Manistique booster, John Ira Bellaire was born in Indiana in November of 1871. His family moved to White Pigeon in northern Lower Michigan when John was still a young child. There his parents, John and Agnes Bellaire purchased a small farm and struggled to support a growing family. John worked on the farm helping his father until he reached his eighteenth birthday, when he went out on his own.
Bellaire took advantage of every opportunity he could to attend school. He worked at odd jobs on weekends, including splitting wood to earn money for books and tuition. During the summer he worked as a clerk in a grocery store. Once school started in the fall he continued working before and after school. He was finally able to graduate in June of 1891. After obtaining a 3rd grade teaching certificate, Bellaire taught for one year at a school near South Boardman, Michigan, in Kalkaska County.