John Blain, Jr., military instructor and chief of Bureau of Identification, Pennsylvania Industrial Reformatory, Huntingdon, Pa., was born in North Sydney, Australia, February 23, 1845. He is a son of John and Isabella (Young) Blain, the former a native of Belfast, Ireland, the latter of Ayrshire, Scotland. Mrs. Blain died in Philadelphia, in 1859. Her husband, John Blain, Sr., resides in Norfolk, Va. While their son, John Blain, Jr., was still a child, they removed from Australia to Belfast, Ireland, and about 1852 emigrated to America. They took up their residence in Philadelphia, Pa., where the Captain was educated; he is a graduate of the Philadelphia High School. His first business engagement was salesman in a grocery store, where for seven years he acquired practical knowledge of both branches of the business, wholesale and retail. On May 30, 1861, he enlisted in Company F, First Regiment, P.R.V.C., as a private; he was afterwards promoted to first sergeant. He served in this regiment until 1864; re-enlisted the same year and was transferred to the One Hundred and Ninetieth Pennsylvania Volunteer Veterans as first sergeant of Company H.
He served in this regiment until August, 1864, when he was taken prisoner, and sent to Salisbury, N.C.; he was confined there until March 2, 1865, the date of his release. He returned to his regiment, and served until the close of the war; was mustered out and finally discharged at Harrisburg, in May, 1865, after four years of faithful service. During this time, Captain Blain took part with his regiment in almost all of the most important engagements of the Rebellion; he was three times wounded.
Broken in health by the fatigues and sufferings of war, but most by the hardships of captivity, Captain Blain went to Europe to recruit his exhausted system. After a residence of two years abroad, he returned to America, and in 1873 was appointed teacher in the Reform School at Washington, D.C. He filled that position efficiently for about two years and a half and was then appointed teacher and family officer at the Reform School, Jamesburg, N.J., where he remained over four years. Then, his health failing, Captain Blain resigned his position, and was for a year engaged in farming in northern New York. In 1878 he was appointed officer and teacher at the Morganza Reform School, Morganza, Pa. He was there until May 1, 1889, and two weeks later, May 15, entered upon his present duties.
Captain Blain is a Republican. He is a member of George Simpson Post, No. 44, G.A.R., of Huntingdon; of the A.O.U.W.; and of Chartier”s Lodge, No. 297, F. and A.M., of Canonsburg, Pa.; he is also an active member and past master of Standing Stone Chapter, No. 201, R.A.M.
Capt. John Blain, Jr., was married in Washington, D.C., May 25, 1875, to Ella A. Field, who was a teacher in the public schools of Washington, D.C., and after her marriage taught in the Reform School of Jamesburg, N.J., and the Morganza Reform School, of Morganza, Pa. She is a daughter of F. F. and K. K. Field, of Camden, N.J. Captain and Mrs. Blain have had eight children, of whom three died young: Howard C.; Elizabeth, and Isabella. Those surviving are: John F.; Ira Bruce; West Elliot; Ella F.; and Elizabeth. The family attend the Presbyterian church.
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.