Samuel McBlain was twenty-six years old when he mustered
into Company E on August 14, 1862. His brother George, who also
enlisted, was twenty-two years old. George was wounded at Fredericksburg
and died two months later. Samuel McBlain survived and led a notable
life after the war. (1)
Born in Seneca, New York on May 30, 1836, Samuel McBlain
was the son of Robert McBlain and Mary Martin, both Irish immigrants.
(2) The 5-foot, 9-inch, dark complexioned, brown-haired, gray-eyed
McBlain graduated from the Normal School in 1861. He taught in Geneva,
New York and Dexter, Michigan before enlisting as a Corporal in
the Normal School Company.
McBlain was promoted twice while serving with Company
E. On March, 17, 1863 he was promoted to Sergeant, and on February
7, 1864 he was made First Sergeant. After the 44th N. Y. was disbanded
in October 1864, he was transferred to 140th N. Y. Once in the 140th,
McBlain continued to receive the accolades of his superiors. He
was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in December 1864, and was promoted
to 1st Lieutenant on March 5, 1865. At Appomattox, he received a
brevet promotion to Captain, and was mustered out with the 140th
after the Grand Review in Washington D. C. (3)
Returning home after the war, he taught for one term
before buying a ninety-four acre farm in Billsborough, a small crossroads,
5 miles south of Geneva, New York. On this farm McBlain raised thoroughbred
Durham cattle and Stropshire sheep. (4) He married Miss Sarah Huie
in 1866. During the war McBlain had carried a small picture of Miss
Huie in his uniform pocket. This picture was in every engagement
McBlain was in, all sixteen. (5) The McBlain's had 4 children, but
only 2 survived to adulthood: Mills was killed as a young man in
a horse accident and Thomas died at 9 months old. (6)
Samuel McBlain was deeply involved in the town affairs
of Geneva, New York. He served as Justice of the Peace for 7 years,
and was elected to this position by the unanimous vote of the Geneva
Town Board who characterized him as an "intelligent and respected
farmer. A Liberal Republican in full sympathy and fellowship with
the Democratic party." (7) He traveled for the Mutual Life
Insurance Company for 2 years and the State Experimental Station
for many years. In October 1878 he was appointed delegate for the
Town of Geneva at the Democratic Convention for Ontario County,
held at Canandaigua, New York; and on September 27, 1879, he was
elected to the Geneva Town Committee. (8) McBlain was appointed
Postmaster for Billsborough on May 12, 1885, and remained in tha
position for at least 8 years. (9) He was also a practicing attorney,
known as "Squire" McBlain, and dealt chiefly with deeds
and wills. (10)
Samuel McBlain died in 1919. "He was greatly
respected for his sound judgment and was active in town affairs."
1. George S. Conover, ed., History of Ontario County
(Syracuse, NY: D. Mason and Company, 1893), 218.
4. Lucile M. Harford, The Country Cousin (Newark,
NY: Vanderbrook Press, Inc., 1976), 131.
5. Original photo. Geneva Historical Society: Geneva,
6. Harford, 132.
7. Geneva Gazette, 7 January 1876; Historical Sketch
of the State Normal College at Albany, N.Y...., 189.
8. Geneva Gazette, 4 October 1878, and 3 October 1879.
9. Emma G. Koberg, Collected Postal History Notes
of Ontario County, New York State (Empire State Postal History Society,
10. Harford, 131.
11. Ibid., 132.
Documentation reproduced with permission of Chris Hunter and the