Biography of Luke Blair
Winona County, MN Biographies

LUKE BLAIR, farmer, land located in Sec. 19, St. Charles township, and consists of 187 acres, principally oak openings. This farm was purchased by Mr. Blair in the fall of 1873, and the yield per acre for the season of 1882 was of barley thirty bushels, oats fifty bushels, corn fifty to fifty-five bushels, and hay two tons. Mr. Luke Blair is one of the pioneers of Winona county, and has been a resident of the state nearly thirty years. A native of Ware, Massachusetts, he came into Van Rensselaer county, New York, with his parents, at four years of age, and from there to Wisconsin in 1846. After residing for seven years in Racine and Columbia counties, in that state, Mr. Blair came into Minnesota, looking for more land upon which to settle his family, and on September 12, 1853, made his claim to three quarter-sections of land lying principally within what is now Sec. 2, Saratoga township. The one-fourth section pre-empted for himself by Mr. Blair was the N.W. of Sec. 2, and this claim was proved up and a deed taken from the government April 2, 1857. The other one-half section was taken for his sons Charles and John L. Mr. Luke Blair spent the winter of 1853-4 in Winona, dealing to some extent in provisions, and the following spring built a storeroom and opened business on the southwest corner of Center and Second streets. This business he sold the following fall to Jacoby & Co., and moving out to his claim in Saratoga township spent the winter there. The following spring, 1855, he built his barn, a frame structure 16 x 24 feet with 14 foot posts, and a frame kitchen 16 x 24 feet with 8 foot posts, and these were the first frame buildings erected in Saratoga township. In February, 1856, Mr. Blair returned to Winona, and, entering into partnership with Mr. Burr Deuel, opened a store on the levee at the foot of Center street. Continued in business here one year, then returned to his farm in Saratoga township, which he managed three years. Early in 1860 he again removed to Winoiia, built a store on the corner of Second and Center streets, where the Second National Bank now is; moved into it that same spring with a large stock of goods, and was in trade there at the breaking out of the war of 1861-65, when, fearing depression in business, he removed his stock of goods to Preston, Fillmore county, Minnesota, the more readily to dispose of them, which having done he returned that same fall, 1861, to his Saratoga farm, and remained there until his removal to his present property in 1874. The old homestead remained in his possession until the spring of 1882, when it was sold to Thomas H. Wilson, Esq., of Winona. October 17, 1830, Mr. Luke Blair married Margaret Wiltse, who died November 10, 1874. Of these three children, all boys, and residents of Winona county, Calvin is at home. Charles resides on his old pre-emption in Saratoga and John L. is a resident of St. Charles. February 15, 1876, Mr. Blair married Mrs. Mary S. Wooley, of Fremont township, Winona county, who pre-empted a farm there in 1857, and resided upon it until her marriage to Mr. Blair.

The History of Winona County
Together with Biographical Matter, Statistics, Etc.
BY: A. T. Andreas
H. H. Hill and Company, Publishers
Chicago 1883.


Winona County, MN
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