W. O. Blake, proprietor of the Valley Grove Stock Farm, has become one of the leading representatives of stock-raising interests. His place is located on section 18, Walnut township, and he is a business man whose excellent record reflects credit upon Dallas county. He is one of Iowa’s native sons, having been born in Adel township, this county, on the 14th of September, 1866.
His father, Sydney Blake, was a well known stockman, who is now living retired in Dallas Center. He was born in New Jersey and on his removal to the middle west settled in Rush county, Indiana, with his parents, being at that time a youth of eight years. There he was reared, early becoming familiar with agricultural interests, and after he attained his majority he embarked in business on his own account as a farmer and stock-buyer. He was married in Indiana to Miss Mary Ross, and thinking to enjoy better business opportunities in Iowa, he came to this state in 1865 and settled in Dallas county. Here he purchased one hundred acres of land in Adel township. It was raw prairie but he at once began to farm it and make a home. As the years passed the wild land was brought under a high state of cultivation and many modern accessories were added to the farm. There he resided until 1902, when he removed to Dallas Center, where he is now living retired, in his sixty-ninth year, while his wife is in her sixtieth year. They have a family of six children, four sons and two daughters, all of whom have reached years of maturity.
William Blake, the eldest of the family, was reared upon the old homestead and spent his early years in school. After acquiring his elementary education he entered the Dallas Center high school, of which he is a graduate, and he was thus well equipped for life’s practical and responsible duties. When he had put aside his text-books he began earning his own living as a farm hand and worked by the month for eight years, thus gaining a start in life. He has always carried on general agricultural pursuits and, after his marriage he operated rented land for one year in Adel township. In 1889 he bought eighty acres, where he now resides. There he erected a dwelling and began to cultivate and improve the farm and as his financial resources have permitted he has extended its boundaries until it now comprises two hundred and twenty-five acres. His buildings and improvements are of the best, his house being a two-story modern dwelling, well arranged and supplied with all modern conveniences. He has good barns, cribs and outbuildings, with a wind-pump and stock scales and all of the latest improved machinery. He is a stock raiser of some note and feeds largely for the market, having from seven to eight carloads of cattle a year and using all his own corn in this way.
On the 27 of February, 1889, Mr. Blake was married to Miss Emma Schlosser, a native of Dallas county and a daughter of John and Nancy Schlosser, who came to Iowa in 1854. Unto Mr. and Mrs. Blake has been born one son, Dell S., who is a young man with his father on the farm.
In politics Mr. Blake is an earnest republican where state and national issues are involved but at local elections he casts an independent ballot. He has never sought office as a reward for party fealty but has served as a member of the school board for several years and was president for three years. He belongs to Ne Plus Ultra lodge, No. 401, K. P., at Waukee, also to the Modern Woodman camp at Dallas Center. Having spent his entire life in this locality, he is well known and the fact that many of his staunchest friends are those who have known him from his boyhood is an indication that his career is worthy of respect and confidence. The Valley Grove Stock Farm which he now owns and operates is the visible evidence of his life of thrift and business enterprise and discernment, for through his earnest and persistent labor he has come into possession of this property, which is valuable and returns to him a good income.
Source: Past and Present of Dallas County, Iowa, by Robert F. Wood, S. J. Clarke Publishing Company Chicago, IL, 1907.