Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
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BLAKE, John Lauris, author, born in North-wood, New Hampshire, 21 December 1788" died in Orange, New Jersey, 6 July 1857. When a boy he alternately worked on his father's farm and attended the district school. Showing a taste for mechanics, at thirteen years of age he was apprenticed to a cabinet-maker, and afterward labored as a journeyman in Salem, Massachusetts. He was graduated at Brown in 1812, and licensed to preach by the Rhode Island association of Congregational ministers in 1813 ; but, becoming interested in the Episcopal Church, was ordained deacon by Bishop Griswold in 1815. Soon afterward he organized the parish of St. Paul's, in Pawtucket, where he remained until 1820. In that year he returned to New Hampshire and took charge of the Churches in Concord and Hopkinton. He also organized a young ladies' school in Concord, and in 1822 removed it to Boston, remaining at its head until 1880, and making for it a high reputation. From 1824 till 1882 he was rector of St. Matthew's Church, Boston, and subsequently devoted himself entirely to literary work. He was editor of the "Literary Advertiser" and the "Gospel Advocate," and was an active member of the Boston school committee for several years. He wrote or compiled about fifty volumes, mostly textbooks, embracing treatises on astronomy, chemistry, natural philosophy, botany, geography, and history. His first work was a "Text-Book of Geography and Chronology" (1814). His " Biographical Dictionary" was published in New York in 1885, and just before his death he published a revised edition under the title "Universal Biographical Dictionary" (Philadelphia, 1857), on which he had spent many years of hard work. He was also the author of the ' "Family Encyclopaedia of Agriculture and Domestic Economy" and the " Farmer's Every-Day Book" (New York, 1852) ; "Modern Farmer" (1858) ; "Letters on Confirmation" ; and several small books for school libraries, such as the "Book of Nature Laid Open," "Wonders of the Earth," and "Wonders of Art" (Troy, New York, 1845).
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