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From the Logan Banner of Logan, WV, comes this bit of history about Harrison Blair, an early sheriff in Logan County, WV:
Harrison Blair Was First Democrat Sheriff In Logan
Son of Namesake Of Town Of Blair Served Shortly After Civil War; Democrats Held Office Continuously Until 1924
John Blair, namesake of the little mining town which nestles at the foot of Blair Mountain on the headwaters of Laurel Fork, was the father of Logan county’s first Democratic sheriff.
He was a native of Powells Valley in Virginia and first settled just above the present site of Williamson. He married Polly Baisden and later settled near his father-in-law, Jean Schmidt Baisden, at the Mouth of Laurel.
Blair died in 1860 after rearing a family of three sons and three daughters. His son, Harrison, was Logan county’s first Democratic sheriff after the Civil War.
Harrison was married twice. He first married a Miss Johnson and later a Miss Chafin. His brothers Anderson and Joe married McCoy sisters and made their home near their brother and father on Laurel Fork.
Jean Schmidt Baisden, father-in-law to John Blair, was one of the first settlers at the Mouth of Laurel. He came with Lafayette to America and served under him during the Revolution.
After the war he located at Richmond, Va., and then moved to Reeds Island, New York, where he married a Miss Burnham. At the beginning of the 19th century he moved to the mouth of Laurel and reared a family.
He had three sons and two daughters. His sons were Joseph, who married Lucinda Osborne; Solomon, who married Mary Chafin; and Edward, who married Susan Bennett.
His daughters were Polly, who married Harrison Blair; and Frances, who married Thomas Copley.
John Blair’s daughters were Mahulda, who married Anderson Dempsey; Chlorina, who married John McCoy; and Rhoda, who married Moses Parsley.
The Blairs and Baisdens are a well-known family on the Laurel Fork side of Blair Mountain, though few have crossed the divide and settled on the Guyan river watershed.
Early county history has it that the Blairs were active politically in the county following the Civil War, but no definite facts can be found of individuals holding any official position other than Harrison, who was the first of a long line of Democratic sheriffs, which ruled the county up until 1924, when the Republicans broke the power of Democrats and began their regime which ended in 1932.
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 4 May 1937.
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In April of 1929, the Logan Banner profiled numerous prominent African-American residents of Logan County, West Virginia.
Rev. J.H. Burns
Pastor, Shiloh Baptist Church, Sharples
The Reverend Burns has been pastor for five consecutive years. The church of his charge has an enrolled membership of 175, and is one of the best organized congregations in the field. All of its departments, missionary society, Sunday school, B.Y.P.U. and other branches are active and effective. His services in the community and county, as a moral and spiritual influence, are constructive and uplifting. Rev. Burns has been in the ministry for twenty-one years, covering numerous fields of activity in his long period of service to the cause of religion among his people. The reverend’s educational qualifications embrace studies at Walker Baptist Institute, Augusta, and Morehouse College, Atlanta. All matters pertaining to the welfare of his people, enlist Rev. Burns’ support and he wields a large measure of power among his people in the community and county.
Source: Logan (WV) Banner, 16 April 1929
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