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Austin Blair (1818 - 1894)

Governor from 1861-1864. Republican from New York, who moved to Jackson to practice law. Michigan's "Civil War Governor", he opposed slavery and secession. In 1842, while temporarily residing in Eaton Rapids, he was elected Clerk of Eaton County.

A founder of the Republican Party, he championed human rights and led the successful 1846 effort to ban capital punishment in Michigan. He strongly supported Lincoln, encouraging men to volunteer for the war and raised money to equip them.

He served in the Michigan Senate and House of Representatives, as well as the U.S. House of Representatives. He remained a popular state hero, revered for successfully guiding Michigan through the Civil War. Interment: Mount Evergreen Cemetery, Jackson, Michigan.

Artist: Alvah Bradish (1806 - 1901). A professor of fine arts at the University of Michigan, Bradish was the state's best-known artist during the mid-1800's. He was born in New York and settled in Detroit in 1851. He eventually painted over 500 portraits. This portrait was begun during the Civil War, and was finished in 1865 at Blair's Jackson home. Michigan's Civil War veterans paid for the portrait and presented it to the state.