John Insley Blair

John Insley Blair
View Inventory

John Insley Blair was born in Warren County, New Jersey, on August 22, 1802. The education received by the boy was limited to a few brief months of schooling during the winter, and ceased when he reached the age of eleven. Mr. Blair developed business interests in flour mills, cotton manufacturing, the marketing of the produce, and also in wholesaling many goods to stores. He likewise filled the office of postmaster in Blairstown for forty years. About 1833 he became associated with others in the development of iron-mines in the vicinity of Oxford Furnace, a forge that had been in operation in pre-revolutionary times. Success in this venture led, in 1846, to his being connected with the organization of the Lackawanna Coal and Iron company. His ownership and interest in the building of railroads for the transportation of the outputs from the mines, of which he was part proprietor, followed as a matter of course. The road from Owego to Ithaca, New York, was bought and rebuilt by him and his associates during 1849. Later, the Legget's Gap road, from Scranton to Great Bend, was constructed, and thrown open in 1851. In 1852, by consolidation, building, and reorganization, the corporation known as the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad came into existence. In the development of this road he was actively interested, and is one of its largest stockholders. He was engaged in railroad building in Iowa, Wisconsin, Kansas, Nebraska, Dakota, Missouri, and Texas. He was the organizer of the railroad system of Iowa, having built the first railroad across that state from the Mississippi to the Missouri rivers, and subsequently more than 2,000 miles in Iowa and Nebraska. He was one of the original founders of the Union Pacific Railroad, and was at one point the director of sixteen railroads (simultaneously!). Among the benefactors of his substantial fortune were the College of New Jersey, Princeton (he became a trustee in 1866), Lafayette College; and the Blair Presbyterian Academy. In the eighty towns that he laid out in the west, more than 100 Churches were erected, largely through his liberality. In politics Mr. Blair was a strong republican, and he was the candidate of that party for governor of New Jersey in 1868. One of his daughters married Charles Scribher, founder of the publishing-house in New York. His family is responsible for founding the town of Blairstown and the Blairstown Academy both in New Jersey.

We are currently offering the following pieces signed by John Insley Blair:





All certificates are sold only as collectible pieces, as they are either canceled or obsolete. Certificates carry no value on any of today's financial indexes and no transfer of ownership is implied. Unless otherwise indicated, images are representative of the piece(s) you will receive.