Hampton, New Hampshire is a beach town.
Hampton is where my first Blake ancestors from England settled. Jasper Blake arrived in the area sometime around 1643. I was born with the name Blake and am ten generations down from Jasper. My curiosity led me to find out where the early Blakes forged a life on this continent.
My search took me to the Hampton Historical Society located in the Tuck Museum of Hampton History.
A staff member greeted me warmly and asked how she could be of help. I told her I was a Blake descendant and asked for any information on early Blakes in the area. She knew about Jasper Blake and started me out with a large red book.
There was verification of the same lines of descent in this volume that had been passed down to me through my family. Good to know it was documented by others.
Across the street from the Tuck Museum is Founders Park (dedicated in 1925) with stone monuments to the area’s first settlers. Jasper Blake has a stone in the park among them.
Some other folks at the historical society told me about Blakesville, an area of Hampton where Blakes for generations built homes and owned farms. The neighborhood included Blake Lane and homes that had once belonged to Blakes (and maybe still do).
Pine Grove Cemetery is where the many of the founding settlers were buried. Early graves were unmarked, had a common rock, or a wooden marker that has disintegrated over the last 350 years. I didn’t find a grave for Jasper Blake who died in 1674.
I wondered where Jasper Blake might have had land or a farm. Some of the other books at the historical society indicated where he may have lived. When I drove out that way, I saw rolling hills, broad expanses of green meadows, thick woods and new homes in landscaped clearings.
My Blakes eventually moved 50 miles west to the community of Louden, NH. There are a lot of Blake names in that area, too. (Blake cemetery on Blake Rd, etc.) A few of my family migrated south to Boston, Massachusetts, including my great grandfather William Ashton Blake. He always loved New Hampshire, though, and wrote a poem about it in 1917 when he was living in Oregon.
It’s a long way to old New Hampshire, It’s a long way to go To the old homesteads of our grandsires That we cherish and hold so dear. It’s far to dear old Granite State And its legendary lore. It’s a long, long way to old New Hampshire, But my heart’s right there.
I loved New Hampshire, too, and was glad to see where my people settled generations ago.