Beth Davies AG ZARA AND ESTHER [Note, February 2009: The birth information as found in Our Folks on Esther Etheredge is incorrect. She was born 10 August 1783 in Adams, Berkshire County, Massachusetts (New England Historic Genealogical Society, Vital records of Williamstown, Massachusetts, to the year 1850 (Boston, Massachusetts : New England Historic Genealogical Society, 1907), 35.] ZARA BLAKE was born at Litchfield, Litchfield, Connecticut 12 Nov. 1781.1 George M. Blake in Our Folks wrote that Zara "died at South Dansville, N.Y., Sept. 17th, 1839. He was married March 22d, 1803 at Herkimer, N.Y.., with ESTHER ETHEREDGE. The Etheredges were English Quakers. She was born at Stonington, Conn., Aug. 10th, 1783. she died at Dansville, N.Y. June 25th, 1833. She is said to have been a very lovely and lovable woman, of a large figure, with a magnificent head of chestnut brown hair. Her father was Thomas Etheredge, of Stonington, and her mother, Anna (Cleveland) Etheredge, was born at Canterbury, Conn., 1753. Her grandfather was Nathaniel Etheredge, who is thought to have been the original immigrant from England to Conn., 1720. For about a year after his marriage Zara Blake lived at Herkimer, N.Y., then came to Livonia. He was a farmer and dealer in cattle, horses and live stock. He would make periodical trips to Conn., and buy there, and near there, a drove of stock, which he would then drive across N.Y. State, following the Mohawk Valley, and what is now the line of the Erie Canal, and was earlier yet the great east and west trail of the Six Nations, to the new west of those days, where he would market them. For a time he was very successful and accumulated a small fortune; but this he suddenly lost, and as to the manner of its loss I had, years ago, from my uncle N.E.B., the following tale, and the same has since been corroborated from two independent sources. It is said that during, or immediately after the war of 1812, Canada, or England, declared an absolute embargo, or act of non-intercourse, upon all trade between Canada and the United States, and the penalty of its violation was death, the violator being treated to some extent as a spy. Zara Blake not having the fear he perhaps ought to have had, and attracted by the profits of this dangerous traffic, repeatedly traded from the N.Y. shore of Lake Ontario across to Canada, and had as a partner a sailor, said to have been Capt. Chesley Blake, who afterwards owned the steamer Illinois and was one of the famous characters of the lakes. He was not a relative so far as anyone ever knew, though he was always a good friend and acquaintance to Zara Blake's family. The Capt. furnished the boat and Zara Blake the cargo, and for a time they did a "land office business" with the Canucks. This was all supposedly kept secret from Zara's good Quaker wife; but she some way learned of it, and on her request he promised to cease the dangerous trade so soon as he made one more trip,

Litchfield Vital Records, Vol. 1, pg. 169.

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to close out stock on hand and settle with the Canadian agents who had the disposition of the merchandise on that end of the line. He went across, collected up, and is said to have had upwards of $5000 in gold on his person. He told his Canadian allies that was his last trip and that he was now out to the business, and the Canadians with a keen eye on that gold betrayed him to a sheriff, having first made a bargain with the local Jonathan Wild for immunity and a share of the plunder. Capt. Blake and the boat got away by a squeak, but the officer nabbed Zara Blake and the cash. Blake was tried and condemned to death; but he was a mason as was also Capt. Blake, and certain Canadian masonic friends helped them arrange a further bribe to this hungry sheriff, by the terms of which the Blakes were to keep silence as to the amount stolen by the sheriff, and let him retain it from his government, and the Canadian masons were to pay or guarantee the payment by the Blakes of a large further sum to the officer. This deal concluded, the sheriff "forgot" to lock the prison doors one night, and Zara Blake escaped, "stole" a horse from a Canadian mason's stable near by that "happened " to be standing bridled and saddled, and Capt. Blake and his sloop did the rest. So he got off alive, but ruined, as it took about all he had left to make good the sum pledged for him by the Canada friends. He never recovered financially from this loss, but had he lived a little longer he would have done so, as he had gone from Livonia into the hills just south from Dansville, N.Y., then clothed with the finest of white pine timber, and had purchased a large tract of it and gone to lumbering. But his health failed, and after a lingering illness of years, he died comparatively poor, his estate giving his children only about $600 each. Although Zara Blake traded with Canada in violation of the non-intercourse act, he was not at all the man one would imagine for that sort of a thing. He was not a man of the dashing sort; quite the reverse. He was very pious, a Presbyterian deacon and a stern man--one of the rigid puritanical sort."2 A letter written by Mr. B.S. Stone to George M. Blake in 1895 states, "The old Blake home of your grandfather was located but a few rods across the creek and county line from where I live. It was a double house. The south side was made of logs, the north end of planks, with a great double fireplace and chimney in the middle. No stoves in those days. The boys' sleeping room was upstairs and the 'stairs' was a ladder. "Your grandmother died in the big room in the log part of the house. My eldest sister took me in to see her when she was dying. I was very young then. She called me to her and took my hand. I can recollect her lips were swollen, but she talked to me and gave me advice to be a good boy, etc. etc. She made me cry, and I wanted to go home. Two or three of your aunts were there, and we were all weeping. The old house caught fire and burned up some time in the 'fifties'."3 Zara Blake is buried in Greenlawn Cemetery, Sandy Hill, Town of Dansville, Steuben County

2 3

George M. Blake, Our Folks, Second Preliminary Draft, Rockford, Illinois, June 1, 1895, pp.16-17. ibid. pp. 18-20.

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New York. He died Sept .17 1839 age 56 years 10 months, 17 days.4 His will was written the day of his death. In it he bequeathed to his children Cynthia Wisner, Mary Ann Dewey, Alta Blake, Ury Blake, Electa Losey, Aaron C. Blake, William E. Blake, Gideon S. Blake, Zara H. Blake, and Nathaniel E. Blake all his real and personal property over and above the paying of his debts to be equally divided between them.5 Esther Etheredge Blake died June 25, 1833, six years before her husband and is also buried in Greenlawn Cemetery.6 THE CHILDREN CYNTHIA BLAKE was born April 17, 1804 at Herkimer, New York. In Our Folks, B.S. Stone, who lived in Danville, wrote, "In an old letter that my father wrote to my grandmother Temple in Mass., this item of news occurs: 'Cynthia Blake was married to Lathrop Wisnor March 22, 1824.'"7 Cynthia's family moved to Indiana between 1833 and 1836 and to Athens, Calhoun County, Michigan between 1843 and 1850.8 Jean Cobb, a descendant of this couple, wrote concerning Libias Lathrop Wisner, "(I) found Libeas Lathrop Wisner in yates County ..He was pastor of Italy Hollow Baptist CLhurch 1828-1832. Then I found L.L. in Fayette County, IN, in 1840. I tracked L.L to Calhoun County, MI in 1850.....Cynthia and he went to Lenawee where he had brothers living."9 Lathrop and Cynthia had nine known children: (1) Zara Judson, born 7 Feb. 1825 in Steuben County, New York who married Nancy "Mary Ann" Davie on 18 Feb.1850 in Rush County, Indiana and died 27 Nov. 1902 in Allen County, Kansas10 (2) William Wisner, born about 1828 in New York11 (3) Susan, born about 183212 in New York13, who married Lewis Benjamin14 and died 23 Feb.

Cemetery Records, Steuben County, New York, Green Lawn Cemetery, Sandy Hill, County Rt. 46, Town of Danville, p. 53, FHL film 1,479,820.
5 6 7 8 9


Steuben County Wills, V. 3, p. 161, FHL film 853,119. Cemetery Records, Steuben County, Green Lawn Cem., p. 53. Blake, Ou r Folks, pp. 18, 20. 185 0 U .S. Census, Athens, C alhoun Co ., Michigan, p . 117R, Family #9 63, F HL film 14,810 . W isner up -date, received from Jean Cobb A pril 14 , 199 9 via e-mail. Family group sheet compiled by Jean Cobb, copy in possesion of Beth Davies

10 11 12


DA R Co llection, Ingham Cou nty, Mich igan, V ital Record s, Sec. 4--Locke Township, Belle Oak Cemetery, Locke Township Sec. 13, FHL film 927, 434.
13 14

1860 U.S. Census, Leroy Township, Calhoun Co., Michigan, p. 213, Family #1608, FHL film 803,539. Blake, Ou r Folks, p. 20.

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190315 . (4) Daniel B., born 5 June 183316 in New York17, married Elizabeth E. Ditmars 12 Oct. 1853 at Hudson, Lenawee Co., Michigan18, and died 2 Aug. 190719. (5) Etheredge, born about 1836 , (6) Catharine, born about 1838, (7) Sarah, born about 1840, (8) Cynthia, born about 1842, and (9) Libias, born about 1843, all in Indiana20. Cynthia Blake Wisner died 30 March 1852 at Athens, Calhoun, Michigan.21 Lathrop remarried after her death and died 22 Sept. 1884 at Dover, Lenawee Co., Michigan.22 MARY ANN BLAKE was born Oct. 27, 1805 at Livonia, New York23. She married, as a 2nd wife, Solomon Taylor Dewey 13 Oct. 1837 at Dansville24. They moved to Waterloo, Jackson County, Michigan between 1843 and 1848 and spent the rest of their lives their. Mary Ann died Oct. 20, 1875 at Waterloo of old age. Her death record says she was 69 years, 11 months, and 24 days old, born in New York25. Solomon had died 12 years earlier on July 16, 1863. They are both buried in Pixley Cemetery, in Waterloo, as are two of their four children.26 Solomon and Mary Ann had four children: (1) Shuyler S. Dewey, born 18 Nov. 1837 at Dansville, married Louisa Earl 28 Nov. 185827, died in 1911 and buried in Pixley Cemetery.28 (2) Zara Blake Dewey, born 3 Nov. 1840 at Dansville, married Alzina Craig 21 Feb. 1867 at Fitchburg, Ingham County, Michigan29. (3) Lorenzo Dewy, born 13 Jan. 1843 at Dansville, married first, Mary E. Croman at Waterloo, and 2nd, Loretta A. ____30 He died in 1926 and is buried in Pixley Cemetery.31 (4) Mary Ann Dewey, born 12 Sept.
15 16

DAR Collection, Ingham Co., Mich. Vital Records

DAR Collection, Cemetery Records, Lenawee Co., Michigan, V. 4, p. 123, Hudso n Township, M aple Grove Cemetery (Hudson City), FHL film 926,727.
17 18

1850 U .S. Census, Athens, Calhoun Co., M ich.

Lenawee County, Michigan, Marriage Records, 1852-1864, FHL film 14,822. This marriage is on a loose, typewritten sheet of paper near the end of the film and was not recorded until April 22, 1907!
19 20 21 22 23 24

DAR Collection, Cemetery Records, Lenawee Co., Michigan. 1850 U .S. Census, Athens, Calhoun Co., M ichigan. Blake, Our Folks, p. 20. Family Group Sheet compiled by Jean Cobb, copy in possessin of Beth Davies Our Folks, p. 20.

IGI. Our Folks lists the year as 183 0, but the 1850 C ensus shows tha t Solomon had two child ren from his first marriage born about 1833 and 1835 (1850 U.S. Census, Jackson Co., Waterloo Township, Michigan, p. 465, FHL film 443,568 ).
25 26 27 28 29 30 31

Reco rd of Deaths, Jackson County, Michigan, Book A, p. 143, FHL film 941,628. DAR Cemetery Records, Jackson County, Michigan, V. 2, p. 459, FHL film 925,960. Blake, Ou r Folks, p. 20. DAR Cemetery Records, Jackson Co, V. 2, p. 459. Blake, Ou r Folks, p. 20.

DA R Cemetery R ecords, Ja ckson Co., V. 2, p. 458.

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1848 at Waterloo after the family had moved to Michigan and married Edwin R. Hawley on 20 March 187332 at Bunker Hill, Ingham County, Michigan33 ALTA M. BLAKE was born 14 Aug. 1807 at Livonia and married John M. Hendee. They had no children. Our Folks says, "Etheredge, son of her brother William, was dear to her heart. she always refused to believe he was drowned the night he ran away from Stone's, though the bridge was gone in the morning and every stream booming, and she held, to her death, to the hope that some day he would come back to her. She had, by dint of economy, from her butter and egg money and the like, gathered together a couple of hundred dollars that was her very own, and this she kept "For Etheredge" and it was in the bank intact to the day she died, though her own life was a meager one and barren."34 Alta died 2 Sept. 1878 and is buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery in South Dansville, Steuben County, New York35 URI BLAKE is our direct ancestor and his story has been written separately. Like so many of his siblings, he moved to the Mid-West and died in Wisconsin. ELECTA BLAKE was born 27 April 1811 at Livonia and married Joseph Losey on 16 April 1835 at Dansville, Livingston County, New York.36 Our Folks says of her, "When her mother died in 1838, she became the mother to her younger brothers and sisters, and to them and theirs the Losey farm on "Sandy Hill" will always be "Home" and hers their love and honor37 Electa's life must have been one of sorrow as three of her five children died as infants (Zara Losey, born 17 Aug. 1836, died 17 June 1838, Richard, born 17 June 1838, died 19 Feb. 1839, and an unnamed daughter who was born and died 15 Sept. 184638) and a 4th died during the Civil War. Of this son, William Henry Losey, Our Folks says he, "enlisted Aug. 11, 1862, in Co. K, 130th N.Y. Vols; d. Dec. 18, 1862 of typhoid fever, in camp at Suffolk, Va. His uncle, Dr. Z.H. Blake, went to Virginia and brought his remains home to the little home "Graveyard" on "Sandy Hill," where all his kin are sleeping. 39 Electa's fourth son, Uri A. Losey, was born 28 Nov. 184340 in Steuben County, New York41. He remained in Steuben County, married Anna B. Warkley on 3 July 1862 at South

32 33 34 35 36 37 38

Blake, Ou r Folks, p. 20. IGI. Blake, Ou r Folks, p. 20. Cemetery Records, Steuben Co., New York, Forest Lawn Cemetery, p. 38, FHL film 1,479,820. Blake, Ou r Folks, p. 20. Ibid.

Ibid, p. 20-21. Cem etery R ecords, Steube n Co, p. 45, gives some conflicting information. It says that an infant daughter of Joseph and E lecta Losey d ied 2-19-1 839 and another daughter d ied Sept. 15, 1849.
39 40 41

Ibid, p. 20. Ibid. 1855 New York State Census, Steuben Co., Danville, p. 3, FHL film 512,421.

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Dansville42, died in 1910 and is buried in the Sandy Hill cemetery with his parents.43 Joseph Losey died 5 April 1873 and Electa Blake Losey on 20 Jan. 1895. AARON COLLINS BLAKE was born 30 March 1813 at Livonia.44 A letter from B.S. Stone, reproduced in Our Folks, says, "Aaron C. Blake married my sister Charlotte Temple Stone about 1833. They commenced keeping house in the log house that George Diamond has lived in for the last 40 years. According to what I have picked up that house was built in 1814. They had two children, Etheredge and Grata Ann. They both died of consumption. Grata Ann died at your father's house in Dansville; Etheredge at my brother's house in Corrunna, Dekalb Co., Indiana about 1862. Have no dates. Have looked through a pile of old letters, but have not found what I wanted. Mrs. Blake died March 17th, 1847, at Marshall Mich. (born April 3d 1816). Aaron Blake moved with his family from Dansville to Coldwater, Mich. in the fall of 1837. My father, my sister Grata Ann, brother Rufus and myself went with them. Coldwater at that time was a very small village, but a few rods on the one side to the prairie and oak openings on the other. Aaron c. Blake, in company with his brother William, ran a saw mill, located about three-fourths of a mile form the village. They sawed by the thousand. (The mill was owned by two men, named Cole and Stone). They ran the mill about two years. I presume the city of Coldwater today covers the site of it. I can recollect of seeing many whitewood and black walnut logs, from 4 to 5 feet in diameter, in the mill yard. In the fall of '38 we all had the fever and ague, --the mill stopped to let everybody shake. the next year a board of health condemned the mil pond, and a mob tore down the dam. the mill never started again. In three or four years Aaron Blake moved his family to Marshall, where Mrs. Blake died. On July 4th, 1847, he married a stylish woman and tried to live up to her style. Don't know how he succeeded. His business after leaving Coldwater was speculation in land and horses."45 The missing birth dates for Aaron's children were found in the probate files of Calhoun County, Michigan. When Aaron petitioned to be named the legal guardian of his two children, he stated that Etheridge T. was 12 years old on the 28th day of August A.D. 1847 and Graty Ann was 11 on the 5th day of August instant.46 I could find no record of his 2nd marriage or of his death, which supposed to have taken place 5 August 1849 at Knappaway, Michigan.47 Our Folks reports the birth and death of two UNNAMED SONS, one born April 10th and died April 15th 1815 and the 2nd born March 4th and died March 7th, 1816 48. The cemetery extracts did not list these children.

42 43 44 45 46

Blake, Ou r Folks, p. 21. Cem etery R ecords, Steube n Coun ty, Green Lawn Cemetery, Sandy Hill, p. 45. Blake, Our Folks, p. 24. Ibid, p. 17-18

Calhoun Co. Michigan Probate Files, Packet 76--Estate of Etheridge T. Blake and Graty Ann Blake, minors, FHL film 1,012,864. The petition that gave the birth information was dated 21 Aug. 1848.
47 48

Blake, Our Folks, p. 24 Ibid, p. 21.

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WILLIAM BLAKE was born 6 Aug. 1817 at Livonia.49 R.B. Stone, in the same letter he wrote concerning Aaron, says of William, "William E. Blake was a good man. He married my sister, Grata Ann Stone, May 3d, 1838. The wedding was at the residence of a Mr. Etheredge in the village of Coldwater. About 1840 they moved to Berlin, Erie Co., Ohio, and he worked at the wagon business two or three years, and then moved to Orland, Indiana, where he built up quite a large wagon factory and hotel, was postmaster, &c. They had four children--Etheredge, Ruel, Esther Grata--and an infant. Ruel caught the whopping cough at school, and Esther Grata at that time, the baby took it and died June 12, 1848, six weeks old. Ruel died July 15th, 1848. Mrs. Blake gave birth to a child April 28th, 1859 and died with fever May 3d, just eleven years to a day after they were married. (She was born Oct. 28th, 1818.) William never did any work after that. His health failed. He came back to Dansville and stayed a short time, then went back to Indiana and died Nov. 10th, 1849. It is my recollection that William gave us to understand that he was worth several thousand dollars. Before he died he chose his own executors, and they scooped his whole estate after the correct western style. I think your aunt Alta went home with William from here, or went there soon after, and saw the slaughter of his property, and tried to save something for his orphan boy Etheredge; but the executors and lawyers was after what there was in it, and got it. Alta brought the boy Etheredge home with her. He stayed with her and Joseph Losey's folks quite a time. He came to my house about the first of June, 1857. On the night of June 9th, 1857, he went to bed as usual. Sometime in the night he got up; we did not hear him. He took all his clothes, an umbrella, a few small tools from the shop (Stone's Wagon Shop), and left. We have never heard from him since. It was the night of the great flood that washed away nearly every bridge and milldam in the town. It had rained all day, and the noise of the storm probably prevented us from hearing him when he left."50 Probate records in Steuben County, Indiana, show that on Dec. 1, 1849, Moses Spragne was appointed administrator of William's estate. Moses reported that William had been dead more than 15 days. Other records concerning William name Etheredge Blake, a non-resident minor under 21 as William's heir. The final settlement of the estate showed that there were more claims against the estate than there were assets.51 GIDEON S. BLAKE was born 14 Sept. 1819 at Livonia.52 He married Zerada Hitchcock

49 50 51 52

Ibid. Ibid, p. 18. Steuben Co., Indiana, Probate Order Book B, pp. 215, 248, 258, FHL film 1,872,355. Blake, Ou r Folks, p. 21,

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on 14 Sep. 1842 at South Dansville.53 She was born in November, 182154 at South Dansville.55 "He was a blacksmith by trade, but after marriage did not follow his trade, but was a farmer in South Dansville and North Almond the rest of his life. Gideon Blake was a man of a sanguine, hopeful disposition and cheerful temper, whose home bounded his ambitions. The children all possessed fine musical talent, both vocal and instrumental, and when all were at home together and "Phoebe" played the cottage organ, and all joined in singing familiar songs or hymns of an evening as was their habit, he would not have traded places with a president."56 Gideon and Zerada had 6 children: (1) Clarissa E. Blake, born 3 April 1845 and died 24 Dec. 1852.57 She is buried in the Forest Lawn cemetery in South Dansville.58 (2) Phoebe A. Blake, born 29 Oct. 184659. She "was educated at Dansville Seminary and Alfred Academy; taught school and music, and was organist of pipe organ, Presbyterian Church in Dansville, for several years, living at her uncle Dr. Blake's the while.60 She married Melvin Cook 5 Sept. 1875 at Almond, Allegany New York,61 died in Sept. 1880 at Almond of injuries received by being thrown from a wagon62 and is buried in the Bailey Hill Cemetery, Allegany County. 63 (3) Charles S.A. Blake, born 21 June 1848, married Julie Bailey on 8 Oct. 1869 at Almond, and was a farmer, carpenter and builder.64 Charles moved to Honey Creek, Walworth, Wisconsin where he appears in the 188065 and 189566 census records.

53 54

Ibid, p. 24. 190 0 U .S. Census, H ornellsville Town, Steub en County, N ew Y ork, E .D. 94, shee t 1, FH L film Steub en Co. Ce metery Rec ords, To wn of H ornellsville, Arkp ort Cemetery, 2nd listing p. 1, F HL film Blake, Our Folks, p. 24. Ibid.


56 57 58

Steuben Co. Cemetery Records, Forest Lawn Cemetery, South Dansville, Town of Dansville, p. 32, FHL film 1,479,820.
59 60 61

Blake, Ou r Folks, p. 24-25. Ibid.

1875 New Y ork State Census, town of Almond, Allegany County, p. 39, marriages during the year ended June 1, 1875, FHL film 501,957.
62 63

Blake, Our Folks, p. 24-25. It gives the death date as 25 Sept. 1880.

Allegany County, New York, Cemetery Index, FHL film 1,411,774. It gives her death date as Sept. 14, 188 0, age 34 years.
64 65

Blake, Ou r Folks, p. 35.

1880 U.S. Census, Spring Prairie township, village of Honey Creek, Walworth County, Wisconsin, E.D. 234, sheet 6, FHL film 1,255,449. 189 5 W isconsin State Census, Spring Prairie tow nship, W alworth Co unty, W isconsin, FH L film 1,0 32. He was not there in the 1900 Census. There is a Charles A. Blake, born June 1850 back in Livingston County, New York in the 1900 C ensus (E.D. 38, sheet 3, FHL film 1,241,071). He is a widower, with parents born in New Y ork.

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(4)Dora Mary Blake, born 10 May 1850, married Dr. William H. Harris on 12 Oct. 1872 at Canseraga, Allegany Co., New York.67 They were still living in Canseraga in 1900.68 (5) Amanda Blake, born 19 Aug. 1852, married Lorenzo W. Tompkins 25 Nov. 1872.69 Their two daughters were born in Pennsylvania, but by the 1900 census, Amanda was a widow, living back in Steuben County, New York.70 (6) Faye Gideon Blake, born 10 July 1854, married Grace T. Wardner 24 Sept. 1876 at Almond, Allegany County, New York.71 They lived in Almond72, then in Hornellsville, Steuben County73 where Faye was a farmer.74 Gideon died 11 May 1882 at Almond and Zerada died 18 March 1903. They are both buried in the Arkport Cemetery in Hornellsville, Steuben County, New York.75 ZARA HURD BLAKE was born 23 Oct. 182176 at Livonia77. He married Lovis Dorr in 1848. 78 Lovisa was born 20 Dec. 182579, a daughter of Samuel Griswold Dorr and Slima Phelps. Our Folks says of Zara: "He received his early education at Herkimer Academy, N.Y., living the while with his Quaker uncle, Nathaniel Etheredge, and no small part of his character owed its shape to the example and admonitions of this good and affectionate, yet shrewd relative, whose name and memory is handed down the line of his sister's children to the youngest generation. Returning to Dansville, Dr. Blake "worked out" summers, taught school winters, saved every penny, studied at every opportunity, determined to educate himself. His elder sister, Mrs. Electa Losey, was a second mother to him, and her home was his also. From the Dansville Express, Sept. 13th, 1888: "We remember the story of his early struggles, as he told it one summer afternoon while riding up to his farm. It was the same old story which thousands of our successful countrymen have

67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75

Blake, Our Folks, p. 25. 1900 U.S. Census, Canaseraga, Allegany Co., New York, E.D. 11, sheet 1, FHL film 1,241,008 Blake, Our Folks, p. 25. 1900 U.S. Census, Hornellsville, Steuben Co., New York, E.D. 94, sheet 1, FHL film 1,241,164. Blake, Our Folks, p. 35. 1880 U.S. Census, Almond, Allegany Co., New York, sheet 4, FHL Soundex film 287,869. 1900 U.S. Census, Hornellsville, Steuben Co., New York, E.D. 94, sheet 1, FHL film 1,241,164. Blake, Our Folks, p. 35. Steub en County C emetery Record s, To wn of H ornellsville, Arkp ort Cemetery, lst listing, p. 2, FHL film

1,479,820. Cemetery Records, Steuben County, New York, Greenhill Cemetery (Sandy Hill), Danville Town, p. 53, FHL film 1,479,820.
77 78 79 76

Blake, Our Folks, p. 25. Blake, Our Folks, p. 25. Cemetery Records, Steuben Co., NY, Greenhill Cemetery (Sandy Hill), p. 53.

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told--parents poor, family large, hard work, deprivation, but with all a grit and determination that overcame obstacles and won success. Only last Sunday we listened to a farmer as he told of remembering Dr. Blake as a tall, awkward lad, binding wheat in his father's field at seventy-five cents a day, the money thus earned being saved to carry him through college. Dr. Blake was determined to succeed in life, and he set about it in the right manner. He was honest, industrious, saving and painstaking, and that he was successful we all know, and that the world is the better for the example of his early life and the work of his later years. His reputation as a physician was not confined to his home, it extended throughout the State, and he was regarded as one of the ablest physicians of the old school, and as a surgeon second to none." He began to read medicine with Dr. S.L. Endross, of Dansville, a gentleman of excellent birth and courtly manners, a graduate of the best Philadelphia schools and a very able practitioner, between whom and Dr. Blake there grew up a profound friendship which strengthened to their deaths, and Dr. Blake was as a professional son to him. Dr. Blake took his first course of lectures at Geneva medical college. Then some of the Geneva faculty split off, and headed by Austin Flint, St. (later of N.Y. City), and Dr. Ford (later of Ann Arbor), the seceeding faction established Buffalo Medical College. Dr. Blake graduated from Buffalo College in the first class it turned out, in 1847. There were eight in the class, three of whom were living in 1873, and each of these three then had a son attending lectures at the College; they were Drs. Ring and Wyckoff, of Buffalo, and Dr. Blake. After graduation he settled at his old home in N.Y. State and began the practice of his art, and in 1848 he married Lovisa Dorr, daughter of Samuel Griswold Dorr. She had been a neighbor of his childhood and a pupil of his winter schools. The Dorr family in education, means and social standing were of the best, Mr. Dorr being a college-bred man and a graduate, but not a practitioner, of medicine. Was a well-to-do manufacturer of woolens and lumber, and had other milling interests. Dr. Blake pursued the practice of his profession as he had its study. He was a strong, stalwart, "clipper-built" man, six feet three, and weighing in his prime 250 lbs. The demands of a country practice upon a physician's constitution are enormous, but Dr. Blake met them all. The writer has known him to work great stretches of time without sleep--in one case nine days and nights, with only "cat naps" on couch or lounge. From the Dansville Advertiser, Sept. 13th 1888. "On Monday, April 11th, Dr. Z.H. Blake of this village performed his fiftieth operation for cancer of the breast. On this occasion he was assisted by Dr. F.M. Perine and Miss Josie D. "Blake, M.D. Wonderful to relate, of the fifty operations forty-nine have been successful, effecting perfect cures. The operation that was not successful was made under protest, when the patient was far gone and without any hope of a cure." Fifty operations for one ailment alone by a man who was only a general country practitioner taking everything as it came, will give an idea of the volume of practice he did.\ Dr. Blake was a man who permitted nothing to interfere with his professional work, and yet he was something of a politician. He was a staunch Republican, serving as a delegate to State and National conventions of the party, and as a member of the Electoral College of New York in 1880. I quote from the proceedings of that College: "Mr. Churchill, from the majority of the committee to select the messengers, reported the names of John Jacob Astor to go to Washington and Z. H. Blake to go the U.S. Judge. A minority of the committee objected to this report on the ©Beth Davies AG, 69 W . 108 0 N .. American F ork, U T 8 400 3. Permission is granted to print and distrib ute to
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ground that the western part of the State ought to have the messengers, and recommended Blake for Washington and St. John to go to the U.S. Judge. "Mr. Clarence Seward did not think locality ought to influence the matter, and the majority report was unanimously adopted." April 17th, 1863, Dr. Blake was appointed surgeon to the Board of Enrollment of the 25th District, State of N.Y., comprising the counties of Livingston, Ontario and Yates; and served until honorably discharged June 15th, 1865. Headquarters of the Board were first at Canandaigua, later at Avon, N.Y. His associates were William T. Remer, Capt. Provost, and Jacob a. Mead of Mt. Morris, and Ralph T. Wood of Dansville. This and one other Board were the only ones in the U.S. which had the honor of serving through its entire term with its membership unchanged, and without a question either of their integrity or capacity. All enlisted and drafted men for these counties passed through his hands for acceptance or rejection, and numberless were the attempts to bribe or deceive him, but to no avail. After the close of the war, for upwards of twenty years he was examining surgeon for the Pension Department for a part of Western N.Y. He was also an aspirant for the honorable and lucurative post of Health Officer of the Port of New York, a competitor being Austin Flint Jr., of N.Y. City. Their forces were so evenly divided that neither one got it, a third man being chosen as a compromise after the situation had developed the eveness of Blake and Flint in the race. Dr. Blake was a vestryman of St. Peter's Episcopal Church, but not a church member. He was a sincerely religious man, believing devoutly in God's love and justice; but either from a Quaker ancestr y or from other reasons, he had no use for creeds other than "Jesus Christ and him crucified." He was Past Master of his Masonic Lodge and of the Chapter, and held many minor positions of trust and honor. As a result of political antagonisms, the leading Democratic family of Western N.Y., "the Faulkners," ostensibly attorneys for a Mrs. Carpenter, brought against him a malpractice suit, based upon the fact of his acting in a case upon an emergency, the case immediately going into other medical hands and staying there; but there were those who had been obliged to serve their country by him, and the Faulkners "had a pull." a handsome lady was most skilfully displayed as a plaintiff. Dr. Blake was rich, and so the jury "was agin him,". but Dr. Blake was a fighter. Thirteen years this case was in court; three times it went to the Court of Appeals, and was by that tribunal finally decided against him by a 4 to 3 vote, the casting vote being given by Samuel Hand of Albany, who had just been appointed to fill a vacancy by Gov. Tilden, Gen. Lester B. Faulkner, Chairman of the State Democratic Central Committee, being attorney in the case for Mrs. C. at this time. This Phyric victory for the "Faulkners" cost Dr. Blake a great deal or money, and the injustice of it shortened his life ten years at least. Mrs. Blake survives him at Dansville, N.Y. She was stricken with apoplectic paralysis June 12th, 1893, from which she has only partially recovered. From the day she was suddenly stricken she has had the faithful, untiring devotion of her daughter, Dr. Josephine Dorr Blake, who has

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unselfishly given her entire thought and time to the care of our beloved mother."80 Zara and Lovisa had three children: (1) Sophia Blake, born 14 Oct. 1850, died 19 Jan. 1852,81 (2) George Matthew Blake, the author of Our Folks, was born 1 Nov. 185282 at Dansville, New York83, married Carrie Gillman Brown 16 Oct. 1879 at Rockford, Winnebago County, Illinois84, and died 2 Dec. 193785 He wrote of himself in Our Folks: "Attended the local schools at Dansville until fall of 1869 when he entered Williston Seminary, at East Hampton, Mass., class of 1872--"Classical." One of his teachers here was Dr. Chas. Parkhurst, now of N.Y. City and his influence on Mr. Blake's character was perhaps the strongest of his life from one who was no relative. In 1871 Mr. Blake gave up the idea of college (for which he has always been sorry) and took up the study of law with John Wilkinson, Jr., a very bright young lawyer at Dansville. He had always had a repugnance to medicine; but his father's cherished ideas was that his only son should take up his work and assist him, and eventually succeed to his fame and fine practice. he finally prevailed, and Mr. Blake gave up the law and tried medicine, having the widest scope of clinical instruction and the most faithful tutor. He graduated M.D. at Buffalo, N.Y. in class of 1874, having for some time before this been his father's assistant, and upon graduation his father took him into partnership. Mr. Blake was a successful practitioner in all senses, but his dislike of the profession grew and strengthened, and in 1877 he flatly quit it for good and for ever, went to Ann Arbor, entered the law school, and graduated B.L. in 1879. He had intended to settle in Buffalo for the practice of his profession, but a very particular reason attracted him to Rockford, Ill., and in the spring of 1879 he settled there, and with a classmate opened the law firm of Blake and Blaine. ...The firm of Blake and Blaine was not long lived, Mr. Blaine dropping the profession and Blake continued the practice alone until 1894, when he took into partnership Mr. L.M. Reckhow, and the firm is now Blake and Reckhow. Mr. Blake is staunchly Republican in politics, but is no politician. He has served two years as City Attorney, and has the reputation of being an excellent "business" lawyer, and a careful, safe business man whose word "goes." He has had many business interests outside his law practice; was for some years Pres. of First Nat. Bank of Canton, S. Dak., has dealt in real estate in the Dakotas, Kansas and the Pacific Coast. Is Pres. of a local Building and loan Ass'n. (the Fidelity), and is also Pres. and Active Manager of the Druggists' Union Co. of Rockford, a concern manufacturing specialties and remedies for the drug trade. He is a Mason and Knight Templar, and both he and his wife are members of the Second Congregational Church of

80 81 82 83 84 85

Blake , Our Folks, pp. 25-27. Cemetery Records, Steuben Co., NY, Greenhill Cemetery (Sandy Hill), p. 53. Ibid. Blake, Ou r Folks, p. 37. Ibid. Cemetery Records, Steuben Co., NY, Greenhill Cemetery (Sandy Hill), p. 53.

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Rockford."86 (3) Josephine Dorr Blake, born 31 Oct. 185687 in Livingston County, New York,88 died 3 April 1940.89 George Blake wrote of his sister: "Josephine Dorr Blake...was educated at the local schools, and was one year at Cook Academy, Havanna, N.Y., and three years at Rockford Seminary, Rockford, Ill., of which school her aunt, Catherine C. Dorr, was for years a teacher, then entered Vassar from which she graduated in 1880. She read medicine with her father after her brother had abandoned it, and attended lectures at Michigan Universtiy, Ann Arbor, graduating M.D. 1887 from the (Regular) college there. She taught the classics for a couple of years at Ingham University, LeRoy, N.Y. She has never practice her profession, except as her father's assistant during the latter years of his life, since which time she has given all her thought and attention to the care of our invalid mother."90 Zara Hurd Blake, his wife, and all three children are buried in Greenlawn Cemetery, Sandy 91 Hill. NATHANIEL ETHEREDGE BLAKE was born on 18 June 1825 at South Dansville.92 Our Folks says of him, "He began when fifteen years old to learn the trade of wagon maker. He followed this three years, then went into a manufactory for threshing machines, where he was foreman and afterwards manager. In 1845 he was married at his native town to Emmeline Wellington (she was born there, 1822 of excellent New England stock), and went to farming. For some years he owned and carried on farms in Allegany Co., N.Y., adjoining that owned by his brother Gideon, and for a while the three brothers, Gideon, Zara and Nathaniel, were partners in sheep raising on quite a scale there. In 1868 he decided to come west, sold out and located at Harvard, Ill. forming a partnership with Ezra Smith in the wagon manufacturing business. After a couple of years he sold out and with his eldest son, J.C. Blake, engaged in the manufacture of sash, doors, and c. and N.E. Blake & Son. This they finally converted to a wagon factory again, and continued it as such until 1882, when his health began to fail, and he gave up the business to hi son; but after a rest and change of scene by travel, his health was partially restored, and his native energy not permitting him to be content when idle, he opened a Real Estate office and soon added Collections, and then finally accepted election as the town Justice of the Peace. This class of business seemed to suit him exactly and he made a remarkable success of it, for the size of his field. I quote from the Harvard Independent of 1893. ` "During his terms of office, Harvard has never had a more upright or conscientious official;

86 87 88 89 90 91 92

Blake, Ou r Folks, p. 35-37. Cemetery Records, Steuben Co., NY, Greenhill Cemetery (Sandy Hill), p. 53. 1865 New York State Census, North Dansville, Livingston Co., p. 21, FHL film 510,543. Cemetery Records, Steuben Co., NY, Greenhill Cemetery (Sandy Hill), p. 53. Blake, Ou r Folks, pp. 27-29. Cemetery Records, Steuben Co., NY, Greenhill Cemetery (Sandy Hill), p. 53. Blake, Ou r Folks, p. 29. Birthdate is also given in Mc hen ry Co unty, Illinois C emeteries, Vol. 1, p. 114.

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always a careful conservative man, he scored a great success in his business career. It was apparent to him, as it was to all who knew him, that he was especially adapted for his later work. He took an active part in furthering the interests of this town, and early residents abound in reminiscences in which he bore a prominent part. He was a man of genial humor and kind heart, a man of never ceasing mental activity, and until recent years, of great physical energy. There was scarcely a thing undertaken by him that he did not succeed in. Everything he did was marked with his individuality; no reverses were sufficient to overcome his courage; for ten years he knew his life was being gradually sapped away by an insidious disease (diabetes), but with full knowledge of this, he kept at work with the energy of a man forty years his junior. The people of this city on several occasions honored him with offices of trust. He was several times President of our Board of Trustees, and his voice was always on the side of right, and as Supervisor on the County Board he displayed the same true character." From the Sharon (Ill.) Register, "He was Mayor several times...He was a friend of the needy, a kind and obliging neighbor, an honorable upright man whose memory will long live green in the hearts of his many friends, by whom he is greatly missed." From the Woodstock Democrat "Mr. Blake was widely known as a man of unswerving integrity, honest dealings, and conscientious treatment of his fellowmen...He had a knowledge of law few men possess, and his rulings stood firm." From Woodstock Sentinel, "Mr. Blake was firmly trusted and highly respected by every man who knew him; he was a sincere Christian business man, reliable in all his actions, energetic and square in all his dealings." From Marengo Republican, "Mr. N.E. Blake was well known here, and had a high reputation for honesty, integrity and business sagacity." From Episcopal Rector's Letter in Harvard Herald, "Nathaniel Etheredge Blake was the soul of honor, his word was a bond, integrity, uprightness and exactness were the embodiment of his moral life; he was entitled to the esteem of his fellow men, and he got it, while at the same time no one would spurn more quickly than he, any tribute to his worth not given in truest sincerity, and we who write or speak of him do not forget this. His home life was very dear to him, it was a pleasure when the tolls of day were over to drop in and see him in his home life and hear his whole souled welcome; his physical weakness in his later years did not permit him to go out much. The summer home he built at Lake Geneva he well knew would not be his to enjoy long. he built it for his family. He had the satisfaction of seeing it completed, and when everything was ready, indulged in a 'week off' spent there. He invited his Rector to come and spend it with him and his family. That week was a restful one to him, and it was his last vacation, though we did not think it then." N.E. Blake was familiarly known to the people of Harvard as "Papa" Blake. I know of nothing that carries a better idea of him than this. If he reproved any, as he sometimes did, it was a as a father might do it and few took offence; to him they came for advice, aid and comfort. He was a counsellor, shrewd and able, and a friend trusted, respected and loved, and by none more than by ©Beth Davies AG, 69 W . 108 0 N .. American F ork, U T 8 400 3. Permission is granted to print and distrib ute to
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the writer, who knew him through and through, and knew him to be just one of the salt of earth. He was a Mason and K.T., and held offices in the order often. The widow survives him."93 Nathaniel and Emmeline had three children: (1) John Cameron Blake, born 3 Dec. 1847 at South Dansville, New York94 Our Folks says of him, "He was married at S. D'vill, ___ to Louise Burditt (She was b. same place Mar. 25th, 1849). He was educated at So. D'ville and Alfred, N.Y. Academies, came west with his father, whom he assisted in business, and with whom he was first in partnership and later succeeded in the wagon manufactory. In 1889 he sold out the wagon factory at Harvard and established at Rockford, Ill. (but kept his home in Harvard), the J.C. Blake Heating Co., a corporation for contracting and erecting, and for dealing in all kinds of steam and other heating apparatus and similar supplies. This he conducted very successfully until fall of 1892, when his father's failing health made it necessary that a stronger and younger person should be constantly at hand to aid him and watch over him. Accordingly, under guise of partnership with his father in the real estate and collection business, he established himself as his father's physical guardian without the latter's perceiving the real intent. The Heating Co. was left in the management of his son Jesse C. Blake, with Ruel E. Dewey, a second cousin, as supt. of construction. Since his father's death, his mother's health is by no means good and Mr. Blake has given his whole time to the Harvard office business, with sufficient attention to the Heating Co. at Rockford to keep it in good standing. Jesse C. has however, proved a careful manager and has relieved Mr. Blake of more and more care each year in this respect. John C. Blake is a "chip of the old block" in character."95 John Cameron Blake was married to Louise Maria Burditt in 1868.96 He died in 1916 and is buried in the Mt. Auborn cemetery in McHenry County, Illinois.97 (2) Fred Wellington Blake, born 31 May 185598 in Allegany County, New York.99 Our Folks says of him, "d. unmarried at Leadville, Colo., July 6th, 1891. He was a locomotive engineer, a splendid natural mechanic, who could see into anything that had wheels and run it better than anyone else I ever knew."100 (3) Mary Electa Blake, born 29 Dec. 1861101 at Allegany, New York102, died 24 Nov. 1921

93 94

Blake, Our Folks, p. 29-30.

Blake, Ou r Folks, p. 30 gives the birthplace, but gives the date as Dec. 3d 1841. The year 1847 is from Mc Henry C oun ty, Illinois, C emeteries, Vol. 1, p. 114.
95 96 97 98 99

Blake, Our Folks, p. 37. McHenry County, Illinois, 1832-1968, p. 880, FHL 977.322H2m. Mc Henry C oun ty, Illinois, C emeteries, Vol. 1, p. 114. Ou r Folks, p. 30. 1865 New York State Census, Almond, Allegany Co., New York, p. 12, FHL film 501,954. Ou r Folks, p. 30. Ou r Folks, p. 30. 1865 New York State Census, Almond, Allegany Co., New York, p. 12, FHL film 501,954.

100 101 102

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and is buried at Mt. Auburn Cemetery in McHenry County, Illinois.103


Mc Henry C oun ty, Illinois, C emeteries, Vol. 1, p. 114. It gives her birthdate as 27 Dec. 1862.

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