Blair Family Pets

Ledyard and Florence Blair were known for their equestrian skills, but especially for their award-winning talent in driving horse-drawn carriages and road coaches, as evidenced by their memberships in, respectively, New York’s Coaching Club and Ladies-Four-In-Hand Driving Club.  The four Blair daughters were also skilled equestriennes—riding both sidesaddle and astride—and learned at a young age how to drive their own horse-drawn vehicles, initially training on a small carriage harnessed to the family’s pet goat.

The Blair family had other, more traditional pets as well, such as dogs and cats, many of which were documented in family photo albums.  The family even established a pet cemetery with engraved headstones on the Blairsden estate.

Click to enlarge.

Among the family’s more exotic pets was a small black bear cub, as seen in this photograph (right) included in a family album.

Another of the family’s less-common pets was “Fifi,” a pet monkey.  It seems that in 1903, around the time the family moved into the recently completed Blairsden mansion, “Fifi” ran off, but was found weeks later stealing honey in the kitchen of a house six miles away.  The story, initially covered in the William Randolph Hearst newspaper, The New York American, ended up being reprinted in newspapers across the country, including the item below that appeared in the Coffeeville Record in Coffeyville, Kansas. 

To read more on Blairsden and the Blair family, click here.


  1. Barry, thanks for an interesting story about the Blairs. I liked the newspaper clip about the lost monkey!

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