GEORGE JACKSON BLAIR
Written by Rebecca Sellars for the Madison Genealogy Society
Do you know any Blairs in Madison County? Want to know how long the family has been here? A long time!
George Jackson Blair was born November 26, 1816 in Hancock County, Georgia but had moved down to the Madison area by the early 1840’s. He was a son of Richard Blair and Elizabeth Synthia Smith. Florida did not become a state in 1845, which emphasizes that this was a pioneer family.
George settled in the Hickory Grove area and married Emily Jane Williams in 1841. Willie, born February 11, 1825, was a daughter of Roland and Susannah (Lewis) Williams. George and Willie had 10 children:
William Thomas (m. Sarah E. Tillis);
Mary Ann Frances (m. Marion Frank Warner and settled in Suwannee County;
Emily Jane (never married);
Amanda Florida (never married);
George Elbert (m. Sarah France “Fannie” Warren);
Cynthia Susannah (m. Marion Frank Warner and later m. M. L. Leslie);
Sarah Ann Elizabeth (m. Isaac Daniel Gramling);
Richard Groves (died an infant);
Polly Ann Virginia (m. George W. Rykard); and
Roland Jackson (m. Mary Susannah Gramling).
George voted in Florida’s first statewide election in 1845. He was living in the Hickory Grove Community, near Pinetta, Florida, where he was listed in the census as a farmer. He died young, at age 42 and was buried in Pine Grove Cemetery. His wife, Jane, who lived 26 more years, was buried in Hickory Grove with her family, next to her sister Priscilla Prudence (Puss) Williams Gramling.
Most of George and Jane’s children stayed right in Madison County. And a good many of their children’s children’s children are still here.
Three of George’s sons remained in the Madison: William Thomas, George Elbert, and Roland Jackson.
William Thomas, George’s oldest son, was born April 1, 1843 in Madison. On August 19, 1861, he enlisted in the Civil War in Captain Langford’s Company of Madison Grey Eagles at Fort Clinch. This company became Company “G,” 3rd Florida Infantry Regiment. Only July 26, 1862, he was hospitalized in Atlanta, GA. He was discharged on November 18, 1862, in Alason, TN but served a second enlistment, for the duration of the War in Company E, 11th Florida Infantry Regiment. William married the former Miss Sarah E. Tillis, daughter of Richard and Mary E. (Cowart) Tillis. They had five children, most of whom all stayed in the Withlacoochee area. Their children were:
Mary Jane (m. William D. Lamb);
Richard Jackson (m. Mattie Jane Blair Henderson);
Laurie Elizabeth (m. Thomas A. Morris);
John T. (m. Pheoby Lyla Witt); and
Henry Franklin (m. Charlotte Williams of Douglas, GA).
In 1902, William was granted a Confederate Soldier’s pension of $96.00 a year. This was increased to $120 in 1907, on account of his age and general disability. William earned his living as a farmer and was a member of the Mt. Horeb Church. William died on October 12, 1919 and Sarah died April 10, 1907. They were buried in the Mt. Horeb Church Cemetery.
George Elbert, George’s second son, and his wife Sarah Frances “Fannie” Warren, raised their family in the Withlacoochee and Cherry Lake areas of the county. Both George and Fannie were buried in the Pine Grove Missionary Baptist Church Cemetery.
The youngest son, Roland Jackson, married Mary Susannah Gramling (his first cousin and daughter of William Asa Gramling and Prudence Priscilla Williams). They were the parents of eight children:
Wilson Neil (m. Nita Virginia Wells);
William Edwin (m. Mae Leola Buchanan);
Roland Jackson (m. Dena Dora Hall);
Ruth Priscilla (died at age 3);
Bertha Jane (m. Franklin Mance Hammock);
Mary Willie (m. Ira Beaty and then divorced);
Gladys (m. Kenneth Paul Beaty); and
Vivian Grace (m. James Ashley McCall).
Roland was a farmer and a staunch Christian. He and his family were very active in the Hickory Grove UMC. They believed strongly in education and as a result, five of their children became teachers.
Two of William Thomas’ sons stayed in Madison: Richard Jackson and John. They lived in the Withlacoochee settlement.
Richard Jackson was born September 9, 1869 and married Mattie Jane Blair Henderson about 1899. They were the parents of:
Berta Lee (m. Ernest Taylor);
Mary Marie (m. Carlton Hunley);
Sarah Retha (m. Lamer Gaston);
Edgar Homer (m. Eunice Bass and later Lillie Sue Cox);
Mae Ardell (m. John Timothy Hollingsworth); and
Richard (died of measles at an early age).
John was born about 1872 and married Pheoby Lyla Witt in 1890. They were the parents of five children: Janell, John, Elbert, Sallie and Katie.
George Elbert had two sons who stayed in the county and raised a family: Comer and Hunter. These brothers stayed in the Withlacoochee and Pinetta area.
Roland Jackson had three sons: Wilson Neil, William Edwin “Ed,” and Roland Jackson, Jr. who also spent most of their lives in Madison.
Wilson Neil, son of Roland Jackson, had four children: Wilson Neil “Ben” (m. Betty Ann Kinard); Nita June; Murray Davis (m. Barbara Jo Allen); and Patrick “Pat” Wells.
William Edwin “Ed,” and Mae Leola Buchanan were the first couple to be married in the new Madison County Courthouse in 1914. They were the parents of eight children:
Ira Edwin (m. Lois Marie Richardson);
Wiley Buford (m. Sadie Bennett);
Leona (m. Cecil Wilbur Coleman and later Abner James Gay);
Jimmie Wilson (m. Grace Nelson Bennett);
Mildred Delilah (m. George Washington Vaughan);
Mary Frances (m. Dolpha Cantrell);
Buck, who had five children;
and a baby boy, who died at birth.
Neil was a retired school teacher and farmer. He attended the Florida Normal Institute, taught school in Madison for 33 years, and was a member of the Hickory Grove Methodist Church and a veteran of WWI.
Roland Jackson, Jr., and Dena Dora Hill had a son, Ray.
Many of the next generation are still around or remembered. To mention just a few: children of Wiley Buford and Sarah Lee (Sadie) Sands are:
Wiley “Delbert” (m. Martha Jane Andrews);
Brenda Elaine (m. Richard Parks Baker);
Hugh “Wetzel” (m. Betty “Marilyn” Collins;
Gwynn Morgan (m. Mary Susan Herndon);
Dale Maury (m. Jane Fender and later Margaret Ann Brown Sever); and
Clay Andrew (m. Bobbi Lynne Quinn and later, Donna Wright).
That makes at least seven generations of Blairs who lived in and served Madison County. Seven generations of Blairs helped to build and form Madison County. Most of our lives have been touched by members of this good, solid, family oriented, stable group of folks. Again, Madison County is the better for George Jackson Blair and his descendants.
Much of the information in this article was provided by Tina Zipperer Golden and Sarah (Sadie) Lee Sands in articles written in the Madison County Florida Family History Book and Pioneers of the Wiregrass, Vol II.
[Extracted from the Enterprise-Recorder, 27 Jun 2014]