The Ancestors of Samuel Blair are:
Gr. Gr. Grandparents: Brice
Blair (1600-?) and Esther Peden
Gr. Grandparents: Daniel Blair
(1634-1704) and Ganet Drummond
Grandparents: Samuel Blair
(1667-1754) and Martha Campbell Lyle
Parents: Daniel Blair (1720-1808) and
Samuel's brother Daniel who married
Jenny Locke was the father of Patrick Blair and share the same ancestry.
The Origins of the Blair Name
Brice Blair and Esther Peden
Brice Blair was born
about 1600 in Old Cumnock, Ayrshire, Scotland. In 1624, he married
Esther Peden. Esther was the aunt of the much celebrated and
Alexander was also known as the "Prophet Peden." Their is a monument
honoring him in his native town of Old Cumnock, Scotland..
1625, Brice and Esther, also Covenanters, and their infant daughter,
Nancy, escaped the persecution that Covenanters were experiencing in
Scotland by emigrating to the north of Ireland. They made their escape in a
coal sloop and reached Larne on the Irish Coast. (see:
Why did our ancestors
emigrate to Ireland?) When they arrived in Ireland, Brice made his
way to an influential kinsmen,
Lord Edmonstone at
Redhall (near Carrickfergus), and the Reverand Edward Brice at Ballycarry.
Reverand Brice was one of the pioneer clergymen of the Presbyterian Church
in Ireland and is believed (but not proven) to be a first cousin of Brice
Blair. The Rev. and Brice are thought to be grandsons of
Bruce the Laird of Ayth in Stirlingshire and were descended from Mary, the
second daughter of Bruce the Third King of Scotland. Thus this line of
Blair's may carry the blue blood of the Royal Stuarts in their veins.
From Lord Edmonstone, Brice obtained four
hundred acres of land in Ballyvallough where he built a home and passed the
remainder of his life. This land is situated a few miles west of Larne
and not far from the village of Raloo. A part of it was still in possession of a descendant as
late as 1900. Near his home, Brice Blair built a
flax mill, one of
the first, if not the first, in Ireland. The ruins of the home and
mill were still distinguishable in 1900.
Because of Brice and Esther's move from
Scotland to the north of Ireland their descen-dants became known as Ulster
Scots in Ireland. In America they are referred to as Scotch-Irish.
This does not mean, as many presume, that the Scots intermarried with the
Irish for the Irish abhorred the Scots who had usurped their lands.
Their descendants remained "Scotch through and through, they are Scottish
out and out."
The children of Brice and Esther were:
1. NANCIE (1624-1691) who married
and had one known child: John Crawford.
2. BRICE (1627-)who married
JANE REA and
lived in Magheramorne, N. Ireland. Brice and Jane had three known
children: Brice, Elizabeth and Randal.
3. ABRAM (1628-) who never married.
DANIEL (1634-1704) who married GANET DRUMMOND
and had eight children. (see next generation)
5. JOHN (c.1637-) who married ELIZABETH SHAW
and had one child, John was an agent of the Sir Andrew Agnew of Lochnawe in
1654. The son, James Blair, was the James Blair of the Blairmount
6. RANDAL Blair.(c.1640-)
The following is a
deposition regarding Nancie (Blair) Crawford, daughter of Brice and Esther
Blair, after the Massacre of 1641.
"On Sunday morning the 23rd of October 1641 the woman went out leaving her
infant son with her servant girl named Bridget McMurdagh who belonged to
Gleno of Raloo. When Mrs. Crawford returned to the house, this girl
was crying and hushing the babe. Her mistress asked what was the
matter? At length she cried 'flee for your lifes for Raloo will be
burned at 12 o'clock!' Where shall we go asked the frightened woman? Get
your horses ready and ride to Carrickfergus Castle where the army will guard
you, said the noble girl. I could not bear to see you my kind mistress and
the rest burned to death. I will be quite safe in the village at
Crosshill where I was warned to go."
When the Crawfords were but clear of Raloo it was in flames.
When some of the burners were hanged and order restored the Crawfords
returned to their burnt house. The Catholic servant girl returned to
them and died in her grateful mistress' arms years later.
Nancie passed through the dreadful massacre, and by her cleverness saved the
lives of seventeen families who would have been burned to death by the
Catholic natives. Many over the years have made pilgrimages of thanks
to her grave in Raloo
DANIEL BLAIR, #4 of
generation above, was born in northern Ireland in 1634 and married GANET DRUMMOND. Daniel died January 5, 1704. His wife
Ganet died May 1, 1704. Daniel and Ganet had eight children as
1. SAMSON. Samson
was a soldier in the Army of King James. He fought at the siege
of Derry and in the
Battle of the
Boyne, 1689-90-92. Samson was wounded at Aughrim. On
the defeat of King James, he went into hiding and refused offers of a pardon
he believed insincere. About 1700, he was smuggled aboard a brig
dressed as a woman named "Sally" and made it to safety in Philadelphia but
was never heard of again.
2. SAMUEL. (see next generation)
4. PHOEBE married JOHN MCNEILLY (may be
5. JOHN. born 1670 and went to America about 1700.
JENNY. Married SAMUEL BRYSON and had
many descendants near Belfast, Carmoney and Ballyclare.
7. ELIZABETH. Married
They had children who emigrated to America.
8. JAMES. Married
MARTHA RANKIN. One
of their daughters married a MR. BRECKINRIDGE and went to
America about 1740.
SAMUEL BLAIR was born in
1667 and married MARTHA CAMPBELL LYLE who was born in 1695
and died May 2, 1729. Samuel's second marriage was to ANN
GRAHAM. Samuel owned 400 acres of freehold land.
When he first married, he built a home by the waterside near the flax mill
built by his grandfather, Brice. He later abandoned it for a better
home he built nearby on higher ground. This later house was still in
good condition, even though much altered, as late as 1900. In the
first house, his daughter Esther was born. She was living in the other
house when she married Matthew Lyle in 1731. The
ruins of the first house remain and mark her birthplace. Six of
Samuel's children came to America about 1735. Samuel died March 20,
1754 at the age of 87. He is buried in the Raloo cemetery.
The Blair Coat of Arms is on his tombstone: on a saltire five mascles,
in the chief a mullet, in the base a garb, in the flanks each an increscent
all within a tressure. Crest: a stag courant. Motto: Amos Probos (I Love the
Virtuous). Samuel and Martha had nine children as follows:
1. WILLIAM. Born about
1715, he married MARY REA and died May 26, 1788. Buried in
2. NANCY. Married DAVID ROBINSON, born
about 1683 and died May 22, 1765. Several of her sons were
Hearts of Steel
boys and fled from Ireland to America. They settled in Pennsylvania.
Nancy lived to exceed 100 years of age.
ESTHER. Born about 1712, married MATTHEW LYLE on
September 18, 1731. Matthew was born in 1711 and died 1774 in Rockbridge
County, Virginia. "The Lyle Genealogy" by Oscar Lyle deals mainly
with the descendants of this family.
4. SAMUEL. (confusion abounds on who this is)
JAMES. (more confusion)
6. MARY. Married December 27, 1735 in Larne, County Antrim,
n. Ireland to DAVID LYLE. They probably went to South Carolina?
JOHN. (yet more confusion)
8. MARTHA. Born about 1721 in n. Ireland and married
in 1742 in Rockbridge County, Virginia. John Paxton was a Captain in the
military and died February 13, 1787 in Lexington, Augusta County, Virginia.
Martha died August 12, 1821 at the same place. Martha is said to be the
Grandmother of GEN.
9. DANIEL. (see the next generation).
DANIEL BLAIR was born in
1720 and died in 1808, he is buried in Raloo Cemetery. He married
and had five children as follows:
1. PATRICK. born
1745/1751. Married JEAN BURNS who was born 1759/1765.
Patrick died in Ireland in 1826. They had two children;
B. SAMUEL: Samuel married
and they were the parents of NANCY (BLAIR) KNOX
and seven other children.
Home of Sam & Esther;
Grave of Sam & Esther;
Letter written by
2. SAMUEL "The
3. MARY. May be the same person as Margaret below.
MARGARET. Married BRICE MCNEELY. Either
this Margaret or the Mary above is the twin sister of Samuel and the subject
"Farewell to Erin"
story. Brice is said to have fled Ireland with or at the same time as
"Renegade" Sam. They were living in Pittsburgh at the time of her
father's death in 1808.
5. DANIEL. Born about 1749 he married Jenny Locke and had
the following children: PATRICK, DANIEL and NANCY.
* The bulk of the above information is
taken from the book "Lyle Family, The Ancestry and Posterity of Matthew,
John, Daniel and Samuel Lyle, Pioneer Settles in Virginia by Oscar K.
Lyle, (Brooklyn, N. Y.: Lecouver Press Co., 51 Vesey Street, New York City: