Patrick Blair was born May 13,
1793 in the parish of Raloo in County Antrim, northern
Ireland. Raloo is a small parish about seven miles Northeast of Belfast.
Although he and several generations before him were born in northern Ireland they were all
Scottish by blood, hence they were generally referred to as Scotch-Irish.
was married in Ireland to Janet Drummond and together they had six children. Janet
died in Ireland and Patrick remarried a widow by the name of Mary Sloan Bell. Mary
had three children from a previous marriage. In 1835, Patrick, Mary, the six
children from Patrick's marriage to Janet Drummond and the two children who had been born
to him and Mary crossed the Atlantic to Canada. This was a common port of
entry for people coming from Ireland at that time. Often they traveled aboard ships
that carried timber from North America to Ireland and emigrants on the return
voyage. From Canada they crossed the border into the United States and settled
on a farm in Crawford County, Pennsylvania. This farm was located next to the farm of his
late uncle, Samuel Blair, in Woodcock township. Mary's three children from her
previous marriage were left with relatives in Ireland. It was five
years before she was able to return for them. Patrick and Mary had five more children born to
them after their arrival in America.
Mary Sloan was the daughter of John Sloan and Polly
McCullough. She was married first to Francis Bell who was the son of David Bell and
Margaret Agnew. By her first marriage to Francis, Mary had three children; John S.,
Margaret, and David. These children were nearly grown by the time their mother
returned to Ireland to get them. It is not known why these children
remained in Ireland or who they might have lived with there. John S. Bell settled in
Crawford County, near Patrick's farm, after a stint of seven years in the
California gold fields. Upon
his return he married Matilda Balliet on May 15, 1873. He took up farming and was a
breeder and dealer in thoroughbred short horn and Durham cattle. David Bell moved
West and lived near his step-brother and cousins in Ogle County, Illinois until the start
of the Civil War. In 1861 he enlisted in the Union Army. He served
a couple of his cousins in the 34th Illinois Infantry, Co.H.
He died May 1, 1862 from wounds received at Pittsburgh Landing during the
Battle at Shiloh. His cousin,
Jackson Blair who served in the same Company was killed in the same
battle. David's body was brought back to Illinois and was buried in White Oak
Cemetery in Forreston, Illinois. His step-brother, Matthew Blair, is buried beside him.
Margaret married John G. Wilson and lived out her life on her husbands farm in Woodcock
Township, Crawford County, Pennsylvania. There seemed to have been quite a close bond
between the step-siblings, half-siblings and full siblings of Patrick Blair's family.
was a farmer who lived out the remainder of his life in Woodcock Township, Crawford
County, Pennsylvania. He died August 4th, 1871 and is buried in Mt. Blair
next to his second wife Mary Sloan Bell.
and Mary Blair's gravestones in Mt. Blair Cemetery, Woodcock Township, Crawford
Pennsylvania. The picture was taken at dusk. They read as follows: