Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The Blake Family of Salem Township, Washington County, Ohio

The Marietta Times, February 20, 1879

A few items in the history of the Blake family of which Moses Blake, lately deceased, was a member, may be interesting to the readers of the Times.

His father, Benjamin Blake, was a native of the State of Maine, came to this State soon after the first settlements were made and married Lucy, daughter of Francis Stanley, who owned the farm in Fearing township on which Philo Doane now lives, and for whom Stanleyville was named.  Mr. Blake purchased a tract of land on the east side of Duck Creek, a quarter of a mile above what is known as the Cedar Narrows, where he engaged in farming and distilling whisky, a business not so unpopular in those day as now. He lived there some ten or twelve years and died, I think, of chills and fever, July 12th, 1823, during what is termed by the old settler, the sickly season.  He was the father of six children, two of which died in infancy, the four remaining lived past the prime of life; Lucy Hallett, the only survivor, now at the age of sixty-five.

Mrs. Blake was a woman of very modest and retiring disposition, but of untiring energy and devoted to the best interests of her children; a member of the Presbyterian church for many years before her death, and of irreproachable christian character. By her industry and persevering efforts, she succeeded in giving all her children what was considered in those days, a very good education, and lived to see them all well settled in life. A few years before her death she left her old home and went to live with her daughter, Lucy, in Salem, where she died at the advanced age of eighty-one.

Benjamin, the oldest son, was rather a puny, sickly boy, dependent upon his mother's assistance, with what he earned by teaching school during the winter seasons to keep him in school during the rest of the year; thus by united efforts he acquired a good education. He was born Feb. 4th, 1817, and in the autumn of 1840, at the age of twenty-three, determined to go South and engage in teaching.  Politics at that time were running very high, so he remained at home until after the election, casting his first vote for President for W. H. Harrison.  He located in middle Tennessee, not far from Nashville, where he remained until a short time before the rebellion, when he moved to Dyer county and engaged in mercantile business. He never married, lived with a family by the name of Douglass. He took no part in the war, feeling that he could not lift his hand against the home of his childhood and the best interests of his country, nor against the land of his adoption, where he had amassed his wealth, he remained quietly at home, where he died of cholera soon after peace was declared.  He never made a profession of religion, and yet no one doubted his piety; he was strictly moral in all his habits, a faithful attendant upon Divine services, a devoted Sabbath school teacher, charitable, ever ready to help the suffering, were some of the leading traits in his character.

Mary Blake, his younger sister, was a graduate of Marietta Seminary, then under the supervision of Prof. L. Tenney, I think. She was a woman of more than ordinary intelligence and high moral worth; professed religion in early life and united with, I think, though am not sure, the Baptist church. She soon followed her brother to Tennessee, where she was engaged in teaching for several years not far from Gallatin; afterwards became the fourth wife of a wealthy planter by the name of Seay, also the mother of five children. She was noted for her christian purity, possessing a loving and gentle disposition as well as beauty of form and features, to which many living witnesses can yet testify. She died before the breaking out of the war, mourned by all who knew her, and not the least by the plantation slaves who had learned to love her even to idolatry.

Moses turned his attention more to farming and trading than to intellectual pursuits. He married Martha Chapman and settled in early life on the old home place; afterward bought a farm in Salem township, where he died. He was one of the most noted stock-dealers of the county, and figured conspicuously at the fairs with a herd of Devon cattle, by which he received as many premiums probably as any other man who attended them. He owned a large farm and was well fixed in the world, but like all others, when death comes, must go, and leave all. He left a family of five children, orphans, their mother having died some years ago. All are single except Miss Anna Blake, the oldest, who was married to W. R. Goddard, our County Treasurer, a few months ago.

Aunt Becky.