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Sunday, December 20, 2009

Ernest Edward James BLAKEY

Previously I noted that I had been unable to find any records for Ernest E. BLAKEY after his Army Enlistment in 1895.

Not long ago I came across Ed Schneider's family tree and in it he had his grandfather, Edward James BLAKEY, as a son of Edward and Martha Haggard BLAKEY. I had never run across any records of an Edward James as a son of Edward and Martha, but I had found in the 1885 MN State Census an Edward "Blake" living in Cherry Grove Township, Goodhue County with his mother, Martha "Blake," and sisters Emily and Alma.


Detail of 1885 MN State Census. Image courtesy of Ancestry.com. Source Information: Ancestry.com. Minnesota Territorial and State Censuses, 1849-1905 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2007. Original data: Minnesota Historical Society. Minnesota State Population Census Schedules, 1865-1905. St. Paul, MN, USA: Minnesota Historical Society, 1977. Microfilm. Reels 1-47 and 107-164.
Minnesota. Minnesota Territorial Census Schedules, 1849-1855. St. Paul, MN, USA: Minnesota Historical Society, 2000. Microfilm.
Minnesota. Minnesota 1857 Territorial Census. Minnesota Historical Society, St. Paul, MN, USA.


Censustakers were not always known for their careful spelling, so I suspected that it was the same family (but with Martha E. and Ernest E. using their middle names) especially since they were listed adjacent to R. and Jane Woodward. I later had found out the latter was Martha's sister.

I contacted Ed Schneider with my questions, and on Nov. 2 he replied in an email:
I have very spotty records to go on and most of my family are long gone. I may have assumed his name was Edward James because I remember (He died when I was 9 years old) some people calling him "EJ." However I also remember him being referred to as "Ernest." [Emphasis added.]
I sent Ed a copy of Ernest's 1895 enlistment record [See below.] and also did a search for Edward James BLAKEY. It turned up several later Army enlistment records, census records, and death records, but curiously nothing before 1905. Ed responded with the following:
. . . I know my grandfather (that I knew as EJ Blakey) was in the army. He was what was referred to as a warrant officer. I know he fought in the Phillipines during the Spanish American War. Sounds like he was reinstated if in fact he deserted. As I know he retired with honors and was buried in the Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery in San Antonio Texas.

He was in the US Army when he met my grandmother Mary Friel, because I remember the stories about how she squandered the first pay packet he got after they were married. She had never seen so much money! She was born in Ireland and immigrated to the US. I found a number of possible landing records for her but there were at least five women with the same name and the same age who landed at Ellis about the same time.

Anyway, back to EJ. It had always been rumored in hushed tones something about him changing his name. [Emphasis added.] That could have been done to obscure the record. Interesting that it appears he took his father's name. As a serious Army family the desertion thing would have been a blight. He had three sons who served honorably in WWII one of whom died but not as a result of the war. . . .
Edward James BLAKEY enlisted in the US Army on 6 Jan 1905, 6 Jan 1908, and 6 Jan 1911. A comparison of his enlistment records with that of Ernest E. BLAKEY from 6 Jan 1895 may prove fruitful.


Detail of US Army Register of Enlistments, 1798-1914. Image courtesy of Ancestry.com.

Name: Blakey, Ernest E.
Enlisted When: 5 Jan 1895
Enlisted Where: Minneapolis, Minn.
Enlisted By Whom: Capt. Pierce
Enlisted Period: 3 years
Where Born: Jackson, Minn.
Age: 21 1/12
Occupation: Farmer
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Lt. Brown
Complexion: Fair
Height: 5' 10"

Detail of US Army Register of Enlistments, 1798-1914. Image courtesy of Ancestry.com.
Name: Blakey, Edward J.
Enlisted When: 6 Jan 1905
Enlisted Where: Minneapolis, Minn.
Enlisted By Whom: Maj. Taylor
Enlisted Period: 3 years
Where Born: Jackson, Minn.
Age: 30 1/12
Occupation: Printer
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Lt. Brown
Complexion: Fair
Height: 5' 9 1/2"

Detail of US Army Register of Enlistments, 1798-1914. Image courtesy of Ancestry.com.
Name: Blakey, Edward J.
Enlisted When: 6 Jan 1908
Enlisted Where: Ft. Adams, RI
Enlisted By Whom: Cap. Cooke
Enlisted Period: 3 years
Where Born: Jackson Co., Minn.
Age: 33 1/12
Occupation: Soldier
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Dark Brown
Complexion: Fair
Height: 5' 9 1/2"

Detail of US Army Register of Enlistments, 1798-1914. Image courtesy of Ancestry.com.
Name: Blakey, Edward J.
Enlisted When: 6 Jan 1911
Enlisted Where: Ft. Adams, RI
Enlisted By Whom: Cap. L [illegible]
Enlisted Period: 3 years
Where Born: Jackson Co., Minn.
Age: 36 1/12
Occupation: Painter [Printer?]
Eyes: Blue
Hair: Dark Brown
Complexion: Fair
Height: 5' 9 1/2"
Source Information: Ancestry.com. U.S. Army, Register of Enlistments, 1798-1914 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 2007. Original data: Register of Enlistments in the U.S. Army, 1798-1914; (National Archives Microfilm Publication M233, 81 rolls); Records of the Adjutant General’s Office, 1780’s-1917, Record Group 94; National Archives, Washington, D.C.

In all of the records, the birthplace is Jackson or Jackson Co., Minn. Ernest and Edward's ages are off by a year, but the month is correct. The occupations are interesting but probably not relevant. Eyes and complexion are all the same. In the latter two records the hair has gone from light brown to dark brown. The height for Ernest is only 1/2 inch different than EJ--all in all a fairly strong correlation.

According to Ed Schneider's tree, Edward James married Mary Friel on 12 Nov 1908. Edward (33) and Mary (23) are listed in the 1910 US Federal Census living at Newport Ward 5, Newport, Rhode Island, with a daughter, Esther (1 month).


Detail of 1910 US Federal Census. Image courtesy of Ancestry.com. Source Citation: Year: 1910; Census Place: Newport Ward 5, Newport, Rhode Island; Roll T624_1437; Page: 6B; Enumeration District: 51; Image: 460. Source Information: Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006. For details on the contents of the film numbers, visit the following NARA web page: NARA Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Thirteenth Census of the United States, 1910. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1910. T624, 1,178 rolls.

His father's birthplace is listed as England and his mother's as Kentucky. Edward BLAKEY was indeed from England, but Martha HAGGARD was born in Iowa which was part of the Wisconsin Territory at the time. Her father was from Kentucky. Also his age is off by a few years, EJ should be 35.

In the 1920 US Federal Census, Edward J. (45) and Mary (33) are living at Fort Adams, Newport, Rhode Island with their children: Esther M. (9), Emily J. (8), Edward G. (7), George E. (5), and Mary A. Blakey (4 months).


Detail of 1920 US Federal Census. Image courtesy of Ancestry.com. Source Citation: Year: 1920;Census Place: Fort Adams, Newport, Rhode Island; Roll T625_1670; Page: 2A; Enumeration District: 62; Image: 1169. Source Information: Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2009. Images reproduced by FamilySearch. Note: Enumeration Districts 819-839 on roll 323 (Chicago City) Original data: Fourteenth Census of the United States, 1920; (National Archives Microfilm Publication T625, 2076 rolls); Records of the Bureau of the Census, Record Group 29; National Archives, Washington, D.C.

By 1930 the BLAKEY family had moved to San Antonio in Bexar Co., Texas. They are listed in the 1930 US Federal Census as follows: Edward J. (55), Mary F. (43), Esth M. (20), Emily J. (19), Edward J. Jr. (17), George A. (16), John E. (8), Eleanore J. (5).


Detail of 1930 US Federal Census. Image courtesy of Ancestry.com. Source Citation: Year: 1930; Census Place: San Antonio, Bexar, Texas; Roll 2296; Page: 1B; Enumeration District: 103; Image: 322.0. Source Information: Ancestry.com. 1930 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2002. Original data: United States of America, Bureau of the Census. Fifteenth Census of the United States, 1930. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 1930. T626, 2,667 rolls.

Other than some discrepancies between the middle initials, everything seems to track nicely. It appears, however, that daughter Mary A. may have passed away in the interim and they have added two more children to their household.

EJ's death on 10 Jun 1959 in Bexar County is recorded in the Texas Death Index, 1903-2000, Certificate 30599 at Ancestry.com. More interesting is the record from the U. S. Veterans Gravesites, ca. 1775-2006. It lists the following:

Name: Edward James Blakey
Service Info.: 2 LT US ARMY WORLD WAR I
Birth Date: 30 Nov 1874
Death Date: 10 Jun 1959
Interment Date: 12 Jun 1959
Cemetery: Ft. Sam Houston National Cemetery
Cemetery Address: 1520 Harry
Wurzbach Road San Antonio, TX 78209
Buried At: Section Ah Site 551
A birthdate of 30 Nov 1874 would be consistent with the data we have for Ernest E. BLAKEY as well. Recently Linda Doepel posted a photo and some obituaries for Edward James on her family tree and has graciously allowed me to reproduce them here.


Detail from Franklin F. Holbrook, Minnesota in the Spanish-American War and the Philippine Insurrection (St. Paul, MN: Minnesota War Records Commission, 1923), p. 239. Image courtesy of Linda Doepel.

Notable in the listing of the roster from the Thirteenth Minnesota Volunteer Infantry is that it not only gives his birth in Jackson, but also his residence in Goodhue Co., which agrees with the 1885 MN State Census that has the first recorded instance of Ernest E.'s use of the name Edward.


"Warrant Officer Makes Home Here" (1936). Image courtesy of Linda Doepel.

This article gives his first enlistment as occurring in 1898. While we don't have a record for that at this time, it is interesting to note that the 1895 enlistment as Ernest E. BLAKEY is not mentioned perhaps for reasons Ed Schneider mentions above. It also fills in some additional details of EJ's life.


"San Antonio Is Tops" (1941). Image courtesy of Linda Doepel.

It was fun to actually see a photo of EJ. He is obviously proud of his son George pictured in his WWII flying gear.


Certificate of Death. Edward James BLAKEY. State of Texas (10 Jun 1959). Image courtesy of Linda Doepel.

This document provides confirmation for birth, death, and burial dates and places. Unfortunate though is that the father's name and mother's name were left blank.


Obituary. Lt. Edward J. BLAKEY (10 Jun 1959). Image courtesy of Linda Doepel.

EJ's obituary lists his survivors as: wife, Mrs. Mary Blakey, [illegible]; sons, Col. George Blakey, USAF, Africa, and John E. Blakey, Alaska; daughters, Miss Esther Blakey, Mrs. Eleanor Halfmann and Mrs. Emily Schneider, all of San Antonio; [and] 10 grandchildren.

The last bit of circumstantial evidence involves the names of EJ's children. Many of them have connections to his family:
Esther M.
Emily (EJ's older sister) Josephine
Edward (EJ's father and his own original middle name) James (EJ's half-nephew) Jr.
George (EJ's half-nephew) Addison (EJ's older sister's husband)
Mary A.
John
(EJ's maternal grandfather's name) Ernest (EJ's original first name)
Eleanor Jane (EJ's maternal aunt)

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