Blair Family – Pleasant Valley Cemetery, Larned, Pawnee County, Kansas
Pleasant Valley Cemetery is seven miles south of Larned along highway K-19. There are a little over 300 headstones in the cemetery. The Blair family has seven headstones, including four on one stone.
The headstone reads:
Wilson C. Blair 1833-1915 Lizzie Blair 1836-1916 Cenotaph Mary Blair 1838-1862 John Blair 1840-1937
Their story begins with the birth of their father, Abner N. Blair. He was born in 1805 in the state of Tennessee. In 1832, Abner married Permillia Ross. They were blessed with two sons and three daughters.
Mary was the first of their children to pass away. Very little information is available about her other than that she died in 1862 at the age of twenty-three. She is buried in Knox County, Missouri. The Blair family was one of the early settlers of Pawnee County as they came in 1876. They settled in Pleasant Valley township south of Larned.
The reason they came to Pawnee County could have been the change in the Homestead Act of 1862. A soldier could deduct the number of years he served in the Union Civil War from the five-year residency requirement.
Wilson C. Blair enlisted as a sergeant in Co. F 3rd MO Cavalry. At the end of enlistment, Sgt. Blair re-upped and served until the end of the war.
Abner died in 1885 and Permillia in 1896. Both share the same stone in Pleasant Valley Cemetery. After the death of their parents, Wilson, Lizzie, and John lived together. However, it appears that none of them were married.
Wilson and John experienced severe accidents a few months apart in 1899. In September, John was bringing a load of hay into Larned when the train passed through town. John was thrown from the wagon and ran over him. He suffered a compound fracture and some bumps and bruises.
In November, Wilson’s accident was much worse. As he was walking in town, the team of a delivery wagon broke loose and ran up on the sidewalk. The tongue from the wagon struck Wilson in the head. Wilson was knocked unconscious and was paralyzed from the waist down. Wilson recovered, but the injury affected him for the remainder of his life.
Wilson died at the age of 82. Lizzie died the following year.
The last name on the stone is that of John, who passed away at age 96. They are all buried in Pleasant Valley Cemetery.
The rest of the story: Abner and Permillia’s youngest daughter was Sarah. She was born in Ohio in 1846 and was 30 years old when the family came to Pawnee. She married James B. Gilkison in 1881. Sarah passed away in 1937 and is buried in Pleasant Valley Cemetery.
Note: A cenotaph is a monument built to remember loved ones buried elsewhere. It is most commonly used in the military.