James Blake [b. abt 1744-1826] married Mary Walsh in St. Patrick and St. Olave’s, Waterford, on the 3rd of April 1769. Mary Walsh was the granddaughter of Thomas Power of Waterford, Mariner. James Blake was master of the sloop MARY AND JOHN of Waterford which was partly owned by Thomas Power. The relationship between the three is confirmed in the Will of Thomas Power, Waterford, Mariner, made on the 20th of May 1771.
To be buried in the Church of Faithlegg. To sister Ellen, Ann, wife Mary Galgey, daur Elizabeth Walsh, orwise Power, son Edmond Power ...until he return home.
Hold half interest in the good sloop or vessell called the MARY AND JOHN of Waterford, 70 tunns burthen, of which James Blake, mariner is now master. Bequeath one-fourth of said sloop to my daur Elizabeth Walsh and other fourth to my beloved gd daur Mary Blake orwise Walsh for her own sole and seperate use. Son - safe arrival - last quarter in said sloop to my said son.
The inscription on Thomas Power’s gravestone in Faithlegg cemetery, County Waterford reads as follows:
Here lieth the body of Mr Thomas Power of Waterford who departed this life June 4th 1771 aged 65 years. Also the body of his wife Mary Power alias Gallegy who departed this life (blank) aged (blank) years. Also six of their children.
Tho blusterous winds of Neptune's waves / Have tost me to & fro / In spite of both by God's Decree / I harbour here below. / Requiescant in pace Amen.
The sloop MARY AND JOHN is recorded as sailing the Irish Sea.
Deal, June 22, Wind S.W., Arrived... the MARY AND JOHN, Blake, for Waterford. (General Evening Post, June 22, 1773. Issue 6193).
Portsmouth, 2 June 1774 arrived, MARY AND JOHN, from Waterford. [Hampshire Chronicle, 6 June 1774].
Cowes 3 Sept 1774 arriv'd the MARY AND JOHN, Blake. Sailed MARY AND JOHN, Blake, for Waterford. [Hampshire Chronicle, 12 Sept 1774].
On the 19th of this inst., the MARY AND JOHN, Blake, for Waterford, was well at Deal. [Hibernian Journal, 27 September 1775].
James Blake, is listed as a shipowner in the Freeman List for Waterford City. 1 November 1796. [Waterford City Archives, Freeman List 1700-2012].
In 1804 he purchased the lands of Kilmaquage from the banker William Newport Esq, Waterford, the brother of Sir John Newport, Bt., Newpark, County Kilkenny. He is described as a merchant. In 1807 he is again described as a merchant when he voted for Sir John Newport, Bt. [How they voted in 1807 - Waterford Mirror].
By 1821, in the Census extracts, we find him living in no. 29, King St, Waterford where he describes himself as James Blake, 70, gentleman, with a servant, Mary Farrell, aged 27.
The Blakes had a business on the Waterford Quays and in Blake’s Lane they had a Rope Walk:
James Blake & Son. Rope and Sail Maker. Quay. (Pigot & Co., City of Dublin and Hibernian Provincial Directory 1824 p. 322).).
In his will, proved at London 25th of October 1826, James Blake called himself James Blake of the city of Waterford, Rope Maker. He owned the freehold estate of Kilmaquage in the Barony of Gaultier, [the land which he had bought from William Newport], Hennessy’s Road and the Rope Walk with all the houses and buildings, a house in King Street, houses in Clinker Street, interest in the large new house built by his son Andrew, other houses and buildings in the City of Waterford or its Liberties. His sons Thomas and Andrew are named in his will, along with his granddaughters Mary and Olivia Hurley. He left the rents and profits of Kilmaquage to his grandson James son of his youngest son Andrew, ’for his maintenance, cloathing and education and in forwarding him in life or binding him to some genteel trade of business’, James, when he reached the the age of twenty one , was ‘to take and receive to his own use all the rents, issues and profits thereof for and during his life.’
But who was James Blake and where had he come from? The names of his parents are uncertain but they may have been James Blake, and Brigid Haugherin. Had he returned to Ireland from Barbados in the West Indies? Was he, as has been suggested elsewhere, the descendant of Nicholas Blake of Galway and Barbados?