John Blair, Sr., 4-term Acting Governor of Virginia:
He sat on Virginia’s Governor’s Council for over 25 years and was favorite nephew of James Blair (1655-1743), an Anglican Minister and Founding President of William and Mary College in Williamsburg, Virginia. Among John Blair’s many personal and professional accomplishments that follow, he also was father of United States Supreme Court Associate Justice John Blair, Jr. (1732 – August 31, 1800), who in his own right was an American politician, founding father, and jurist. John Blair’s son, James, was my paternal first cousin 9 times removed, based upon my family’s lineage as follows:
My 8th great grand uncle—Father of John Blair, Jr.
Nov. 18, 1700. Lot #46 on which stands the so-called Storehouse of Dr. Archibald Blair, on Duke of Gloucester Street,—was among the first (1700) of the deeded lots in the City of Williamsburg. Its original owner is recorded as Archibald Blair, a brother of the more famous James Blair, founder of the College of William and Mary. For an understanding of the place of Dr. Archibald Blair in the local community, we should recall his activities as a merchant and trader within the town. He was also an “apothecary” and is known to have practiced his semi-medical profession as surgeon and physician. 1719 In May, 1719 there is a transfer of property recorded which gives the accepted name of the building, as follows: “One certain lot or half acre of land lying and being in the City of Williamsburg denoted in the plat of the said city by the figures 47, and adjoining on the Great Street2between the Storehouse of Mr. Archibald Blair, and the house of Henry Gill . . .” York County Deeds, III Card 259 Research Department. There are several subsequent mentions of the storehouse, down to 1729, see Research Report on The Storehouse of Dr. Blair. 1719-1765 John Blair Sr. was in partnership with Dr. Archibald Blair for a period of years and following the death of Archibald Blair in 1734, he continued his business activities in association with various members of the Prentis family. It is believed that these activities were carried on at this building. It is presumed that there was a supplementary warehouse at one or both of the Williamsburg landings, or elsewhere in the town.
Mary Elizabeth Bland Blair BOLLING (1709 – 1775)
Daughter of Dr. Archibald BLAIR
Son of Mary Elizabeth Bland Blair BOLLING
Jane BOWLING BOLLING (1750 – 1795) Daughter of Robert BOLLING Jr
Elizabeth “Betsy” BOWLING BOLLING GARRISON (1765 – 1826) Daughter of Rebecca “Jane” BOWLING BOLLING
Joseph James HIGGINBOTHAM (1797 – 1877) Son of Elizabeth “Betsy” GARRISON
Elizabeth “Betsy” LEWIS (1805 – 1892) Daughter of Joseph James HIGGINBOTHAM
Lawrence T “Larl” BOLING (1838 – 1910) Son of Elizabeth “Betsy” LEWIS
Edward Bud Vincent BOWLING Sr (1872 – 1946) Son of Lawrence T “Larl” BOLING
Jesse Burton BOLING (1902 – 1978)
Son of Edward Bud Vincent BOWLING Sr
Frank Burton BOLING (1928 – )
Son of Jesse Burton BOLING
Daughter of Frank Burton BOLING
John Blair’s Life’s Time Line Follows: You can read the full article first published on July 29, 2010 and last modified: August 9, 2013–Contributed by John C. Van Horne and the Dictionary of Virginia Biography: http://www.EncyclopediaVirginia.org/Blair_John_ca_1687-1771
John Blair’s Life – Time Line:
- 1687 – Around this year, John Blair is born in Scotland to Archibald Blair and his first wife.
- 1715 – Either John Blair (ca. 1687–1771) or a namesake cousin is named keeper of the royal storehouse in Williamsburg.
- August 17, 1724 – John Blair takes the oaths of office as justice of the peace for York County. He holds the office until 1745.
- 1726 – John Blair buys Chowning’s Tavern, a property in Williamsburg he continues to own until sometime before 1739.
- 1726 – In about this year, John Blair marries his first cousin Mary Munroe. They will have at least eight daughters and four sons.
- February 5, 1727 – John Blair is appointed naval officer for the upper district of the James River. He holds the position until 1728.
- August 15, 1728 – John Blair is appointed deputy auditor general of Virginia, a position he holds until his death in 1771.
- 1733 – Archibald Blair, brother of James Blair and father of John Blair, dies. Blair and his son had partnered in a Williamsburg business known as Dr. Blair’s Store.
- 1734 – John Blair succeeds his father, who died in 1733, as burgess for Jamestown.
- 1736–1740 – John Blair serves as burgess for Williamsburg.
- 1740–1759 – For about fourteen years during this period John Blair partners with John Blair Jr., the son of a cousin, in a Williamsburg store.
- April 22, 1741 – John Blair begins service as clerk of the governor’s Council.
- October 15, 1741 – John Blair ends his service as clerk of the governor’s Council.
- 1742 – John Blair sells Raleigh Tavern, a property in Williamsburg that he had rented to a succession of tavern keepers.
- 1744 – Beginning as early as this year, John Blair serves as a vestryman of Bruton Parish.
- November 15, 1744 – King George II names John Blair to the governor’s Council.
- 1745 – John Blair and seventeen other men receive a grant for one hundred thousand acres of land on the Potomac and Youghiogheny rivers.
- 1745 – John Blair serves on the committee of three councilors and six burgesses appointed to revise the laws of Virginia.
- February 1745 – Virginia governor William Gooch recommends that John Blair be appointed to a vacant seat on the governor’s Council. A recent inheritance has raised Blair’s estimation in the governor’s eyes, but Gooch does not know the king has already named Blair to the Council.
- August 6, 1745 – John Blair takes his seat on the governor’s Council, serving until 1770.
- 1747 – John Blair sits on a committee that oversees the rebuilding of the Capitol after it burns.
- 1749 – By about this year, John Blair is a churchwarden for Bruton Parish.
- 1751 – John Blair (ca. 1687–1771) is probably the John Blair who serves as mayor of Williamsburg.
- August 1757 – John Blair becomes the senior member, or president, of the governor’s Council.
- 1758 – John Blair serves on the board of visitors for the College of William and Mary, which was founded by his uncle, James Blair.
- January 12, 1758 – With the departure of Lieutenant Governor Robert Dinwiddie, John Blair, president of the governor’s Council, becomes acting governor of Virginia.
- March 31, 1758 – In response to an address by the acting governor, John Blair, relaying the ministry’s request that Virginia raise an additional force for offensive operations against the French in the Ohio Valley, the General Assembly votes to create a second regiment.
- June 5, 1758 – With the arrival of the new lieutenant governor, Francis Fauquier, John Blair, president of the governor’s Council, ends his service as acting governor of Virginia.
- September–October 1761 – John Blair, president of the governor’s Council, serves as acting governor of Virginia while the lieutenant governor, Francis Fauquier, is in New York to consult with General Jeffrey Amherst during the French and Indian War.
- 1763 – John Blair, president of the governor’s Council, is appointed to a committee to correspond with Virginia’s London agent.
- September–December 1763 – John Blair, president of the governor’s Council, serves as acting governor of Virginia while the lieutenant governor, Francis Fauquier, is in Georgia. • March 1768 – Following the intentions of Lieutenant Governor Francis Fauquier, who has recently died, Acting Governor John Blair calls the General Assembly into session.
- March 4, 1768 – After the death of Lieutenant Governor Francis Fauquier, John Blair, president of the governor’s Council, begins service as acting governor of Virginia.
- April 1768 – Acting Governor John Blair transmits to London the General Assembly’s addresses to the king and Parliament challenging the asserted right of Parliament to tax the colonies. The ministry is so offended that a new governor, Norborne Berkeley, baron de Botetourt, is speedily appointed and sent to Virginia.
- October 26, 1768 – With the arrival of the new Virginia governor, Norborne Berkeley, baron de Botetourt, John Blair, president of the governor’s Council, ends his service as acting governor.
- 1769 – The public hospital for lunatics is established and John Blair, president of the governor’s Council, is appointed to sit on its board of trustees.
- October 15, 1770 – In ill health, John Blair ends his twenty-five years’ service on the governor’s Council. He resigns rather than serve as acting governor upon the death, also on this day, of Governor Norborne Berkeley, baron de Botetourt.
- November 5, 1771 – John Blair dies in Williamsburg and is buried in Bruton Parish churchyard.
Van Horne, J. C., & the Dictionary of Virginia Biography. John Blair (ca. 1687–1771). (2013, August 9). In Encyclopedia Virginia. Retrieved from http://www.EncyclopediaVirginia.org/Blair_John_ca_1687-1771. Gentry, Daphne and Brent Tarter, “The Blair Family of Colonial Williamsburg: A Research Note,” Magazine of Virginia Genealogy 32 (1994): 103–112. First published: July 29, 2010 | last modified: August 9, 2013