AUSTIN BLAIR, the thirteenth governor of Michigan, was born in Caroline, Tompkins County, New York on February 8, 1818. His education was attained at the Cazenovia Seminary, at Hamilton College, and at Union College, where he graduated in 1837. He then studied law, was admitted to the bar in 1841, and established a legal practice in Eaton Rapids, Michigan. Blair entered politics in 1842, serving as the county clerk of Eaton County. He also served as a member of the Michigan House of Representatives from 1845 to 1849, was elected the Jackson County prosecuting attorney in 1852, was actively involved in forming the Republican Party in 1854, and served as a member of the Michigan State Senate from 1855 to 1856. Blair next secured the 1860 Republican gubernatorial nomination, and went on to win the general election by a popular vote. He was reelected to a second term in 1862. During his tenure, Civil War issues consumed the majority of his administration. Troops were organized and equipped with funds that were raised through private donations from Detroit bankers and businessmen. After completing his term, Blair left office on January 1, 1865. He continued to stay politically active, serving as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, a position he held from 1867 to 1873. Governor Austin Blair passed away on August 6, 1894, and was buried at the Mount Evergreen Cemetery in Jackson, Michigan.
Sobel, Robert, and John Raimo, eds. Biographical Directory of the Governors of the United States, 1789-1978, Vol. 2, Westport, Conn.; Meckler Books, 1978. 4 vols.