BLAKE, George M.
Portrait & Biographical Record Winnebago & Boone Cos., IL. Chicago: Biographical Pub. Co., 1892, pp 979-980
George M. BLAKE, attorney in Rockford [Winnebago County, IL], who is also extensively interested in banking, real estate and other interests, is a native of NY State. In 1704 the Test Act of Queen Anne, and the Antrim evictions in the years following, drove many thousands of the sturdy Presbyterian Scotch-Irish from Ulster to America. Of these were Mr. BLAKE's ancestors, who came to New England in 1718, there to begin life anew.
Our subject's grandfather, Zara BLAKE, was born at Litchfield [Litchfield County], CT, 12 Nov 1782. About the year 1800 he removed to NY State, and at Herkimer [Herkimer County] married, in 1803, Esther ETHRIDGE, born at Stonington [New London County], CT, 10 Aug 1783, who was a daughter of Thomas and Anne (CLEVELAND) ETHRIDGE. Thomas ETHRIDGE was also born at Stonington, 30 Jun 1746, and his father was Nathaniel ETHRIDGE. The ETHRIDGEs originally were of English Quaker stock. Soon after his marriage, Grandfather BLAKE removed to Western NY, residing first at Livonia, then at Dansville [Livingston County]. He was engaged in the lumber and cattle business until his death, 17 Sep 1839, his wife having died in 1833.
The father of our subject was Zarah H. BLAKE [note different spelling], who was born at Livonia [Livingston County] NY, 23 Oct 1821, and received a good common school education. He taught school for a time, then took up the study of medicine, graduating in the first class sent forth by the Buffalo Medical College. Returning to Dansville, he practiced medicine there until his death, 08 Sep 1888. Dr. BLAKE was Examining Surgeon for his district all through the war of the Rebellion. He had a high reputation as an operating surgeon, and a fine buisness man, and accumulated a handsome property. He was a well known Republican politician in his day, and held a number of honorary positions in medical and other societies, but he was a man who permitted nothing to interfere with his professional business, and he refused anything that might conflict therewith. In 1843 he married one of his former pupils, Lovisa DORR, who was born in Dansville and was the daughter of Samuel Griswold and Selima (PHELPS) DORR. The DORRs were originally Huguenots whom religious persecutions drove to England; thence they came to New England, and took a leading part in all the movements of the times. By intermarriage and descent, they are connected with much of the best blood of New England, such as the GRISWOLDs, of NH, WAITES, of CT, WALWORTHs, TREMAINEs, etc. Samuel G. DORR was born at Chatham, Columbia County, NY, and was the son of Matthew DORR; they were woolen and flour manufacturers and a wealthy family. Dr. BLAKE and his wife were the parents of two children who grew to maturity: George M. and Josephine D.
George M. BLAKE was born at Dansville, 01 Nov 1852, and attended the local schools until 1869, when he entered the classical school of Williston Seminary, at Easthampton, MA, to prepare for college. Owing to his father being involved in several large business law suits at this time, he gave up going to college and did not complete his course at Williston, but in 1871 took up the study of law. The lawsuits, however, came to a happy end, and, at his father's earnest solicitation, he began reading medicine with him, with a view to succeeding to his fine practice. He thus assisted his father, graduating in medicine at Buffalo in 1874, and continuing with his father until 1877, when he dislike for medicine could no longer be repressed, and he abandoned it completely, returning to law.
In 1879 he graduated from the law department of the Michigan University, ranking third in a [p 980] class of 197, and, settling in Rockford, IL, began the active practice of law. In Oct 1879 he married Carrie Gilman BROWN, who was born at Horicon [Dodge County], WI. She is the daughter of Chauncey and Ann M. (SMITH) BROWN, of NH, and of Yankee descent. To them has been born one son, Chauncey ETHRIDGE. Mr. and Mrs. BLAKE are identified with the Second Congregational Church of Rockford. In politics he is a Republican, and has served two years as City Attorney. He is a Mason and a Knight Templar, and belongs to the Odd Fellows. He is President of the First National Bank of Canton, SD, and of the Fidelity Building and Savings Association of Rockford, and is connected with other business enterprises.
Submitted by Cathy Kubly.