Leander Blake - Biographical Sketch
Leander Blacke came to this county many years ago and as one of its pioneers has aided in the development of its agriculture and at the same time has placed himself amount its prosperous, substantial farmers. He is carrying on his farming opertion in Barry Twonship of which he has been a resident for half a century and where he has a good sized, finely improved farm that compares well in all respects with others in th locaality.
Mr Blake comes of sterling New England stock, ad is himself a natie of that part of the county, born in the town of Gorham, cumberland County, Me. September 18, 1814. His father, Ephraim Blacke was born in that placein 1789, and his grandfathe, Nathanil Blacke, was born in Truro, Mass and was a descendant of an English family who settled in New England in Colonial times. He was a pioneer of Gorham where he boughgt a tract of timber land from which he evolved a farm, and there he closed his mortal career at the venerable age of ninety-one years.
The father of our subject was reared in his native town. When he began life for himself he boughta tract of land in the town of Stanish nd engaged in farming there til 1835. He sold that place that year and removed to Pennsylvania going by steamer to Boston, thence by rail to Provience, from there by steamer to New York City and up the Hudsn River to Albany, and then on the Erie Canal to Buffalo, and by the Lake to Erie, Pa. he located nine miles from that town and rented ln on which he made his home til 1840, when he again started westward, and coming to Pike County located in Barry Township and was one of its earliest settlers. After a time he bought land, engaged in its improvement and succeeded in making a comfortable home in which his decling years were passed in peace and comfort. In early manhood he marrid Desire P Higgins, who was born in Gorham, Me in 1792. Her parents went to that town among it spioneers and there passed their remaining days. Mrs blake survived her husband three years. She reared the following ten children: Leander, Albert, jeremiah F., Rebecca, Angelina, Mary Ann, Leah, Ephraim Jr., William K and Harriet, all of whom are now living with the exception of William and have married and reared families.
The youth of our subject was passed amid the pleasant scenes of his birth, and his education was obtained in the primitive pioneer schools of that time. he further advanced it aterward by pursuing a practical course of study at Gorham cademy, and at the age of twenty-two utilized his knowledge by teaching in Pennsylvania. He was paid the moest sum of $12 a month around with the parents of his pupils.
Mr. Blake continued to live in Pennsylvania till 1840, and in that year paid his first visit to Illinois. he came by the most expeditious route, making the entire journey with a pair of horses and a wagon, and cooking and camping by he wat at night. He performed the trip in nineteen days and on his arrival at Barry foud it but a small hamlet in the mids of a sparsely settled, wild region. Most of the people were living in log cabins in the most primitive manner and venision and other kinds of wild game, which was very plentiful, was a grateful addition to their homely fare. all the produce for sometime was drawn to the river and taken by boats to themarkets. Mr. Blake bought land from ime to time, his first puchase comprising forty acres on the southwester part of the southwester qarter of section 27, Barry Twonship, paying for t $5 per acre. He now has three hundred and forty one acres of as fine farming land as is to be found in locality, and convenietly locatd nea the village of Barry. His first work was to build a small frame house, into which he moved with his family before it was fnished. His farm is nw in an excellent condition, its soil well tilled, and neat buildings ad other necessary improvements, making it a valuable piece of property.
Mr. Blake was first married in 1839 to Mary Charles, who was born near Lancaster Pennsylvnia and died in Barry Township in 1880. She left three children; Preston, Ebenezer and Ella. The second marriage of our subject, which was consumated in 1881, was with Ida Laurimere, a native of this county. To them have been born two sons Randall and Troy. Our subject is a fine type of our self-made men. He is a wide-awake, intelligent, well-read, and an interesting talker. he is one of the substantial men of the township, has taken part in its public life and is justl considered one of its mose useful citizens. In his political views he was formerly a Whig and has been a firm supporter of te Republican arty since its formation. Regligiously, both he and his good wife are cnsistent and devoted members of the baptist church