Edwin M. Blair

Edwin M. Blair was born August 28, 1832, in either Genesee or Livingston County, New York, the son of Albert (b. 1812) and Sarah (Howard, b. 1813).

New York natives Albert and Sarah were probably married before 1832 and probably in New York, where they lived until sometime between 1835 and 1836 when they moved to Ohio. By 1850 Edwin was working as a farmer and living his father, who was a cooper, and their family in Brownhelm, Lorain County, Ohio. Edwin was also attending school with his younger siblings.

Edwin eventually left New York and headed westward, settling in western Michigan sometime before 1855. He was living in Solon, Kent County, when he married another Solon resident, 17-year-old New York native Persis Rosina Rounds (1842-1927), on May 15, 1858, in Cedar Springs, Kent County, Michigan, and they eventually adopted two children, Melvin Briggs (b. 1864) and Charlotte (b. 1877). (Persis may have been related to the Joseph Rounds Sr. and Jr., both of whom were from the Rockford area; Joseph Sr. also enlisted in Company F.)

Edwin stood 5’10” with blue eyes, sandy hair and a fair complexion and was 28 years old and working as a farmer and living in Montcalm County when he enlisted in Company F on May 13, 1861. He was discharged on July 29, 1861, at Arlington Heights, Virginia for “lung disease” (possibly consumption).

After his discharge Edwin returned to western Michigan and was probably living in Solon, Kent County when he reentered the service in Company F, Sixth Michigan cavalry on September 16, 1862, at Solon, for 3 years, crediting Solon, and was mustered on October 13, 1862, at Grand Rapids where the regiment was being organized. The Sixth remained on duty at Grand Rapids until December 10 when it left for Washington where it participated in the defenses of the capital until June of 1863.

Edwin however, remained in Grand Rapids; he was reported as “left sick” in the hospital in November and December, but eventually rejoined the regiment and was on duty in March and April of 1863. (He may in fact have been a patient in Ball’s U.S. General Hospital in Washington February.) He was again absent sick in the hospital from June of 1863 through January of 1864, and was reported as suffering from diarrhea on July 8-9, 1863, from gastritis from July 9-11.

He was on detached service from March of 1864 through June of 1865, probably with the Veterans’ Reserve Corps. (The VRC was made up of men who while ambulatory were generally incapable of performing regular military tasks due to having suffered debilitating wounds and/or diseases and were assigned to garrison the many supply depots, draft rendezvous, camps, forts, prisons, etc. scattered throughout the northern cities, thus freeing able-bodied men for regular military duty.)

By mid- to late-June of 1864 he was being treated for intermittent fever. He was apparently transferred, probably in October of 1864, on account of “debility from over-age and scobutus”, to the Two Hundred-thirty-fifth Company, First Battalion of the VRC and thence transferred to Unassigned, VRC. Edwin apparently served as orderly for one General Bartlett during June of 1865 and by August he was reported on furlough. He was discharged on October 13, 1865, by reason of “expiration of term of service”.

After his second discharge from the army Edwin again returned to western Michigan, probably to his home in Kent County. By 1870 he was working as a farmer and living with his wife and one Amity Rounds (b. 1804) in Solon, Kent County, and by 1880 he was still working as a farmer and living with his wife and adopted son Melvin in Solon. (Curiously, in 1880 just two farms away lived the Spencer Briggs family.)

By 1883 he was living in Cedar Springs, Kent County drawing $6.00 per month (pension no. 178,032, dated October of 1880). He was residing in Cedar Springs in 1887 when he attended the Old Third Michigan Infantry Association annual reunion (although he was not a member), and he was still living in Cedar Springs in 1888, and in Solon in 1890 and 1894. In fact he probably lived most of the remainder of his life in the Cedar Springs area. He was a member of Grand Army of the Republic Jewell Post No. 62 in Cedar Springs.

Edwin died of ear cancer on December 30, 1916, in Solon Township, and was buried in Elmwood cemetery, Cedar Springs: section D, lot 78, grave no. 1.

By 1927 his widow, was drawing $50.00 per month for pension no. 831823, drawing $50.00, and living at 409 LaGrave Street, SE, in Grand Rapids.