William Blair Sr.

William BLAIR Sr. ( – 1822) was Alex’s 5th Great Grandfather; one of  64 in this generation and the founder of our Blair line in North America.

Map highlighting County Armagh

We don’t know much about William Blair Sr.   His son William told people he was from Armagh – no town, no parish, no townland – there are over 500 parishes in Armagh so it’s hard to find the correct one.  He may have married Mary DOWNING. William may have died in 1822 in Richhill Parish, County Armagh, Ireland.

Mary died 1 Nov 1817 in North River, Colchester, Nova Scotia, Canada

Children of  William and Mary:

Name Born Married Departed
1. Thomas Blair  Grace [__?__] 19 Nov 1841.
 Hillside Cemetery
2. William BLAIR 1781 in County Armagh, Ireland. Betsey Grimshaw c. 1803 in upper New York State
Armaugh, Ireland
31 July 1875
Franklin Center Quebec
3. Richard Blair? 1791 in Scotland (according to the 1850 census) Elizabeth Fallon in 1821 in Aughagalon, Antrim, Ireland  21 Dec 1867 and is buried at the Mooers Riverside Old Cemetery

Willliam may have lived in the Richhill/Kilmore Parish area of Armagh, Ireland. Sher Leetooze, Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada wrote in 2008

I believe I have found [our Blairs in] the Richhill/Kilmore Parish area of Armagh, but can’t be sure. Is there anyone on the list who has access to Mullaghbrack BMDs? And/or the townlands in the same area? Looking for the birth of William Blair
1780-81, possibly son of William and Mary Blair. This William married late in life – Sept 1822 to Mary HUESTON. Possibly at
or near Richhill, though if they married in her family parish I haven’t a clue where that would have been – I can’t find her anywhere. Hopefully, the Banns were read in both parishes and I can find her through his parish (if it is indeed Richhill/ Kilmore).

Richhill, Ireland

Richhill, County Armagh, Ireland

Sher continues

Now, as long as the list members don’t mind – here is what I know…  William BLAIR, born 1780, Armagh, Ireland. married Mary HUESTON, Sept. 1822
William BLAIR was a Quaker, a weaver and was left handed (this bit shows  up in every other generation)

This is what I thought I knew…..
Assumed William and Mary BLAIR, died at Richhill Parish 1822 to be his parents – right place, right age….. because he was both a weaver and a Quaker it was a nice neat package to place him at Richhill where the Richardson’s had built a Quaker meeting house in about 1803 and where they owned many townlands and rented cottages to weavers, and had a linen agent who collected from them. On the 1796 Spinning Wheel Premium List, William  and Mary Sr. are listed as weavers at Mullabrack, just the right age, then  by the time the Richardson’s had built their meeting house these same two  people were a few miles away at Richhill and are buried there.

What I now know….
There was a naming pattern in those days for children:
> 1st son – named for father’s father….so, their first son was born in 1823 and named John – that puts the above information to rest, doesn’t it!!!
> 2nd son – named for mother’s father … according to records, the second son was William, born 1825
> 3rd son named for father – well, the father was William, so the second son of our records must be, in actual fact, the third son – I need to find a death in 1824 or 1825 of a child.
> 4th son is named for eldest brother of father – this fits – the next son is indeed Thomas, and William’s elder brother Thomas did indeed emigrate to Quebec as well. Thomas’s eldest son was called John, just like William’s,  so I guess I have to look for a John?!
> Also, on the Tithe Applottments for 1825, there is a William Blair at three townlands in Keady Parish – Lagan, Iskemeadow and Tullynamaloge. I knew there were BLAIRs at Keady for a long time, but could never find a weaver William among them – there was a shoemaker, William, however, and I assumed
it to be a distant relative. Unfortunately, the Tithe Applottment index does not give an occupation.
> As far as being a Quaker, the Lisburn Meeting says he never paid subscription – that he likely attended meetings in sympathy for the Friends. He and his wife were Methodists once they arrived in Quebec, Canada.
> None of the records here in Canada say what part of Armagh they came from, simply Armagh, or just Ireland.
> Also, John Hayes, on his website, has transcribed the 1848-63 Griffith’s Valuation and there is a James BLAIR at both Iskemeadow and Tullynamaloge townlands – could be a brother who never came to Canada.

Does anyone know if the 1825 has occupation, or any other information? Would it be worthwhile to spend the $6 to order the film into my local LDS FHC??

Any suggestions as to how I should proceed would be welcomed



1. Thomas Blair

Thomas was born in Ireland.  He married Grace Trainer.   A Thomas Blair witnessed the baptism of William’s son Thomas 10 Jun 1832 in the same Presbyterian Church of Hemmingford where Thomas’ son John was married the year before.

Grace Trainer was born about 1779 in Ireland.  Grace Blair was interred Hillside Cemetery, Franklin, Quebec May 18, 1854, age 75 years.

Thomas Blair worked on the fortifications at Ile Aux Noix. These fortifications were repaired sometime between 1814 and 1817.  Île aux Noix is an island on the Richelieu River in Quebec, close to Lake Champlain. The island is the site of Fort Lennox National Historic Site.  Île aux Noix is a 210 acres island in the Richelieu River. The French and Indian War caused the French to build a fort in 1759, named fort de l’Isle aux Noix, to slow the British advance on Montreal, but were forced to surrender it in 1760. In 1775, the island was taken by American forces, and used as a base by the American generals Philip Schuyler and Richard Montgomery for attacks on Montreal and Quebec. The Americans used the island again in 1776 during their retreat from Canada. Their army spent 10 days on the island: more than 900 American soldiers died and were buried in two mass graves on Isle aux Noix. The British then built a new fort in 1778 and named it the fort of Isle aux Noix. During the War of 1812, the British used the island to supply their operations against the American fleet on Lake Champlain. The present Fort Lennox was built from 1819 to 1829, when the old fortifications were completely demolished. It remained a military post until 1870 and is now a popular tourist location.

Officers Quarters Fort Lennox National Historic Site 

By 1819 Thomas had remarried and was on his land in Hinchinbrook Township, Huntingdon County, Quebec. So he came sometime between 1814 and 1817 it seems. Thomas Blair was interred  Hillside Cemetery 19 Nov 1841.

Thomas Blair 1841 Gravestone — Hillside Cemetery

They had at least three children John H., Mary Ann and William.

1.1.   John H. Blair was born 10 Oct 1811 in Co. Armagh, Ireland.  His parents were Thomas and Grace Blair.   He married Samantha Lucretia Grimshaw 8 Sep 1831 when he was just 19 at the  Presbyterian Church in the Township of Hemmingford   Witnesses were John Blair and his sister Mary Ann Blair.    John and Samantha Lucretia had ten children.  William Blair [probably his brother] was a witness to the baptism of their son Thomas on 9 May 1844.   The 1851 census has John H living with Grace, b. Ireland, widowed, age 72 (mother); and Mary, b. Canada, age 22 (in addition to his 21 yr old daughter, Mary ) John died 1 Nov 1884 of heart disease at Hemmingford, Huntingdon County, Quebec and is buried at Hillside Cemetery, Rennies, Huntingdon Co., Quebec. 11-01-1884.   A native of town and country, Armagh Ireland. John Blair, Interred Hillside Cemetery 2 Nov 1884 age 75 years.

John Blair 1884

Hemmingford Presbyterian Church – 1847 folio thirteenth

A daughter of Zephaniah Grimshaw of Hinchinbrook, farmer and Jerusha his wife was born on the seventh Day of February in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirteen and was married to John Blair on the eighth Day of September in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and thirty-one and was baptized by the name of Lucretia on the twenty-ninth Day of October in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty-seven in presence of the unsigned witnesses.

John Merlin, Minister

Children of  John Blair and Samantha Grimshaw:

John Blair Family Monument

i. Mary Ann Blair (30 May 1832 Huntingdon Co., PQ – 07 Feb 1893 Rockburn, PQ); m. William Trainer (Abt 1820 – 02 Jan 1884) Mary Annie Blair, wife of the late William Trainer, Interred Hillside Cemetery Feb 09, 1893 age 66 years

Gleaner 02-07-1893 Mary Ann Blair, wife of the late William Trainor, died at Rockburn PQ, aged 60 years.

ii. Melissa Blair (31 May 1842, PQ – 19 Jan 1899, Malone, NY); m. 16 Feb 1864, Hinchinbrook, Huntingdon Co., PQ. William Adams (17 Nov  1840 – 17 May 1888) Melissa Blair, widow of the late William Adams, Interred Hillside Cemetery Jan. 21, 1899 age 57 years

Gleaner  02-16-1864 William Adams, married Melissa Blair, at the residence of the bride’s father, in Hinchinbrook, by the Rev. A Wallace

iii. Jerusha Blair (08 July 1843 – 17 July 1843 Huntingdon Co., PQ) Infant child of John Blair, Interred Hillside Cemetery August 18, 1843

iv. Samantha Jane Blair (25 Aug 1845, Huntingdon Co. PQ – 12 Jan 1892) Single in the 1881 Canadian Census  [See her baptism image with her cousin Daniel]

v. Elizabeth Blair (02 Jan 1847 Huntingdon Co., PQ – 21 July 1898); m. John L. Rowe

vi. John Blair (02 Sep 1848 Russeltown, Huntingdon Co. PQ – ); m. Margaret Ann Greer

vii. James H Blair b. April 03, 1850;  m. Maria Jackson August 02, 1873 in PQ. She was born September 14, 1849, and died August 23, 1881.  d. April 05, 1887.

viii. William Henry Blair (28 Jan 1852, Huntingdon Co., PQ – 28 Jan 1875); m. Ellen Thompson

ix. Lucy Blair, b. February 16, 1856, Huntingdon Co., PQ; d. Feb 16, 1856, Huntingdon Co., PQ.

x. Thomas Albert Blair (17 June 1857 Huntingdon Co., PQ – 07 Dec 1861 Huntingdon Co., PQ)

1.2  Mary Ann Blair was born in 1812 in Ireland.  Her parents were Thomas and Grace Blair.  She married William Grimshaw in 1830 in Quebec, Canada when she was just 18.

Mary Ann married William Grimshaw – who was likely related to Thomas’ brother William Blair through marriage, as William had married Betsey Grimshaw in about 1803 in upper New York State. Members of both Blair and Grimshaw families kept moving back and forth across the border between Quebec and New York all down through the years that followed. It seems our William Blair (the one I am looking for) went home to Ireland. I am wondering if he had already been on the land at an early date, then gave it to his brother when he went back to Ireland? The lot that Thomas Blair settled on with his young family was one lot over from William Blair’s father-in-law! I think William’s wife died and he went back to Ireland. He did eventually return with a new wife and five children, but not until the 1830’s.

The first Grimshaws to settle on Wolfe Island, Ontario, which is located near Kingston at the head of the St. Lawrence River at Lake Ontario were William and Mary Ann (Blair) Grimshaw, who acquired several parcels of land in the western half of the island. William and MaryAnn were the progenitors of one of the most important Grimshaw lines in North America.

Mary Ann and William had twelve children.   William’s son James married one of these twelve – Samantha Ann Grimshaw. and went to live near the Grimshaw clan on Wolfe Island, an island located at the entrance to the Saint Lawrence River in Lake Ontario near Kingston, Ontario.  Mary Anne died  6 Nov 1883 in Wolfe Island, Frontenac, Ontario, Canada.

Map of Wolfe Island, Ontario, Circling Locations of Land Owned by William and Mary Ann (Blair) Grimshaw

Grave of William and Mary Ann Blair Grimshaw on Wolfe Island.

Home place of William and Mary Ann (Blair) Grimshaw on Wolfe Island

Children of William and Mary Ann:

i. THOMAS Grimshaw ( 06 May 1831, QC, (Lower Canada) – 01 Sep 1876, Wolfe Island, Frontenac Co., ON.)

ii. MELISSA Grimshaw (06 March 1835, Wolfe Island – Aft. 1907, Probably St. Joseph Twp., Algoma, Ontario)

iii. ALMIRA Grimshaw (02 April 1837, Wolfe Island – 28 April 1919, Kingston, Ontario)

iv. SAMANTHA ANN Grimshaw (29 Oct 1839, Wolfe Island – 26 Apr 1883, Pittsburg Twsp., Frontenac Co., Ontario).

v. WILLIAM W. Grimshaw (28 Feb 1842, Wolfe Island – 27 May 1918, Wolfe Island)

vi. HENRY Grimshaw (10 Jul 1844, Wolfe Island – 27 Jun 1925, Kingston, Ontario)

vii. DELOS. Grimshaw (22 June 1845, Wolfe Island – 12 Feb 1905, Kingston, Ontario)

viii. HIRAM Grimshaw (18 Feb 1850, Wolfe Island – 26 Dec 1868, Wolfe Island)

ix. SILAS ARTHUR Grimshaw (11 June 1851, Wolfe Island – 05 Jan 1929, Kingston, Ontario)

x. ROBERT Grimshaw (02 Nov 1852, Wolfe Island – 06 Sep 1853, Wolfe Island)

xi. JAMES Grimshaw (02 Nov 1852, Wolfe Island – 13 May 1932, Kingston, Ontario)

xii. MARY ANN Grimshaw (c.1858, Wolfe Island – 24 May 1898, Kingston, Ontario)

1.3. William Blair married  Elizabeth Cain 21 Feb  1842 –  at the Huntingdon (Church of Scotland and Presbyterian Church,(Church of England)     An inventory of William’s estate was made  July 12, 1849 Inventory late William Blair; his wife Elizabeth Cain; children David (age 4), Mary Jane(2) & William Isaac (3 months); his brother John Blair.

William Blair 1848 Gravestone — Hillside Cemetery

Elizabeth Cain, widow of the late William Blair, and daughter of Isaac Cain, and Mary Greenfield, his wife, died in Franklin, Quebec and was interred Hillside Cemetery Dec. 04, 1899 age 77 years

William Blair m. Elizabeth Cain – 1842 Huntingdon

Children of William and Elizabeth:

i. Thomas Blair, infant son of William Blair, and Elizabeth Cain , his wife, Interred Hillside Cemetery October 11, 1844, age 08 months

ii. David Blair b. 3 Apr 1845 Hinchinbrooke David Blair, Interred  Hillside Cemetery November 05, 1871, age 26 years

iii. Mary Jane Blair b. 1847 Mary Jane Blair, wife of Joseph Wilson, Interred Hillside Cemetery Aug. 29, 1911 age 64 years  08-28-1911 Mary Jane Blair, wife of J. W. Wilson, died at Brooklet PQ, age 64 years 07 months

iv. William Isaac Blair b. 1849  d. home in Rockburn PQ, on April 12, 1924 Interred Hillside Cemetery Franklin April 16, 1924 age 75 years.

11-14-1880 The wife of William Isaac Blair, at Hinchinbrook, near Rockburn, a daughter.

01-18-1929 Isabella Rennie, wife of the late W. I. Blair, died at Rockburn PQ, age 81 years.

William Isaac Blair Headstone — Hillside Cemetery in Hinchinbrooke Township on Route 202across the road from Rennie’s United Church

William Blair of Hinchinbrooke baptized his son Daniel and the same day his brother John Blair also of Hinchinbrooke baptized his daughter Samantha Jane – 26 Sep 1845 in the Hemmingford Presbyterian Church.  His cousin  [and our ancestor

William Blair baptized Alexander, Robert, and Joseph all on the same day, 27 Sep 1845

2. William BLAIR (See his page)

3?   Richard Blair

Richard was born in 1791 in Scotland (according to the 1850 census). He married Elizabeth Fallon in 1821 in Aughagalon, Antrim, Ireland.  He immgrated in 1837.  In 1850 and 1860 he was living in Mooers, Clinton, New York just across the border from Quebec.  Richard died  21 Dec 1867 and is buried at the Mooers Riverside Old Cemetery.

3.1? Richard’s daughter Anne Jane Blair was born 6 Jun 1842 and baptized 12 Jun 1849 in  Church of England, in the circuit of Sherrington, Quebec,  Witnesses were Richard and Elizabeth Blair,  Robert McDowell, John Blair, Elizabeth Blair, and Margaret Elizabeth McDowell.

Other Blairs

Infant child of Robert Blair, Interred Hillside Cemetery May 05, 1842

Margaret Blair, Interred Hillside Cemetery June 13, 1842

Alexander Blair, Interred Hillside Cemetery July 18, 1844, age 52 years [born 1792]

Margaret Blair, Interred Hillside Cemetery Sept. 04, 1845, age 18 years [born 1827]

Infant daughter of the David Craik, and Mary Blair, his wife, Interred Hillside Cemetery June 30, 1846       –      12-17-1890 William Wright, of Chateaugay Basin, married Mary Craik, fourth daughter of David Craik, Esq., St. Philmene. At the residence of the bride’s father, by Rev. James M. Boyd,M.A. B.D..

Infant child of Robert Blair, and Agnes Herry ? Interred Hillside Cemetery 1849

Alexander Blair, Interred Hillside Cemetery  October 16, 1857, age 28 years.

Mary McCormick, relict of the late Alexander Blair, Interred Hillside Cemetery July 04, 1858

Mary Blair, wife and David Craik, Interred Hillside Cemetery April 17, 1864, age 40 years

Annie Blair, daughter of Sarah King, Interred Hillside Cemetery , May 11, 1864, age 22 years.

Catherine Middlemiss, daughter of Robert Middlemiss, and Janette Blair, his wife, Interred Hillside Cemetery  December 23, 1866 age 11 mo

Janette Adair, relict of the late Alexander Blair, Interred Hillside Cemetery March 10, 1870, age 81 yr.

Hillside Cemetery.
Sarah ADAIR (bc.1752), 20 Feb. 1847 aged 95yrs.
George ADAIR, (bc.1784), 29 Oct 1861 aged 76yrs, native of Scotland.
Janette ADAIR (bc.1788), 10 Mar. 1870 aged 81yrs, wife of late Alexander BLAIR.
Alexander BLAIR (bc.1791), 18 July 1844 aged 52yrs.
Agnes ADAIR (bc.1820), 26 June 1865 aged 45yrs, dau. of George ADAIR.

Gore Cemetery, Hinchinbrook Twp.
Margaret ADAIR (bc.1826), 5 Mar 1888 aged 62yrs
(husband ) John FITZSIMMONDS (bc. 1818) 11 Mar 1891 aged 73yrs.

Would the above Janette ADAIR bc.1788, wife of Alex. BLAIR be related to the
BLAIR family of Dunskey Castle, formerly owned by the ADAIRS ? —
Blairquhan – Pronounced Blair-wan, this story-book castle is located 10 miles South Southeast of Ayr, near Straiton in Ayrshire. Four families have lived at Blairquhan. The McWhirters built the first tower house about 1346. The Kennedy’s then inherited the estate through marriage and built the remainder of the old castle about 1573. In the early 17th century the Whitefords took over, but in 1798, suffering the effects of a bank crash, they sold Blairquhan to Sir David Hunter-Blair, second son of James Hunter, who married, in 1770, Jean Blair, the daughter and heiress of John Blair of Dunskey (Castle, owned by the Adairs from prior AD1486) in Wigtonshire, Scotland. When Jean Blair (Hunter) inherited her father’s estate in 1777, the family added Blair to their name.

Annie Middlemiss, daughter of Robert Middlemiss, and Janet Blair, his wife, Interred Hillside Cemetery  March 13, 1871, aged 16 mo, 13 dys

Janet Blair, wife of Robert Middlemiss, Interred Hillside Cemetery Sept. 29, 1877, age 47 years [b. 1830]

Robert Blair, Interred Hillside Cemetery March 20, 1882 age 71 years

09-09-1891 William Blair, of Hemmingford Quebec, married Calista L. Rowe, daughter of Benjamin Rowe, Franklin Quebec. At the residence of the bride’s father, by the Rev. W. Watt. William A. BLAIR, 1870 – 19

Mooers Village Cemetery (New)

Mooers, Clinton County, New York

Calista L. ROWE, wife of William A. BLAIR, 1872 – 19

10-13-1899 Jane Hueston, wife of James Chambers Sr., died at Huntingdon PQ, age 70 years 03 months 15 days. (born 1829)

05-05-1918 Jane Brooks, Widow of the late John Blair, died at Hemmingford PQ, aged 80 years.

01-24-1930 William Hueston, died at Howick PQ, age 91 years. (born 1849)


Here is a search engine for Irish Townlands.  There are over 1,000 townlands in County Armagh alone. http://www.seanruad.com/





For more about William Blair Sr. contact Sher Leetooze <sherleetooze@interlinks.net She is descended from William Jr.’s son James, who left Quebec in the 1850’s and moved to Wolfe Island near Kingston.

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1 Response to William Blair Sr.

  1. Pingback: William Blair | Miner Descent

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