Author: Rebecca Rose

a history master's student at Virginia Commonwealth University.
ENTRY

Blair, Sarah Harrison (1670–1713)

Sarah Harrison Blair was a member of the Virginia colonial elite who defied the standards of her time when she refused to vow to obey her husband during their wedding ceremony. Blair was the daughter of an influential Surry County family and the wife of James Blair, founder of the College of William and Mary. Born in 1670 to wealthy tobacco planter Benjamin Harrison II and his wife, Hannah Churchill Harrison, Sarah broke a prior engagement to marry Scottish-born Anglican minister Blair when she was seventeen. At their wedding, she reportedly repeatedly refused to vow to obey her husband. Their marriage brought James Blair into Virginia’s powerful ruling class, and she was frequently caught in the crossfire of her husband’s political battles and may have developed a drinking problem. Blair died in 1713 at the age of forty-two and was buried in the Jamestown churchyard.

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