James Blair Steedman
- Sex: M
- Title: Gen.
- Born: 29 JUL 1817
- Died: 18 OCT 1883
James Blair Steedman was born 29 July 1817 at the Steedman home in Chillisquaque twp, Northumberland County, PA, to George Steedman and his wife Sarah Blair. His grand parents were William Steedman and his wife Rebecca Cook. He was a great-grandson of James Steedman of Fife, Scotland who was his immigrant ancestor. James was one of four Steedman brothers who came to America in the 1750s. His brothers settled in South Carolina and were the founders of the large Steedman/Steadman families of the Carolina and throughout the South.
James Blair Steedman at age 15 entered the printing office of the Lewisburg (PA) Democrat newspaper. He became a contractor on the Wabash and Erie canal in 1837.
In 1838 he went to Napolean, Ohio (Henry Co.), and later acquired control of the Northwestern Democrat newspaper, published in Napolean. He, and probably his uncle William Cook Steedman, were enumerated in the 1840 census in Napolean Twp. James was involved in contract work related to the construction of the Toledo, Wabash, and Western Railroad. In 1847-1848 he was a member of the Ohio Legislature. In 1849 he went to California, as one of the "Argonauts on '49", but returned to Ohio shortly thereafter. He was enumerated in the 1850 census in Waterville twp in Lucas Co., OH, just south of Toledo. He became a member of the Ohio state board of public works, 1852-56.
He was a public promoter (public printer or printer to Congress) in Washington, 1857-60, during the administration of President Buchanan. In 1860 he was a delegate to the national convention of the Democratic Party at Charleston, SC, where he advocated the nomination of Stephen A. Douglas. At the time of the 1860 census, he was listed (as James B. Steedner) as an attorney living in Toledo, Lucas Co., OH.
In 1861 he enlisted as colonel of the 4th regiment of Ohio Volunteers. He took part in the battle of Philippi, and was promoted brigadier-general, July 17, 1862. He drove back the Confederate assault at Perryville. He commanded the 1st division, reserve corps, Army of the Cumberland, at Chickamauga, where he reinforced Thomas at a critical moment, thus saving the army from defeat. He was promoted major-general, April 24, 1864, and served in the Atlanta campaign, defeating Wheeler's cavalry in June, 1864. He commanded the provisional detachment of the Federal army under Thomas, composed of about 5000 men, partly African-American troops from Sherman's army, who had arrived from Chattanooga too late for their proper commands, and did good service at Nashville, Dec. 15-16, 1864.
He served as provisional governor of Georgia, and resigned, July 19, 1866. He was U.S. collector of internal revenue at New Orleans, but became involved in financial difficulties, and returned to Ohio in 1879.
He was Ohio state senator, 1879-80, and was chief of police at Toledo and editor of the Weekly Ohio Democrat.
He died in Toledo on 18 October 1883. A monument was erected to his memory at Toledo, May 26, 1887.
An article included in Howe's Historical Collections of Ohio, Vol. 2, pp 159-160, gives his middle name incorrectly as "Barrett". Information concerning him is contained in Egle's Pennsylvania Genealogies; Pennsylvania Notes and Queries, Vol. 1, 4th Series; Dictionary of National Biography; and in Joseph Earle Steadman's Barton-Steadman family genealogy from which much of this article is adapted.
Gen. Steedman was married three times. In 1838 he married Sarah Miranda Stiles (1819 - 31 Jan 1872) at Defiance, OH. She was born in New Jersey and died in Toledo. His second wife was Rosie Barr. The third wife whome he married on 16 Sept 1878 was Margaret Girdea of Toledo. There are 4 known children.
Father: George Steedman, b. 26 AUG 1793
Mother: Sarah Blair
Family 1: Sarah Miranda Stiles, b. 1819
- Married: 1838 in Defiance, ____, OH
- Lewis Cass Steedman, b. 1848 in Waterville, Lucas Co., OH
Family 2: Ross Barr
- Rebecca Blair Steedman
- Mary Moore Steedman
- Samuel J. Tilden Steedman
Family 3: Margaret Gildea, b. in of Toledo, Lucas Co., OH
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