Saturday, February 8, 2014

The Illusive Blake's Part II

     While I have spent many hours attempting to learn more about Samuel and William Blake, and I have found some documentation through existing census records, unhappily I have yet to find their familial connection.  I also  spent a great deal of time looking at Blake family trees, early Massachusetts records and any other sources that might give more clues about our Samuel and William.  What I came up with are more questions than answers.

     In Theodore Sawyer's work, I found a reference to Jasper Blake, his son John H. Blake and a Thomas Blake engaged in the deeding and sale of land.  Apparently, Jasper Blake had a homestead near Lunt's Corner, our present Morse Street in the East Deering neighborhood.  While there is some information about Jasper and his descendants, I have yet to find out who Samuel and William's parents were.  I'm not able to determine if the two men were brothers or cousins.  I even toyed with the idea that William, if in fact he were born in 1751, might have been Samuel's father, and Sarah Blake his mother.  I decided this is probably not so, although I can neither prove or deny the idea.  I was able to come up with early census records for William from 1810 which I will share.

     You'll notice that this document has very limited information.  However it does reveal that William was between the age of 26 and forty-four, and he resided with a female, who was also between 26 and forty-four years of age.  This disputes his date of birth in 1751 since he would have been 59 years old.  I assume that the female probably would have been wife number II, Sarah Blake,  since his first wife died in 1807.  Sarah Blake was born about 1769 and would have been 41 in 1810.

     Other census records call into question William's date of death of 1818 and make me wonder about the accuracy of this date.  I found two census records for a William Blake for 1820 and again in 1840.  I'll share these in the hope that some living family members, or avid Maine genealogist,  might be able to lend some clarity to the mysterious William Blake.

     This record is far more revealing, although at this period, names of other occupants of the property are not listed;  only the head-of-household, William Blake.  Here you will note, William, a male is 45 years, or older, a female, probably, Sarah Blake was also 45 or older.  There appear to be two children; under the age of 10, a boy and a girl.  William's occupation is listed as engaged in agriculture; a farmer.  I would have included the original image of the document, but it is barely legible.

     The census record of 1840 for William Blake also contains more revelations.  I will include a copy of the original image which shows other names.  Many of the names are people you may recognize from some of my earlier posts, including Samuel Blake.

     Here we see two males listed:  one between the age of 50 and 59, a second, between 20 and 29 years old.  Two females are also noted:  one age 40 through 49 years of age, and a second, between 60 and 69.  The two men are engaged in agriculture.

     In the second image I have outlined both Samuel and William's names.  Again, this calls into question the validity of the death record for William Blake.  It seems evident that the two men resided in East Deering which at that time was part of Westbrook, and they are probably related.

     I had raised the question in my last post regarding Emeline Blake, Samuel's daughter, and why she wasn't included in the 1840 census.  On closer examination, I think she was although names were not listed, ages were.  I will include this document for your interest.

     As you will note,  there is a female child listed as between the age of 15 and 19.  This is Emeline Blake.  

     Although I had hoped for more information to share about the Blake family, I continue to believe that even a little keeps the stories of these first residents alive, and the remnant that is the Grand Trunk Cemetery precious and valuable to understanding the history of the city of Portland and the state of Maine.

      Finally, I am hopeful that readers of this blog will share in the process and add their comments, research and thoughts.  My next post will be about the Barbour's at the Grand Trunk Cemetery.