Friday, January 24, 2014

Samuel Blake and the Blake Family - Part I

Samuel Blake

 February 14, 1846  
AEt.  52 years, 5 months

"Long shall his memory be revered,
     by those who knew his worth;
By those to whom he was endeared
     By strongest ties to earth."

An inscription from the Maine Historical and Genealogical Recorder, vol.4 (1887)  Contributed by Isaac Cobb:  Cemetery Inscriptions at East Deering Cemetery.

     Samuel Blake was born c. 1794, later, he married a woman named Martha H. (possibly, Hutchings).  A census record from 1850 indicates she was probably born around 1803.  Samuel served in the Militia during the War of 1812.  In August, 2012,  the Friends of the Grand Trunk Cemetery dedicated his replacement gravestone, along with five others of his contemporaries.

     The Maine Genealogical Recorder shows another inscription for Samuel and Martha Blake's
daughter Emeline, who was a month short of her twentieth birthday when she died.
The inscription is quite lovely and I'm pleased that it survived for us to appreciate.  It reads:

dau. of Saml.  &
Martha  H.  Blake,
May  15,  1847
AE.  19  yr's,  11  mos.

Weep not; she has gone to a heaven of rest~ ~
The land of her Father~ ~ the home of the blest;
In the book of the ransomed, her name is enroll'd
In that city whose walks are silver and gold.

     It appears that Samuel and Martha Blake had another child, a boy, who died on September, 26, 1825 at the age of 3 years, 1 month, who is also buried in the family plot with his father and sister.  The city list, which I published in my post of August 8, 2013, indicates his name was Samuel G. Blake.  However, in another record published in Theodore Sawyer's book, "From Back Cove to Quaker Lane," also in the collection held by the Maine Historical Society, the child's name is listed as John G.

     Two other members of the Blake family were also buried at the East Deering/Grand Trunk Cemetery.  Lucy Blake, born c. 1769, died May 26, 1807 at the age of 38 years, and Sarah Blake, born c. 1776, died June 18, 1843 at the age of 67 years.  Both women were married to a William Blake.

     Hoping to learn more about the Blake's, I set out to search  through archival records on microfilm in the library and on  What I found, made me feel a bit like Alice who fell down the proverbial rabbit hole:  "Curious'r and curious'r!"  More questions than answers!

     Note:  Many of the oldest death records have limited information, and in fact, were recorded from tombstones.  In the case of our Grand Trunk Cemetery where there was so much damage to the original stones,  I assume this was problematic.  I believe this is the case with Samuel Blake's death record, and perhaps, William Blake's as well.  To complicate matters further, the use of the same first and last names during the 18th and 19th centuries,  makes looking for one person a challenge unless their descendants provided information regarding family lineage.

     Here is the first curious finding;  Samuel Blake's date of death is recorded as February 11, 1818.  His age, month and day of death are what we have in our burial records; but not the year.  I surmise this may have been recorded inaccurately. 

     Two other death records are for Emeline Blake and her brother, John.  There was no record for a Samuel G. Blake.  You'll note that Emeline's year of death is recorded as 1842.  This does not agree with my records from both the city list and Maine Historical Society  list with the date of 1847.  A census record (not included) from 1840 does not include Emeline at all.  I would not expect to see the little boy at this time, since he would already have died.  Why  wasn't Emeline listed with the other children?  

     John Blake's death record, you will note, indicates his age as we have listed as 3 years, 1 month, but his date of death on the record says'  September 25(not 26) and the year, 1827 (not 1825).  Mistake in the record; or were there two boys, Samuel G. and John G., born two years apart?

     You will also notice that the cemetery is listed as Presumpscot; yet another title for our East Deering/Grand Trunk Cemetery.  The cemetery was referred to as the Presumpscot Street Cemetery at Back Cove during this period of history. 

     The final record I'd like to include is the 1850 United States Federal Census of 1850.  Martha H. Blake is the head - of - household, Samuel Blake's name is absent, as is Emeline Blake.  I think this indicates that Samuel Blake did die in 1846.  You'll also note the other children listed and the place of residence as Westbrook, Maine.

     Before I continue with the remaining members of the Blake family:   Lucy, Sarah and William in my next post, I have a request?   I hope that readers of this blog who may have ancestral connections to the Blake's will contribute any insights and information about the Blake family. This will help us all to know more about 'Who's Buried at the Grand Trunk Cemetery?' 

Although, we may have many more questions than answers, you never know what little piece of history will be revealed, and thus preserved.

     On a final note:  another discovery, William Blake was  buried at the Grand Trunk Cemetery from his death record.  Of course,  that leads to lots more questions: 

 "Is he the brother of Samuel Blake?"  "Is his date of death correct?" 

 "Was he really 18 years older than Lucy, wife #1?"  "~~and 

25 years older than Sarah, wife #2?"

 I have added four names to the list of "Who's Buried at the Grand Trunk Cemetery gleaned from records I've found and  corroborated through contact with family genealogists of the Sawyer and Frank families.