The Tales of a Blair Family    

Arthur Blair was born March 22, 1865, the second son of John Franklin Blair and Amelia (Robins) Blair.  He was born and brought up on the original Blair farm near Adeline, Ogle County, Illinois.  Arthur died of tuberculosis at the tender age of nineteen.   The following series of newspaper clippings about Arthur's last days and death show how deeply the loss of this young man was felt by the family and the community. 

The Forreston Herald: July 28, 1883

Arthur Blair, a promising young man from this town (Adeline) will soon become a student in Mt. Morris College.

The Forreston Herald: June 6, 1885

Mr. and Mrs. Frank Blair and son, Arthur, of Adeline, were in town Monday visiting friends. Arthur was taken with measles at Mt. Morris, some time ago, while attending school. He caught cold, and it settled in his lungs. He was taken to Freeport Monday, where he was examined by Dr. Caldwell and pronounced in a very bad way. They fear that he will never fully recover. Mrs. Blair has almost entirely recovered from her illness [a heart condition].

The Forreston Herald: June 13, 1885

Arthur Blair is able to ride out again, and paid a visit to the gypsie camp Sunday.

The Forreston Herald: July 18, 1885

Dr. Caldwell, of Freeport, was in town Monday to see Mr. Arthur Blair, who is gradually failing.

The Forreston Herald: August 15, 1885

At six o’clock, Tuesday evening the friends and relatives of John F. Blair gathered at the creek in Father Cooley’s field and Rev. Palmer officiating, Arthur Blair, Mr. and Mrs. Benjamin Myers were baptized, there being the place in which Arthur preferred to be immersed. There were abut 50 or 60 people from Adeline, Forreston and the country.

The Forreston Herald: August 22, 1885

Arthur Blair, accompanied by his father, mother and Dr. Hanes, went to Chicago last week and was examined by four different physicians. They all seem to think that there is very little hope of his recovery.

The Forreston Herald; September 19, 1885

BLAIR--At Adeline, Sept. 16th, 1885, Arthur L. Blair, aged 19 years, 5 months and 24 days.

"Life’s springtime has brought its offering to mingle with the ripening fruit of nature’s autumn." Wednesday was one of the most cheerful of autumn days. With the few days preceding, it stood out among the series of dark rainy days of the past week, like bright stars shining through a black and threatening cloud. The waxing warmth and brightness of this summer’s sun seemed to make a special effort to produce a beautiful day, for upon this day a spirit was to say farewell to earth and wing its way to its home in the spirit land. As the smiling earth bore upon its bosom the fruit-laden trees, and the garnered harvests of the summer’s ripening, so too this noble life at its bright and happy close, bore fruit immortal. Arthur’s was a loving, gentle, self-sacrificing disposition. He endured the long, weary days and nights of suffering with wonderful patience. On Thursday night before his death, though his body had been made weak and all but robbed of its last spark of vitality, he spent the last hours in happy song and conversation with those who had been dearest to him in life. He was happy in the assurance that there is a sure and bright future beyond death and he made it the crowning effort of his life’s work to obtain the faithful promises of those about him that their future lives should be such as to entitle them to an assurance such as his own. He expressed the joy of his trusting heart in a special desire that his friends should sing the song "I am so happy in Jesus," and he assured his dearest friend that if he could have talked to his companions he would urge them all alike to speedily begin a life devoted to the service of their Maker. Arthur would have graduated at the Commercial course at Mount Morris College last June had his sickness been delayed two weeks. He was taken in May, with the measles, and afterwards contracted a cold which, effecting his lungs, finally resulting in his death. The best medical counsel our state could afford was sought but no hopeful promise could be offered. He had not walked any since July 15th and had frequent hemorrhages from the lungs which were a constant source of alarm to his anxious friends. While in College his kind unassuming and unselfish conduct led all who knew him to respect and love him and his college companions acknowledged him the favorite of all. He was a faithful pupil and in the eyes of his instructors showed signs of more than common ability. Professors and students visited him during his last days and thus showed the interest they had in one who had been an honor to their school. His room-mate at College, Mr. Solenberger, was sent for and reached his bedside some time before his death. None but students can know of the tender and loving friendship that are suggested by that endearing term my college "chum." Especially touching were his parting words to this his school companion. Upon Arthur’s grave we would lay none but pure garlands. May his pure and noble character live long in our memories and be an incentive to us to make our lives more noble and pure. E.S.B.

[The Obituary was written by Edward S. Blair, Arthur's cousin and son of Matthew and Sarah Ann Blair.]

The Forreston Herald: December 12, 1885

Mr. J. F. Blair and family were very pleasantly entertained last Saturday by a class of singers from Mt. Morris College, of which their son, Arthur, was a member. It was a token of love and respect shown their departed son and was much appreciated by the family. The singing, as was the music, excellent. Misses McCosh and Abbie Fager furnished some very fine instrumental music. After partaking of a hearty repast and spending a very pleasant day, they all returned to the Mount well pleased with the occupations of the day.

The Forreston Herald: February 6, 1886

Mr. and Mrs. Frank Blair, of Adeline, left Wednesday for Rockford where they will purchase a stone to erect over the grave of their loved son, Arthur.  Mrs. Harry Robins, of Forreston, is at Adeline keeping house in Mrs. Blair’s absence.

The Forreston Herald: May 6, 1886

J. F. Blair has purchased a fine monument from Mr. Roberts of Rockford, for his son, Arthur, who is buried in our cemetery. It is a fine structure and some fine work is inscribed upon it. One of the best in the yard, costing $250.