Jackson County


The educator of today has to meet and overcome many obstacles with which those of an older day knew nothing. The enlarging of the curriculum of the public schools with the demand for the practice of pedagogy necessitates a long and careful training and constant subsequent study and reading on the part of those to whom is entrusted the training of the plastic mind of youth. Popular demand has resulted in the production of a class of men who have no equal in the history of the world as educators. Their knowledge of their work and matters in general is extensive and profound, and at the same time they possess sound judgment and a keen insight into human nature that makes it possible for them to give to each pupil the individual attention now regarded as so necessary for the proper rounding out of character. Among those who have thus distinguished themselves along these lines in a broad and comprehensive way is Professor Edward Louis Blake, principal of the public school system of Grand Tower, Illinois, whose long and faithful service here entitles him to a place among the eminent educators of Southern Illinois. Professor Blake is a product of eastern Kentucky, and was born October 27. 1866, a son of William Jasper and Octavia V. (Tanner) Blake.

William Jasper Blake was born in Greenbrier county, West Virginia (then Virginia), and was a farmer and carpenter by vocation. As a young man he moved to Kentucky, where he was married and during the latter part of the Civil war he was mustered into the Confederate service, but on the same night deserted to the Union lines and joined the Federal army. After serving several months the war closed and he returned to his home, but shortly after the birth of Edward L., the family came to Illinois. Mr. Blake later went back to his native state and subsequently settled in Steubenville, Ohio, where his death occurred in 1874, after which the family located in Gallatin county, Illinois, where Mrs. Blake's death occurred ten years later.

Edward Louis Blake was the second in order of birth of a family of five children, and his preliminary educational training was secured in the public schools of Steubenville, Ohio, and Gallatin county. Illinois. For one year he attended Hayward Collegiate Institute, at Fairfield, and spent a spring and summer term in the schools at Normal, Illinois, although he had at that time been engaged in teaching for three years in Gallatin county. In 1894 he located in Carbondale, where he continued until 1900, in the meantime teaching in Gallatin, Union- and Jackson counties, and after finishing his course spent twelve weeks in the University of Illinois. On taking the state examination he was granted a life certificate. Mr. Blake first taught school in Grand Tower in 1897, and since that time, with the exception of a few short terms, he has served as principal of the schools here. In 1902 he was a candidate for the office of county superintendent, but owing to political conditions at that time he met with defeat. His principles are those of the Republican party, and he and his wife attend the Presbyterian church. Professor Blake's reputation as an educator is high in the profession, and personally he is very popular, many of his warmest friends in this community being former pupils. He has found time to exert his influence in behalf of progressive movements of benefit to the city, but has not entered the public field to any extent.

In June, 1902, Professor Blake was married to Miss Ida Schulze, of Grand Tower, and three children have been born to this union, namely: Helen and Evelyn, twins, and Edward.

Extracted 11 Nov 2018 by Norma Hass from 1912 A History of Southern Illinois, by George W. Smith, volume 3, page 1405.

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