William W. Blair

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William W. Blair
Photo of William W. Blair
First Presidency of the RLDS Church
April 10, 1873 (1873-04-10) – June 18, 1896 (1896-06-18)
Called byJoseph Smith III
PredecessorWilliam Marks
SuccessorR. C. Evans
Frederick M. Smith
ReasonDeath of William Marks
Council of Twelve Apostles
1858 – April 10, 1873 (1873-04-10)
Called byJoseph Smith III
End reasonCalled as counselor in the First Presidency
Personal details
BornWilliam Wallace Blair
(1828-10-11)October 11, 1828
Holley, New York
DiedJune 18, 1896(1896-06-18) (aged 67)
Lamoni, Iowa
Resting placeRose Hill Cemetery
40°37′30″N 93°56′51″W / 40.625°N 93.9475°W / 40.625; -93.9475 (Rose Hill Cemetery)
Spouse(s)Elizabeth J Doty

William Wallace Blair (October 11, 1828 – April 18, 1896) was an apostle and a member of the First Presidency of the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (RLDS Church).

Blair was born in Holley, New York. In 1839, his family moved to LaSalle County, Illinois. In 1851, Blair encountered missionaries from the Latter Day Saint movement. On October 8, 1851, Blair was baptized by William Smith, the younger brother of Joseph Smith, the founder of the Latter Day Saint movement.

In 1852, Blair became somewhat disenchanted with William Smith and some of his associates when he "learned that some of the leading elders were walking in unrighteousness".[1] Blair investigated and temporarily aligned himself with Charles B. Thompson's Baneemyites, but ultimately decided that it "was not the work of God."[1]

In 1855, Blair aligned himself with John E. Page and Hazen Aldrich, who were claiming to have reorganized the true Church of Christ. However, in late 1856, Blair aligned himself with Latter Day Saints, including William Marks, Jason W. Briggs, and Zenas H. Gurley, who were teaching that a "reorganization" of Joseph Smith's church needed to be effected under Smith's son Joseph Smith III. On April 7, 1857, Blair was re-baptized into this "reorganization" by Gurley. The following day, he was ordained as a high priest and on October 7, 1858 at a church conference in Zarahemla, Wisconsin, Blair was ordained an apostle of the reorganization and he became a member of the Council of Twelve Apostles.

On October 8, 1860, shortly after the RLDS Church was formally organized, Blair was assigned as a missionary to Nauvoo, Illinois, Far West, Missouri, and Council Bluffs, Iowa. Blair was a successful missionary and baptized many individuals into the RLDS Church.

On April 10, 1873, Blair was chosen by prophet–president Joseph Smith III to be his first counselor in the First Presidency.[2] He served in this capacity until his sudden death while traveling home to Lamoni, Iowa from a church conference in Kirtland, Ohio.

Blair was married to Elizabeth J. Doty and was the father of seven children.




Community of Christ titles
Preceded by Counselor in the First Presidency
April 10, 1873 (1873-04-10)–April 18, 1896
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Member of the Council of Twelve Apostles
1858–April 10, 1873 (1873-04-10)
Succeeded by
William H. Kelley
Thomas Wood Smith
James Caffall
John H. Lake
Alexander Hale Smith