Biography of Jeremiah L. Blake
Marin County, CA Biographies

Jeremiah Ladd Blake, of Blake's Landing, Tomales bay, whose portrait appears in this work, is a descendant of Jasper Blake, who came over from England in 1650. The first record of the genealogy of this family is that of Joshua Blake, a farmer who moved from Old Hampton, New Hampshire, and settled in Hampton Falls, in that State. He had two sons, Henry and Jeremiah. The latter was the great grandfather of the subject of this sketch, and he married Sarah Grove, of Seabrook, New Hampshire, and died in February, 1800. There were four sons and three daughters, viz., Enoch, Jeremiah, Joshua, Levi, Sarah, Lydia, and Lucy. Enoch was the grandfather of Mr. Blake, and was a farmer, and married Hannah Eastman, of Kensington, New Hampshire, in 1785. To them were born five sons and four daughters; two sons and two daughters died in childhood. The names of their living sons are Enoch, Jeremiah, and John. The last was Mr, Blake's father, and was born May 7, 1802 at Pittsfield, Merrimac county, New Hampshire. He married Ruth Ladd. She was born July 4, 1804, at Louden, in the same county and State His father died August 14, 1874, and his mother July 14, 1875. His father died at the age of seventy two and his mother at the age of seventy one years. The subject of this sketch was born in Orange, New Hampshire, November 18, 1833. In early childhood his parents removed to Pittsfield, Merrimac county, his father's native town. Here, and in the adjoining town of Epsom, he received his early education at the common schools. When fifteen years old he went to Pittsfield village, where he acquired a thorough knowledge of the saddler's trade, as well as completing his education. On July 22, 1851, he went to Boston, where he remained till August 8th following, visiting his parents, who had previously moved to that city; then went to Medford, Massachusetts, and engaged to work at his trade with a Mr. Nichols, continuing with that gentleman till July 2, 1852. The following day he left for New York City, leaving there on the 6th on the steamer "Prometheus" for California via Nicaragua, thence on the steamer "Pacific," arriving in San Francisco August 2, 1852; he was then in his nineteenth year. After four days, finding nothing to do at his trade in San Francisco, he went to Petaluma, Sonoma county, and cut wood in the oak timber near that town for about three months. During the winter of 1852-3 he occupied his time in hunting game through th a surrounding country. In March, 1853, he came to Tomales bay, camping about half a mile north from his present home, took up a tract of land and built a house sixteen by twenty feet, splitting the timber from logs on the ocean beach ten miles distant. This pioneer dwelling he erected near the present site of his residence, and which he completed in 1864. From 1853 to 1866 he manufactured saddles here by the aid of machinery. These saddles were such as the Mexicans used at that time, and we are safe in saying he was the pioneer saddle manufacturer in Margin county. In the Winter of 1854-5 he commenced farming, and fenced one hundred and twenty five acres, besides putting in a crop of forty acres. A diary kept by Mr. Blake informs us that the first crop was light, but the yield in 1856 was fifty bushels per acre. He planted fifty seven fruit trees in 1856; since that time he has planted one hundred more fruit trees and about six hundred blue gum trees, pine and cypress. In October 20, 1860, he made a visit to his old home in the East, and after an absence of three months returned, and again, in 1866, he made a like trip, this time returning in June of that year. All of his Eastern trips were made by steamer, via the Isthmus twice across Nicaragua and three times via Panama. On October 2, 1866, Mr. Blake married Frances Matilda Moore, daughter of Charles Burton Moore and Betsey K Parsons, of Michigan. For twenty seven years has this pioneer settler been identified with the interests of this county, and especially with Tomales township, and no man has a more honorable record. All honor to such pioneer settlers as Mr. Blake for making this country what it is, for being one of the hardy frontiersmen who has helped to reduce these unbroken wilds to a garden of beauty' His children are Edward Everett, born July 30, 1867; Jeremiah Burton, November 17, 1868; Mary Elizabeth, September 10, 1870; Fayette Tylor, May 12, 1872; Charles Sumner, October 1, 1874; Henry Halleck, June 2, 1876; Blanche Moore, September 23, 1878. Since 1866 he has been engaged entirely in farming and dairying, and has recently purchased one hundred and sixty acres of grape land in Sonoma county, where he contemplates planting a vineyard. Mr. Blake informs us that he raises better crops now than when he first settled. In 1863, during the War of the Rebellion, Mr. Blake was chosen Poet of the Day for the Fourth of July celebration in the Halleck school district (in which he has been trustee about twenty years). Although he made no pretentions to being a poet, he felt it his duty to make an effort on this occasion, and while working at his bench making saddle trees he composed the following verses, which we give a place in this work:-



" Friends and fellow citizens, lend a patriotic ear,
For 'tis of our country I would speak, and of our duties here.
We meet to celebrate the day to every patriot dear,
On which our nation great was born, to bless all far and near.


" Though many years of peace have passed, like childhood's sunny hours,
It now is going through a test that tries its noblest powers;
'Tis now it needs true friends, to guide with patriotic power,
And wisdom from our God on high in this its trying hour.


" But God knows best our nation's need-'tis for its good 'tis tried-
To rouse its slumbering virtues, to stem Destruction's tide.
And when through this dark scene we've passed, of carnage, strife and woe,
The blessings wrought by what has passed shall future ages know.


" So let us strive with earnest zeal to gain our country's cause, And
live in peace and harmony, protected by its laws.
Our number is made up from all the Union o'er-
Oh! may we all make happy homes on this Pacific shore!


" Let us resolve most faithfully our duties to fulfill,
To serve our God and country, and the fertile soil to till.
And let us, too, strive earnestly the foundation to lay
Of this our State, which shall be great at no far distant day.


" Rich in its native wealth and in its productive soil,
Which yields us most abundantly with prosper care and toil
Blessed with a balmy air and a healthy clime,
We may hope that other blessings will come along in time.


Let knowledge spread throughout our land, from superstition free,
To bless her sons and daughters with Wisdom's purity.
Let us the principles of honor, truth and justice faithfully defend,
And we shall be prosperous and happy, and God will be our friend."

History of Marin County, California
Alley, Bowen & Co., Publishers
San Francisco, California 1880

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