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Maude Blair

Daughter of Springdale Township homesteaders Emily and Luther Blair, and Sunday school friend of Laura’s in Walnut Grove during the year prior to the Ingallses move to Dakota Territory

There was Maud with a strange man and woman who must be her Pa and Ma… – On the Banks of Plum Creek manuscript

Maude Blair – Laura Ingalls Wilder incorrectly spelled her friend’s name as Maud Blair – is mentioned in On the Banks of Plum Creek as having been Laura’s school chum from the time Laura and Mary begin school in Walnut Grove. Wilder referred to Maude as her “friend from Sunday School” in her handwritten Pioneer Girl manuscript, and this may have been where they met, not in school. Wilder also wrote that Maud visited her at the Ingallses’ home, but this would have been in Walnut Grove in the rented house in William Masters’ pasture, not the Plum Creek preemption site, as the Blairs first moved to the area in 1878. In her published On the Banks of Plum Creek, Maud Blair has a much bigger part; she is not only Laura’s friend from both school and church, but she attends Laura and Mary’s “Country Party” (see Chapter 23 by the same name), and Laura sees Maud and her parents at the church Christmas tree service.

Luther Levi Blair (1838-1919) was born in Massachusetts and served as Sergeant in Company B of the First Wisconsin Cavalry during the Civil War. Volunteering from Lowell, Wisconsin, Blair was one of the men engaged in the pursuit and capture of Confederate president Jefferson Davis in Irwin, Georgia, a month after the end of the war. Mustered out in July 1865, Blair married Emma A. Blair (1846-1897) the following month. Luther and Emma shared a common ancestor, Martin Luther Blair: Martin and his first wife were Luther’s grandparents, while Martin and his second wife were Emma’s parents.

Maude T. Blair was born May 22, 1866, in Waterville (LeSueur County) Minnesota. She had a younger brother, Bert Luther (born 1873) and a younger sister, Lucy (born 1877). When she was twelve, Maude moved with her parents and siblings to her father’s homestead, the SE 26-109N-39W, about a mile southwest of Walnut Grove. The Blairs’ claim is in the section of land just east of where the Walnut Grove pageant is held each year. The Blairs never owned property in town, and in August 1880, Luther Blair proved up on his homestead, He sold it for $1600 in August 1882 to Nathaniel Damp of LeSueur County. The Blairs moved back to Waterville and Luther and Emma spent the rest of their lives there.

Maude married Leon Edward Miner on December 15, 1897, in Waterville. Leon worked as a jeweler and was trained as a barber; he was born May 21, 1870, the son of William Harrison Miner and Sarah Anne (Richmond) Miner. Maude and Leon had one child, Frank Blair Miner, born in 1903. The family lived in Foley, Minnesota, where Leon ran a store, then moved to a ranch near Great Falls, Montana. Maude died on March 13, 1913, at the age of 46; she was buried in Sakatah Cemetery in Waterville, Minnesota. Frank Miner was attending school in Spokane, Washington, when he died of influenza in October 1918 at the age of 15; he was buried in Kalispell.

Following Maude’s death, Leon married Mary Green in December 1913. When Leon died in 1940, he was buried beside Maude in Waterville.

Please note: The photo of the little girl on the navigation button that brought you to this page is not Maude Blair, but is a photo of an unknown girl from the 1870s.


Maud Blair (PG)
     Maud (BPC 21, 23; PG)