Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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BLAIR, Henry William, senator, born in Camp-ton, New Hampshire, 6 December 1834. His parents died before he had completed his thirteenth year, and his boyhood was spent in the family of Richard Bartlett, of Campton, where he worked on the farm, and attended school at intervals until he was seventeen, when he began to teach, hoping to earn enough money to take him through College. Compelled by ill health to give up this plan, he read law with William Leverett, of Plymouth, New Hampshire, was admitted to the bar in 1859, and in 1860 was elected prosecuting attorney for Grafton County When the civil war began he enlisted in the 15th New Hampshire volunteers, was chosen captain of his company, soon became major, and finally Lieutenant-Colonel. He was twice wounded severely at the siege of Port Hudson, and was prevented by his wounds, and disease contracted in service, from taking any active part in the remainder of the war. He was elected to the New Hampshire House of Representatives in 1866, and in 1867 and 1868 to the state senate. He served in the United States House of Representatives from 1875 till 1879, and, declining a renomination, was elected to the United States senate in the latter year, and reelected in 1885. Senator Blair has given much attention to social questions, and is an ardent temperance reformer. He is the author of the "Blair Common School Bill," which was introduced by him in the 47th congress. As passed by the senate in April 1884, the bill appropriates $77,000,000 to be distributed among the states in proportion to their illiteracy. In the original bill the amount was $105,000,000. In the 49th congress the senate again passed the bill, making the appropriation $79,000,000. Senator Blair has also introduced prohibitory temperance and woman suffrage amendments to the national constitution, is the author of the Blair scientific temperance education bill and the Blair pension bill, and has made important speeches on financial subjects.
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