BLAIRS OF RICHMOND, VIRGINIA Part 7

He was the son of Samuel Anthony Benning Glover (1823-1882) and Frances Eldridge (1832-1910).

Samuel Anthony Benning Glover (he dropped “Benning” from his name when a boy) was the son of John Anthony Glover (1803-1834) and Susan Tindall Glover (1796-1872). John Anthony Glover was the son of Anthony Glover (born 1755) and Ann (“Nancy”) Tindall (1770-1838). Susan Tindall Glover was the daughter of Samuel Glover, Jr. (1759-1820) and Mary Tindall (1762-1839). Anthony Glover and Samuel Glover, Jr., were both sons of Samuel Glover and Judith Benning. Mary and Ann Tindall were sisters, hence Susan Tindall Glover and John Anthony Glover were double first cousins.

Frances Eldridge was the daughter of Rolfe Eldridge, Jr., and Mary Moseley. (See chart.)

GENEALOGICAL CHART FOR ROLFE ELDRIDGE, JR., AND MARY MOSELEY

NameBirth-DeathSpouse(s)Additional Notes
Rolfe Eldridge1744-  
Thomas Eldridge-1754  
Martha Bolling1713-1749  
Susannah Everard Walker   
Col. George Walker-1779Mary Meade 
William Moseley1730-1763  
Benjamin Moseley1755 or 60-1799Mary Branch 1764-1848 
Mary Watkins1735-1792Matthew Branch -1772 
Ridley Jones   
Thomas Eldridge-1739Judith Kennon 
Maj. John Bolling of “Cobbs”1676-1729Mary Kennon 
Jacob Walker Courtenay Tucker 
David Meade1710-1757Susannah Everard 
Arthur Moseley, Jr.1690-1735Martha Cocke 
John Watkins   
Matthew Branch-1767  
Maj. Peter Jonesabt. 1691-1758  
Richard Kennon-1696Elizabeth Worsham 1656-1735 (?) 
Col. Robert Bolling1646-1709Jane Rolfe -1676 
Richard Kennon-1696Elizabeth Worsham 1656-1735 (?) 
George Walker-1732Ann Keith 
Robert Tucker-1722Frances Courtenay 
Col. Andrew Meade-1745Mary Latham 
Sir Richard Everard1683-1733Susanna Kidder 
Arthur Moseley166?-1730Sarah Hancock 
John Cocke   
Obedience Branch-1746  
William Worsham Elizabeth – 
John Bolling Mary – 
Thomas Rolfe1615-Jane Poythress 
William Worsham Elizabeth – died 1678 
George Walker Elizabeth – 
George Keith   
John Meade   
Daniel Latham   
Sir Hugh Everard1655-1706Mary Brown 
Dr. Richard Kidder   
Arthur Moseley1630-1702Ann Hargraves 
Robert Hancock1650-1709Johan Lyggon 1653-1728 
Richard Cocke Dorothy Chamberlayne 1710-1782 
Matthew Branch1661-1722Frances Ware 
Capt. Peter Jones-1726 or 7Mary Battesometime after 1741
Maj. Thos. Chamberlayne1655-1719  
John Branch-1687 or 8  
Martha Jones   
Thomas Branch1623-1695Elizabeth Gough 
Peter Jones-1687Margaret Wood~1719
Thomas Batte Mary – 
Robert Bolling Anne Clark 
John Rolfe1585-1622Pocahontas 1594-1616 
Capt. Francis Poythress   
Sir John Meade-1629Catherine Sarsfield 
Sir Richard Everard1625-1694Elizabeth Gibbs 
John or Dr. Thomas (?) Brown   
William Moseley1608-1655Susannah Cockroft -1655 
Col. Thomas Lyggon-1677 or 8Mary Harris 1625- 
William Branch1623-1676Jane – 
Thomas Jones   
Christopher Branch1602-1681Mary Addie -1630 
Capt. Matthew Gough   
Col. Edmund Chamberlayne1611-1676Eleanor Colies 
John Rolfe1562-1594Dorothea Mason 
Capt. Thomas Harris1586-1647Adria Osborne 1601- 
Christopher Branch1602-1681Mary Addie -1630 
Abraham Wood-between 1680 and 1683  
John Batte   
Edmund Chamberlayne-1634Grace Strangeways 
Humphrey Colles   
Henry Batte   
Eustace Rolfe1539-1593Joanna Jener 
Sir Thomas Chamberlayne Elizabeth Luddington 
John Strangeways Elizabeth Stratton 
Edward Stratton Martha Shippey 

(LONGER NOTE 22)

HERON FAMILY

James Heron, a Scotsman, 1751-1801, married, September 11, 1790, Sarah Taylor, born 1771, daughter of John and Sarah Tucker Taylor, of a well-known family of Norfolk, Virginia. Sarah Tucker Taylor descended from ancestors eminent in the colony of Virginia. (Colonial Dames papers of Mrs. Rolfe Eldridge Glover.) That the Herons were well connected in Scotland is evident from the wedding gift to Sarah Taylor Heron of a set of handsome china from James Heron’s uncle, Sir William Douglas. (Remains of this china are in possession of Mrs. William Anderson’s family of Lexington, Virginia, and Mrs. Lewis H. Blair, of Richmond.)

A very large and beautifully made sampler, worked in 1800 by Sarah Ann Eyre Heron, daughter of James and Sarah Taylor Heron, records the names and birth dates of herself and her sisters and brothers. It is as follows:

William Douglas Heron, 1791
James Taylor Heron, 1792
Sarah Ann Eyre Heron, 1794
Courtenay Heron, 1797
John Heron, 1798

(The Heron sampler is in possession of Mrs. Lewis H. Blair.)

Sarah Ann Eyre Heron married John Geddes Blair. Mrs. James Heron (Sarah Taylor) perished in the burning of the Richmond Theatre, December 1811. One of her gowns, a yellow brocade made in the empire style of her day, has descended to her great-great-granddaughter, Miss Anne Blair Matthews.

John Harvie Creecy, of Richmond, has made extensive researches in the Heron-Taylor line.

(LONGER NOTE 23)

GIBBS FAMILY

Gibbs of New York, an English family. George Gibbs, father of Gen. Alfred Gibbs, U. S. Army, married Laura Walcott, daughter of Oliver Walcott, Secretary under Washington and Adams. The Walcotts were a distinguished family of Lichfield, Connecticut, where their ancestral home still stands.

Alfred Wolcott Gibbs, son of Gen. Alfred and Peggy Foushee Blair Gibbs (see pages 20, 21), was born at Fort Fillmore, New Mexico, October 27, 1856. After courses at Rutgers School and Rutgers College, he entered Stevens Institute of Technology in 1874; graduated 1878; special apprentice at Pennsylvania Railroad shops, Altoona, 1879-1881; draughtsman, Richmond and Danville Railroad 1881-1886; Master Mechanic of the Atlanta and Charlotte Division, 1886-1888; Master Mechanic of Virginia Midland Division, 1888-1890; appointed Superintendent of Motive Power of the Central of Georgia Railroad, 1890; when the office was abolished, again Master Mechanic of Richmond and Danville Railroad, 1892; Assistant Mechanical Engineer, Pennsylvania Railroad, 1893; Superintendent of Motive Power of Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad, 1902; General Superintendent of Motive Power, Pennsylvania Railroad, 1903-1911; Chief Mechanical Engineer of the Pennsylvania Railroad System until his death in 1922.

Societies, etc.: Member of Mechanical Division of the American Railroad Association; American Society of Mechanical Engineers; American Society for Testing Materials (President, 1915); American Engineering Standards Committee; American Railroad Engineering Association; American Society of Naval Engineers; President of the Eastern Railroad Association; member Board of Managers of the Philadelphia Institute and Free Library.

Clubs: Engineers’, Rittenhouse, Automobile, and Corinthian Yacht Club, of Philadelphia; and Engineers’ Club of New York.

From the many memorials written of Alfred Wolcott Gibbs by his professional associates and by the organizations of which he was a member, the following excerpts will give some sense of the deep admiration and regard he inspired:

“Mr. Gibbs was endowed with a mind of fine scientific quality, which by careful training soon proved him a mechanical engineer whose opinion was eagerly sought and confidently relied upon, and gave him a high position among the mechanical engineers in the railroad companies of the country. He was always an interesting and attractive companion in any group of educated men. His general information added to his scientific attainments led to prominent standing in the technical and commercial engineering societies whose work was affiliated with that of the railroad companies.” “He did valuable technical work on many committees of design, and gave time to original research, especially in metallurgy.” “Throughout all his business transactions he assumed the stern responsibility that rested upon him with that charity and sympathetic understanding which makes a business life a joy instead of mere labor or obligation.” “His was a life to emulate and an inspiration to all his friends, particularly to his younger associates in the engineering profession. The world has lost a good man and a great engineer.”

“His presence was sunlight.” “He was the most lovable of men.” “I never knew a man with a more even temperament, nor have met many who were less biased or more fair, frank, or fearless when it came to a discussion.” “He was thoughtful, considerate, and charitable. In all my association with him I never heard him make an unkind remark about anybody. I shall miss his cheerful greetings, his quiet humor, his genial companionship, and his sincere friendship.” “I admired his high sense of honor, delightful personality, and rare, intelligent judgment.”

John Blair Gibbs, M. D., of New York City, younger brother of the above, was born in Richmond, Virginia, September 25, 1858. Graduated at Rutgers College, and soon after began the study of medicine; M. D. of University of Pennsylvania; connected with Bellevue and Postgraduate Hospitals of New York City; studied medicine a year in Germany; practiced medicine in New York City, where his genial and sympathetic nature made him a favorite with patients of all classes.

When the Spanish-American War began, Dr. Gibbs enlisted as a surgeon, was commissioned, and sent on a transport with troops to Guantanamo, Cuba, where he was killed in a night attack of the Spaniards on the Marines’ camp. The University Club of New York held a memorial service in Dr. Gibbs’ honor, in Trinity Church, at which about 350 members of the Club were present.

John Blair Gibbs was the first physician accepted as an army surgeon under the President’s first call for volunteers and also the first American officer killed in Cuba.

Letter from the widow of Gen. Custer to the widow of Gen. Gibbs:

Paris, June 19th, 1898

My dear friend,

My heart is heavy with sorrow for you in this dark hour of your life. . . . All the memories of long ago come to me: — the children playing their little pranks on my husband and his delight in their companionship — their father’s pride when he had them mounted on the ponies, their little legs almost straight out from the saddle. Then Blair’s silent, but intense sympathy for you when you were called upon to give up the one so dear to you. (Blair was 10.) and I remember that when I once asked the general where had been the station he liked best, he said, “Where my boys were born.”

The hundred little incidents of the boys’ lives, their quaint speeches, their courtesy and kindness as tiny fellows — their dear dog — indeed so much is indelibly impressed on my mind as I go back to those happiest days of my life that now it seems as if I could not face the future for you. . . .

The few brief lines I have yet had prove how worthy a son of such a father and of such courageous ancestors. It was a grand departure from this life to die so heroically while working to save the lives of others. . . . My heart sorrows for you, my dear old friend, and I cannot help but think how deep would be the sympathy of him I love and how intense would be his admiration for your noble boy.

May the Saviour comfort you.

… With love,

Elizabeth B. Custer

(LONGER NOTE 24)

JAMES BLAIR, M. D.

James Blair, M. D., received his professional education at the University of Pennsylvania, then the foremost medical school of the country. In Richmond he lived in a three-story brick residence which he built on the lot west of his father’s house on Leigh Street. His promising career in medicine was cut short by lameness, which prevented the full practice of his profession. He therefore purchased a drug-store for the support of his family.

Dr. Blair for many years added to his previous high character, for probity and amiableness, that of eminent piety and active benevolence. As a physician he was rapidly gaining the confidence of an increasing number of patrons in Richmond, and few have equaled, none have excelled him, in the amount of professional labor gratuitously bestowed upon the poor. His Christian principles were here most remarkably manifested for the spiritual as well as bodily welfare of all he attended. He was an Elder of the Presbyterian Church on Shockoe Hill, and long will the remembrance of his judicial, prudent, punctual, and laborious discharge of this responsible office be cherished by the members, among whom he was universally beloved and revered.”

(Contributed to a Richmond newspaper at the time of his death.)

Dr. James Blair died at the age of forty-two.

(LONGER NOTE 25)

  1. WALTER BLAIR OF HAMPDEN-SYDNEY

Walter Blair, son of Col. Walter Dabney Blair, of Richmond, had as his teacher the celebrated scholar and great instructor, Rev. Robert Lewis Dabney, D. D. In 1853 young Blair had made such progress in his studies that he entered Hampden-Sydney College in the Junior year and graduated in 1855 with the second honor; was tutor and teacher of the grammar school connected with the college; assistant and then full professor of Ancient Languages in the college; studied at the Universities of Berlin and Leipzig; but returned home to enter the Confederate States Army; enlisted in the 1st Company of the Richmond Howitzers; became Sergeant Major in Col. Cabell’s artillery battalion, and with the Richmond Howitzers took part in a great number of important battles, fought by the Army of Northern Virginia, until the Surrender. At the close of the war Mr. Blair returned to Hampden-Sydney, took up his work in Latin and afterwards in German also, and filled these chairs with great ability until 1896, when he resigned and was made Professor Emeritus.

Several times institutions of larger endowment and wider reputation than Hampden-Sydney called him to their service, but he declined to leave his own college. It was due largely to Professor Blair and Professor Gildersleeve that the Roman Method of pronunciation of the Latin was introduced into the South. Professor Blair was the author of a book on “Pronunciation of Latin,” which caused him to be recognized as one of the first Latin scholars in this country, and justly made for him a great reputation in academic circles.

Degrees: A. B. and A. M. of Hampden-Sydney; Litt. D. from Washington and Lee University.

(LONGER NOTE 26)

MARIA BLAIR

Maria Blair (1841-1924), daughter of Thomas Rutherfoord and Margaret Edmundson Blair, a woman of brilliant characteristics, adorned her city and her family. Left an orphan, she early began to teach. She traveled many times abroad, often carrying large parties with her. On her return from such trips, Miss Blair gave very popular lectures to groups on art and history. For a number of years she conducted Shakespeare classes with much success. Her warm interest in her subjects added to the delight of her hearers. To a life of ardent culture, Maria Blair joined years of missionary service, leading in the activities of the Hoge Memorial Presbyterian Church in the lower business section of the city. She had friends in every class of people. A keen insight into human nature, a quick sympathy, a marvelous memory aided her in whatever she undertook to do. One of her most prized connections was with the Daughters of the Confederacy. She was a charter member of the Woman’s Club, Richmond, and during the first year, 1894, officiated as First Vice-President.

Her grave is in Shockoe Cemetery, Richmond.

(LONGER NOTE 27)

MAYO FAMILY

The family of Mayo, settled at “Powhatan” on James River, a short distance below Richmond, Virginia, are descendants of William Mayo of Poulshot, County Wilts, England.

  • William, of Poulshot, (1656-1691)
  • Joseph, of Poulshot
  • Col. William, emigrated to Barbadoes, and from thence with his family to Virginia about 1723.
  • Joseph, burgess, m. Mary Tabb, of Gloucester County, Virginia.
  • William, m. Elizabeth Bland Poythress, of Prince George County, Virginia
  • Joseph Hearne, m. Elizabeth Durburrow Blair, dau. of Rev. John Durburrow Blair.

The Mayos are among the very earliest citizens of Richmond, Virginia. They were seated at “Powhatan,” in a handsome mansion of red brick, with substantial outbuildings of brick, and attractive surroundings.

*54 “Sept. 19, 1733. — When we got home we laid the foundation of two large cities, one at Shacco’s to be called Richmond, and the other at the falls of Appomattox river, to be called Petersburg. These Major Mayo offered to lay out into lots without fee or reward.” (From the “Westover Manuscripts” of Col. William Byrd, founder of Richmond.)

The Mayos of “Powhatan” have always been one of the leading families of Richmond, noted for enterprise, wealth, and social distinction.

(See a bound pamphlet in the Virginia State Library, entitled “The Descendants in Virginia, for Six Generations, of Major William Mayo.”)

(LONGER NOTE 28)

HARVIE FAMILY

“Tradition tells us that the Harvies sprang from Llewellyn, the last native Prince of Wales. The name has always been preserved in the family.”

Col. John Harvie, of Stirlingshire, Scotland, settled in Albemarle County, Virginia, about forty years before the Revolutionary War. His eldest son, Col. John Harvie (II), born 1742, inherited his father’s estate, “Belmont,” in Albemarle. Of high character, he became a successful lawyer in Albemarle, represented Augusta County in the House of Delegates, and was one of the two Commissioners to conduct, continue, or close the Indian War in 1776. Col. Harvie was at one time Mayor of Richmond. He was a Member of the Continental Congress, and took part in many important political measures. Col. Harvie gratuitously surrendered the right of way through his property at Richmond to the James River Canal. His residence on Eleventh and Clay Streets was long a well-known landmark in Richmond. Col. Harvie died at “Belvidere,” his seat near Richmond, in 1807. He married Margaret Jones, and left four sons: Lewis, John, Edwin James, Jacquelin B.; and three daughters: Gabriella, Emily, and Julia.

Edwin James Harvie, with his sister Julia, died of injuries received in the burning of the Richmond Theatre in 1811. At the time of his death he was an officer in the Bank of Virginia. He left a widow, who was a Miss Hardaway, of Amelia County, Virginia, and two sons: Edwin Lewis Harvie and John Brockenbrough Harvie, of Amelia and Powhatan Counties, respectively.

Col. John Harvie’s youngest son, General Jacquelin B. Harvie, married Mary, the only daughter of Chief Justice Marshall.

Gabriella, eldest daughter of Col. John Harvie, married, first, Thomas Mann Randolph of Tuckahoe, and second, Dr. John Brockenbrough, president of the State Bank of Virginia, whose residence was the mansion afterwards occupied by President Davis and known as “The White House of the Confederacy.”

Lewis Edwin Harvie of “Dykeland,” Amelia County, married Sarah Blair, daughter of John Geddes and Sarah Ann Eyre Heron Blair.

Dr. John Brockenbrough Harvie of “Fighting Creek,” Powhatan County, married Mary Elizabeth Blair, sister of Sarah Blair, wife of Lewis Edwin Harvie of “Dykeland.”

(The above information of the Harvie Family is given in “The Harvie Family,” a pamphlet by Mr. Lewis Edwin Harvie of Richmond, Virginia, grandson of Lewis Edwin Harvie of “Dykeland.”)

(LONGER NOTE 29)

LESSLIE FAMILY

Jane Isabella Lesslie, daughter of John and Ann Withers Lesslie, married Dr. James Blair, third son of Rev. John Durburrow Blair.

Ann Withers, whose mother was Mary Pendleton, was of an English family who settled in Williamsburg, Virginia. She married four times: first, Charles Moore, an Irishman, by whom no issue; second, Pierre Govair, a Frenchman — lost at sea. No issue; third, Charles Myers, a German. Issue, one son, William Myers, died unmarried; fourth, John Lesslie, a Scotsman, prosperous merchant and shipowner of Richmond, Virginia. Issue, one son and one daughter, Andrew and Jane Isabella who married Dr. James Blair.

Mrs. John Lesslie, it was said, was the most beautiful woman who went to the Capitol to hear the Parsons preach. An ivory miniature of her by Thomas Sully explains her charms.*55 She met her death in the burning of the Richmond Theatre, December, 1811. “She succeeded in getting to one of the windows of the theatre building and threw her two sons therefrom. They were unhurt. The Scotch plaid cloak, or dress, of Andrew Lesslie was singed upon his person by the flames. Ann Lesslie was heard to say in the panic that having rescued her two children it wouldn’t do to let her neighbor’s son, Edward Wanton, be lost, and went in search of him in the burning building. She heroically perished in her object to recover the child.” (Records of her grandson, James Blair.)

Ann Lesslie’s name is on the monument erected in the portico of the Monumental Church, standing on the site of the theatre.

John Lesslie survived his wife not many years. He was buried at his estate, “Summer Hill,” on James River, Chesterfield County, Virginia.

John and Ann Withers Lesslie left two children, Andrew and Jane Isabella. These fell a prey to an unscrupulous guardian who bereft them of their property. Andrew was sent to Glasgow to be educated, but remained at the University there only two years, doubtless for lack of funds, as he enjoyed the classics. A copy of his matriculation was taken (1930) from the University of Glasgow records and is given below.* *56

Andrew Lesslie returned to Richmond. He never married. After the death of his brother-in-law, Dr. James Blair, he devoted himself to the support of his widowed sister and her five children by carrying on the drug business purchased by Dr. Blair.*57 Jane Lesslie Blair inherited a share of her mother’s beauty. She was a most devoted, if indulgent, parent. One of Dr. Blair’s nieces said that when she was a little girl all the children in the family liked to sit by Aunt Jane at the Sunday afternoon services, as they found that there were cakes for them in her capacious pockets.

Jane Lesslie Blair is buried with her husband in Hollywood Cemetery (Blair-Lesslie section).

*55 In possession of Miss Louisa C. G. Blair.

*56 “10274 Andreas Lesslie f m (films Maximus) Unic: Joannis Merc: Virginia.”

Copied August 15, 1930, from the Roll of Matriculated Students of the University of Glasgow, A. D., 1819, by his great-niece, L. C. G. Blair. Andrew Lesslie was 15 years old when matriculated.

*57 At this drug-store long gathered many of the most cultured men of the city, who made, informally, a salon of the place. Mr. Lesslie himself was known as a wit. A preacher said to him, “Well, Mr. Lesslie, you make money out of people’s sicknesses.” “Yes,” replied Leslie, “and you make yours out of people’s sins.” After the death of Andrew Lesslie, his oldest nephew, Hugh Blair, carried on the business, and was succeeded in it by Gordon Blair, son of Hugh Blair. In 1933 the firm will complete its hundredth anniversary as Blair’s Drug Store.

OTHER BLAIR FAMILIES

WILLIAMSBURG, VIRGINIA, BLAIRS

The earliest Blair to arrive in America (1685) of whom we are aware, and the most distinguished, was Rev. James Blair (1656-1743): A.M. of Edinburgh University, a minister of the gospel for 68 years; Commissary (deputy) in Virginia of the Bishop of London for 53 years; founder of the College of William and Mary, and its President for 50 years; member of the Governor’s Council and acting Governor of the colony of Virginia. A man of the finest courage, high principles, pure religion, and religious toleration. He married Hannah Harrison, daughter of Benjamin Harrison of “Wakefield” and owner of “Brandon.” No issue. Dr. James Blair and his wife are buried in the churchyard at Jamestown, Virginia.

From the fact that almost nothing is known of the Scotch antecedents of the Rev. James Blair of Williamsburg, it has hitherto seemed impossible to trace a relationship between himself and other Blair lines in America.

Mrs. James Blair, daughter-in-law of Rev. John Durburrow Blair, asserted a relationship between her husband’s family and that of the President of the College of William and Mary. We have as yet no record authority for her statement.

(See “Johns Hopkins University Studies, Series 19, No. 10,” by Motley.)

Archibald Blair, M.D., brother of Commissary James Blair, was a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses. Died in 1736.

John Blair, son of the above (1689-1771). Burgess and member of the Council. Acting Governor of Virginia, 1758-1768.

John Blair, Jr., son of acting Gov. John Blair (1732-1800), was President of the Council of State, a member of the House of Burgesses, one of the Committee of the Convention of 1776 which drew up the plan of government for Virginia, Chief Justice of the General Court, Judge of the High Court of Chancery, one of the Convention which framed the Federal Constitution and of the Convention which ratified it in 1788. In 1789, Washington appointed Judge Blair a Justice of the original Supreme Court. “In private life John Blair was amiable, blameless, pious and benevolent, a model of human perfection and excellence.”

LINE OF REV. ROBERT BLAIR OF ST. ANDREWS

No more noble member of the Blair

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