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John I. Blair
E. F. Blair

Winfield Courier, January 24, 1884.
                                                           JOHN I. BLAIR.
John I. Blair is a cousin of the President of the Farmers Bank in Winfield.
He is a resident of Blairstown, New Jersey, and has a reputation for business ability and integrity second to none. Bradstreet reports him to be worth fifteen to twenty millions of dollars.
The Newark Advertiser contains the following letter from him, written to a friend in Newark without imagining that it might be published, but the friend thought it contained a lesson which would be useful and handed it over to the Advertiser.
“I have just returned from a ninety-nine days’ trip in the old world. I have resided at this place nearly sixty-five years. I came here poor, worth $500, earned mainly by clerking at a small salary. The first year I received victual and clothing; the second year $25. I clerked for seven years and then went into business here with my cousin, John Blair, Esq., who died the second year after being elected to the Legislature. He was my partner for two years, but he gave no attention to the business and I attended to it all. After that I started alone. I was under age all this time, but the public did not know it, and there was never but one person who ever took the advantage of this fact.
“I was a merchant forty years and once had five stores. I have dealt in about everything, cotton manufactories, iron, steel, coal, railroads, banking, farming, milling, and largely in Western land. I laid out my own town and have earned and got about two million acres of land. I am the only living original Director of continuous service of the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western and Warren Railroads, and it was through me that they got through. I am still the main pillar in the building of railroads in Iowa and Nebraska, and we have just finished one railroad bridge across the Missouri River at Blair, Nebraska, twenty-five miles above Omaha. It cost a million dollars and I think it is the best railroad bridge on the Missouri.
“I have given for benevolent purposes, colleges, schools, churches, etc., over a half million dollars. I neither smoke, chew, nor use spirituous liquor, live plain, but well, and provide well to make my family happy.
“My ancestors came to this country from Scotland about 1829 to aid in establishing civil and religious liberty, and they were among the means of establishing Princeton College. John Blair was Vice President and a professor; Samuel Blair was chosen President, but resigned for Doctor Witherspoon, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence.
“I have lived a very industrious life and have always attended church. Our family was very numerous in this country years ago and at one time had ten or twelve stores in this and adjoining counties. My father owned the Brown Brook property above Belvidere, and it was in the family one hundred years.
“I have always been a fair dealer and took no mean advantages of any man.
“This is a short history of some of my life. You see what can be done by industry.”
Winfield Courier, February 28, 1884.

MARRIED. Mr. E. F. Blair and Mrs. Ella G. Shenneman, of this city, were married Sunday, by Rev. William Brittain, Rector of Grace Church. Both the bride and groom are old residents of Winfield and their excellent qualities are too well known to need any comment from us. Mr. and Mrs. Blair went to housekeeping immediately, with the congratulations of many friends. E. F. was at one time a newspaper man himself and knows what they like. He has our thanks for fine cigars, and our best wishes for the future happiness of himself and bride.


Cowley County Historical Society Museum