The Blake Family

Blake family crest

(Crest No. 43. Plate 66.)

THE Blake family is of Anglo-Norman origin, its founder being Richard Blake, alias Caddell, who accompanied Prince John, afterward King John, son of Henry the Second, to Ireland in 1185. Richard Blake received for his military services large grants of land in the present Counties of Galway, Mayo, and Clare, and in the town of Galway. From their advent to Ireland the Blakes have been among the most prominent of the great Norman-Irish families, especially in Galway and other parts of Connaught.

Walter Blake, bishop of Clonmacnoise, who died in 1508, was one of the most eminent ecclesiastics of his time, renowned alike for his learning and piety. Valentine Blake, of Galway, grandson of Thomas Blake, mayor of Galway, 1562, was created Baronet of Ireland, July 10, 1622. He was mayor of Galway in 1611, and again in 1630. The seat of the Blakes was Menlough Castle, County of Galway. The name is still numerous in Ireland, especially in Connaught, as also in the British Colonies and the United States.

The Hon. Edward Blake has been for many years one of the most prominent and able of Canadian statesmen. He served for some time in the Ontario Legislature, became premier of the province and leader of the Liberal party, and was for several years a member of the Dominion Parliament, in the Cabinet of which he was Minister of Justice and President of the Council. He refused the chief-justiceship of the Supreme Court of the Dominion, and the honor of Knighthood. He is at present, although a resident of Canada, a member of the British Parliament for the County of Longford, Ireland, in the interest of Irish Home Rule. His father, William H. Blake, was a native of Ireland, and a graduate of Trinity College, Dublin. He was an eminent jurist, and was for a time Solicitor-General in the Canadian Ministry, and Chancellor of Upper Canada. He also declined to accept the honor of Knighthood.

Among the representatives of the name in New York City may be mentioned Judge Stephen S. Blake, the Blake Brothers, bankers of Wall street, and Mr. Laurence E. Blake, the well-known contractor.