Re: [civilwarwest] Re: Question regarding the Blair family
- In a message dated 1/29/02 8:39:50 PM Eastern Standard Time, basecat1@...
<< Just to add my 2 cents on the Blairs, The Famous Blair House up the street
from the White House was owned by the family. The Elder Blair always wished
that he or one of his sons became President, but alas, this was as close to
the White House as they ever got. :)
Regards from the Garden State,
>>And Steve, that is where Harry Truman lived when they were remodeling the
White House and where visiting dignataries stay when they come and visit the
Wayne who remembers seeing Truman on his morning walks in LaFayette Park
- now how do you like that?! I had thought the Blair residence in the
area was Blair Mansion ( now being used as a murder mystery dinner
thing - eeeewwwwwwwww ) in Silver Spring, MD, on the DC line, see
I knew of Blair House - doesnt the president elect stay there? - but
did not know this was the same Blair family.
--- In civilwarwest@y..., FLYNSWEDE@A... wrote:
> In a message dated 1/29/02 8:39:50 PM Eastern Standard Time,
> << Just to add my 2 cents on the Blairs, The Famous Blair House up
> from the White House was owned by the family. The Elder Blair
> that he or one of his sons became President, but alas, this was as
> the White House as they ever got. :)
> Regards from the Garden State,
> And Steve, that is where Harry Truman lived when they were
> White House and where visiting dignataries stay when they come and
> Wayne who remembers seeing Truman on his morning walks in
- In a message dated 1/30/02 2:55:04 PM Eastern Standard Time,
<< I knew of Blair House - doesnt the president elect stay there? - but
did not know this was the same Blair family >>
Shore is de same
- The Blair family were something like the Kennedy's today --covering
several generations and exercising tremendous influence over American
Francis Blair Senior, "Preston Blair," was the family patriarch. He had
been a charter member of Old Hickory's "Kitchen Cabinet" and continued
to be a frequent advisor to Democratic administrations. He also was an
influential newspaper man.
Like most of the Jacksonians, Preston Blair was an unconditional
Unionist in 1861.
As a result, the Montgomery's home in Silver Springs, Maryland, was
burned by Jubal Early in 1864.
Preston's children included Francis Junior, and Montgomery, who have
been covered here. There was also Elizabeth (1818-1906) who married
"Lincoln's Lee," US Navy officer Samuel Phillips Lee (1812-1897). Lee
was the grandson of "Signer" Richard Henry Lee and a third cousin, or
some such, of Robert E. Preston Blair strongly opposed his daughter's
marriage to an impecunious junior navy officer (all of the Lee's of that
generation seem to have been broke!) but later not only reconciled
became very close to his son-in-law.
In the 1861, CDR Lee was CO of the USS Vandalia, enroute to the East
Indies. While refitting at Cape Town, he heard about the secession of
South Carolina, disobeyed orders, and brought the Vandalia home,
arriving on May 15. Between his initiative in returning to the United
States, as his family influence, Lee was on the fast track! He was CO of
the gunboat Oneida during the attack on New Orleans and Farragut's
passing of Vicksburg. He was then appointed acting rear admiral and
given command of the North Atlantic Squadron off Virginia and North
Carolina, and later the Mississippi River Squadron, supporting Thomas
against Hood (see: it *is* on topic!). Lee retired in 1872 as rear
admiral and is buried in Arlington.
Many of the letters Lizzie wrote to Phil have been published as Laas,
_Wartime Washington: The CW Letters of Elizabeth Blair Lee (Urbana,
1991) and they are a fascinating assortment of gossip and insider
information on everyone of importance.
Although Elizabeth had a great deal of empathy and compassion for most
of the Confederates, she left a very poor impression of her kissing
cousin, Robert Lee: "I feel no exulted respect for a man who takes part
in a movement in which he can see nothing but 'anarchy and ruin in
& yet that very utterance scare passed Robt Lees lips to my Father when
he starts off with delegates to the Richmond convention -- to treat with
Traitors -- No vain woman in my opinion was ever more easily lured from
honor & duty by flattering than was this weak man by the overtures of
The multi-generational aspect of the Blair family is demonstrated by
Preston's father in law, the Revolutionary hero, Nathanial Gist and
Elizabeth and Samuel's son, Blair Lee (1857-1944), who became the first
popularly elected US Senator from Maryland.
Preston purchased the house at 1655 Pennsylvania in 1845 and used it as
a in-town residence, to go along with the Silver Springs estate. In
1857, he bought the house next door and gave it to Samuel and Elizabeth.
It was in the parlor of 1655 that Preston offered Col. Lee the command
of the US Army in 1861 (referred to in Elizabeth's letter above). The
two houses were combined and remained in the family until 1942 when they
were purchased by the US government and have been used since then as the
official guest house for visiting heads of state -- a use that the Civil
War era Blairs would have said only continues the tradition!
Judy and Bob Huddleston
10643 Sperry Street
Northglenn, CO 80234-3612