R. A. Blair, one of the successful merchants of Mesa county, conducting an extensive trade at his large and well-equipped store eleven miles south of Grand Junction, near the village of Whitewater, is a native of Pennsylvania, born in Beaver county in 1829. His parents, Joseph and Mary (Henry) Blair, were also natives of that state and of Scotch ancestry. The father died at Centerville, Michigan, in 1885, at the age of eighty-five, and the mother in 1891 at the same age. At nine years old the subject moved to Delaware county, Ohio, and there he grew to manhood and received his education. When he was about twenty-three years of age he started in life for himself, owning a sawmill in Iowa. This he continued until the second year of the Civil war, when he joined the Union army, enlisting on August 8, 1862, in the Thirty-third Iowa Infantry for a term of three years or during the war. At the close of the contest he was honorably discharged, and during the next two years was engaged in railroading on the Union Pacific, doing heavy contract work. From there he went to Galveston, Texas, where he remained four years and was occupied in building railroads. From that period until 1880 he owned a sawmill in Indian Territory and in 1880 he came to Colorado and settled in Telluride, San Miguel county, where he became busily occupied in raising stock. In 1895 he sold out this business and bought the store which he now conducts and which is carried on with enterprise and vigor, having a large stock of general merchandise especially adapted to the needs of the community and supplying the wants of an extensive trade. He was married in 1856 to Miss Margaret McLain, and they have two children, Charles B. and Lillian B. In politics Mr. Blair is a zealous and loyal Republican, but although taking an active part in the campaigns of his party, he is not an office-seeker or desirous of political preferment of any kind. He is a citizen of public-spirit and breadth of view, enterprising and progressive and has contributed well to the advancement and development of the county.
Source: Bowen, A. W. Progressive Men of Western Colorado. Chicago: A. W. Bowen & Co., Publishers. 1905.