The Tales of a Blair Family    

Nancy Hammond Blair was born in Crawford County, Pennsylvania on February 16, 1814.  She was the first child born to Samuel & Mercy (Chidester) Blair.  Nancy was raised and educated in Pennsylvania and at age 14, on June 12, 1828, she married her cousin, William Chidester McClure.

William Chidester McClure was born March 16, 1804, the son of James and Elizabeth (Chidester) McClure.  William's parents had settled near Lake Conneaut in Crawford County, Pennsylvania around 1797.  Once while they were crossing the lake in a skiff, they came in contact with a huge bear that had become tired of swimming and wanted to get into the boat, but Mr. McClure knocked the animal down, and pressing it under the water, drowned it and then dragged it to shore.  Such was the live of a pioneer.

Nancy, William and their three year old son, Samuel Wilson McClure, joined Nancy's parents on their trek West to Illinois in 1837 and settled on land in Maryland township, Ogle County, Illinois.  In 1839 their daughter Evaline Eliza was born and several years later James E.(1843) and William H.(1846) were born.  In 1846, the same year as the birth of his youngest son, William Chidester McClure died.  Nancy worked their land on her own until her marriage to James Forbes on September 16, 1847.   James Forbes was born in Maryland in 1823.

James and Nancy were the parents of four daughters, Emeline (1849), Hellen (1851), Cecelia (1854) and Rosella Angeline born in 1858.  Although happiness seemed to reign supreme in Nancy's life during the 1850's, the 1860's brought her nothing but heartache. On January 4th, 1860, her husband, James, died of a stomach infection and left Nancy a widow again.  Sometime in the early 1860's her daughters Emeline, Hellen and Cecelia also died and she saw her brother, Silas, and son, Samuel Wilson McClure, go off to fight in the Civil War.   Her brother Silas was killed during the Battle of Shiloh.

Following the death of her husband, Nancy put  the farm up for rent and purchased a house in Forreston.  She lived next door to her sister, Sarah, until her youngest daughter, Rosella "Angie" Forbes, graduated from high school.   Then the two of them moved to Normal, Illinois where Angie continued her education; studying to become a teacher.  Following Angie's graduation she took a position in Rochelle, Illinois and her mother settled back in Forreston where she remained the rest of her life.  Nancy died on June 24th, 1906.  She was buried in White Oak Cemetery in Forreston, Illinois.  Her death certificate stated she died of "old age".  Where it asked how long she had suffered from the affliction that caused her death, it stated "two weeks."  May we all be lucky enough to live to the ripe age of 92 and only be old for the last two weeks of it.