URIAH AND JAMES BLAIR, among the very first settlers in Benton Township, are natives of Indiana. Uriah was born March 22, 1825, and James was born December 26, 1826. Their parents, John M. and Mary E. (Billings) Blair, had a family of six children, the first two of whom were twins, one daughter and one son, Uriah. James was the next child born.

In 1827 they moved to Pike County, Illinois, and were among the first settlers of that State. In 1836 they visited Iowa, locating on Skunk River, where Mrs. Blair died. After this event they returned to Pike County, Illinois, where they lived till 1839, and then came to Holt County, Missouri, and located in section 20, township 61, range 38. This farm is now owned by Uriah and James Blair, the former having 170 acres and James 193 acres. At the time they settled in Benton Township there were no people living within its present boundaries but Indians.

They attended school in the first schoolhouse built in the township, which was a log cabin without even a fire-place, though on one side a log was left out for a window. The building was erected in 1840, in section 17, township 61, range 38, by the Blair family, the Baldwin family (the second settlers in the township), James Kimsey, John Hughes and one other person. The first session was taught by a man by the name of Lattimore, from the East, he being known as the Yankee teacher.

In the spring of 1849 Uriah and James Blair, in company with a large expedition, started from Holt County for California. Their father also accompanied them. The party left about May 10, and the senior Blair died while on the road, on Carson River, at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, and was there buried. While in California the brothers were engaged in gold mining, on the tributaries of the American River.

James returned to Holt County in February, 1850, and his brother in the summer of the same year. Uriah was a soldier in the Mexican War. He was sworn into the service of the United States at Leavenworth, July 4, 1847, as a member of what was known as the Oregon Battalion, attached to Col. Powell's regiment. The expedition ascended the Missouri River and returned to what is now Nebraska City, where they remained during the winter of 1847-8, and the next spring set out across the plains for Fort Kearney. News reached them of the close of the war and they were ordered back to Leavenworth to be discharged. He was a Democrat before the late war, but has since been a Republican.

He is a member of Mound City Lodge, No. 294, A. F. and A. M. December 16, 1858, he was married to Miss Eveline Mackey, by which marriage there were born seven children: Alice M., C. Calvin, Mary E., Eva Z., Frank N., Cora I. (now deceased), and George D. Mrs. Blair, the fourth child in a family of eleven children, was born in Pike County, Missouri, January 30, 1840. She was reared, educated and married in her native county. Her grandfather was a native of Scotland, and her father, Cyrus Mackey, of North Carolina, who came to Missouri in an early day and was married, in Pike County, to Miss Charlotta Jones, a native of Tennessee. She now lives in Pike County, Missouri. Mr. James Blair was married April 8, 1852, to Miss Emeline Jasper. Twelve children were the fruit of this union, ten of whom are now living : Dr. F., William D., Truston, Lena B., Anna E., Minnie M., Robert and Mattie (twins), James and Walter. Mrs. Blair's father, Merrill Jasper, was a native of Kentucky, and he was there married to Miss Elizabeth Shepherd, a native of Kentucky.

They moved to Missouri in an early day, and lived in Pike County till about 1844, when they came to Holt County. Mr. Jasper died in August, 1845, and Mrs. Jasper in March, 1873.- They had a family of six children, Mrs. Blair being the second child.

Source: "History of Holt and Atchison Counties, 1882" transcribed by Karyn

The BLAIR family was the first to settle in Benton township. Mound City is now in Benton township. Uriah BLAIR was born in Indiana, March 22, 1835 to John M. BLAIR and his mother's maiden name was Billings. When he was age 2 his father moved to Pike County, Illinois., and was one of the first settlers to that part of state. The family moved to Iowa and settled on the Skunk River where Mrs. BLAIR died. After this event, they moved back to Pike County, Illinois, lived there until 1839, and then started for the Platte Purchase, Missouri., arriving in what is now Holt County, where the family settled April 12, 1839. At that time there were no persons living in Benton township, except the Indians. The BALDWINS were the next settlers in fall 1840.

In the spring of 1849, Uriah BLAIR set out for California, in company of a large expedition from Holt County They left about May 10. His brother and father were in the expedition. His father died on the road at Carson River at the foot of the Sierra Nevada Mtns, and was buried there. He mined gold in Calif. on tributaries of the American River.

He came back to Holt County, Missouri in 1850, and has lived here since. He was married December 16, 1858 to Eveline MACKEY of Pike County, Missouri and has farmed in Benton township near where his father first settled. There is no mention of what became of his brother, James BLAIR, after the expedition to California. He has 6 children: Alice, Calvin, Mary, Eva Zella, Frank and Bessie.

Mr. BLAIR was a soldier in the Mexican War, being sworn in July 4, 1847 as a member of the Oregon Battalion attached to Col. Powell's regiment. The expedition ascended the Missouri. River, returned to what is now Nebraska City, where they spent the winter of 1847-48. They set out the next spring across the plains for Fort Kearney. News reached them that the war was over and they went back to Leavenworth to be discharged. Mr. BLAIR was a Democrat before the war and has since been a Republican. He is now one of the oldest settlers in the county and has been a good citizen.

Source: "An Illustrated Historical Atlas Map, Holt County, MO," published by Brink, McDonough & Co., Philadelphia, 1877
Provided by Dave Roberts of Lyon County, Kentucky, a former Holt County resident.