White County INGenWeb


JAMES BLAKE. A well-to-do agriculturist of White County, James Blake, is prosperously engaged in his independent vocation in West Point Township, where his well-improved farm is under excellent cultivation, and, with its comfortable buildings and ample equipments, indicates to the passer-by to what good purpose the proprietor has devoted his time and means. He was born December 11, 1843, in Shropshire, England, which was his childhood home. James Blake, Sr., Mr. Blake's father, was born and reared in Flintshire, and there married Martha Shone. On March 1, 1850, having decided to emigrate to America, he sailed from Liverpool with his family on board the Ocean Star, but the vessel sprang leak and put back to port. He and his family then embarked on another sailing vessel, the Mary Ward, and after an ocean voyage of six weeks landed at New Orleans. He then went up the Mississippi River to Galena, Illinois, from there going to Joliet, in June, 1850. In October, 1850, he moved to Kankakee County, Illinois, where he bought a small tract of land and engaged in farming. In 1867, accompanied by his son, James, the subject of this sketch, he made a trip to White County, Indiana, and being pleased with the country roundabout, bought 160 acres of land in West Point Township. The following spring he assumed possession of the land, and on the farm which he improved both he and his wife spent their last years, his death occurring April 15, 1883, at the age of seventy-five years, the year of his birth having been 1808. His wife, who was born June 11, 1819, survived him, passing away March 27, 1898. He was a republican in politics, and in his early life was connected by membership with the Methodist Episcopal Church, but later he became identified with the Presbyterian Church. Of the seven children born to him and his wife, three are living, as follows: James, the subject of this brief biographical sketch; Joseph, and John. After attending school in his native land for a year, James Blake came with his parents to the United States, and as a boy attended the Illinois schools. While living on the home farm, he acquired a good knowledge of agriculture, and at the age of eighteen years began working as farm laborer. Starting farming on his own account in 1864, Mr. Blake met with most satisfactory results in his agricultural labors, and has since accumulated a fine property, his land holdings at different times aggregating 560 acres. He now owns, in West Point Township, 160 acres of rich and productive land, from which he reaps abundant harvests each year. Mr. Blake has been twice married. He married first, December 6, 1865, Elizabeth Ann Grimes, a daughter of Charles 0. Grimes. She was born December 31, 1846, and at her death, June 19, 1889, left three children, Alden D., of Detroit; Ada May, who wedded Charles Martin, a grain merchant of Wolcott, Indiana, and have two children, Helen Elizabeth and Charles T.; and Ida Elizabeth, who wedded Doctor Joy, of Royal Center, Indiana. Mr. Blake married second, November 18, 1891, Julia Chapman, who brought up her step-children wisely and well, and, like the children's own mother, has proved herself a worthy companion, and an efficient helpmeet. In politics Mr. Blake is a republican, with progressive, but not aggressive, tendencies. Religiously he and his wife are members of the Christian Church at Wolcott. He is interested in financial matters, having been one of the organizers of the Citizens State Bank, of which he was the first president, and is now serving as vice president.

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