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Mary Blake


    Mary Lark Use was of the Shoshone Indian Tribe.  She was born July 3, 1849, in the area of Salt Lake City, Utah.  At that time, the Indians were not settled on reservations, and were moving about from place to place.   (Some of Mary’s family members are still living in the area of Fort Hall).
    Mary’s mother died when Mary was young and her father, Chief Sirogan, took Mary to Stevensville, Montana.  Sirogan was the beloved horse-herder of John Owen, and is mentioned frequently in “The Journals & Letters of Major John Owen.”       
    John Owen and his Shoshone wife, Nancy, took Mary in, and raised her at  Fort Owen.  John Owen refers to her in his Journals as “Princess.”
    Mary met Abraham Stearns Blake at Fort Owen.  Blake, a native of Vermont, came to the Fort for the first time in 1861, before going to the gold fields at American Fork.  He visited Fort Owen many times over the next few years, but in 1867 he returned there to live and farm the land with John Owen. 
    A. S. Blake and Mary Use were married in 1869.  They left Fort Owen and homesteaded at Victor, MT.  Mary delivered her first child, Richard, at about age 20.  Richard died very young and was the first person buried in the Victor Cemetery.  A second child, Frank, was born in 1871, and a third boy, Joseph, was born in 1873.  (Joseph lived to the age of 17, when he died of measles.)  In 1874 a daughter, Nelly, was born.  Stearns and Mary had two other children, George and Emma.  All six of these children died at a very young age. 
    Stearns and Mary then had five more children who lived into their seventy's & eighties.  All were life-long residents of Victor, MT. 

By: Pat Close