Colbert Blair, I

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Colbert Blair, I

Birthdate:
Birthplace: Chester, Bucks, Pennsylvania, American Colonies
Death: August 29, 1805 (76)
Cedar Valley, Caldwell, North Carolina, United States
Place of Burial: Cedar Valley, Caldwell, NC, Cedar Val. Meth.
Immediate Family:

Son of James Blair, I and Mary Blair
Husband of Sarah Blair
Father of Hans Enos Blair; Mary Jane Guest; Blair; Colbert Blair, II; Colonel James Blair and 13 others
Brother of John Blair, I; James Blair, II; William Blair; Agnes Blair and Izabell Day

Managed by: Private User
Last Updated:

About Colbert Blair, I

Biography

http://www.momslookups.com/generations/blair.html

James Blair's wife's name is often given as Mary Eosentrice Colbert. Gene Blair has convinced me that this is a mis-reading of the words "wife Mary Executrix" in the aforementioned will. There is no other support for Eosentrice as a middle name.

James and Mary are said to be the parents of Colbert Blair, who is usually said to have been born about 1729-1730 in Bucks Co. PA, although proof for this is lacking. There is better documentation for the Blairs being part of the "Scotch-Irish" settlements of early Augusta Co. VA. Most likely they did immigrate through the port of Philadelphia, but I haven't found any record yet of any permanent residence there.

Tradition holds that Colbert's wife was Sarah Morgan, daughter of John Morgan and Sarah Lloyd, who moved from Pennsylvania to Virginia and were probably neighbors of the Blair family there. Stewart Baldwin has done extensive research on the Morgan family, and his work supports this conclusion. It is also consistent with a family tradition that I heard as a child, that the Blairs were somehow related to Daniel Boone, whose mother was John Morgan's sister Sarah. Our Sarah Morgan Blair would then be Daniel Boone's first cousin.

Probable children of Colbert Blair and Sarah Morgan

  1. Enos Blair (1750-1834) m. Hannah Millikan (1756-1852)
  2. Mary Blair (ca. 1754-1827) m. Moses Guest (1750-1837), moved to Franklin Co. GA
  3. Isabel Blair (1758/1759-1855) m. John Grider (1855-1838)
  4. Colbert Blair (ca. 1760-1780) m. Margaret Sudderth
  5. James Blair (1761/1763-1839) m. Elizabeth Powell
  6. John Blair (1764-1846) m. Frances Hill (1768-1853)

The other children list are all children of Colbert's son Enos. They are Jessee, Sarash, Jane, Abner, Solomon, Martha, Hannah, Josiah, Ruth and Nathan.


STORIES

GRANDFATHER COLBERT BLAIR, QUAKER, AND HIS SOLDIER SON JAMES BLAIR

In the early days of our country, there was a group of very religious people called Quakers. These people were also called "Friends", for indeed it was their practice to see in every man his or her potential worth and therefore every man was believed a potential Friend. Another thing - Quakers did not want to have any part in a war because that means viewing other people as enemies (not friends) and sometimes requires taking the life of your enemies. So Quakers typically would not fight. They were objectors of conscience.

Grandfather Colbert Blair had been born into a Quaker family in the county of Bucks, near Philadelphia, Pennsylvannia. As a young man he fell in love with a Quaker girl named Sarah Morgan who lived in Abington township of Philadelphia [Daniel Boone’s family also came from this same Pennsylvannia Quaker community, in fact Daniel’s mother was a cousin of our Sarah’s, also named Sarah Morgan; so that makes us cousins of Daniel Boone too]. They were soon married and decided to move in 1749 along with other Quaker families further south into Virginia’s Augusta County into an area which today is called Rockbridge County, Virginia. Their new home was in the most beautiful mountain country of the famous Shenandoah Valley. The valley was broad and fertile. Farms here would be very productive, growing fruits and vegetables and grains of several varieties. The sky was almost always deep blue with little puffs of white clouds overhead. Water was cool and clear and wild game was plentiful. It was a grand place to have a family, so this young Quaker family began to expand. First there was Enos, then Mary, then James, Isabel and John. Life was sweet here. One could just about think this was paradise.

But all good things must someday come to an end, and in 1772 the British and the American settlers were on the verge of having a war with each other. British agents inflammed the mountain indians by giving them whiskey and guns and encouraged them to drive the settlers out of the beautiful valley. So to be safer, Grandfather Colbert and Grandmother Sarah moved their family southeastward into Guiliford County North Carolina where it was thought the family would be safer. But after a few years they moved again into Cedar Valley of Caldwell County North Carolina. Here they family would stay for a very long time, near other Quaker friends on the south side of the area known as the Yadkin Valley.

One day in 1778, young James Blair, now age 17, came to his father and said, "Father, I am a grown man now and I have loved my family and my church but now my new country calls me and I must serve." Grandfather Colbert Blair, being a wise man, knew not to stand in the way of his determined young son, so he have him his blessing to go but urged him to always remember the principals he had been taught - to be respectful of other men, and to love his family and not fail to worship and praise the Almighty God, creator of all things, giver of all life. This James promised he would do.

James saddled the roan horse, swung up into the saddle, leaned over and kissed his mother goodbye. He waved to all as he galloped away, bound for the Continental Army. His military career would be served with the highest standard of honor and duty. He was to fight at the Battle of Blackstocks, in the battle of Sumpter’s Surprise, at Raft Swamp, at King’s Mountain and other engagements. He would serve under Colonel Charles McDowell, Captain James Richardson, Colonel Andrew Hampton, General Griffith Rutherford, Captain Peter Ford, Colonel Fredrick Hambright, Captain Barnett, Captain Norwood, Captain Wellborne, Captain Adam Hampton, Colonel Joseph McDowell, General Charles McDowell, Colonel James Dunlap, Captain Barton and General Benjamin Cleveland, Captain William Grey and Colonel James Dugan. He was a valiant and valued soldier who gained the respect and trust of many leading officers of the Southern Campaigns of America’s Revolutionary War.

One of his deeds of bravery was to make a very long and fast horse ride to warn and arouse his former friends and neighbors living near Fort DeFiance (Augusta Co VA, or some say there was a closer fort in North Carolina of the same name) to prepare to meet the marching troops of British General Ferguson in battle. This dangerous ride began in Quaker Meadows (near Marion, McDowell County), North Carolina and was a long distance of frontier backroads with many streams, creeks and rivers to ford, and with enemy sharpshooters along the route. James was successful in bringing Colonel Benjamin Cleveland and 350 men of Wilkes and Surry County North Carolina into strengthen the Colonial forces. Colonel McDowell who lived in Quaker Meadows, sent him on this journey. It is said that James Blair was wounded during this ride by a stealthy Tory loyalist’s volley of rifle fire. His ride was instrumental in stopping the thrust into the Carolinas by the British redcoats. This was done by hastening forward Colonel Cleveland with the 350 men of Wilkes and Surry North Carolina. They joined up with the tough Overmountain men on horseback who wore coon-skin caps with the tails hanging down and every man carried a small-bore rifle, a tomahawk and a scalping knife. All the southern colonists looked upon young James as a true heroe - much like another famous heroe from Boston, named Paul Revere.

While James was being a good and valliant soldier, his parents were striving to live a simple and safe life at home. Even so the war touched them from time to time. One episode which has been recorded in history leaves us to wonder whether James’ own father Colbert Blair was disloyal to the American Revolution or simply caught in the necessity of fulfilling his Quaker vows of friendship to all. Following is a true account from the diary of British Lieutenant Anthony Allaire of Ferguson’s Corps: from his Memo of Occurences during the Campaign of North Carolina.

Introduction: On the occasion referred to below, Lieutenant Allaire and the British soldiers under him were in hiding while they made good their escape from General Benjamin Cleveland after the Battle of King’s Mountain (North Carolina, near the South Carolina border) at which the Americans won a major battle and British General Ferguson was killed. This battle occurred in late September, 1780. Lieutenant Allaire entered the battle with 70 men, only 20 of which survived. He and his men escaped after being taken to Quaker Meadows as POWs.

Text of the diary -

Sunday, October 5th

 Set off from Bethabara in the company of Lieutenant Taylor, Lieutenant Stenvenson and William Gist, a militia-man (American army ?) about six o’clock in the evening. 

Friday, October 10th

 Suffered very much with the cold. At six o’clock in the evening set out again. This night saw the moon in an eclipse and heard several wolves bark. Passed a Rebel party consisting of twelve or fourteen who lay about twenty yards from the road by a fire; but fortunately for us they were all asleep. We marched thirty miles and arrived at Colbert Blair’s just at daybreak. 

Saturday, October 11th

 It began to rain just after we got to Mr. Blair’s. Lucky we were indeed. This good man secreted us in his fodder-house and gave us the best his house afforded. 

Sunday, October 12th

 Remained at Mr. Blair’s; a rainy, disagreeable day. 

Monday, October 13th

 Set out from this good man’s fodder-house. He conducted us about three miles to a Mr. F. Ridder’s house who guided us seven miles farther over the Bushy Mountains to the Catawba River. 

It is clear that Grandfather Colbert Blair was devoted to being a good Samaritan, even to the British enemy. So several of the British soldiers who may otherwise have died in this wild backcountry of early America, were able to get back to the safety of thier lines and lived to tell the story of how they had been saved by Grandfather Blair and his Quaker friends.

Note: The above story was gleaned from various correspondents on the Internet (some believe Blair's were Presbyterians living among Quakers) and the members of the Blair Society; for further reading of the ride of James Blair, reference a Johnson Family History by Jessie Owen Shaw, 1955. The James Blair ride is also in Lyman Draper’s King’s Mountain and it’s Heroes.

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Colbert Blair, I's Timeline

1729
April 8, 1729
Chester, Bucks, Pennsylvania, American Colonies
1750
July 6, 1750
North Carolina, USA
1753
April 21, 1753
Bucks County, Province of Pennsylvania
1760
1760
Augusta County, VA, United States
1760
1761
March 6, 1761
Augusta, Virginia
December 13, 1761
Burke, North Carolina, United States
1764
July 6, 1764
1764
1770
1770
Burke, NC