Biography of John D. Adair
Chicago, Cook County, Il Biographies

ADAIR, JOHN D. - Born at Carlisle, Cumberland county, Pa., November 22, 1841. Son of S. Dunlap and Henrietta (Gray) Adair; father of Scotch, mother of Irish descent. The former was a distinguished lawyer in eastern Pennsylvania, running for congress on the Whig ticket in 1840, in what is now the 19th district of Pennsylvania, and was defeated; defended indictments under fugitive slave law. Mr. Adair was educated in the public schools of Carlisle, Pa., his early manhood being devoted to the service of the United States during the war of the Rebellion; enlisted in june, 1861, when under twenty years of age, in Carlisle Fencibles Co., which became Company A, 7th Regiment, Pennsylvania Reserve Volunteer Corps; promoted to first sergeant of company, and later to second lieutenant of Company G, same regiment; in August, 1862, promoted to captain and commissary of subsistence of volunteers; breveted major and lieutenantcolonel of volunteers; mustered out Oct. 8, 1865; - served on staffs of Gens. Meade, Doubleday (at Gettysburg), Crawford, McKenzie and other commanders; for four months previous to final movements of armies around Richmond was "Inspector of the Subsistence Department of the Armies Operating against Richmond,' at headquarters of Gen. Grant; was present at the surrender of Gen. Lee at the McLean house, Appomattox Court House, Va., with staff of Gen. Grant; gave his horse to Col. Babcock to convey Grant's last message to Lee, taking Babcock's in exchange. In a letter dated headquarters, Department of the East, Philadelphia, Feb. 27, 1867, addressed to Andrew Johnson, president of the United States, Major Gen. George C. Meade, U. S. army, called attention to the meritorious servicesand distinguished conduct of John P. Adair, in a most flattering manner, and recommended him for suitable acknowledgment and ward. The statements in this letter were concurred in by Gen. Grant, and Maj. Gen. S W. Crawford made it the basis of a recommendation of his appointment as an officer of the internal revenue department in 1867. In 1868, Mr Adair came to Chicago as a delegate to the soldiers' convention, held in the North Side Turner Hall, the day before Gen. Grant's first nomination for the presidency; settled permanently in Chicago in 1870; has been inspector of customs at Chicago; is one of the examining attorneys for the Title Guarantee & Trust Company, and is identified with the Chicago Law Institute. In his profession, Mr. Adair has been prominently connected with some important cases, notably that of Holmes vs. Smythe. This case excited great public interest, as it was one in which almost the very existence of building and loan associations was involved. The supreme court of Illinois had, in 1881, pronounced the act of April 4, 1872, providing for the organization of building and loan associations in Illinois, unconstitutional ; a number of such institutions had been organized under the act of 1879; it followed that if the act of 1872 were invalid so was that of 1879. A number of state organizations, alarmed at the decision, prepared to go into liquidation. Mr. Adair was the attorney for the Peoples' Loan and Building Association, and asked leave to file an argument for a rehearing, which was granted. He showed the important consequences, disastrous to public interests, which would follow if the decision were adhered to. On the argument the court abandoned its position and held the act valid; since then hundreds of these corporations have been organized, and are being properly conducted to the benefit and profit of the state at large, and particularly to the industrious classes and small capitalists. Mr. Adair is a member of Post 28, G. A. R., Union Veteran League. Chicago Union Veteran Club, having been president of the latter, and for four terms has been chairman of the committee on political action of this club, Is a member of the Chicago Chess Club; has no religious affiliations; in national and stnte politics is a republican; in local politics is independent. Married Miss Elida M. Bell, May 21, 1884; has one child, a daughter named Myrtle. He is a chess player of celebrity, having played with and defeated some of the greatest players of his time, and has won many trophies. His chess playing, however, is indulged in merely for recreation and relaxation from his arduous professional duties.

The Handbook of Chicago Biography
Edited by John J Flinn.
The Standard Guide Company
Chicago 1893


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