Past and Present of the City of Rockford & Winnebago County, IL, C. A. Church. Chicago: Clarke, 1905, p 281
Benjamin BLAKEMAN, a retired merchant and manufacturer, who has almost rounded the span of 80 years, was born in Stratford [Fairfield County], CT, 12 Jun 1826. The ancestors of the BLAKEMANs emigrated from England to America in 1639. The grandfather was Zachariah BLAKEMAN and the father was Treat BLAKEMAN. The latter was born in Stratford, CT, in 1798, and was a man of affairs, active and enterprising in business, and he died at the advanced age of 92 years. He married Hannah BIRDSEY, also of Stratford, CT. The great grandfather of Mr. BLAKEMAN in the maternal line was the Rev. Nathan BIRDSEY, who settled in Stratford, CT, in 1739, and attained the very advanced age of 103 years and five months.
Benjamin BLAKEMAN, spending his boyhood days in the place of his nativity, acquired his early education in the public schools of Stratford, and afterward continued his studies in Bridgeport, CT. He entered upon his busines career as a salesman in a genral store, and thinking to enjoy better business opportunities in the eastern metropolis, he went to NY City, where for two years he occupied a position as clerk. Later he bought and removed to a farm in his native town, on which he resided until 1856, when he came to Rockford [Winnebago County], IL. Here he engaged in the lumber business associated with Henry PLANT, and afterward became a member of the firm of BLAKEMAN, UPSON & Company. His next business relationship was as senior member of the firm of BLAKEMAN, WOODRUFF & Company, and afterward he was with William DOBSON. He engaged in manufacturing and supplying builders' material and continued actively in trade until 1898, when he disposed of his holdings to William DOBSON.
In the meantime Mr. BLAKEMAN had made extensive and judicious investments in real estate, and is today the owner of considerable valuable property in Rockford [Winnebago County, IL], including a number of good brick business houses and residences. He is also a stockholder in the People's Bank & Trust Company, on the board of its directory, and for several years was a director of the Home Loan & Building Company. Since severing his connection with the lumber trade, he has lived quietly, looking after his general business interests and affairs, and amid comfortable surroundings, and in the midst of friends is enjoying the fruits of his former toil.
While residing on the farm in his native town Mr. BLAKEMAN was married in 1848 to Miss Caroline FAIRCHILD, and unto them were born four daughters: (1) Anna C., widow of Dr. Thomas G. VINCENT; (2) Helen, the wife of Theron G. PIERPONT; (3) Emma, the deceased wife of Albert D. EARLY; and (4) Harriet E., who died in 1904. Mr. and Mrs. BLAKEMAN are acceptable members of the Second Congregational church, to which they are liberal contributors, and he has been a deacon in the church for more than 40 years. Their home is at No. 732 North Main Street, and for years it has been noted for its gracious and attractive hospitality.
Mr. BLAKEMAN is an extremely well preserved man for one of his years. He has ever been strictly temperate in all of his habits, never using tobacco or intoxicants in any form, and molding his life in harmony with the principles that underlie an upright manhood. He earned for himself an enviable reputation as a careful man of business, and in his dealings was known for his prompt and honorable methods which won for him the respect and unbounded confidence of his fellowmen.
Submitted by Cathy Kubly.