Robert Downey Blair

Cumberland Presbyterian Minister

1821 - 1897


"The righteous perisheth and no man layeth it to heart," but how different when men of the world pass away. Great demonstrations are usually made over them. There bodies lie in state while crowds of men and women rush to see their remains--eulogistic orations are delivered in which their valorous deeds are recounted; costly monuments mark their resting places and the most beautiful and expensive flowers are profusely scattered over their graves. Worldly honors are not always rightly distributed in this world. The military hero whose history is written with the blood of the slain--the millionaire whose vast possessions have been gained at the expense of the poor die, and the world mourns as though some distinguished philanthropist had fallen. But on the other hand men, noble and Christ-like who have labored unostentatiously and without reasonable remuneration for the betterment of society fall at their posts of duty and the world moves on as if nothing unusual had happened. The subject of this notice was not a famous man of the world--was not ambitious to gain some eminent position among his brethren, but was content to spend his life in an unpretending manner, preaching the gospel of peace to perishing sinners. It was my privilege to be intimately associated with Brother Blair for a number of years in church work and it was a pleasure indeed to labor with one so spiritual, courteous and zealous in Christian work. As a preacher, Brother Blair was above the average. His sermons were always carefully prepared, and hence full of food and instruction for the thoughtful hearer. He was not specially emotional but logical, argumentative and often wonderfully eloquent in his presentation of gospel truth, and his extensive familiarity with the Bible enabled him to handle it as a master workman would his tools. In his work as a Christian minister, he always had the courage of his convictions and would defend the right, and denounce the wrong without regard to the effect such as cause would have on his personal popularity. Brother Blair was well known, especially in central Kentucky, and his gentlemanly deportment and unstained Christian character gained for him the friendship and confidence of all men. "He is not for the Lord has taken him" and while his name may not appear in any great encyclopedia, it will in the book of life which is far better.
[Source: The Cumberland Presbyterian, July 22, 1897, page 94]

Name: Blair, R. Downey
Occupation: charge
Presbytery: Lexington
Place of Residence:Westport, Mo.
Date: May 15, 1897
Age: 73
[Source: Minutes of the General Assembly of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, 1898, page 163]


Hansbrough, Lucinda Victoria Blair. Life of Rev. R. Downey Blair with Sketches of His Pastorates and Tributes by Friends Who Knew Him for His Noble Christian Character and His Sturdy Type of Moral Manhood. Nashville: The Cumberland Press, 1908. [1 copy in archives]

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Updated October 5, 2010