Civil War governor Austin Blair (1818-1894) came to Jackson, Michigan, from New York in 1841. In 1842 he moved his law practice to Eaton Rapids. At that time the area was made up mostly of farmers, and Blair was paid for his services with produce and firewood. He lived in a frame house that once stood near this site. In 1843, while a resident of this town, he was elected Eaton County clerk. Poverty and the deaths of his infant daughter and his wife led him to resign as county clerk and return to Jackson.
Austin Blair began his political career in 1842 as Eaton County clerk. In 1846 he was elected to the Michigan House of Representatives. He was selected as Jackson County prosecutor in 1852 and from 1855 to 1856 he served in the state senate. In 1861 Blair became governor of Michigan, a post he held for two terms. While in office he personally raised about $100,000 to equip the 1st Michigan Volunteer Infantry Regiment. He represented Michigan as a U.S. congressman form 1867 to 1873 and was a University of Michigan
regent from 1882 to 1890