Biographical and Genealogical History of Morris County New Jersey. Illustrated. Vol. II., Lewis Publishing Company, New York and Chicago, 1899.
The duties and quiet pleasures of rural life now occupy the time and attention of this gentleman, who owns one of the fine country seats of Morris county. The place comprises two hundred acres of rich land, beautifully situated, and the home that stands thereon was originally known throughout the neighborhood as "The Mansion." Mr. Blake has resided in Morris county since 1884. A native of the Green Mountain state, he was born in Bridport, Vermont, on the 12th of December, 1826, and is a son of Robert Blake, who was born in New York. He was of Scotch-Irish ancestry and was a son of James Blake, whose father was born in Scotland in 1753, but became a resident of Cambridge, New York, during his childhood. During the Revolutionary war he served under General Schuyler in transporting goods to Saratoga, one of the military posts. The mother of our subject was a Miss Judson, who was born in Lansingburg, New York, and was a daughter of Eli Judson, who was born in Stratford, Connecticut, and was married in Lansingburg.
The father of our subject spent the greater part of his life in New York and devoted his energies to manufacturing pursuits. He died at the age of sixty-three years, and his wife passed away in 1879 at the age of seventy-nine years. They were members of the Presbyterian church.
During his youth Robert Blake spent the greater part of his time in his father's manufacturing establishment, in New York, and in 1849, when twenty-three years of age, he joined the California argonauts who went to the Pacific slope in search of the golden fleece. Mr. Blake spent seven years there, working part of the time in the mines. He then returned to the Atlantic coast, recrossing the continent, and for many years was engaged in manufacturing in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. He did a profitable business, for the output of his factory was very extensive, as demanded by a liberal patronage. His goods were sold in various parts of the country and he continued a profitable business in manufacturing interests until 1890, when he retired from commercial pursuits and purchased what was known as the old Borroughs farm. There, in the quiet enjoyment of many of life's pleasures, he is spending his declining days, resting from the more vigorous toil of former years which brought him the handsome competence which he now possesses. He superintends the operation of his farm, for one whose life has been so active as has Mr. Blake's could not content himself with absolute retirement from all labor.
In 1860 he was united in marriage to Miss Thorn, a native of New York and a daughter of Isaac and Sarah (Morris) Thorn, of New York, and of English lineage. Mr. and Mrs. Blake became the parents of seven children, four of whom are still living: Emily is the wife of Arthur N. Eagles; Sarah is deceased; Eliza; Robert M., deceased; Mary Ellis is the wife of Theodore Hopping; Paul married Amy Thompson, and Frank is deceased.
In his political views Mr. Blake has long been a stalwart Republican, but in his active life has had neither time nor inclination to seek public office. He is a Presbyterian in his religious belief, and is an elder in the church of that denomination in Madison. His has been an honorable life, pervaded by earnest purpose, sterling principles and good deeds, and his life record is thus worthy of perpetuation.
This biography was contributed by Brianne Kelly-Bly.
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