W. A. Blair, editor and proprietor of the Oswego Independent, has had a long and successful experience in Kansas journalism, has owned several papers in the southeastern part of the state, and has always been a live and vigorous citizen and for four years was county clerk of Labette County.
He is a native Kansan, having been born in Washington County January 30, 1879. His paternal ancestors were Irish. His grandfather Andrew Blair was born in County Antrim, Ireland, and spent his life there. For many years he was engaged in the limestone industry and also owned a large amount of land. He was the father of thirteen children altogether. Two of his daughters came to America and both are married, one living in Nebraska and another near Chicago. One son, James, came to this country at the age of forty-five and now resides on a farm near Chicago.
David Blair, the father of W. A. Blair, was born in County Antrim, Ireland, in 1849. He came to America about 1866, landing in New York City and going west to Ohio. He lived on farms in the vicinity of Sandusky until 1869 and in that year came out to Kansas and was one of the homesteaders in Washington County. He proved up on his claim of a quarter section, subsequently sold it and in 1888 moved to Labette County, where he bought 160 acres. He finally sold that tract, and at the present time is living at Edna in Labette County, and owns many broad acres, most of them in this county. Since 1910 he has been in the lumber business at Edna associated with J. C. Justice. Mr. Justice organized the Citizens State Bank of Edna, and David Blair was one of its original stockholders. He is a highly successful business man and has always been influential in civic matters. He has held various township offices, is a republican, was reared a Presbyterian, and has been devoted to the Masonic Order, having served as master of Edna Lodge for at least twenty-member of the Modern Woodmen of America. David Blair married Luella Phillips, who was born at Upper Sandusky, Ohio, in 1856. Their children are: Anna, wife of H. W. Burgess, who is a business man at Edna; W. A.; R. C. Blair, a druggist at Mound Valley, Kansas; D. F. Blair, of Seattle, Washington; Ruby, wife of R. T. McGee, Jr., a general merchant at Edna, Kansas; and Vivian who is unmarried and resides with her parents.
Mr. W. A. Blair received his early education in in the public schools of Labette County, and has lived here chiefly since he was nine years of age. He graduated in 1899 from the Labette County High School at Altamont. He had some experience as a teacher himself, having taught for one term in District No. 97 of Labette County. His chief work, however, has been journalism. He bought and conducted until December, 1904, the Edna Enterprise, and in the meantime established another paper at Coweta, Oklahoma. On January 1, 1905, he leased the plant and moved to Oswego to accept the place of deputy county clerk. He filled that position four years and was then elected county clerk of Labette County. Mr. Blair gave a most creditable administration for four years. In September, 1913, he bought the Oswego Independent, and has given all his time and energy to its management since that date.
The Oswego Independent was established June 22, 1872, by B. F. McGill, and with nearly forty-five years of existence it is one of the very old and influential papers in Southeastern Kansas. It is issued weekly, has circulation in Labette and surrounding counties, and politically is a republican organ. Mr. Blair owns the well equipped office and plant at 309 Commercial Street. He also owns his home at 523 Michigan Street in Oswego.
Mr. Blair is president of the Oswego Fellowship Club, a flourishing organization for the betterment of the town which was founded by a Presbyterian minister in 1909. Politically he is a republican and is a member of the school board. Fraternally he is affiliated with Edna Lodge No. 345, Ancient Free and Accepted Masons, is past high priest of Oswego Chapter No. 15, Royal Arch Masons, and is past eminent commander of Oswego Commandery No. 7, Knights Templar. He also belongs to Camp No. 164, Modern Woodmen of America at Edna.
At St. Louis, Missouri, September 16, 1903, Mr. Blair married Miss Mabel Preston, daughter of W. E. and Rose (Higginson) Preston. Both her parents are now deceased and her father was a music teacher by profession. Mr. and Mrs. Blair have five children: Therese, born February 18, 1905; Robert, born May 29, 1906; Clarice, born October 20, 1908; Fredah, born November 19, 1913; and Billy Bryce, born February 28, 1915.