Bennett Taylor Blake, 18001882 (aged 82 years)

Bennett Taylor /Blake/

The Rev. Bennett Taylor Blake, a Methodist Episcopal Minister, was one of 9 known children born in Bethlehem Cross Roads, Southampton County, VA to Ellis Gray Blake and Mary Taylor. He is a descendant of Benjamin Blake and Increase Blake of Boston. The Blake children were born in Southampton County, but soon removed to Petersburg, VA (ca. 1808) where the parents remained until their death.

In about 1828, Rev. Blake married Fetna Price, the youngest daughter of wealthy Wake County, NC planter, Thomas Price, Jr. and Rebecca Robertson. Fetna was perhaps about 18-19 at the time of their marriage, and the young minister about age 28. The couple settled in Southampton Co, VA where four children were born: Laura (1829-1855), Mary Rebecca (1831-1839), John Gray (1833-1836), and Bennett T. Blake, Jr. (1835-1854). Mary Rebecca and John Gray Blake did not survive childhood, and after 8 years of marriage, Fetna died in 1836, just about seven months after the birth of their last child.

Less than a year after the death of his wife, the 37-year old widower married his wife's older sister, Sheherezade Price, the 32-year old widow of wealthy Wake County Planter, Thomas Mial, Jr. Sheherazade had a son from this marriage, Alonzo Thomas Rush Mial, who later inherited his father's wealth. The 14-year old Alonzo Mial, joined the Blake household with 8-year old Laura Blake, and 2-year Bennett T. Blake Jr. Within two years, Joseph Blake (1839) was born into the family.

Rev. Bennett Taylor Blake was connected with the NC Council of the M.E. Church for about 60 years and was an active itinerant minister about 25 years, holding many of the most important charges, including Raleigh and New Bern, being presiding elder for some time. He helped establish the Oaky Grove Methodist Episcopal Church ca. 1837. At his own expense, he established the Greensboro Female College, where he served as chair of the English Department for some time. He later established a girls school in Raleigh.

Sheherezade Price Mial Blake died in 1853, at age 48, after 21 years of marriage. Rev. Blake, then only 53, retired to their plantation "Oaky Grove" in Wake County, where he died 29 years later, in 1882, at the age of 82.

His daughter Laura Blake, from his marriage to Fetna Price, eventually married Prof. William Clark Doub, who taught at Trinity College and later Greensboro Women's College. It is through their descendants that the Blake-Price-Doub legacy continues, as family members still retain ownership of "Oaky Grove" today in Wake County, NC. His son from this marriage, Bennett T. Blake never married and died in 1854. Joseph Blake, from his marriage to Sheherezade, became a wealthy planter at "Walnut Hill", Wake Co, and married Lucy Caroline Person, of Franklin County, NC and had four known children.

Oaky Grove Methodist Episcopal Church still exists today (2009) located at the end of Mial Plantation Road in Wake County. The church, originally built in in a grove of Oak Trees on the Tarborough Road (today Poole Road), was moved to this location at some point in time. In 1837, Charles L. Hinton, Needham Price (brother of Fetna & Sheherezade), Turner Pullen and William Smith paid $5.00 each to Rev. Bennett T. Blake for land to build this church.

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