Bio-Pen Pictures

resides upon an eighty-acre tract of land located at the corner of the Mountain View and Saratoga and Homestead roads, in the Collins District, about five miles west of Santa Clara. The ownership of this fine property is vested in the subject of this sketch, and in A. M. Ross and H. H. Grant, each owning an undivided one-third. Their holdings originally contained 160 acres, which they purchased in 1885, it then being improved land planted with trees and vines. In 1887 they sold, to Brassley & Ahlers, the southern half, retaining the eighty acres which they now own and occupy. Upon this tract both have erected commodious and comfortable homes. The lands are highly cultivated, showing the care and foresight exercised in their management. A splendid orchard of fifty-four acres contains 4,300 French prune trees, 350 apricot trees, and 300 each of cherry and almond trees, besides a small variety of other fruit-bearing trees. The orchard yields its owners a profitable return upon their investment and labor. There is also a large vineyard, the products of which are probably unexcelled in the county. Seventeen acres are in wine grapes, and nine acres in Muscat grapes.

        Mr. Blake was born in Searsport, Maine, in 1829. His parents, Daniel P. and Patience (Lord) Blake, were natives of Maine. His father was a ship carpenter, and was connected with the ship-building industries of that seaboard town. Captain Blake's boyhood, up to eleven years of age, was spent in obtaining such schooling as was afforded by the common schools. Surrounded by a seafaring community, his boyish imaginations constantly excited by the marvelous tales of the sailors, it is not strange that when very young he made his first venture in a calling which he followed for more than forty years. When but eleven years of age he made his first voyage as a cook in the schooner Toronto, Captain Grant commanding. From this time he was constantly engaged in a seafaring life, and despite his extreme youth he rose rapidly. His energetic disposition and intelligent mind prompted the study of navigation and other branches of knowledge connected with his vocation, and these studies he soon mastered. At the age of eighteen years he was promoted to the position of chief mate, and this position he retained six years in the different vessels in which he sailed. When but twenty-four years of age, he was advanced to the captaincy of the bark E. Churchill, of Searsport, Maine, William McGilvery owner. From this time Captain Blake rose rapidly in the esteem of his em­ployers, their confidence in his skill and worth being shown by their placing him in command of their finest vessels, and intrusting to him their most important business interests in the various maritime ports of the world to which he was sent. It is noticeable, as a proof of the confidence reposed in the subject of this sketch, that he remained in the employ of William McGilvery, a large ship-builder and owner of Searsport, for thirty-five years. Among the vessels commanded by Captain Blake during his long seafaring life, mention may be made of the J. B. Johnson, Sarah A. Nichols, Matilda, and Harriet H. McGilvery, all large and valuable ships, well-known in maritime circles.

        In 1882 he sold the ship Harriet H. McGilvery in Liverpool and returned to his home in Maine. It is of interest to note that Captain Blake's good fortune seemed to have followed him even in his retirement from the sea, for this ship, after loading the cargo of coal contracted for by Captain Blake, and sailing from Liverpool, burned at sea, when fifty days out, the cause of the fire being the spontaneous combustion of her coal cargo. After spending about three years in taking a much needed rest, the subject of this sketch, in 1885, removed with his family to this State, settling upon the land which he now occupies. After a life of adventure and danger, he enjoys the quiet of his pleasant home in so lovely a place as the Santa Clara Valley.

        In 1852 Captain Blake married Miss Nancy M. Nichols, of Searsport. She died at sea in 1856, leaving one son, William H., who lived to be but nine years old. In 1860 he married Miss Mary Ellis, daughter of Amos H. Ellis, of Searsport. She also died at sea, in 1864, leaving one daughter, Ellie H., aged (in 1888) twenty-five years. She is the wife of Edward Rodgers, residing at Nagasaki, Japan, where he holds the responsible position of general manager of the China and Japan Trading Company. In 1868 the Captain married his present wife, Mrs. Emma N. (Ford) Pendleton, widow of John Pendleton, a sea captain and native of Searsport. Mrs. Blake is also a native of Maine. Six children have been born from this marriage, of whom two have died, leaving Daniel H., aged (in 1888) nineteen years; William H., fourteen years; Sarah J., thirteen years; and Frederick E., aged eight years. Of Mrs. Blake's children by her former marriage, but one is living, Melvina C., the wife of William R. Porter, a resident of Santa Clara County.
Pen Pictures From The Garden of the World or Santa Clara County, California, Illustrated. - Edited by H. S. Foote.- Chicago:  The Lewis Publishing Company, 1888.
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