Lake County Ohio GenWeb
This biography is taken from History of Geauga and Lake counties; Williams Brothers, 1878.
Transcribed and submitted by Becky Falin, 1996.
Hon. Zenas Blish, youngest and second son of Benjamin Blish, Sr., was born October 20, 1793, at Middlefield, Hampshire county, Massachusetts, and at the age of twelve came to Ohio with his father's family in July, 1805, settling on the farm in Painesville township, on Mentor road, at which time it was an almost unbroken forest in Painesville and vicinity. Seven years later, being infirm in health, he started upon a journey to Massachusetts and to return by way of New York and Philadelphia, traveling all the distance on horseback. A call being just made for United States troops, in the war of 1812 with Great Britain, at the time of his arrival in Philadelphia, he at once enlisted in the cavalry service, under the command of General Scott, and served about three years. Stationed most of the time on Governor's island, in New York city harbor, and then procured an honorable discharge by furnishing two substitutes, and returned with restored health to his home in Painesville, and proceeded in the work of clearing up and improving the farm, which he hereafter conducted and owned till his decease. In October, 1820, he was married to Vashti Ingersol, second daughter of Calvin Ingersol, Esq., of Mentor, who survived him but three weeks. Soon after Lake county was organized he was appointed one of the associate judges of the court of common pleas, which place he filled for a term of years with honor to himself and satisfaction to the people.
As an agriculturist he was always in the advance, and was generally known as a "model farmer." In 1833 he, with his brother, Benjamin Blish, purchased and brought from Canandaigua, New York, four head of young blooded Durham cattle, paying three hundred and fifty dollars for them, a price regarded by most farmers in this section at that time as very extravagent, but the wisdom of which was soon amply demonstrated in greatly improving stock and correspondingly improved prices. Thoroughly imbued with its importance to the farming interest, he was always deeply interested in agriculture, and exerted great influence not only in promoting a better and more practical and scientific method of crop raising, but encouraged by his example and influence the introduction of this section of higher breeds of cattle, and upon these subjects his opinions and judgement were often sought and gladly given, commanding always the highest respect and confidence.
His family consisted of his wife and two daughters, Lydia B. (now the only surviving member of the family), wife of Hon. Horace Steele, of Painesville, and Lucinda B., wife of Almon Sawyer, both now (1878) deceased.
Judge Blish was always interested in political affairs and somewhat prominent. He was a Democrat in sentiment, and was their candidate for Congress and for the State legislature several times, and though never an aspirant for any office, was frequently preferred by his party (then as now greatly in the minority) as their standard-bearer for various official positions. By the strictest integrity and industry he not only became a prosperous and model farmer, but built up an enviable reputation as a warm-hearted, generous, and honored citizen. He died April 5, 1870, aged seventy-six years.
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