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Below is a family biography included in The Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois published by Biographical Publishing Co. in 1894.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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ALVAH BLANCHARD, formerly one of the most prominent merchants of Tamaroa, and well known throughout southern Illinois, died at the Baptist Sanitarium in St. Louis January 21, 1894. In his demise it was realized that the best interests of Perry County suffered an irremediable loss. For many years his history was inseparably associated with that of the community where he resided, and he contributed largely to the development of many of its most prominent enterprises. In addition to conducting an extensive trade as a merchant, he owned a farm of three hundred and eighteen acres near Tamaroa, as well as a valuable estate in Jackson and Williamson Counties.

In Will County, this state, September 10, 1843, the subject of this sketch was born, being a son of Hiram and Lura (Roots) Blanchard, natives of Massachusetts. The father was a contractor, and aided in the construction of the Erie Canal, and also assisted in building the canal from Chicago to Peru, Ill. He was a man of excellent judgment, and was thoroughly informed on all matters pertaining to his line of work. Our subject was one of seven children, the others being Mrs. Annie Kennedy, who died in Omaha, Neb.; Lizzie, the wife of Dr. Wayne Sims, who resides in Greenville, Tex.; Townsend, a resident of Tamaroa; Hackley, deceased; Mrs. Emily Merrick; and Hiram, who was killed by Quantrell’s men at Olathe, Kan.

The mother of our subject was the daughter of Rev. Philan Roots, who was one of the first Baptist ministers in New York. Two of his sons came to Illinois and were numbered among the most influential men of the Prairie State. In 1857 the subject of this sketch was brought by his parents to the present site of Tamaroa. In 1863 he embarked in the hardware business at this place, but soon afterward engaged in general merchandising. In this enterprise he was very successful, having a thorough knowledge of the various departments of the business. At the time of his death he was recognized as one of the moneyed men of the city.

June 20, 1869, Alvah Blanchard and Miss Addie Lathrop were united in marriage. Their union was blessed by the birth of four children: Guy; Maude, the wife of George Wykes, of Carbondale; Scott and Isa. The two sons were associated in business with their father. As a Democrat, Mr. Blanchard was closely associated with the political affairs of his township and county for a number of years, and filled many of the most important positions within the gift of his fellow citizens. From 1882 until 1888 he was County Commissioner, serving for two terms in that capacity. At the time of his demise he was President of the Board of Trustees of the Southern Illinois Insane Asylum. Socially, he was a Mason.

The press of southern Illinois paid many merited tributes to the memory of Mr. Blanchard, and from these we quote as follows from the Democrat, at Pinckneyville, January 26, 1894: “Old almost as the eternal hills is the saying that ‘Death loves a shining mark.’ It was his when he claimed the above-named Perry County citizen, on Sunday last, January 21, in St. Louis. His loss falls heavily, even outside the family circle. Perry County loses a citizen who has given his best efforts to her progress, having been a leading citizen for a generation. His home town, Tamaroa, has lost a friend whose aid and counsel were invaluable. To no one man can be given more credit for her prosperity and advancement than to him whose new-made grave hides from mortal view one of nature’s noblemen. Honored by the Governor of our great state in being chosen from among hundreds as Trustee of one of Illinois’ great charitable institutions, he discharged well the duty thus imposed by his native state. He was chosen President of the Board of Trustees upon its organization, and from the first became active in promoting the welfare of the institution and its inmates, having at once mastered the details of its management and successfully entered upon and carried out reforms and improvements that proved his great ability in that direction. In this hospital work he took an especial pride, and his efforts have been worth much to the state institution and its helpless wards.

“An honest man is the noblest work of God.’ Old and true saying; one brought to memory by this loss to the family, state, county and town; one that enables his fellows to grasp the cause for grief when all is ended in such a one’s life. Sterling and unswerving honesty was that possessed by Alvah Blanchard in all his dealings with men. Small wonder he had no enemies and was universally loved and respected. His path was laid along the line of the Golden Rule. So to honor, more than even to his indomitable energy and wise management, will be truthfully ascribed his successful life.”

From the Tamaroa correspondence in the Democrat we take the following: “The funeral services were held Tuesday morning in the Presbyterian Church, which was crowded, even all the standing room being occupied. Rev. J. H. Spilman preached a short discourse from James 4:14: ‘Ye know not what shall be on the morrow.’ A long procession followed the remains to the cemetery, where the Masons performed their impressive services, which were in charge of Judge Monroe Crawford, of Jonesboro. After the grave was filled, it was decorated with beautiful floral offerings of hothouse flowers, sent by business men of St. Louis and friends in our town. The business houses were closed during the hours of the service, and all respect was shown to the honor of one who lived in the hearts of the people and who had done so much for the town. The Board of Directors, remembering his devotedness to the public school cause and the faithfulness with which the deceased had discharged every duty when he was a member of the Board, ordered the school closed during the hours of the service. The family can feel assured that they have the heart-felt sympathy of the entire community. Men from neighboring towns and friends of all nationalities gathered from far and near to pay their last tokens of respect to the departed one, who now rests in his quiet bed. Peace be to his slumbers, and may great peace, which Jesus alone can give, be given to the deeply bereaved family.”

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This family biography is one of 679 biographies included in The Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois published in 1894.  View the complete description here: The Portrait and Biographical Record of Randolph, Jackson, Perry and Monroe Counties, Illinois

View additional Perry County, Illinois family biographies here: Perry County, Illinois Biographies

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