Occupations | Architect

Luther Reed Blair

Birthdate: July 17, 1849

Birthplace: Ohio

Occupation: Architect

Properties Owned: 508 S. Ivy Avenue

Luther Reed Blair was born on July 17, 1849 to James Blair, a farmer, and his second wife, Elizabeth Morrow.  Census records show the Blairs were a large family with at least 13 children, and Luther was the youngest.  

Un-sourced family tree records on Ancestry.com give the following information about James Blair.  He was born on November 21, 1790 in Guinston, York County, Pennsylvania, to Robert Blair, and Irish immigrant and Jean Allison, a Pennsylvania native.  He married Nancy Wallace in 1823 in Beaver County, Pennsylvania.  They moved to Ohio and James started farming and Nancy started having children, the first being born in 1824.  In total, they had five children (that lived...there could have been more!) in 10 years, and Nancy died in 1834, about a year after her last child was born.

The un-sourced records indicate that James Blair married Elizabeth Morrow in the same year his wife died, 1834.  James and Elizabeth's first child was born in 1836 and died within that same year.  They went on to have the following children: Alexander (b. 10 Aug 1837 d. 5 Dec 1918), Samuel Farmer (b. 10 April 1839 d. 15 Sep 1923) David Humphries (b. 21 Apr 1841 d. 16 May 1904, Joseph (b. 10 May 1843-?), Moses Morrow (b. 10 Mar 1845 d. 3 Aug 1864), Elizabeth Jane (b. 5 Feb 1847 d. 17 Feb 1890), and Luther Reed.

Census records indicate that sometime between 1839 and 1841, the Blairs moved from Carroll County to Bellfontaine in Logan County, Ohio, where the last five of the Blair children, including Luther were born.

Military records from the Civil War show that Luther's full brothers Alexander, Samuel, David, Joseph and Moses served in the Union Army.  Moses died in 1864, but Samuel survived the war, married, had two children and went on to become a physician.  David was discharged from the military in 1865 for medical reasons.  He married, had five children, became a minister of the Gospel, but his health gave out again and he went into the U.S. Homes for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers in 1894.  The 1900 census shows him still living there.  Alexander was discharged as a sergeant.  He married, had five children and became a farmer.  After leaving the army, Joseph got married in Kansas, had three children and worked as a carpenter for about 20 years before moving to Colorado.

In 1876, Luther Blair married a woman named Ada who was born in Massachusetts in August of 1853.  Census records show that three years later, they were living in Denver, Colorado, where Luther was a carpenter.  The first three of their seven children were born there: Agnes (b. 8 Jul 1879 d. 26 Feb 1954), Winona M. (b. Nov 1881 d. ?), and Charles Andrew (b. 15 Nov 1885-d. ?).  Because there is no census available for 1890, it is difficult to ascertain when the family arrived in Los Angeles.  However, there next child, Rosa E., was born in March of 1887 in California.  Three more children were born by 1896: Nellie Irene (b. 15 Sep 1888 d. 27 June 1940), Lena M. (b. September 1889 d. ?), and Annie A. (b. July 1896 d. ?).

The first recorded address for the Blairs appears in the 1900 census at 1331 Berndost Street in Los Angeles. They were still there in 1910.  Luther continued working as a contractor during the years he spent in California.

It is unknown when either he or his wife died.

Agnes married a man whose last name was Morrison.  She died in Santa Clarita in 1954.

Winona became a pharmacist and married Albert P. Nielson. They had two children, Torvald and Clifford.  It is unclear if they ever married or had children.  Torvald died in 1984 and Clifford in 1982.  Winona appears in the 1910 census but not the 1920 one, so she must have died some time in those years.

Rosa married Joe Walton, a policeman.  They had no children and Mr. Walton died before 1930. Rosa shows up in the 1930 census living with her two nephews, Torvald and Clifford Nielsen.  The date of her death is unknown at this time.

Nellie also married a policeman, Henry S. Boardman. They lived in Manhattan Beach, California, and had two children, Margaret (born in 1823) and Ralph (1926).  Nellie died June 27, 1940.  There is no further information at this time about her children or her husband's date of death.

Lena lived for a short time with Nellie and worked as an exchange clerk at a department store.  Both sisters had previously worked as sales clerks in a department store while they were still living with their parents. No other information is available at this time for Lena Blair.

Luther Blair's last child, Annie A., is last seen in the 1910 census when she was 14.  No death information is available for her.

Occupations | Architect

James J. McLachlan

Birthdate: 1 Aug 1852

Birthplace: Scotland

Occupation: Architect

Properties Owned: 328 S. Myrtle Ave.

McLachlan arrived with his parents, James and Jean, and siblings Jannette, John, Mary, and Catherine August 16, 1855, when he was three years old.  They had been living in Argyll, Scotland, where James Senior was employed as spirit (beverages made from distilled alcohol and fruits, vegetables or grain...Scotland is known for its Scotch whiskey made from distilled barley, wheat or rye..among other things!).

The 1860 census records the family living in Groton, Tompkins County, New York.  James's father, also names James, is listed as being a farmer, and from the looks of it, he was an extremely successful one.  The value of his real estate is listed as $5,700 and his personal estate at $500.  In the five years since they had arrived, two more children, Euphemia and Archibald had been born.

Even the Civil War doesn't seem to have affected James Senior's financial status.  The Census record for 1870 shows that his land was now worth $9,280 and his personal property $3,000.  With such affluence, he was able to provide a good education for his children.

By 1880, James J. McLachlan had graduated from Hamilton College, taught school and was elected commissioner of schools for Groton, New York.  He also received a law degree and practiced law for many years in Pasadena, California, finally becoming a state senator.

According to the Biographical Directory for the United States Congress,  James came to Pasadena, California, in 1888, ut there is an entry for him in the 1888-1889 Los Angeles City Directory indicating that he is an attorney-at-law and living at 24 1/2 Colorado in Los Angeles.  In 1887 and early 1888, the hype over the new town of Monrovia was at its height, and McLachlan purchased property there at least in 1888 and possibly as early as 1887 when the town was incorporated.  It doesn't seem he ever actually lived in Monrovia.  He was living in Pasadena by 1890, according to California Voter Registration, and Pasadena City directories indicate he continued living there at 558 S. Marengo Avenue.

Living in Pasadena would have enabled him to be close enough to keep an eye on his Monrovia property.  He owned three Lots 13-15 in Block B, Town of Monrovia Subdivision from 1888 to 1911, but he never built anything on them.  The year after he bought them, their valuation dropped from $200 a piece to $150.  By 1903, they were each worth only $125.  This trend reflected the "bust" in the Southern California land boom.  McLachlan, apparently a very patient man, held on to his property all those years, finally selling one of the lots in 1912 when the land was valued at $3,500!!  By 1915, the other two lots were valued at $4,300 a piece.  Even after paying the taxes on the properties for all those years, McLachlan still made money.

McLachlan served as an assistant district attorney for the County of Los Angeles from 1890-1892, and then was elected to the position of state congressman (Republican) to the 54th Congress (Biographical Directory).  He served from 1895- to 1897, but was not reelected for the 55th Congress.  He did manage to get reelected to the 57th Congress and kept this position until 1911when he lost his reelection bid for the 62nd Congress. 

James J. McLachlan never married and is interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California.

Source:  The information on McLachlan's political career comes from the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774-2005.  Washington, C.C.: Government Printing Office, 2005.  This information was accessed from Ancestry.com on 22 March 2012 at the following URL:


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