BLAKE, Harlow E., John, & Seymour A.

Biography of John BLAKE [brother of Seymour A. - biography follows]
Portrait & Biographical Record Winnebago & Boone Cos., IL. Chicago: Biographical Pub. Co., 1892, pp 1141-1142

A well-regulated farm in Pecatonica Township, Winnebago County [IL] is the home of John BLAKE, the estate being located upon section 5.  He was educated in the public schools in his township, and received from his father a thorough understanding of agriculture, which he chose as his life work.  The 143 acres of land which he owns are improved by the use of the best fertilizing agents, and a proper rotation of crops brings it owner handsome returns.

Born in Franklin County, VT, 31 Mar 1813, our subject is a son of John and Phylura (CAMPBELL) BLAKE.  He was married in the fall of 1841 to Miss Miranda BARKER, and to them have been born six children:  (1)  Milan A., is married and has five children; (2)  Harlow E. [whose bio follows], is also married and the father of six children; his wife, who bore the maiden name of Lydia CORWIN, is the daughter of Captain [p 1142] and Betsey (HULSEY) CORWIN, who came to Winnebago County in 1840; (3)   Andrew S. BLAKE is married and the father of four children; (4)  Hervey J.; (5)  Mary A. is Mrs. A. H. MOORE, and the mother of three children; and (6)   Sarah A., who married Frank ANSHOUTS, and resides in IA.

Mr. BLAKE of this sketch cast his first vote for William Henry Harrison, and is a firm adherent of the Republican party.  In religious matters he is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, and is active in all measures which have for their object the upbuilding of his community.  He is of English descent on his father's side, three brothers having come to this country from England, and his ancestors on the maternal side are Scotch.  Mr. BLAKE has held many offices of trust within the power of the people to bestow, and is regarded by them as an upright and honorable man.

Harlow E. BLAKE [son of John BLAKE]
Past and Present of the City of Rockford & Winnebago County, IL, C. A. Church.   Chicago: Clarke, 1905, pp 350-351

Harlow E. BLAKE, a native son of Winnebago County [IL], who in the enjoyment of a well earned ease is living retired in Pecatonica, was born in what was then Howard Township, but is now Durand Township, 02 May 1847.  His parents were John and Miranda (BARKER) BLAKE, who were married in the fall of 1841.  The father was born in Franklin County, VT, 31 Mar 1812, and was of English descent.  He became a pioneer resident of Winnebago County, where for many years he energetically and successfully carried on agricultural pursuits.  He cast his first presidential vote for William Henry Harrison, and on the dissolution of the Whig party, became a stanch republican.  He was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and his genuine worth was recognized by his fellow townsmen, who called him to a a number of local offices of honor and trust.   In his family were six children:  (1)  Milan A., who is married and has five children; (2)  Harlow E.;  (3) Andrew S., who is married and has four children; (4)  Henry J.; (5)  Mary A., the wife of A. A. MOORE, and the mother of three children; (6)  Sarah A., the wife of Frank ANSHUTZ, a resident of IA.

Harlow E. BLAKE acquired his education in the public schools and attended the normal school in Durand.  He also worked on his father's farm in his youth and devoted his time between the labors of the fields and the duties of the schoolroom until 22 years of age.  About that time he was married to Miss Lydia CORWIN, a daughter of Captain B. F. and Betsy CORWIN, the former born 28 Oct 1810, and the latter on 13 Jul 1815.   They were married 31 Dec 1839 and came to Rockford, where Captain CORWIN established a brickyard, the first enterprise of the character started in the couny seat.   Later he removed to the vicinity of Pecatonica, his home being about three and a half miles north of the village.  There he entered government land, securing 160 acres, on which he built the frst brick house in the township, burning the brick and making the lime for the buiding.  He was one of the pioneer settlers of the communtiy, broke the raw prairie, cut the timber and hewed out the lumber used in the construction of the barn.  He also split the shingles for the roofs of his buildings and burned the brick for the first brick building erected in Pecatonica.  In addition to general agricultural pursuits he conducted a cooper shop on his farm and made barrels for the shipment of pork and beef.  He also made hundreds of flour barrels, which he sold in Rockford, Galena and Freeport.  He continued in the coopering business for 40 years or more, and at times did shoemaking for his own family.  His business interests wer thus varied and extensive.  He possessed marked mechanical ingenuity, as well as unfailing enterprise and strong purpose, and his labors were attended with a gratifying measure of success.  His death occurred in Durand Township, and the community thereby lost one of its representative citizens.  In the family were seven children:  (1)  E. W., born 04 Sep 1842; (2)  Marquis L.; (3)   Asenath, born 22 Nov 1847; (4)  Amassa, born 27 Apr 1849; (5)  Mrs. BLAKE, born 21 Mar 1852; (6)  Lucy J., 31 Dec 1855; and (7)  Franklin S., 19 Mar 1859.

Following his marriage, Mr. BLAKE began farming on the old homestead, which he operated for five years, and then returned to Poweshiek County, IA, where he purchased a farm, on [p 351] which had been built a log house.  He lived in that cabin for a winter and then erected a more substantial and commodious residence.  His attention was given to the cultivaton and improvment of his land, and he transformed it into a valuable property.   He took with him to IA ten cows and some othe stock and carried on his farm work and stock raising along progressive lines.  After living in that state for four or five years he returned to this county, settling in Durand Township, where, in connection with his brother, he rented 400 acres, belonging to Mr. PETTINGILL.  For about three or four years they conducted business there, carring on an extensive dairy.  They had 65 milch [milk] cows, but at length decided to sell out, and held a sale, receiving $3,600 for their stock, reserving, however, ten head of the best cows, also four head of horses and some of the farm machinery.  The brothers then began feeding cattle, and they had at one time 250 head.  They shipped their stock to the Chicago market and continued the business for about three years, at the end of which time Harlow E. BLAKE sold his interest to his brother and removed to ND, purchasing a hotel at Grafton [Walsh County], in connection with Daniel NORTON.  He continued as the landlord there for two years and then traded his interest in the business, in 1881, for 146 acres of land in Dakota.   Taking up his abode there, he carried on farming for 8 or 10 years, making a specialty of the raising of wheat and barley.  He then rented the farm, retaining the ownership, however, until 1904, when he sold the property.  About 1890 or 1891 he returned to the old homestead in Winnebago County, whereon he resided until Feb 1902, when he retired from farm life and took up his abode in Pecatonica, where he has since made his home.

Mr. and Mrs. BLAKE have become the parents of six children:  (1)  Maud E., the wife of Fred SALISBURY, a resident of Freeport [Stephenson County], IL, by whom she has two children; (2)  Andrew J., who married Mate ARNOLD and died in 1903, leaving three children; (3)  Roy R., at home; (4)  Pearl, the wife of Blake HAMILTON, of Pecatonica; (5)  Ralph W., who is living in CA; and (6)  Walter H., at home.

Mr. BLAKE served as trustee of the village of Pecatonica in 1904, faithfully discharging his duties, and while living in IA and also in Pecatonica he served as school director, being a member of the board for about 12 years.  His political allegiance has always been given to the republican party.  He is prominent in the Odd Fellows society, of which he has been a member since 1879, and he has passed through all of the chairs in Pecatonica lodge No. 173.  He joined the order, however, in Shawbena lodge No. 146, at Durand.  His life has been an active and busy one, and now he is enjoying a well earned rest.  He has visited many parts of the country and is especially thoroughly familiar with the middle west, its possiblities and its business conditions.  His personal traits of character are such as have earned him warm friendship, and he deserves mention among the leading native sons of the county.

Seymour A. BLAKE [brother of John BLAKE]
Portrait & Biographical Record Winnebago & Boone Cos., IL. Chicago: Biographical Pub. Co., 1892, pp 1308-1309

One of the prominent farmers of Durand Township, Winnebago County [IL], Seymour A. BLAKE is also President of the Bank of Durand.  He is one of the old and honored pioneers of this section, having been born in Georgia, Franklin County, VT, 12 Mar 1832, and came to Winnebago County when 14 years of age.  His parents, John and Philura (CAMPBELL) BLAKE, were also natives of New England, and in 1846 came to IL and located in Durand Township.  There the father entered a tract of land, which he later traded for improved property, and pursued farming until his decease at 70 years of age.  His good wife died in her 90th year.

The ten children included in the parental family are John [biography above], Sarah Ann, Samuel, Philura, Stephen, William, Phidelia Abigail, our subject, and Hester A.   Seymour A. was reared on the home farm, and resided under the parental roof until his marriage.  The lady to whom he was married in 1858 bore the name of Cordelia HOYT, the daughter of Hiram HOYT.  She was born in Georgia, VT, in 1832, and after her marriage located with her husband on the old homestead, which Mr. BLAKE carried on in the interest of his father.  He later purchased the property and made it his home until 1886, when, in order to get nearer the town and church, he sold out and purchased his present place, which adjoins the village of Durand.  His estate includes 240 acres of land, all in one body, and is excellently improved with first class and substantial buildings.

Mr. and Mrs. BLAKE have had no children of their own, but have performed the part of parents to several whom they have adopted.  In his political belief he is a Prohibitionist, and an advocate of woman's rights.  He formerly supported the Republican ticket.  In religious affairs he is a member of the Methodist Episcopal Church, which denomination he was instrumental in organizing in this township, and for the past quarter of a century has been Sunday school Superintendent, and at the present time is the incumbent of the positions of Trustee and Steward.

Submitted by Cathy Kubly.