A Postal Revolution and a Political Upheaval

Later Years

Montgomery Blair did not disappear from the public eye after his resignation. He remained loyal to President Lincoln until he passed away in 1884 and he and his family mourned the President’s death for months after his assassination in April 1865. Blair maintained a relationship with President Andrew Johnson, as a means of advice and counsel. After an unsuccessful run for Congress in 1874, he turned to writing as a pastime.

Montgomery Blair was working on a biography of Andrew Jackson when he died on July 27, 1883 in Silver Springs, Maryland at the age of 70.(1) To honor Blair’s death, Postmaster General Walter Gresham ordered that, “…the Post Office Department be draped in mourning for a period of 30 days…that the flag on the building be placed at half-mast until after the burial of the deceased ex-postmaster general and that the department be closed on Monday, July 30, the day of his funeral.”(2) Blair’s service to the Post Office Department was incredibly significant. Though Blair was known in his lifetime for his uneven temperament and impatience in the political sphere, William Smith, author of a history of the Blair family, noted that Montgomery Blair “realized that he represented all political faiths of unquestionable loyalty, and he thought that his position should be taken entirely out of politics.”(3) With this philosophy, Blair’s common sense and efficient nature helped him to become one of the most productive postmaster generals in United States postal history.

1) Kelly, 60.
2) “Montgomery Blair Dead: The Career of One of Lincoln’s War Cabinet,” (New York Times, July 28, 1883), Proquest Historical Newspapers, accessed June 25, 2014.
3) Smith, 92.