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Subjects: Civil War
Description: Austin Blair
Member ex-officio of the State Board of Agriculture, 1861-65; president of the State Board of Agriculture; state senate, 1855; Governor, 1860 and 1862 widely known as the War Governor; 1866, 1868, and in 1870 elected to congress; regent of the University, 1881.
Austin Blair (1861-65) was born at Caroline, Tompkins county, New York, February 8, 1818, son of George and Rhoda (Beackman) Blair. He was educated at Hamilton and Union Colleges and received a Bachelor of Arts in 1839. Upon receiving his degree, he began to study law and was admitted to the bar in 1841. He then came west and settled at Jackson, MI. He began his political career as a campaign orator for Henry Clay in 1844. The following year, he was elected to the lower house of the Michigan legislature and was instrumental in securing the abolishment of capital punishment in the state. He was an ardent Free Soil man, and later was a participant in the formation of the Republican Party. In 1855 he was a member of the state senate. He was elected governor of the state in 1860, and again in 1862, and was widely known as the War Governor. In 1866, he was elected to congress, and was re-elected in 1868, and again in 1870. In 1881 he was chosen Regent of the University, and served the full term of eight years from January 1. He was one of the ablest, most conscientious, and most efficient members that ever sat on the Board. The Regents of the University conferred upon him the degree of Doctor of Laws in 1890. He died at his home in Jackon, August 6, 1894. The next year the legislature provided for the erection of a memorial statue of him in the Statehouse grounds at Lansing. He had three children.
Original Format: Black and white photograph
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Contributing Institution: University Archives & Historical Collections
Relation: MSU Photograph Collection
Contributor: MSU Archives and Historical Collections
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