Lair, Charles - Macoupin County Illinois
©1996-2009 Linda R. F. Arnold

Descendants of Charles Lair

contributed by Linda R.F. Arnold, 1999

CHARLES LAIR SR. & his wife, NANCY are the progenitors of the LAIR Family of Macoupin Co., IL. Both were born in Pennsylvania; he about 1760 and she 1770. Although they were early to the Macoupin county area, they were not the first of this family to come to Illinois. Their son SAMUEL W. LAIR, with his wife came from Tennessee to Madison Co., IL in 1817. Their daughter JANE LAIR came in 1818 according to her affadavit for a pension. All five sons were listed in the 1830 Census as heads of family and were in Macoupin county by the county's formation of 1829.

Two 1878 letters shed light on the Macoupin county LAIR Family: JAMES MILLER LAIR writes, "My Grand-Father's name was Charles Lair, his father came from Germany, his name I do not remember. He had one other son when Grand Father last visited him. Grand-Father was a shoemaker to trade, he had five sons: Samuel my father, John, Charles, Peter and William. John has been dead over thirty years, his family are in Iowa and Missouri. Peter and family are somewhere in south-west Missouri. Charles and William are here in this county. Our address is Palmyra, Macoupin County, Illinois...etc." Unfortunately, he makes no mention of daughters; so far, two daughters have been found: JANE and KATHERINE.

The second letter, written by J.D. LAIR (JAMES MILLER LAIR's son) gives the route taken to Illinois, while at the same time a bit of a mystery is formed: "My grand-father's father came to Virginia, from Pennsylvania and from Virginia to Kentucky and Tennessee. He had no brothers...etc."

The sketch of the LAIR Family found on p.26 in the 1879 History of Macoupin County by Brink, etc. is in error when it says SAMUEL LAIR "...settling first with his brother Charles Lair, Sr., on Otter creek. etc." It is also in error when it says "...John moved to Missouri." JOHN died 1844 and it was his widow and children that went to Iowa and Missouri. The son, PETER is not mentioned but moved to Missouri before 1840. The history says CHARLES is dead. CHARLES was alive Nov. 1878 and was not listed 1880 Census therefore he could have been dead in 1879. The sketch doesn't make mention that SAMUEL LAIR died in 1870. The sketch ends with the following: "Aunty Pritchard, of Carlinville, is daughter of Mr. Lair." Given on p.28 of the same history: "When Isaac Pritchard married, he and his wife, the daughter of Charles Lair, hand in hand, set out on foot to visit some friends in Indiana, and this was their bridal tour. Mrs. Pritchard or "Aunty" is still living in Carlinville."

CHARLES LAIR SR. was last listed in the 1840 Census. NANCY, age 80 was listed 1850 in the household of her grandson, JAMES MILLER LAIR. There has been no dates of death nor places of burial found for most of this early LAIR family.

THEIR CHILDREN: (Place of birth for grandchildren is IL unless otherwise noted.)

1. SAMUEL W. LAIR b. 4 Feb 1796 VA d. 16 Jan 1870 Palmyra, IL. He served as private in the War of 1812 from Tennessee. He m. 12 Nov 1816 Cocke Co., TN to ELISABETH MILLER. They went to Troy, Madison Co., IL in 1817; in 1824 they came to the Palmyra area of what would become Macoupin county. They had 3 sons, 3 daughters: Charles W. 1820; James M. 1823; Susan 1825; Austin S. 1828; Elizabeth 1833; Mary Ann C. 1837.

2. JANE LAIR b. 1801 "near Knoxville", TN Listed 1880 Census in Nilwood. She m. 4 Sept 1820 Madison Co., IL WILLIAM BRIDGES (affadavit) Her affadavit states she went to Troy, Madison Co., IL in 1818 and came to Macoupin county in 1844. They had 4 sons, 2 daughters: Samuel 1820 IL or TN; Charles W.1823; William C. 1829; George W. 1831; Nancy M. 1833; Elizabeth Jane 1836.

3. JOHN AUSTIN LAIR b. 19 Dec 1803 KY d. 20 Apr 1844 "Palmyra", IL. He m. 28 Feb 1830 Macoupin Co., IL MARY ANN WALKER. After his death, she m2 GEORGE WILLIAMS and with her family, removed to Iowa and Missouri. They had 3 sons, 4 daughters: Wm Walker 1830 IN; Edward B. 1835; Margaret E. 1837; Nancy 1838; Abigail 1841; Mary Elizabeth Magdalene 1842; Joseph 1842.

4. CHARLES LAIR JR. b. 1804 TN d. about 1879 Buried Girard Cemetery (no dates). He served in the Black Hawk War. He m. abt. 1828 LOUISA MORRIS. They went to Taney Co., MO by 1840 Census, returning to Macoupin Co., IL by 1847. He lived in or near Girard. They had 6 sons, 5 daughters: Mary 1829; Matilda 1830; John B. 1831-33; Elizabeth 1835; Caroline 1836-37; Jeremiah M. 1838; Rebecca Jane 1839; Thomas M. 1841 MO; Charles Washington 1847; Francis Marion 1849; James Buchanan 1857.

5. PETER LAIR b. 1807 TN Alive 1878 in south western Missouri. He m. 11 June 1828 Greene Co., IL ELIZABETH CLEVENGER. They went to Taney Co., MO about 1837. 6. During the Civil War, he returned to IL for a short time, returning to Missouri after the war. They had 3 sons, 4 daughters: Nancy 1835 IL; James 1838 MO; David 1842 MO; Mary 1844 MO; a dau. M. 1846 MO; Reuben 1850 MO; Lucy 1854 MO.

6. WILLIAM L. LAIR b. 1808 TN Listed 1880 Census in South Otter twp. He m. 16 Feb 1830 Macoupin Co., IL MARTHA CLEVENGER. They went to MO (prob. Taney Co.) shortly after the 1840 Census and returned by the 1850 Census. They are not listed in the 1860 census in IL, MO or IA. 1870 Census shows he was in South Otter twp. with his daughter-in-law and grandchildren. They had 2 sons, 1 daughter: George W. 1832; Samuel 1834; Elizabeth J. 1841 MO.

7. KATHERINE "KATE" LAIR b. 1811-12 TN. Listed 1880 Census in Carlinville. She m. 10 Feb 1831 Macoupin Co., IL ISAAC PRITCHARD. He had probably died by 1860. There is a cute sketch of her in "Personal Recollections of the Early Settlement of Carlinville, Ill." by the widow of Stith M. Otwell printed in "Macoupin County Searcher, July 1989." They had at least 3 sons, 2 daughters: Mary E. 1841; Isaac N. 1843; William M. 1849; Samuel 1852; Sarah 1855.


After nearly 30 years of research of the LAIR Families of Macoupin Co., IL, a book of the known descendants is in preparation. A publishing date is not yet known, however I am striving for sometime before the end of the year 2000. LRA.

For more information on The Lair Families please contact:

Linda R.F. Arnold
28253 Stillwater Drive
Menifee, CA 92584

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