Calvin Blakely’s first appearance in the records available online places him in the Dreadnought Seamen’s Hospital at Greenwich, where he was admitted on the 9th January 1854, with an abcess, and discharged two weeks later. The entry in the register describes him as an Able Seaman, age 20, 5’ 9” tall, who has been in the merchant service for five years. His birthplace is Picton in Canada, and he last sailed out of Quebec on board the Coronet. Probably he was straight back on board a ship to resume his duties for the two years until his marriage. Caroline Elizabeth Milleman, Alfred and Sarah’s daughter, married Calvin, in Swansea on the 2nd May 1856, when she was just 16. Calvin is “of full age”, a mariner, and says his father is Samuel Blakely, farmer. One must hope that Calvin did not just sail into Swansea, marry Caroline on an impulse and sail out again. There was presumably some period of courtship involved, and it’s possible that Calvin was, or had been, a shipmate of her father’s, though his name does not appear on the Swansea Mariners’ web site. Caroline appears as a witness at her grandmother’s third marriage in Camberwell in 1859. Was this area their home at this time? Calvin may have been sailing out of the Thames, but it seems more likely that he had abandoned the sea to follow a new career which was to take him and Caroline two thirds of the way around the world. For Calvin next enters the record books in Williamstown in Victoria, Australia - Melbourne’s first port settlement. Here he is working as a cabinet maker, the career he would follow for the rest of his working life and on the 5th September 1865, aged 31, he joins the Excelsior Lodge, “from Caledonia” (was that another Lodge?). On the 9th March 1866 he set sail with Caroline on board the Anna bound for San Francisco. An image of the passenger list is available on FamilySearch courtesy of the Public Record Office Victoria. Calvin gives his age as 32 and his nationality as American, while Caroline is 26 and English. So it no surprise that they appear in the 1870 US census in San Francisco, and now with a son, Alfred, just two months old. Tracking them through the censuses and city directories, they remained in San Francisco for nearly thirty years, adding another son, William Thornton Blakely to their family in 1874, and moving in later life to Cucamonga township in San Bernardino County, near Los Angeles. Calvin worked as a carpenter for various companies, including Excelsior Mills where he was a sash and blind maker. At one time - in 1877 - he even appears to have had his own venture, Blakely, Murray & Co. By 1878 they are diversifying into the grocery business, and Caroline appears in the directories in her own right on several occasions, most notably in 1887 when she is credited with “bakery and notions”. Calvin meanwhile continues his carpentry but combines it with “groceries and liquors SW cor Powell and California Aves B.H.” He made a foray down to Los Angeles in 1888 when he is listed in the directory as a foreman at the Alta Planing Mills, but is back in San Francisco for the 1891 directory, along with his son Alfred, both listed as carpenters. Calvin and Caroline probably left San Francisco the next year, as they no longer appear in any directories. By the time of the 1900 census they are in Cucamonga, and Calvin is a farmer. Although Alfred seems to have worked occasionally in Los Angeles, he appears in the San Francisco directories in the late 1890s as a tilesetter, and is settled in San Francisco in 1900 with his wife Mary, whom he had married in 1894. William Thornton Blakely also stayed in San Francisco through this decade; he appears as a clerk and then as a collector with H.H. Lowenthal in 1892 and 1893, and as an attorney-at-law in 1899. He married Martha Wilkinson in 1901, but he appears on the 1900 census in Cucamonga with his parents, stating his occupation as Lawyer, and that he has been married for two years, but there is no wife living with him on the census return. By 1910 Calvin had died, but Caroline is still living in Cucamonga, now with her son Alfred and his wife - and Alfred is now the farmer. Caroline died before the 1920 census, and in that census both Alfred and William and their families are living in South Pasadena: Alfred is a Automobile Insurance Investigator, and William is a Lawyer. I know it’s obvious, but following up Calvin Blakely it dawned on me that we normally only know the things about our ancestors that they chose to put down on official documents like marriage certificates and censuses, unless their activities were reported by some third party such as a newspaper, and we know how reliable they can be. So if that ancestor chose to be economical with the truth or to embroider it in some way how do we know what was the truth? Here’s a brief outline of what Calvin says about himself in various official US documents. 14 July 1866. Voters registration. San Francisco. Age 34 [born 1832].  Carpenter. Country of nativity New York. 1870 census, taken on 1st June. San Francisco. Age 36 [born 1834]. House carpenter. Born Canada, both parents of foreign origin. 1880 census, taken on 1st June. San Francisco. Age 44 [born 1836]. Retail grocer. Canada is his place of birth and also his parents'. 1900 census, taken on 1st June. Cucamonga Township, San Bernardino. Age 68. Born Feb 1832. Farmer. He and his father have Canada as birthplace. His mother is born in Pennsylvania. He gives 1850 as his year of immigration into US, so resident for 50 years. 'A' in naturalisation column, presumably Alien? as others have 'Na' for naturalised? Married 46 years, Caroline's age of 46 is obviously wrong. She has had 3 children of whom 2 are living. Calvin’s death was announced in the San Francisco Call of the 4th September 1903: His death in Ontario completed his circumnavigation of the globe, as he died back where he was born. He had probably gone there to attend a family event. This newspaper announcement sets his birthday on about the 23rd February 1834, which doesn’t tally with the 1900 census, but does agree with the earliest records from the Dreadnought Hospital, and the Freemasons in Williamstown. Piecing the evidence together, we can say that Calvin was born in Picton, or Cherry Valley, Prince Edward, Ontario, in February 1834. His father, called Samuel, was a farmer. I can’t help feeling that saying he had been born in New York was probably to enable him to register to vote, and that he really had entered the US in 1850 as stated in the 1900 census. That was six years before he married Caroline in Swansea, and seventeen years before he appears for the first time in a San Francisco directory in 1867 at the same address, 31 Everett, where he registered to vote. Caroline died at the age of 79 on the 14th January 1920 in Los Angeles. So there are some clues as to Calvin’s origins. However an internet search a few years ago brought up an interesting detail from an adoption tracing site that is no longer extant but from which I saved the text: Clara Bernice Blakely from Cherry Valley, Ontario, Canada went to LA in Nov. 1917 and stayed until May 1918. She gave birth to a child in April or May 1918, who was given up for adoption to relatives, possibly surnamed Blakely or Ogden. She visited Wm. T. Blakely, a lawyer in Pasadena and his brother Arthur Blakely a detective for the FBI who were sons of Carrie and Calvin Blakely of San Bernadino County. She also visited her Uncle Norman and Aunt Lodema (Rice) Ogden's son, William B. Ogden, a lawyer from Colorado. Clara Blakely completed the immigration form to enter the United States on the 27th October 1917. She is aged 20, and a teacher, and her last permanent residence was Picton. Her nearest relative is her mother Theresa and her destination is Los Angeles where she is going to join her aunt Mrs Louise Story of 1700 1/2 - 4th Avenue, and stay for six months. Incidentally she is five foot tall with a fair complexion and blue eyes, and she states her place of birth to be Cherry Valley, Canada. Her mother’s maiden name was Story, and Louise was the wife of her uncle Harry Story; her maternal grandmother’s maiden name was Ogden. So her visit to Calvin’s sons wasn’t a random act of picking a surname out of the directory and there must be a family connection of some sort. Clara was the daughter of Benjamin Franklin Blakely, who was in turn the grandson of Samuel Blakely who was born in about 1773 in New York to James Blakely and Ann Keogh. As a Loyalist James, originally from Dumfries in Scotland, had been granted land  in Ontario in Cramahe and Murray, Northumberland Co. and in Hallowell, Prince Edward Co. Samuel married Ann Caroline Smith in 1805, and there’s a very thorough family history on RootsWeb, but the more you look into the various versions of the family trees on Ancestry and elsewhere, the more confusing it gets. It should be easy enough in this day and age to pinpoint the Samuel Blakely who was Calvin’s father (according to his marriage certificate) through the records that are available online both on Ancestry and at the Library and Archives Canada. There are two possible candidates; one is  Samuel, the son of James, born in 1773 apparently in New York. His wife Anna Carolina Smith was born in 1788 also in New York, but as she would have been about 47 years old when Calvin was born, this is looking more unlikely. Samuel and Anna Carolina had a son called Samuel born in 1807 in Marysburgh, Prince Edward County, Ontario. According to some records this Samuel married twice. His first wife who seems only to be known by her first name, Fern (or Hannah?) was born in 1806 in the United States, and they had a son Samuel born in 1825 in Hallowell. By 1833 Samuel senior was married to Phoebe Cole (or Benson?) and they produced a string of children with perhaps a suitable gap for Calvin to be born in February 1834. Samuel and Phoebe appear on the 1851 census with their children. Calvin of course isn’t with them, and it is clear from the Dreadnought record that he had already left home and gone to sea. The children of Samuel and Phoebe were the cousins of Benjamin Franklin Blakely, the father of the above mentioned Clara. So Calvin’s sons would be first or second cousins once (or twice ...) removed to poor Clara and her unwanted child. Another Calvin Blakely was born in Ontario in about 1869. His parents were David and Amelia, and they moved shortly afterwards to Taunton in Massachusetts, where young Calvin died at the tender age of 4. On his death record it says his father was born in Picton, Prince Edward, Ontario. David, according to the 1871 Canadian census and the 1880 US census was a cabinetmaker, and when he died on the 16th July 1912 in Cranston, RI at the age of 82 (so born in 1830), his parents are named as Samuel and Caroline Blakely. While it sometimes seems that every Blakely claims to have Samuel and Caroline as their parents, David could possibly fit into the later group of their children, born ten years after their tenth child was born in 1819. Were perhaps these later ones adopted nephews and nieces or orphaned grandchildren, or even offspring from a second marriage? Then again this doesn’t exclude my Calvin from fitting in here too! I wonder how much Calvin and Caroline’s sons knew of their rich heritage? From Dutch weavers and Deptford shipwrights and mariners on their mother’s side to Scottish-born kilt-wearing Canadian United Empire Loyalists on their father’s! Thanks to Tammy for finding Calvin’s death announcement, and also tracking down the date of Caroline’s death.
Murray families: The Millemans Caroline Elizabeth Milleman & Calvin Blakely
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