Albert Edward Blake.The history of Kansas chronicles no greater changes than those in the business of the State. Today the conquests are not of Indians and unbroken prairies, but of commerce and agriculture; commercial prosperity and improvements appear in every walk of life, and today the victor is the man who can successfully establish and operate large business concerns. A man who is representative of this class is Albert E. Blake, one of the progressive citizens of Liberal. He was born at Winslow, Province of Quebec, Canada, February 13, 1866, Christina McCook Blake. The father was a native of New Hampshire, born at Landaff December 23, 1833, and died at Liberal September 11, 1912. For more than a quarter of a century he was one of the leading merchants of the Southwest. Mr. Blake came to Kansas in 1868. Soon after his arrival he enlisted in the Nineteenth Kansas cavalry, which was recruited to protect the settlers against the Indians. From the time he first located on a claim in Mitchell county Mr. Blake made a study of soil and climatic conditions, which in a great measure led to his success, as he was one of the first to discover the fact that this part of Kansas was well adapted to raising melons, which he raised extensively.
Albert Blake came to Kansas with his parents in 1868 and attended school at Beloit until they removed to Schuyler county, Missouri, in 1874. Mr. Blake was engaged in farming there until 1877, when the family returned to Hodgeman county, locating on government land, but were there but four years, as the elder Blake removed to Greenwood county, where he engaged in cattle raising. In 1887 this ranch was sold and the family went to Seward county, opening the first grocery in the old town of Oak City. A year later the town was moved and became Tyrone; the Blakes moved with the town and again conducted the leading store there. Albert Blake was appointed postmaster of Tyrone, serving in that office four years. In 1899 the town of Tyrone was removed to Oklahoma, just one mile from its original location, which was on the ranch owned by Bensley Blake. Both father and son came to Liberal in 1900, opening a hardware and implement house, under the firm name of Blake & Son. They soon built up an extensive business, which was carried on until Mr. Blake died in 1912. Since then the firm has been incorporated as the Blake Hardware & Manufacturing Company, of which Albert Blake is the treasurer and general manager. The company carries on a wholesale oil business; handles broom corn and automobiles, and today is rated as one of the largest and most successful business houses in the Southwest. Mr. Blake has branched out from his first enterprise and is now the owner of the "Liberal Democrat," one of the leading organs of Seward county. He also owns and operates a grain elevator and a wholesale oil depot at Forgan, Okla. Mr. Blake takes an active interest in all matters pertaining to the upbuilding of Liberal, having served on the city council several times. In politics he is a Democrat. On June 2, 1897, Mr. Blake married Laura A., the daughter of Frederick C. and Martha J. Thompson Steen. Mrs. Blake was born in Gasconade county, Missouri, October 4, 1867, her parents being natives of that State. Mr. and Mrs. Blake have one child, Gladys, born June 30, 1903.Pages 588-589 from a supplemental volume of Kansas: a cyclopedia of state history, embracing events, institutions, industries, counties, cities, towns, prominent persons, etc. ... / with a supplementary volume devoted to selected personal history and reminiscence. Standard Pub. Co. Chicago : 1912. 3 v. in 4. : front., ill., ports.; 28 cm. Vols. I-II edited by Frank W. Blackmar. Transcribed October 2002 by Carolyn Ward. This volume is identified at the Kansas State Historical Society as microfilm LM196. It is a single volume 3.
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