Biographical History of Central Kansas, Vol. I, p. 400
published by The Lewis Publishing Co, Chicago & New York, 1902
HENRY H. BLAKELY
When the stability of the Union was threatened by the secession of the south Mr H H Blakely donned the blue and went to the defense of his country. He has a somewhat remarkable military record and one in which his courage and loyalty were ever manifest. To such men the country owes a debt of gratitude which can never be repaid, yet while memory remains to the American people they will honor the patriotic sons of the nation who at the front braved the dangers of war in order to preserve the Union.
Mr Blakely is one of the leading, progressive and enterprising agriculturists of Kansas, and resides in Atlanta township, Rice county, where he owns and operates a valuable tract of land. His has been a resident of this locality since 1879, coming to Kansas from Knox county, Ohio, where he was born on the 18th of January, 1844. The family is of Scotch-Irish lineage and was founded in America by Francis Blakely, who was born in the northern part of the Emerald Isle, his ancestors having gone to that locality from Scotland. After making the long and perilous voyage across the Atlantic, - for a voyage at that time consumed many weeks, - he took up his abode in Maryland, whence he afterward removed to Washington county, Pennsylvania. He married Miss Rachel Hardesty, who was born in Scotland, and their last days were spent at Liberty, Knox county, Ohio, where the grandfather of our subject died, at the ripe old age of ninety-seven years, while his wife was a year older at the time of her demise. Their son, William Blakely, the father of our subject, was born in Washington county, Pennsylvania, and was reared to farm life in Ohio. After attaining manhood he married Miss Sarah Grubb, who was a native of Rockingham county, Virginia, and was the daughter of Daniel Grubb, who was born in the Old Dominion and represented one of the prominent families of that state, his ancestors having established a home at Johnson, Virginia, during the period of its early settlement. William Blakely was a farmer by occupation and thereby provided for his family. His political support was given the Whig party until its dissolution, when he joined the ranks of the new Republican party. Both he and his wife were members of the Methodist Episcopal church and were loved and esteemed by all. The father died at the age of seventy-two years and the mother, long surviving, passed away at the ripe old age of ninety years. They became the parents of twelve children, nine sons and three daughters, namely: Mary Ann, Rachel, Nancy Jane, John, David, William, Samuel, Daniel, Christy Ann, George W, Henry H and Elkanah F. The family was well represented by loyal sons of the family in the Civil war, William being a member of an Ohio regiment, while George served in the Eighty-second Ohio Infantry and John was in the service for a time as a mechanic.
Upon the family homestead in Ohio Henry H Blakely was reared, and in the schools of the neighborhood he acquired his preliminary education, which was supplemented by study in an academy. He was eighteen years of age at the time when President Lincoln called for six hundred thousand men, and he then joined Company F, Eighty-second Ohio Infantry, under Colonel Cantwell, who was killed at the battle of Bull Run. The company was commanded by Captain John Costin, who was killed at Gettysburg. Mr Blakely participated in the engagements of Chancellorsville, Fredericksburg and Gettysburg and was with General Sherman on the celebrated march to the sea. He was one of thirty-six hundred of the Union men who were taken prisoners in Gettysburg and were placed in a rebel camp-prison at Staunton, Virginia, with six hundred others. With a comrade he made his escape over the dead line, which seemed well guarded, but they managed to effect their departure, after having spent thirty-one days of imprisonment. With his friend, O A Rhea, who is now living in Indiana, he proceeded toward the Union lines. For twenty-one days they were without food except for one meal and such wild berries as they could get in the mountains. They crossed a range of mountains almost impassable for a white man, but with fortitude and determination they pressed forward and Mr Blakely was finally able to join his regiment at the front and again to serve his country.
When the war was over he received an honorable discharge and returned to his home. He then engaged in teaching for a time and later took up farming. As a companion and helpmeet on life’s journey he chose Miss Mary E Bailey, the wedding being celebrated in 1868. The lady was born, reared and educated in Knox county, Ohio, being a daughter of John and Mary (Caldwell) Bailey, both of whom were natives of Ohio. Nine children were born to our subject and his wife: John T, who is now living in Wilson township, Rice county; Mrs Olive M Sangster, of Atlanta township; Ralph W, who is living in Eldorado, Kansas, where he is engaged in business as a bridge carpenter; H Ray; Guy Wait; Mildred M, a student in Sterling College; May Gertrude; Sarah Theresa; and they lost one child, Henry Dahlgren. Mrs Blakely was summoned into eternal rest on the 18th of December, 1901, and her loss was not only an irreparable loss to the immediate family but was deeply felt by a wide circle of friends whom she had drawn about her.
Mr Blakely came to Rice county, Kansas, in 1879, and he has been a prominent factor in the community. He today owns and operates two hundred and forty acres of valuable land, on which stands a good residence, surrounded by an attractive grove, an orchard of five acres yields its fruits in season, and the many improvements which have been made upon the farm render it very valuable. In his political views Mr Blakely is a Republican and for four and a half years has served as justice of the peace. He is recognized as one of the leaders of the party in this locality. He and his wife are members of the Congregational church and are interested in everything pertaining to the general welfare. As a citizen he is as true to his duties today as when upon the battlefields of the south he wore the blue uniform and followed the stars and stripes into the thickest of the fight.