Francis Marion Blair
and Susie Maggard

The photo above of Francis Marion Blair is from an article about successful, renowned, celebrated citizens from the area in the Mountain Eagle Newspaper, Whitesburg, Letcher County, Kentucky in 1909. The article underneath the photo is as follows: "The subject of this sketch is a son of the late Marion Blair and was born in 1876. His father died when he was quite small. He was educated in the public schools and considering his chances obtained a fair education. He entered the internal revenue service in 1903 and has made a faithful and brave officer. France Blair is a cool, quiet, honest and good citizen, is a great friend to the industrial and business interest of Letcher county and the mountains. He numbers his friends by the thousands."

Francis Marion Blair b 19 Jan 1876 d 15 Nov 1911; killed in the line of duty as a police officer; s/o Francis Marion Blair and Regina Dorinda Dingus. Francis Marion Blair m. 14/15 Jun 1905 to Susie Maggard b 14 Jun 1882 d 26 Apr 1925; of internal injuries received from a fall while helping her father rob his bee hives; d/o David M "Preacher Dave" Maggard and Sarah Mullins. Children of Francis Marion Blair and Susie Maggard;

1. Zola Mae Blair; m. James Wilson. (2 sons).


Article From Facebook Posted May 27, 2016 - By Jack Hall in Letcher County, Kentucky Group - Written by Maude Blair Stanifer

In writing of my mother's youngest brother, Francis M. Blair, Deputy U. S. Marshall, it is hard to know just how to describe him. He was tall, sandy haired and blue eyed, handsome in a rugged, manly way, with a personality that you don't find in many men. Had he been able to have acquired an education that is a positive must in the present time for all men who hope to make their mark in this world, he would have been outstanding. He had an education that he obtained by reading, meeting people, traveling and mingling with the better class of people.

He always tried to lift himself up and held a place of respect in the best of society. He once ran for Sheriff of Letcher County, Kentucky and was defeated but held the office of Deputy Sheriff. He made two trips to Oklahoma in the early settling of that territory. In the course of his career he made trips to Lexington, Louisville, Covington, Cincinnati and Chicago. He always brought home anything of interest to show the family. Later, he was appointed to the office of Deputy U. S. Marshall, in which office he lost his life at an early age.

He had two very close friends, Jesse Day and Sam Collins. Jesse Day has lived a very busy and honourable life. Had held public office and was re- spected by all. Sam Collins was appointed to the office of Commissioner of Internal Revenue. I wish from the bottom of my heart that Uncle France could have known that some day his friend, Sam Collins, would be known throughout the Southeast as well as the midwestern states as the 'man that couldn't be bought'. We were all so pleased to be one to know, honor and respect him for the tribute paid to his name. Sam Collins as well as Jesse Day, was always in our hearts because of their friendship and loyalty to our Uncle. Sam Collins was as dearly loved by all Blairs as if he indeed were our uncle, too.

My uncle died in the line of duty. He was deputized to pick up a young man in Perry County, Kentucky. Wash Morgan was his name and uncle was to return him to the police or sheriff at the state line of Kentucky and Virginia. Morgan was to be taken back to Virginia to stand trial for shooting an officer. Morgan thought he had killed the man. My Uncle France went to the boy's home, taking a deputy sheriff, John D. Blair, I believe, and went into the home as he knew the father. Asked if the boy was there and told him why he'd come to talk to him. He explained that since the officer wasn't going to die that the charge would not be murder as he'd thought. Uncle France asked him to go back with him and give himself up to the authorities in Virginia and it would be a much lighter sentence. The boy agreed and said he'd be right down.

He, Wash Morgan, was standing at the head of the stairs talking to Uncle and at that my uncle turned to speak to the boy's father in a nice, friendly way as he never doubted the boy's intention of going with him as agreed to. At that instant, John D. Blair glanced up and called to uncle to look out. Uncle France turned to see why. Morgan shot him through the chest with a revolver and fired the second shot at John D. Blair who leaped into the air as he called to uncle. He received a shot in the knee instead of the chest. He fell to the floor and kept shooting. My uncle turned to Logan Morgan, the boy's father, and said, "Take care of me, Logan, I'm dying." He staggered just outside of the door and sank down on the grass. John D. Blair managed to back up to the door and get outside but kept shooting until Morgan's gun was empty and he, Morgan, ran out and away from the house.

Then John D. Blair crawled over to my uncle and realized he could do nothing for him. So he managed to drag his shattered leg and crawled about one-half mile to the nearest house and told them what had happened. They telephoned back to the officers at Whitesburg, Ky. and our family. Our friend, Sam Collins, led the posse that included my father, brother and husband, as well as neighbors that night to the scene of the murder. They had the body of my Uncle France returned home, but they never let up on the hunt for Morgan until he was brought in for trial. If there was ever a trial of more unjustice, I have yet to hear of it.

The crime was committed in another county, Perry; therefore, the trial had to be held in that county. Perjury? There was only one eye-witness to testify in my uncle's behalf. The father, mother, brothers, sisters and others of the boy's family who were not at home at the time, swore lie after lie. It was their word against just one lone witness. Morgan was sent up for two years. Injustice, and how! This happened in November, 1911. Only last week, after all of these years, I saw in the Mountain Eagle where Wash Morgan had died. I'm glad there is a higher tribunal to judge such as he.

My uncle's death made a young wife and a young three year old baby girl a widow and orphan. The wife has been dead several years but the daughter, Zola Mae, married James Willson and with two sons and families live at Heyworth, Illinois, about 150 miles southwest of Chicago. Here is such a very lovely personality I can just see my uncle all over again and she has the beauty of her mother, who was the youngest daughter, 'Susie', of Uncle Dave Maggard, a preacher of the Gosped for as long as he lived.

Written by Maude Blair Stanifer


More On The Death of Susan Maggard Cornett Blair

Susan Susie Maggard b 14 Jun 1882 Letcher Co KY d 26 Apr 1925; of internal injuries received from a fall while helping her father rob his bee hives. In later years, Susie returned to her father's home intending to take care of her parents. The accident occured when she started to the house with a pan of honey and slipped on a wet limestone rock. She fell on the pan which caused internal injuries. For days she kept saying she was going to die but no one believed her. She did die of these injuries very shortly after saying she was going to die. Susan Susie Maggard m. (1) to Henry Cornett b abt 1880. Susan Susie Maggard m. 15 Jun 1905 to (2) Francis Marion Blair b 19 Jan 1876 Letcher Co KY d 15 Nov 1911 Letcher Co KY; s/o Francis Marion Blair and Regina Dorinda Dingus.


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