the cover of their wagon while the log house was being built. Six sons and two daughters were reared in this pioneer family. The father died in Nelson, when sixty-five years old. His wife, Sarah, died also at a somewhat advanced age.
Jeremiah Blair, son of Enoch, came to the town of Nelson when he was about four years old. He was educated in the district schools of the time; and such good use did he make of his opportunities for study that he was afterward for twenty-five years a schoolteacher in the town. He was also a prominent farmer of those days, and owned the old homestead where his son Isaac now lives. He was a justice for some twenty years, and well known as "Squire Blair." He was also Supervisor, and a stirring and capable man in the affairs of the county. Of his eight children, only three survive: Isaac A., Charles C., of Erieville; and Addison D., a resident of Elmira. Susan, Mrs. Dr. Greenwood, died at the age of sixty-six years; Jeremiah, at sixty-six; Henry C., at sixty-three; Arvin H., at fifty-three; and Edmund F., at sixteen years of age. The parents died on the old home farm, the father in 1879, aged eighty-three, and the mother in 1856, aged fifty-eight. They were Universalists in religious belief, emphasizing the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man, the "Squire" in politics being a Democrat. Thus it will be seen that our subject has good reason to be proud of the honorable record made by his father and grandfather, which it has been a matter of principle with him to continue in his own life.
Isaac A. Blair grew to manhood, and received all of his education at the district schools. He remained on the home farm, assisting in the work, until he attained his majority, when he began the world for himself. At twenty-two years of age, on October 5, 1852, he married Miss Harriett A. Whitney, who was born in what was then the Territory of Michigan, May 22, 1832, daughter of Abraham and Amy Whitney. Her father was a farmer in Michigan, where he died at the age of thirty years, leaving a wife and three children, namely: Mrs. Blair, the eldest; Albert, living in Michigan; Amanda, widow of Mr. Lilley, residing in Michigan. Shortly after his marriage Mr. Blair bought one hundred acres of land, which he subsequently traded for the two-hundred-acre farm he now owns. He has always been one of the foremost farmers in his vicinity, being one of the largest owners of land in the town of Nelson, holding title-deeds now to about one thousand acres. On his handsome farm of eight hundred acres which he manages himself, leasing the rest, he raises hay and small grain, and also carries on a dairy of from fifty to seventy-five cows, principally of native breeds. Mr. and Mrs. Isaac Blair have four children, namely: Susan J., wife of M. D. Hopkins, born in the town of Nelson, October 5, 1854; Edmund F., born September 12, 1857; Jeremiah C., born 1868, resident of Morrisville; Isaac W., born in 1871, residing at home with his parents. One son, David C., born in 1860, died at the age of twenty years.
At sixty-three years of age, apparently in the prime of life, Mr. Blair still gives personal attention to his large estate; and his handsome residence and neat and beautiful surroundings denote his energy and thrift. His farm is well furnished with modern machinery and tools, including the latest approved labor-saving inventions. His success is due to his own good management and assiduous care, as he has made his property not by speculation, but by strict attention to his business. He is an active Republican in politics, has been Supervisor for five years, and Highway Commissioner two terms. He is also a Mason in good standing, being a member of Morrisville Lodge, No. 658, A. F. & A. M., and belongs to Nelson Grange, No. 615. His wife is a devout and earnest member of the Methodist Episcopal church, a faithful "mother in Israel," reverenced and beloved.
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