|John Blair, Signer of the United States Constitution|
A native of Williamsburg, Virginia, John Blair (Born: 1732) was the nephew of James Blair, founder and first president of the College of William and Mary. The Blair family by the time of John’s birth was already a leading family in Virginia and possessed a place of privilege in the Commonwealth. Like so many others from well placed Virginia families at the time, John was willing to sacrifice his position of comfort and security to maintain freedom in America.
As might be expected, Blair graduated from William and Mary (the ultimate “legacy” enrolment), and went on to study Law at the Middle Temple in London. Blair’s law practice upon graduation was in the city of his birth, Williamsburg.
From 1766-1770 John Blair served as a Delegate in the House of Burgesses, and then advanced to clerk of the colonial council from 1770 to 1775. During this time he worked for American interests by opposing the Townshend Duties (signing the Virginia Association, June 22, 1770 that opposed importation of British goods) and calling for the support of the patriots in Boston.
Blair held numerous positions in the Virginia revolutionary government that followed the formation of the Continental Congress. Blair served on the Virginia constitutional convention and helped establish the declaration of rights for the Commonwealth. His administrative experience led him to Virginia’s Privy Council from 1776 to 1778, and in 1778 was elected to Virginia’s General Court where he became chief judge. By 1780, Blair won election to the high chancery court and served with George Wythe (previous founder of the month).
Blair was appointed to represent Virginia in the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia in 1787 along with James Madison and George Washington. Blair pressed his experience and wisdom in favor of the adoption of the Constitution we live under today.
In 1789 Blair was appointed by then president George Washington to the U.S. Supreme Court as an associate justice where he served until 1796, retiring to Williamsburg.
John Blair, patriot, legislator, jurist, and Supreme Court justice died in 1800 at age 68. You can visit the grave of this great Virginian and American at Bruton Parish Church in Williamsburg.