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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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JOHN KNOX BLAIR is one of the shrewdest and most intelligent agriculturists of township 5, range 6, Randolph County, as is shown by the success which has crowned his efforts. He was born February 6, 1828, in Tennessee, and is the son of James and Jane (Wiley) Blair, natives of South Carolina, where the former was born in 1797.

James Blair, the father of our subject, accompanied his parents, William and Elizabeth Blair, on their removal to Tennessee in 1816. The latter were both natives of Ireland, but the grandfather of our subject died in Tennessee. In that state the parents of our subject were married, and in 1832 came to Randolph County and lived on what is now known as the Riley McKelvy Farm. Two years later the father entered land from the Government, which is the same property owned by the youngest brother of our subject, James F. The old homestead contains two hundred acres, which the father cleared, and of which he made a valuable estate. He was a member of the New Light Covenant Church, in which he was an Elder. He departed this life February 25, 1860. The mother of our subject was born in 1799 and died in 1890, at the advanced age of ninety-one years. She was also a member of the Covenant Church.

Our subject was the fourth in order of birth of a family of seven children, his brothers and sisters bearing the respective names of Samuel W., William R., Tirza M., James F., Martha and Louisa. John K. was only four years of age at the time his parents removed to Randolph County, and here he received a limited education in the district schools. He remained at home until his marriage in 1852 with Miss Mary E. McCoughan, who was born in this county.

After his marriage, Mr. Blair removed to Perry County, where he resided for five years, and then, his wife having died October 5, 1857, he returned to this county with his children, Gilbert S., Lemuel and Mary E., the latter of whom is now deceased.

Gilbert S., the elder son, married Miss Ida McGuire, and resides in Parsons, Kan; Lemuel, the second son, is a graduate of the Chicago Homeopathic Medical College, and a practicing physician in Edgerton, Kan.; he married Sabina Reed, of Cedarville, Ohio, who is deceased. Mrs. Mary Blair was a faithful member of the New Light Covenant Church, in which body her father was an Elder.

The lady whom Mr. Blair married in 1862 was Mrs. Mary Catherine (Brown) Wylie. By her marriage with Samuel Wiley she became the mother of three children, only one of whom, Flora, now Mrs. James M. Hathorn, is living. By this union Mr. Blair had a family of three children, of whom James is deceased. Those living are Samuel L., Jr., and John Riley. After his second marriage, our subject removed to the farm owned by his wife, where they resided until 1880. He then purchased his present farm, it being the place where Mrs. Blair’s father located upon coming to the county. In politics, Mr. Blair voted with the Republican party until two years ago, when he joined the ranks of the Prohibitionists, and now casts his ballot for the candidates of that organization.

Mrs. Blair was born in this county in 1830, and is the daughter of Joseph and Elizabeth (Morrow) Brown, natives of South Carolina, who migrated to Kentucky, and thence in 1827 came to Randolph County. Here Mr. Brown entered the land which is now owned by our subject, cleared and made valuable improvements on the same and resided there for fifty-five years. He was born in 1797, and six years prior to his decease, in 1884, was afflicted with the loss of his eye-sight. He was four times married, his first wife being a Miss Steele, by whom he had one child, who is now deceased; his second union was with Miss Elizabeth Morrow. His third wife was Miss Chambers, and his fourth a Miss Woodside. Joseph and Elizabeth (Morrow) Brown had a large family of children, as follows: James M., deceased; Elizabeth J.; David, now deceased; Mary Catherine, Mrs. Blair; Joseph; Alvira A; John B.; Nancy M. and William M. The parents were members of the Associate Reformed (now the United Presbyterian) Church, in which the father held the office of Elder.

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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 Randolph County, Illinois family biographies here: Randolph County, Illinois Biographies

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