John Blowers – Bicentennial Biography No. 15

Bicentennial Biographies is a not-for-profit radio project designed to raise awareness and increase interest in local history. It is brought to you as a public service by the Chautauqua County Historical Society throughout 2011 to celebrate the county’s 200th birthday. To learn more, visit or contact your local historical society.

John Blower's log cabin in 1810, built a short distance to the south of the present boatlanding

Not much is known about John Blowers, only that he was born in Rensselaer County, New York in 1785 and moved to the Chautauqua County area in 1810 with his wife, Phoebe. The couple had come to the area from Pittstown, New York when John’s employer, James Prendergast, also returned to the area.

In November 1810, Blowers, built a log cabin near what is today Fairmount Avenue and 8th Street. A Historical marker sits on the approximate location where the structure was erected, as it is the first home built on land that would later become the city of Jamestown. It’s believed that in May the following year, the Blowers had a daughter, Mary, who is considered the first white child born in Jamestown. However, this has been disputed and some claim she may not have actually been born until as late as December, 1813. Blowers also operated a tavern for keel boatmen trading between Pittsburgh and Mayville.

In the fall 1813, Blowers moved into a frame house in Jamestown, which he built at what would have been 113 North Main St. It was a licensed tavern, boarding house, school, church and general meeting place until the Fenton Tavern was built in 1814. Phoebe passed away in 1820.  Blowers remarried in 1829 and between his two marriages, he had a total of nine children. He died in the town of Ellery in 1863 at the age of 77.

Ref: Young’s History of Chautauqua County; History of Chautauqua County, NY and its People

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– J. Sample

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