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Champaign County, Illinois

Biography - James P. Blue

SOURCE: "The Biographical Record of Champaign County, Illinois," The S. J. Clarke Publishing company, Chicago, 1900


JAMES P. BLUE, the well-known foreman of the car department of the Big Four Railroad at Urbana, Illinois, has for almost a third of a century been a faithful and trusted employe of that company and has worked his way upward from a humble position to one of great responsibility. His career has been characterized by industry, honesty and strict fidelity to duty, and due success has not been denied him. Mr. Blue was born in Hampshire county, Virginia, July 15, 1845, a son of James N. and Sophia (Laramore) Blue, also natives of that county. The father followed the occupation of farming throughout his active business life. In 1851 he left the Old Dominion, and after spending about three years in Licking and Knox counties, Ohio, he came to Illinois in 1855, and settled in Mahomet township, this county, where he bought an improved farm. Later he removed to Newcomb township, but finally sold his property there and purchased a farm of twenty acres two and a half miles north of Urbana. In this county he continued to engage in farming and stock raising for many years, but spent the last six years with his daughter in Kansas, where he died April 5, 1890, at the age of seventy-three years. His wife died two years later at the age of sixty-seven. They were members of the Baptist church at Mahomet, and were known all over the county and most highly respected. At different times the father served his fellow-citizens as collector, assessor and constable.The children of this worthy couple were Thomas F., who married Elizabeth Ater, and is now clerking in a grocery at Urbana; John W., who married Sarah Jame Means, and follows farming in Mahomet township; Hannah, who married John F. Sims, and died in Kansas in 1897, aged fifty-four years; James P., our subject; Susan, who married F. Lewis, and died at the age of forty-two years; Peter N., who married Winnie Schibler, and is car inspector in Urbana; Mary C., wife of John Wingler, who is in the brick business in Urbana; Louisa, who married John Gear, and died at the age of twenty-four years; and Alice, second wife of John Gear. Reared upon the home farm, James P. Blue engaged in agricultural pursuits until he attained his majority, and then turned his attention to railroading, entering the employ of the big Four Railroad Company November 1, 1869, as a workman in the car repairing department. Later he was car inspector, and was engaged in repairing cars for some years. For fifteen years he was foreman of the wrecking crew, and for the past ten years has capably filled his present responsible position. He has never been discharged nor laid off for any reason, and is to-day about the only one in his department who was there when he entered it. Mr. Blue was married, January 10, 1867, to Miss Sarah J. Ater, a daughter of John and Sarah (Davis) Ater, natives of Pennsylvania and Kentucky, respectively, but the latter was reared in Pickaway county, Ohio. Her father, who was a farmer by occupation, died in 1893, at the age of seventy-trhee years, but the mother is still living at the age of seventy-six. She is an earnest and consistent member of the Baptist church. In their family were thirteen children, namely: Rebecca M., wife of William H. Dickerson, of Urbana; Zacariah, who was killed in the battle of Kenesaw Mountain, during the Civil war, at the age of twenty-four years; Abram, who married Cynthia Lane, and lives in Urbana; Elizabeth wife of T. F. Blue, of Urbana; Sarah J., wife of our subject; Anna, wife of Benjamin Stucky, of Fisher, Illinois; Mary A., wife of John Gibson, of Iowa; John E., who married Emma Cunningham and lives in Urbana; Missouri, wife of John McAllister, of Norfolk, Kansas; Laura, wife of Henry Lyons, of Iowa; Ida, wife of Frank Stone, of the same state; Amelia C., wife of B. F. McFarland, of Iowa, and Eddie, who is living with his mother in that state. Mr. And Mrs. Blue have one child, Nora Edith, wife of E. R. Wright, a painter in the employ of the big Four railroad at Urbana, by whom she has two children, Harold R. and Thearl J. Living with our subject and his wife is her nephew, Royal Blue, a bright boy, who is a pupil in the third grade of the public schoools of Urbana. As a public-spirited and progressive citizen, Mr. Blue takes deep interest in public affairs, and most efficiently served as alderman from 1896 to 1898. Fraternally he is a member of the Modern Woodmen of America, and is one of the managers of the camp at Urbana. He and his wife are active members of the Baptist church, in which he has served as deacon for eighteen years, superintendent of the Sunday school, and is also a member of the finance committee. They have a nice cozy home at No 307 North Race street, and are skilled in the art of making a place homelike and attractive to their many friends. Here happiness and good cheer abound, and hospitality reigns supreme.

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