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Below is a family biography included in The History of Benton County, Arkansas published by Goodspeed Publishing Company in 1889.  These biographies are valuable for genealogy research in discovering missing ancestors or filling in the details of a family tree. Family biographies often include far more information than can be found in a census record or obituary.  Details will vary with each biography but will often include the date and place of birth, parent names including mothers' maiden name, name of wife including maiden name, her parents' names, name of children (including spouses if married), former places of residence, occupation details, military service, church and social organization affiliations, and more.  There are often ancestry details included that cannot be found in any other type of genealogical record.

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Thomas K. Blake, merchant, and one of the old and influential citizens of Bentonville, Ark., is a native of Roane County, Tenn., born 1818, and the son of Thomas and Elizabeth (Owen) Blake. Thomas Blake was born in Georgia, and was of English origin. He went to North Carolina when a young man, and from there to Tennessee in 1799. He was a speculator in lands, and did a great deal of trading. He was the owner of a number of mills, and was a good business man. His wife was born in Alabama, and died in 1829. She was the mother of seven children, Thomas K. being the only one now living. He remained at home until after his mother’s death, and then went to Alabama, where he lived among his mother’s people a number of years, and worked at machinery in various kinds of mills. In 1836 he married Miss Clara Chitty, who was born in North Carolina in 1819, and seven children were born to this union: Jesse C., in Whitesburgh, Tex,; Missouri E. wife of J. E. Russell; Larkin L., in the Chickasaw Nation; William A., killed in the battle of Pea Ridge; Paulina J., deceased; Thomas T., an extensive lumber merchant at Bentonville. Ark., John Y. F., in New Mexico, a United States officer, and a graduate of West Point with the rank of first lieutenant, and Clara F., wife of F. W. Derrickson. Thomas K. Blake resided in Alabama until 1841, when he immigrated to Polk County, Mo., and in 1859 he went to Denton County, Tex. In 1868 he became a citizen of Bentonville, Ark. While in Missouri he was the owner of two woolen mills, and while in the Lone Star State he was engaged in merchandising, dealt in stock and was also engaged in milling. After coming to Bentonville he and Josiah Claypool erected a flouring-mill, and they were also the proprietors of two mercantile establishments in Bentonville, Previous to the erection of the gristmill, Mr. Blake erected a woolen-mill, and afterward he and Mr. Claypool became partners in this mill, and it was attached to the grist-mill Mr. Blake and Mr. Claypool were partners for about three years, when they sold the mills; each took a store, and after this each man did business on his own responsibility. Mr. Blake also erected a lumber mill in Carroll County and was the proprietor of it for one year, when he moved it to Huntsville Ark and converted it into a flouring-mill, which he turned over to his sons, Larkin L. and Thomas T. Mr. Blake followed merchandising in Bentonville for about fifteen years, and was successful in his business transactions. He erected the Western Hotel, and the large block occupied by L. J. Laughlin. He has also erected a large number of private dwellings and other business houses in Bentonville, and has been of much benefit to that city. Although starting with little or no means, Mr. Blake has, by attending strictly to the business on hand and by his honesty, become one of the solid, substantial merchants of Bentonville. For the past five years he has lived a retired life. He lost his wife in 1859. Mr. Blake is a Democrat in politics, and is a member of the Masonic fraternity, and also a member of the I. O. O. F. He was proprietor of the Western Hotel for six years, and followed merchandising at the same time. While residing in Texas he had 137 horses stolen from him by the Indians, and he thinks he will yet get pay for them from the United States Government.

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This family biography is one of 240 biographies included in The History of Benton County, Arkansas published in 1889.  For the complete description, click here: Benton County, Arkansas History, Genealogy, and Maps

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