James Blair in Colonial Virginia
James Blair (1656-1743) was an Anglican clergyman and a member of the Governors Council of Virginia. Born in Scotland, he was ordained in the Church of Scotland in 1679. In 1685, he was ordained in the Church of England and assigned to a parish in Henrico County, Virginia. In 1687, he married Sarah Harrison, the daughter of one of Virginia's wealthiest planters. Two years later, he was named commissary for the Church of England in Virginia with authority over the other Anglican clergy in the colony.
Blair's ecclesiastical and social connections made him one of the most powerful figures in Virginia from 1690 until his death in 1743. He successfully lobbied for the funds to establish Virginia's first college, William & Mary, in 1693. And in 1694 he was named to the Governor's Council. He was a powerful advocate for the interests of Virginia's wealthy planter class, repeatedly opposing Virginia's governors in their attempts to restrict the powers of the House of Burgesses. He played a major role in the removal of three governors—Edmund Andros, Francis Nicholson, and Alexander Spotswood.