Biography of Dr. Russel L. Blakeley
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Dr. Russel L. Blakeley (deceased). This loved and respected Christian man was born in Aurora, Erie Co., N. Y., Aug. 5, 1817. In 1841 he married the estimable Christiana Grover, daughter of Hon. Benona Grover, of Orleans Co., N. Y. He came to Grand Rapids in 1846, in the month of May, and located Government land where Hon. O. F. Hyde now resides, in the village of Rockford. He also entered the land now occupied by the Rockford cemetery, in which his body has lately been buried. The Doctor did not remain at Grand Rapids long, but soon moved to his tract of land. At his solicitation the gospel was first preached in Rockford (then Laphmville), in his house. He, assisted by Rev. Jas. Ballard, of Grand Rapids, orenized the Congregational Church in his house. This was the first Church organization in Laphamville. The first Sabbath school was also organized in his house. In that early day there was no other physician between Grand Rapids and Greenville, and the Doctor traveled all the country over for many miles around. At the time he settled here there was not a plastered house in Rockford, and the mail was brought here once a week in a man's pocket. The Doctor taught the first school in Laphamville, and attended to his patients at night at the same time. He never refused to go, night or day, and always had a kind word for all. His wise counsel was much sought for, and highly appreciated by his many friends. In speaking of his great interest manifested in having the gospel preached, we should do him the honor to state that he tore down the partition in his hpuse to make room sufficient to hold an audience. He was a zealous Christian and the main pillar of the Congregational Church. When in his last illness, which was very short, he called his family around him and exhorted them to live Christian lives, and to meet him in heaven, where they would part no more. He died July 22, 1881, loved and esteemed by all.

The Doctor and Mrs. Blakeley had eight children, of whom seven are living, viz.: Hattie (Lester), an old teacher of Kent county; Chas. E. a druggist, of Cooperville, Mich.; Royal C., a farmer near Rocktbrd; Emma D. (Brantner), of Rockford; Celestia (Critchlow), of the vicinity of Rockford; George G., clerk for his brother Chas. E., and H. Elgin at home. The abovenamed children, except Mrs. Lester, were all born in Rockford.

History of Kent County, Michigan
Chas C. Chapman & Company
Chicago 1881.

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