John D. Adair, Co. A & G, 7th Pennsylvania Reserves

The Bench and Bar of Illinios. Historical and Reminiscent, Edited by John M. Palmer; Volume II, pgg 1083-1085. Chicago: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1899.

     John D[unlap] Adair. Every state in the Union has furnished representatives to one or more of the departments of business in Chicago. Among those who have come from Pennsylvania is John D. Adair, whose success as a lawyer well entitles him to mention among the more prominent members of the bar of Illinois. He was born in Carlisle, Cumberland County, November 22, 1841, his parents being S. Dunlap and Henrietta (Gray) Adair, the former of Scotch parentage and the latter of Irish descent. His father was an eminent lawyer of eastern Pennsylvania and defended parties in a number of indictments under the fugitive-slave law.

John Dunlap Adair

     In the public schools of his native city John D. Adair acquired his education and in June, 1861, when nineteen years of age, offered his services to the Government as a defender of the Unino. He was a member of the Carlisle Fencibles Company, which on joining the volunteer service became Company A, Seventh Regiment, Pennsylvania Reserve Corps. He was promoted to the rank of First Sergeant of that company and later became Second Lieutenant of Company G, of the same Regiment. In August, 1862, he was commissioned Captain and commissary of subsistence of Volunteers, later was brevetted major and lieutenant colonel, and on the 8th of October, 1865, was mustered out of service. At different times he was a member of the staffs of Generals Meade, Doubleday, Crawford, McKenzie and other commanders, and for four months previous to the final movement of the armies around Richmond was “inspector of the subsistence department of the armies operating against Richmond,” at the headquarters of General Grant. He was serving on the staff of General R. S. McKenzie, Cavalry Brigade, Army of the James, at the time of the surrender of General Lee at the McLean House, Appomattox Court House, Virginia, and gave his horse to Colonel Babcock to convey Grant”s last message to Lee, taking Babcock”s horse in exchange, and was present at the McLean House and witnessed the surrender. He received the most complimentary mention of his superior officers, and by Major General George G. Meade his able service was called to the attention of the president, and by General S.W. Crawford he was recommended for appointment as an officer in the internal revenue department in 1867.

     In 1868 Mr. Adair came to Chicago as a delegate to the soldiers” convention, held in the North Side Turner Hall the day before General Grant”s first nomination for the presidency. Pleased with the city and its opportunities, Mr. Adair took up his residence here in 1870, and in addition to a successful law practice other labors have identified him with its welfare and progress. He served as inspector of customs here, was one of the examining attorneys for the Title Guarantee & Trust Company and is identified with the Chicago Bar Association. Among the important cases with which he has been connected is that which made possible the existence of the building and loan associations. It was tried under the name of Holmes versus Smythe and excited great public interest. The supreme court of Illinois, in 1881, had pronounced the act of April 4, 1872, providing for the organization of building and loan associations in Illinois, unconstitutional; a number of such institutions had been organized under the act of 1879. A number of state organizations, alarmed at the decision, prepared to go into liquidation. Mr. Adair was the attorney for the People”s Loan & Building Association, and asked leave to file an argument for a rehearing, which was granted. He showed the important consequences, disastrous to public interests, which would follow if the decision were adhered to. On the argument the court abandoned its position and held the act valid; since then hundreds of these corporations have been organized and are being properly conducted to the benefit and profit of the state at large, and particularly to the industrial capitalists. Mr. Adair took great interest in election law and prepared briefs on the adoption of the election law, in support of it, and orally argued the case before the supreme court. He was also the special assessment attorney during Mayor Swift”s administration. Mr. Adair”s professional cares are many, and the nature of his business is very important. Realizing the worth of earnest endeavor in any walk of life, he has always been most thorough in his work and his careful preparation of cases has had no less a bearing upon his success than his arguments in the courtroom.

     Socially he is connected with the Grand Army of the Republic, the Chicago Bar Association, and the Chicago Union Veteran Club, having served as president of the last named. For four terms he was chairman of the committee on political action in the club, and is one of its most valued representatives. On the issues which involve the welfare of state and nation he is a Republican in his views, but a local elections he votes independently. He is one of the most expert chess-players of Chicago and belongs to the Chicago Chess Club, finding rest and recreation from his arduous professional duties in this entertaining game.

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Currently a resident of Burke, Virginia - I'm originally from the City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I have been a student of the Pennsylvania Reserves since 1997 and thoroughly enjoy telling their story. By trade I'm a former IT Professional but presently working as a Letter Carrier for the United States Postal Service.