Thomas Kincaid Blake, a merchant, and one of the old and influential citizens of Bentonville, Ark., is a native of Roane County, Tenn., born 1813, and the son of Thomas and Elizabeth (Owen) Blake. Thomas Blake (the senior) was born in Georgia, and was of English origin. He went to North Carolina when a young man, and from there to Tennessee in 1799. He was a speculator in lands and did a great deal of trading. He was the owner of a number of mills, and was a good business man. His wife was born in Alabama, and died in 1829. She was the mother of seven children, Thomas K. being the only one now living. He remained at home until after his mother's death, and then went to Alabama, where he lived among his mother's people a number of years, and worked at machinery in various kinds of mills.
In 1836 he married Miss Clara Chitty, who was born in North Carolina in 1819, and seven children were born to this union. Thomas K. Blake resided in Alabama until 1841, when he immigrated to Polk County, Mo., and in 1859 he went to Denton County, Tex. While in Missouri he was the owner of two woolen mills, and while in the Lone Star State he was engaged in merchandising, dealt in stock and was also engaged in milling. In 1868 he became a citizen of Bentonville, Ark.
After coming to Bentonville he and Josiah Claypool erected a flouring-mill, and they were also the proprietors of two mercantile establishments in Bentonville. Previous to the erection of the grist mill, Mr. Blake erected a woolen-mill, and afterward he and Mr. Claypool became partners in this mill, and it was attached to the grist-mill. Mr. Blake and Mr. Claypool were partners for about three years, when they sold the mills; each took a store, and after this each man did business on his own responsibility. Mr. Blake also erected a lumber mill in Carroll County, and was the proprietor of it for one year, when he moved it to Huntsville, Ark., and converted it into a flouring-mill, which he turned over to his sons, Larkin L. and Thomas T. Mr. Blake followed merchandising in Bentonville for about fifteen years, and was successful in his business transactions. He erected the Western Hotel, and the large block occupied by L. J. Laughlin. He also erected a large number of private dwellings and other business houses in Bentonville, and was of much benefit to that city.
Although starting with little or no means, Mr. Blake, by attending strictly to the business on hand, and by his honesty, became one of the solid, substantial merchants of Bentonville. He lost his wife in 1859. Mr. Blake was a Democrat in politics, and was a member of the Masonic fraternity, and also a member of the I. O. O. F. He was proprietor of the Western Hotel for six years, and followed merchandising at the same time. While residing in Texas he had 137 horses stolen from him by the Indians, and he hoped to get payment for them from the United States Government. Mr. Blake passed away February, 19, 1892 and is buried in the Bentonville Cemetery.
Adapted from Goodspeed – History of Benton County 1889 *